In this battle of profound sword techniques, Yang Qi benefited significantly.
There was no doubt that Patriarch Frost-Drake was a first-class swordsman, and an elite amongst Nonary Lifeseizers. He had a sword technique from the distant past, and although it was impossible to tell how long the man had immersed himself in its study, one thing was for certain: each stance within the set of sword techniques was different, and contained varied meanings. However, in the end, they were all designed as killing moves.
The five consummate stances, Freezing Night, Flying Stars, Broken Moon, Rustling Wind and Shocking Clouds had sliced Yang Qi full of holes, and were it not for the fact that the Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth made him virtually impervious to all sorts of weapons, he would have died several times over already.
From that alone Yang Qi could tell how profound Patriarch Frost-Drake’s sword technique was, and that it was the type of thing which would require much time to master.
Only a year ago, Yang Qi had been one of the ‘young elites’ in Yanhaven, a brat who was little more than a frog in a well.
For someone to advance in such spectacular fashion in such a short time was something that was rarely seen, even in ancient times. Sword techniques, martial arts stances, and enlightenment were all things that required time and training. Slacking in even one area would lead to major deficiencies. And the fact that Patriarch Frost-Drake had lived for hundreds of years indicated that he had likely worked with this sword technique for about the same length of time.
When a young punk fought an old man with hundreds of years of practice under his belt, it was only natural that the latter would have the clear advantage.
Yang Qi was well aware of that, and yet, wasn’t ready to acknowledge defeat. Instead, he was excited, and wanted to fight even harder in the hopes of improving his own technique. And he even hoped to come out on top in the end.
Of course, so far, Patriarch Frost-Drake had only unleashed five stances from his ancient sword dao. He still had two more, those being Ravage Law and Ravish Heaven. Together, they formed the ancient saying to ravage law and ravish heaven, which implied defying all sorts of laws and principles. Those two moves were completely different from the previous five, and were obviously designed to be the mightiest of them all, the most ultimate type of kung fu. Trump cards.
Yang Qi very much wanted to see them, but unfortunately, Patriarch Frost-Drake hadn’t resorted to them yet.
Patriarch Frost-Drake could sense what Yang Qi was up to. He knew that this opponent was inferior to him in terms of sword technique, but at the same time, was impossible to defeat. It was like fighting some sort of devil or giant.
Even worse, the more fiercely Patriarch Frost-Drake fought, the more this young opponent seemed to improve. It made him feel like he had taken on the role of a teacher. In fact, he was already contemplating how to escape the situation.
However, he still couldn’t resign himself to the fact that Yang Qi had the Ice-Soul God-Sword. That sword was simply too enticing to him, considering that it was his ticket to reaching the Legendary level.
The Lifeseizing level was essentially about building up enough reserves to seize life over and over. It was only Legendaries who truly began to receive the benefits of energy arts cultivation, and could connect with heaven and earth.
The nine phases of the Energy Arts level were about reaching out to make contact with vital energy. The nine levels of Lifeseizing were about remolding the fleshly body and building a solid foundation to step into the Legendary level. With enough longevity to work with, Legendaries would easily be able to work on gaining enlightenment of magical laws and their transformations. The gap between a Nonary Lifeseizer and a Legendary was even greater than that between a Master of Energy and a Lifeseizer.
Patriarch Frost-Drake had been a Nonary Lifeseizer for many years, and had never been able to make that final push into the next level. Now that he finally had the chance, he wouldn’t let it go easily.
Looking at Yang Qi, he gritted his teeth and said, “Alright, punk. Since you want to die, I’ll accommodate you. The last two moves, Ravage Law and Ravish Heaven, are so lethal that they’ll kill you before you even shed any blood. And if they do draw blood, it will mean catastrophe for the entire world, an armageddon involving rivers of gore and millions of corpses. From the time I mastered these two moves until now, I haven’t used them to kill a single living being. But now, I’ll use them on you, even if it means I end up bedeviled.”
“Wow,” Yang Qi said. Although he had assumed the moves were deadly, the fact that they could lead to bedevilment made them even more interesting than before. After all, other people might fear bedevilment, but not Yang Qi.
The Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth was designed to slaughter devils and monsters, and crush hells. So why would he possibly fear bedevilment?
“Time to die! Ravage Law!”
It was with bloodshot eyes that Patriarch Frost-Drake swept his sword out, his aura instantly transforming into something like an unfathomable ghost-god from the netherworld.
The sky grew dark, and the light of the sun and moon were obscured as the wailing of a ghost-god filled the air. As for the Haughty Snow Sword, it suddenly seemed stained with an aura that resembled both ghosts and gods, but at the same time, neither of those. It was a ghost-god aura that towered to the limits of heaven, that despised celestial might, and that repudiated magical law.
Then, Patriarch Frost-Drake suddenly vanished, in much the same way that Yang Qi had when mastering the inimitable dao of the quick strike. Patriarch Frost-Drake’s one move destroyed countless natural and magical laws, and demanded that a life be taken. It struck Yang Qi’s mind so harshly that he couldn’t think, and could only stand there waiting to be slaughtered.
One sword move destroyed natural law, ravaged magical law, and attacked the heart and mind. It was simply beyond compare. Although Yang Qi’s mastery of the dao of the quick strike was on par with this in some ways, there were miraculous elements to this sword technique that far surpassed it. After all, this was a technique created by a Great Sage of the distant past, based on enlightenment that Yang Qi’s deathblow art couldn’t possibly match up to.
Use one sword technique to destroy a myriad of laws. It was truly ravaging law!
In the blink of an eye, the Strength of the Hell-Crushing Godmammoth stirred, and Yang Qi came to his senses. Without even thinking about it, he swept the Ice-Soul God-Sword out in front of him to meet Patriarch Frost-Drake’s sword. At the same time, his aura surged, and his Infernal Deity Plate Armor swept out to cover every part of him.
When the Haughty Snow Sword met the Ice-Soul God-Sword, their auras exploded in a tempest of sword projections. In the blink of an eye, the Ice-Soul God-Sword was shoved out of the way, and the Haughty Snow Sword was stabbing toward the Infernal Deity Plate Armor.
However, Yang Qi’s armor was already the color of porcelain, and no matter how sharp Patriarch Frost-Drake’s sword was, all it could do was scratch its surface.
Wicked light shone in Patriarch Frost-Drake’s eyes, making it seem like he had been possessed by a host of devil-gods, and that he was ready to challenge the legion of gods to battle. Brilliant light shone off of his Haughty Snow Sword, sword energy in the form of numerous enormous stars that first rose high into the sky, then fell to converge on the tip of his sword.
One sword strike to pierce the heavens. Ravage Law, Ravish Heaven. Defy all laws and principles!
Patriarch Frost-Drake was confident that his sword will was able to conquer every obstacle, and therefore, it didn’t matter how powerful Yang Qi’s armor was, or how abundant his true energy was, it wouldn’t be able to stop this attack.
This one sword move was as strong as a storm of falling stars.
This one sword move could exterminate all forms of life.
The tip of that sword contained power that seemed capable of absorbing the heart and mind, and sucking away Yang Qi’s entire body. Any attempt to dodge, evade, or fight back would be laughable. The only option was to meet it head on.
Sword light shone brightly as the Haughty Snow Sword finally pierced the Infernal Deity Plate Armor and prepared to enter Yang Qi’s body and take away all of his life force.
Patriarch Frost-Drake’s eyes immediately began to glitter with the light of success.
But then, his Haughty Snow Sword suddenly stopped moving.
The moment that the Infernal Deity Plate Armor was pierced, it suddenly shone with brilliant light, and then came alive. Cracking sounds rang out as it suddenly sent a massive backlash attack into the sword, which began to vibrate loudly. Then, cracks appeared on its surface, which widened, glowing, until the sword shattered.
Countless bits of sword shrapnel exploded out, flying through the air in all directions.
In the end, it never pierced completely through the Infernal Deity Plate Armor, and was in fact destroyed by it.
Then, the backlash swept into Patriarch Frost-Drake’s meridians, forcing him to cough up a mouthful of blood. Disbelief filled his eyes; how could his Haughty Snow Sword, and the deadly Ravage Law, Ravish Heaven move, be unable to pierce this person’s defensive true energy? Only a Legendary should be able to do something like that. Even a Nonary Lifeseizer who faced an attack like that should have been killed.
However, what happened next was even more unimaginable.
A hand reached out, pulsing with an energy field that could control everything. Before he could even react, it latched onto his throat, sending a stream of true energy toward his dantian region.
Only then did he realize how powerful Yang Qi’s true energy really was; it was beyond the level of ordinary humans.
Trembling, Patriarch Frost-Drake said, “You… are you even human? A human couldn’t possibly have true energy this powerful. Human bodies can’t take it. In fact, you’re stronger than some primeval devillings! Who are you? You’re definitely not from this continent. Don’t tell me you’re from the Quake-Dawn Continent?!”
“Quake-Dawn Continent?” Yang Qi shook his head. “No, I’m from the Rich-Lush Continent. Alright, Patriarch Frost-Drake, now do you mind telling me about the Shroud-Heaven Alliance? Who is Young Master Shroud-Heaven?”
Even as he spoke, he used his true energy to search Patriarch Frost-Drake thoroughly, revealing a small sword manual, as well as a tiny medicinal pill bottle that was no larger than a snuff bottle, which contained some very small green-colored beans.
Despite their small size, they were clearly very powerful, and a single sniff of their aroma confirmed that they were some sort of treasure that surpassed high-grade medicine. Designed to replenish blood and energy, and to improve the nascent divinity, they were obviously not the type of pill that ordinary individuals could concoct.
As for the sword manual, it was extremely ancient, and not even made from paper, but rather, leather of some sort. A single glance at it, and it was obvious it was some sort of mysterious, powerful technique. In fact, the cover had no name, and the inside contained only seven pages. Each page featured one of the moves that Patriarch Frost-Drake had just used, described in densely-packed text accompanied by tiny illustrations. In fact, the information was so tiny that ordinary individuals wouldn’t even be able to read it; only top experts like Yang Qi would have the requisite eyesight to make out the details.
The illustrations were the size of a grain of rice, and the words, a million times smaller.
Considering all that, it was difficult to determine how much information the book actually contained. Upon pouring some true energy into the book, Yang Qi felt like his soul was being drawn into the text, where he found a burial mound made of swords. In the middle of the burial mound was a proud, heaven-defying individual training with a sword, perfecting a technique to slaughter great daos, to destroy the shackles of heaven, and to bring an end to innumerable natural laws.
Thankfully, Yang Qi had very strong willpower, and was able to pull his mind out of the book, which he then tossed into his thumb-ring.
1. In this case, the “bedevilment” literally means “to have a devil enter”. But there is a bit of nuance. The two characters are part of a four-character idiom that is a common expression in Chinese. If literally translated, it would mean “go through fire and have a devil enter”. Nowadays it’s used figuratively to mean “spellbound, absorbed, utterly devoted, obsessed with, etc.” But it originally goes back to Buddhism and Daoism, and would refer to a situation in which someone “misguidedly focused on hallucinations that arose during meditation”. In that case the “have a devil enter” implied that the person would act as though they were possessed. In wuxia novels, the term basically meant the same thing, in which a martial artist practiced their internal martial arts incorrectly and suffered mental or physical afflictions as a result. Traditionally, it is translated as “fire deviation” in kung fu and wuxia novels, movies, etc. When I translate cultivation novels, I twist the term a bit and call it “cultivation deviation.” In this passage, only the last two characters of the four-word idiom are used, “to have a devil enter”. Given the nature of the story, I think it could be interpreted both figuratively and literally.