That night, Yin Biyue waited for many hours for a single “Alright” from Luo Mingchuan .
Thus, the letter written with a fine, stiff script was carefully folded and tucked into his sleeve . Luo Mingchuan held himself awkwardly, with a hint of being unsure whether to laugh or cry, as if he were still a student at the academy caught passing notes by the teacher .
And then, the two of them tacitly agreed to not speak of this incident .
Yin Biyue’s match was the first of the three . The closer to the appointed time, the calmer his heart, even if Yi Hu still refused to accept his core energy .
On the day of the battle, his mind was as still as a lake, undisturbed by waves .
When the disciples of Cang Ya walked from Lake Qiu to the city’s center, the crowds parted for them like the sea . Innumerable eyes fell on them, and on Yin Biyue, but after the last two matches,their gazes were more respectful and reverent .
From Ye City to the foot of Chongming Mountain, a tide of people followed, but not a sound was left in their wake .
Both the ordinary citizens and cultivators felt like they were about to bear witness to a major event, or something that will be recorded into the annals of history .
Yesterday there were disciples of Qing Lu Sword Sect rechecking the defensive formations . This morning there were crowds of people on the viewing stands, and six elders with high cultivations and a Ye City attendant on the east stands .
Within the sea of people, Yin Biyue and Zhong Shan walked onto the stage, and bowed respectfully towards the other .
Every person present waited in anticipation for what they would say, even if it was only a self introduction . Too bad they were both taciturn, and would surely disappoint the many spectators .
Zhong Shan raised his sword horizontally in line with his forehead, an end in each hand, and bowed .
Yin Biyue paid the same courtesy to him .
Unlike the usual greetings with cupped hands, this time they both chose the most formal, most solemn greeting .
The two were approximately the same height, thus the two swords were also held at the same height .
Swords within sheathes, their blades unbrandished .
But Yi Hu began to vibrate .
The sword and sheath collided rapidly- like sudden rain against a golden lotus, humming without rest .
In this moment, incredibly, Yin Biyue felt its emotions .
This sword wailed like an unyielding question — in this era without a hero; even rabble could gain fame!
It was questioning Feng Yu Sword!
Under the Bao Pu Ba Gua* Sword, this sword had no response . When Shuang Lan* Saber seized the moon, the sword trembled gently .
But at this juncture, merely because it was lifted to the same height as the Feng Yu Sword, it became petulant and angry, its body unable to stop its shaking .
In the first place, it wasn’t that it was unresponsive, but that it was full of disdain .
No one knew of these quiet changes . There were people who heard the rattling of Yi Hu Sword within its sheath and assumed it was Yin Biyue accumulating energy .
Even Zhong Shan believed it was merely a pause . After their greetings, when Yin Biyue straightened again, there was something different .
But his daoist’s heart was firm, unable to be shaken by a change within his opponent .
A clear cry suddenly sounded, Feng Yu Sword unsheathed, passing like a howl of the wind!
At essentially the same moment, Yi Hu Sword was suddenly drawn, its long wail like a cranesong .
It completely engulfed the howling wind, the empty wilderness filling only with the echo of the sword!
The disciples around the stage didn’t expect, right as the battle began, with a single cross of their blades, there would be such an intense force exerted .
They couldn’t help but marvel out loud .
In the grandstand the Qing Lu Sword Sect’s elders shook their heads, “A single burst of strength, then to wane, exhausted by the third breath… Truly the heart of a youth, unable to retain his calm . ”
Those experienced in battles all agreed with him .
Both of them exerted their strength simultaneously; Zhong Shan’s sword was faster by a breath, and fell first . Beyond all expectations, it was ‘Warm Rains and Clear Winds Break the Frost”, as if it were nascent spring, gentle breeze threading misty rain .
This was the Sword of Wind and Rain’s initializing gesture . It couldn’t be said to be good, nor could it be said to be bad, only that it was too polite .
There’s many ways to receive this strike . At least twenty people in the audience can dispel it in different ways .
But Yin Biyue has no intention of dispelling it .
His core energy entered his sword,like a stream flowing into a long dried riverbed . Yi Hu seemed to become an extension of his arm .
The countless boulders that pressed against his chest day after day, night after night, shattered in a single push!? Why not be unrestrained?!
Thus his toes lightly tapped the stage, grasping his sword as he charged . The sword’s edge ferociously pressed down; a white crane piercing through the storm!
Their swords met, and energy surged from the collision, scattering the morning mist!
Core energy sprayed from the sword’s edge, scattering in wild sparks . As they landed on the floor of the stage, they emitted a “zhii zhii–” sound .
“Crane-song Above the Clouds!”
The same skill, yet the strength is like the difference between heaven and earth, so much so that it’s unbelievable .
But it was still not enough .
At the instant of contact, the two swords separated . Yin Biyue flipped as he returned to the ground, a fierce pain searing up along his wrist and to his meridians,like a spreading fire consuming the wilderness .
Out of the corner of his eye he took note of the location of the elm tree growing beside the stage; compared to where he started, he landed half an inch back .
Yet Zhong Shan remained where he was .
This kind of minute detail is something few would notice, but the Ye City attendant saw it and shook his head imperceptibly .
The gap in cultivation realm represents the gap between the amount of core energy that can be emitted . This is an immutable fact .
Yin Biyue suddenly calmed, restarting his calculations .
His mind turned lightning quick . Between the moments as he landed, he sent forth his sword again .
Zhong Shan’s brows arched slightly .
Careful and meticulous, adept at calculations- this was his original assessment of Yin Biyue . Just like the battle with He Lai, suffering suppression under his opponent were to find flaws with which he could use to defeat his opponents in one strike .
But that strike just now seemed to be entirely devoid of a plan, fuelled only by a whim .
Completely out of his expectations for any of the scenarios he predicted for this battle .
The rhythm was disrupted, and the two returned to where they began .
In the flash of a shooting star, Yin Biyue’s sword arrived .
The sword’s blade was enrobed with a soft halo; it drew an arc in the air, smooth and manifold .
As if the morning mist chased the beauty of this sword, it gathered under the blade’s edge like fog over a long river .
The sword held in his hand was like a river in spring*, but his sword-light tore through the air until it arrived before Zhong Shan!
“‘Fog Enshrouding Frigid Waters!’”*
No one could understand why, after the swift and ferocious Crane-song Above the Clouds, did Yi Hu mysteriously calm, returning to within the boundaries of Warm Rains and Clear Winds .
This skill did not have anything to be fearful of, and instead possessed the beauty of a startled swan*, yet Zhong Shan took two steps back .
After those two steps, he lifted his wrist and twirled his sword, merely performing a sword flair,as if he were standing at a moor in the night, scattering the mist over the river with a wave of his sleeve .
It was the finale of the Sword of Wind and Rain, ‘Heedless of Slanting Winds and Slivered Rain’*
Deft as a swallow, but with decisive intent; it spread its wings through the fog over the frigid river .
Many in the audience watched until their heads were muddled and extraordinarily confused .
There was no clash of core energy, nor were there swords shaking heaven and earth . What were Zhong Shan and Yin Biyue doing?
The more senior disciples of each sect all began to explain,
“Yin-shixiong’s ‘Fog Enshrouding Frigid Waters’ appears graceful, but the sword-light sent forth, regardless of angle or distance, exact within centimeters, all completely block off Zhong-shixiong’s paths, like the dense fog trapped above a frigid river .
“Zhong-shixiong did not advance but retreated . These two steps taken positioned him truly wonderfully, finding the single flaw in a hundred and swept away the fog with ‘Heedless of Slanting Winds and Slivered Rain’”
Zhong Shan’s one strike broke through the mist, turning his wrist and thrust his sword at an angle, his body moving abruptly, like a fluttering feather .
Yi Hu greeted the saber . There was no screech of blade against blade, only the soughing breeze .
The two changed techniques quickly, but a fierce battle was nowhere to be seen . Instead, it felt as smooth as the flowing clouds .
Cang Ya Sword Arts ‘Wind Over Frigid Depths’* against Feathered Mantle Arts’ first form .
In a single moment, a myriad of seasons passed on stage . Spring rain like wine, willows like smoke*; rime of emerging spring accompanying nipping spring showers .
But there were still people who could discern the secrets bubbling beneath the surface beauty .
“Their sword-energy are precise to the extreme, without a single wisp of core energy wasted . They also begin calculations to dispel the other’s strike as soon as they appear . ”
“The two of them are both using and destroying skills at the lowest cost to themselves, waiting for the other to expose an opening first . ”
“Whomever’s sword is slower by a second, whomever’s calculations are a step behind, the situation would change in an instant!”
But there were still people who didn’t understand: Zhong Shan’s cultivation realm is higher than Yin Biyue, why was he fighting in such a cautious style?
Song Tang laughed and explained to Cheng Tianyu, “Mental energy and core energy are being consumed at the same rate, this is the most difficult method for his opponent to break through .
This is the most reliable method .
When Yin Biyue’s mental energy and core energy can no longer support his calculations and sword, the winner can only be Zhong Shan .
In the end, it’s still a difference in cultivation realms, to no avail .
Forty exchanges have come and gone, and the battle entered a strange rhythm . Yin Biyue did not use the Frigid Water Arts; Zhong Shan did not use the Sword of Wind and Rain .
Each strike of theirs was very smooth, very aesthetically pleasing .
Tall grasses, flying oriole; wildflowers blooming among the trees . *
The time passed quietly, and the scorching sun now hung in the sky . Watching such a battle is like an indulgence, and many people softly put down their worries, waiting silently until the final victor comes to light .
The next blow, with a slightly astonished expression, someone said, “The wind’s picked up?”
Why could they not feel it below the stage?
They could only see the wind blowing past the branches of the elm tree that reached onto the platform, lifting the hem of Yin Biyue’s daoist robes, floating Zhong Shan’s trailing sleeves, and brushing past the blade he held in his hand .
Then the saber spun lightly, fiercely stabbing downward!
A gale rose from nothing- the elm tree bowed to a painful angle!
The tip of Zhong Shan’s toes pushed lightly against the ground, his body rising toward the sky, his robes tumbling in the wind like rushing clouds!
It wasn’t the wind after all . It was the true beginning of the Sword of Wind and Rain’s strength .
Before the mountain’s rain arrives
will the tempest crowd the tower . *
Luo Mingchuan’s pupils shrank .
Zhong Shan was the first to reveal his strength . There was only one possibility: shidi exposed a flaw .
Many people realised this, and their expressions suddenly became solemn .
In the next moment, the face of the battle will change!
Yin Biyue’s expression remained unmoved . His silhouette trembled, and he disappeared into thin air, footwork incredibly fast as if he were fluttering in the wind .
But currently the platform was permeated by the wind, sword energy engulfing the entire area .
To where could he escape?
He was very clear on just how strong this charged strike that he was about to face was .
But he had no way to gather energy of his own under the rain of his opponent’s skills . There was no difference between forty strikes and one hundred strikes, the one to run out of core energy in the end is still himself .
All of the plans he made in advance were obsolete- because Zhong Shan was far stronger than he thought .
Then he could only allow his opponent to strike .
There was only this one path to break the deadlock, thus he revealed an opening .
Outside the boundaries of the stage no wind could be felt, but they could hear the howling tempest and the rattle of flying sand and rubble, as if the screaming winds were echoing within their mental seas . The disciples who had a weaker cultivation realm subconsciously covered their ears .
A sword screeched into the wind! Not towards the flickering silhouette, but towards empty air!
Before the bewildered eyes of the audience, a mist of blood sprayed from nothing!
The petals of blood splattered onto the stage; a loud sizzle accompanied the spray of pale steam and the stone below was scorched black .
It was from the raging core energy within the strike .
Zhong Shan found Yin Biyue .
A single strike pierced the protective core energy, directly cutting into flesh .
Yin Biyue emerged from empty air . The white of his robes on his left arm carved with his flesh and blood, his face deathly pale .
Yet his eyes were startlingly bright .
His sword was only a foot away from Zhong Shan!
The gale abruptly quieted,and the frost arose .
Weeping droplets of blood froze into ice .
For the price of a blade piercing through to the bone, he exchanged the opportunity to raise his sword .
Uncountable deductions, all within a single strike!
1) Eight Trigrams sword, the one that He Lai uses .
2) Chen Yi’s sword, Capturing Frost (iirc)
3) 一江春水- from the poem 虞美人, by Li Yu . It means an unending flow of sad thoughts . The imagery here is that it’s soft and sorrowful in contrast to how fierce the actual attack was .
4) 煙籠寒水- from a poem by Du Mu . Someone translated the poem, so go take a look! I changed the wording, as I am wont to do, to fit/sound better .
5)翩若惊鸿 – generally used to describe someone with light steps, delicate posture, and beautiful looks . Usually for women . The literal translation would be “flying quickly like a startled bean goose” . Forgive me for the cosmetic change to a swan instead of… honk .
6) 斜风细雨不须归 – TP has moved on from 4 character technique names to “lmao idk” . From the poem “A Fisherman’s Song” . A roughly translated version is here .
7) 风过寒潭 – the last character here means a deep pool . Imagine those super deep pits like Dean’s Blue Hole .
8) 春雨如酒,柳如烟 – This entire sentence makes me want to weep, but, this portion in particular is from “新白娘子传奇” describing a scene in spring . It also functions as a shorthand for having never seen something so beautiful .
9) 草长莺飞，杂花生树 – something pieced together from 村居 (Village gathering) by Gao Ding to describe a scene of spring . I won’t translate the poem, but it’s here for your perusal:
10) 山雨欲来风满楼 – another saying I had to gut so that it sounded… not dumb in context . Before the rains from the mountains arrive winds will fill the buildings . It essentially means something is imminent .Please download our sponsor's game to support us!