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Guan Fei Bai could have never expected that his senior brother would suggest a melee, what good was this type of strategy that even he could think of?
Gou Han Shi didn’t pay him any attention, looked at Liang Ban Hu and said: “It doesn’t matter whether if he uses real moves or feints; in order for us to eliminate the need to counter all his manoeuvres, you should directly exchange move for move against him.”
Guan Fei Bai was learned on the way of the sword and clearly understood that exchanging move for move would only result in exchanging wound for wound.
He thought to himself: “Junior brother Liang is clearly stronger than that Tang Thirty-Six; why would junior brother Liang have to use this kind of method where both sides will suffer?”
Gou Han Shi looked at Liang Ban Hu who had his head down in silence, he knew that his junior brothers were somewhat baffled and thus, calmly explained: “Tang Tang is not as strong as you, as such, Chen Chang Sheng wants to help him with an unconventional means of victory. Since you’re stronger than Tang Tang, you cannot choose an irregular path; you should use the simplest or maybe even the stupidest method to win a most ordinary victory.”
He stood up and accepted the handkerchief Qi Jian handed him, using it to wipe his face clean.
He looked towards the woodlands, at Tang Thirty-Six, whose blade-like eyebrows looked like they were about to fly off, and said: “Why do you need a simple melee? That’s because when that fellow is determined, he will take it too far; you will definitely suffer in exchanging move for move, but it should be one of the least damaging methods for achieving victory over him.”
Liang Ban Hu thought for a moment, then said: “I understand, Senior.”
The door to the Tower of Purging Dust slowly opened, the young scholar from Scholartree Manor, Zhong Hui, had easily won against his opponent, walking out of the tower. What made him feel somewhat displeased was that the gazes of the examinees were still focused on those two locations and not himself; the gazes were perhaps even more intense than before, as at this moment, Liang Ban Hu and Tang Thirty-Six had already stood up.
Without further ado, Liang Ban Hu and Tang Thirty-Six did a formal gesture towards the Li Palace clergyman, before entering the tower, one in front and one behind.
Staring at the tightly closed wooden door, the examinees had exceptionally focused expressions upon their faces; the match grounds were quiet.
Over ten matches had already been held in this second round of the duelling phase; apart from the match between the wolf-tribe youth, Zhe Xiu and Su Mo Yu, this match was the one with the strongest participants.
This match was probably even more focused upon than the one between Zhe Xiu and Su Mo Yu, that’s because everyone understood it wasn’t just a contest between Liang Ban Hu and Tang Thirty-Six, but that there were also two other participants.
The other two won’t be entering the stage, but their impact wouldn’t be any weaker than entering the stage themselves, just as it was for the last night of the Ivy League gathering.
There are some people in the world who can, through their learning and reasoning ability, use guidance to directly change the outcome of a battle, these types of people would be military advisers in the frontlines against the demon race, they would be eminent instructors or elders at most schools. Only Li Shan Sword Sect and Orthodox Academy had two students taking on this role.
Today, at the Grand Examination, the teachers of the various sects and cloisters were not allowed entrance to the examination grounds, a lot of people were incredibly envious of the students from Li Shan Sword Sect and Orthodox Academy.
This was because they had Gou Han Shi and Chen Chang Sheng, who could provide guidance at the scene; these two were highly competent, able to solve many problems and change many events where they were present.
Time slowly passed by, the tower remained silent.
Chen Chang Sheng’s expression didn’t change, but his hands clenched ever tighter and he felt more and more troubled; it was far too quiet.
Suddenly, in the blue skies above, there appeared a swathe of flame red hue, this colour came from within the Tower of Purging Dust and was the projection of a sword’s splendour; it seemed very warm, yet, behind that warmth, there existed a fiery danger.
Crimson clouds enveloped the skies; immensurate beauty.
The Three Forms of Wen Shui, Night Clouds End.
Outside the tower, cries of exclamation erupted, Tang Thirty-Six’s sword momentum had actually exceeded the limits of the Education Palace, appearing in the sky above the Tower of Purging Dust and entering everyone’s sights.
Gou Han Shi lifted his head and looked at the sunset clouds, remaining silent; he had found that Tang Thirty-Six’s improvement at Orthodox Academy was even greater than what people had expected.
Chen Chang Sheng’s expression became sombre, that’s because, according to the plan set before, today shouldn’t have crimson clouds enveloping the sky.
Perhaps, this was Tang Thirty-Six displaying his grit, but what did it represent? At this moment, Liang Ban Hu, who remains silent, had actually forced him to show his relentless determination earlier than planned, this suggested Liang Ban Hu had residual strength to spare and that for some unknown reason, it was Tang Thirty-Six who couldn’t make use of the previous ten or more sword moves and transition them into sword momentum.
Sounds of exclamation once again erupted outside of the tower, alongside gasping sounds of admiration.
The crimson cloud covered skies suddenly turned extraordinarily bright, the small stream became gleaming, its small bank akin to having sprung countless red maples.
The sunset was quickly followed by: A Flow of Maples.
Tang Thirty-Six’s sword manifestation had actually dispersed this far, able to affect the area outside of the tower; as a young man that had yet to achieve Ethereal Opening, it was something worthy of being proud.
Yet, Chen Chang Sheng’s expression became ever more stern.
This was because, up to this moment, he had yet to see Liang Ban Hu’s sword; no one present at the match grounds had seen any sign of it.
Suddenly, the sunset clouds receded, the maples disappeared and an extremely mild and soft, exceedingly gentle sword manifestation, swept across the sky above the Tower of Purging Dust.
This sword manifestation was akin to water; clear water. Countless amounts of limpid lake water washed across the sky.
Whether sunset clouds, the sunset or red maples, they were all washed away, reminding everyone that the previous hues were not real, but something etched out by someone grasping the sword as a brush; since it was etched out, using a dye, as long as it was dye, it can be washed away by water, as long as there was enough water, enough purity.
Half a lake of clear water, sufficient to cleanse all stains and evil, enough to thoroughly cleanse this patch of heaven, revealing its original deep blue hue.
Outside of the tower, countless examinees lifted their heads to look at the sky, none of them made sounds of exclamation, but were instead silent.
Whether be it the sunset glow or the heaven cleansing lake water, both were the sword manifestations of those two youths, reflecting within this miniature world.
They really were extremely strong.
Chen Chang Sheng remained silent for a while, becoming calm once again, he looked at Gou Han Shi, who was by the faraway stream bank, and inclined his head in acknowledgment.
Gou Han Shi returned the gesture with a nod.
The door to the Tower of Purging Dust opened, Liang Ban Hu walked out, behind him by a single step was Tang Thirty-Six.
It was probably only the difference of a single step.
Both of them had wounds upon their body; the mark of swords evident upon their clothing.
The examiner gave them both a praiseful eye and said: “Li Shan Sword Sect, Liang Ban Hu wins.”
Liang Ban Hu faced Tang Thirty-Six and brought his hands together, his left fingers covering his right, with his palms facing himself; he formally gestured (揖行礼) towards Tang Thirty-Six and then they walked down the stone steps, they respectively headed towards the woodlands and the stream bank.
Tang Thirty-Six was exhausted, maybe due to this, he didn’t want to say anything.
Returning to the woodlands, he sat upon the ground, leaning on a white poplar, his eyes closed.
When Chen Chang Sheng gave him medicine, he only opened his mouth, continuing to refuse to open his eyes.
Xuan Yuan Po walked over to his side, crouching down to look at him; his light stubble filled, yet young looking face was evidently full of worry, he said: “Say something will you.”
Tang Thirty-Six had his eyes shut, choosing to ignore him.
Xuan Yuan Po felt slightly anxious, looked towards Chen Chang Sheng and said: “Is he alright?”
Chen Chang Sheng replied: “He might have been injured a bit heavily by Liang Ban Hu and needs to rest, we shouldn’t disturb him.”
A lot of things in the world are as such, especially for males at the juvenile stage of their lives; when others are concerned for you, you will resist this concern, not wanting to give them any attention, but once those people prepare to leave, you will quickly come to feel lonely, uncomfortable.
Tang Thirty-Six opened his eyes, looked at Chen Chang Sheng and angrily said: “What do you mean ‘injured a bit heavily’? Where am I injured?”
Luo Luo pointed at the parts of his uniform that had been rent open by a sword and then pointed at the faint lines of blood upon his face.
“You call this heavy? You should see that Liang Ban Hu; his leg was almost cut off by me.”
Tang Thirty-Six felt ashamed, yet annoyed and said: “I was only feeling slightly tired, I only want to lay here by the tree for a while, so can all of you just stop bothering me.”
After finishing those words, he once again closed his eyes.
Chen Chang Sheng knew that this fellow had always had a strong sense of pride, losing in the second round of the Grand Examination must be excruciatingly hard for him to accept.
He couldn’t let this person wallow in such a state, he had always been of the opinion that this was a form of wasting your life and was completely meaningless.
All negative emotions should be immediately conquered or perhaps better described as discarded.
“Are you lacking in money?” he looked at Tang Thirty-Six and asked.
Tang Thirty-Six kept his eyes closed and snorted, answering: “Have you seen anyone wealthier than I?”
Chen Chang Sheng once again asked a question: “Your results in the Academic Exam should be fine? Will your total marks be enough to enter the Third Grade?”
Tang Thirty-Six opened his eyes to look at him and asked: “There shouldn’t be any problem in entering the Third Grade, the question is, why are you asking this?”
Chen Chang Sheng looked at him and seriously said: “Being able to enter the Third Grade will mean being able to enter the Mausoleum of Books; you’re not lacking in money and the girls from the Thirteen Divisions of Radiant Green adore you; what else do you want?”
Tang Thirty-Six felt that there seemed to be something else behind that question and seriously began to contemplate on it for some time. He then enquired uncertainly: “First upon the First Banner?”
Chen Chang Sheng coarsely replied: “That’s mine.”
Tang Thirty-Six laughed as he rebuked him: “You’re too shameless.”
At this moment he was finally certain, Chen Chang Sheng wasn’t preparing to give him a lecture on life itself, but only wanted to console him, this was indeed effective, at the very least, he no longer wanted to close his eyes and pretend to be asleep.
“Tell us,” said Luo Luo by the side.
Tang Thirty-Six remained silent for a long while and then said: “I never would have expected that Liang Ban Hu would fight so stupidly.”
Luo Luo and Xuan Yuan Po didn’t understand his words, but Chen Chang Sheng did.
Liang Ban Hu’s ability is above that of Tang Thirty-Six’s. Chen Chang Sheng and Tang Thirty-Six could only rely upon unconventional means, in an attempt to use a method their opponent would never think of and bringing a surprise upon the Grand Examination.
But they could have never guessed that Liang Ban Hu would use one of the simplest methods to counter, unexpected? No, he hadn’t thought of anything at all.
“I’ve never seen such an unsightly and stupid method of fighting.”
Tang Thirty-Six remained silent for a moment before continuing: “He didn’t even consider how to counter the sword manoeuvres you chose for me, he only concentrated upon attacking, stupid beyond compare, without any finesse at all… but I can’t deny that it was effective.”
He continued, “tens of moves were used, yet they couldn’t come together at all. The constant interruptions made me very uncomfortable; I didn’t even have the chance to use those three weird moves you thought of, I could only try and use the Three Forms of Wen Shui.”
“He endured through it all, therefore I lost.”
Something Chen Chang Sheng can think of was something anyone participating in the Grand Examination can think of; Liang Ban Hu’s battle strategy definitely had substantial amounts of Gou Han Shi’s wisdom within.
If it could be said that Chen Chang Sheng and Gou Han Shi were equals at the Ivy League gathering, then today it can be said that in the match between Tang Thirty-Six and Liang Ban Hu, he had completely lost.
He said to Tang Thirty-Six: “I’m sorry.”
Tang Thirty-Six remained quiet for a while, then said: “This isn’t your fault, you don’t have to apologise, if I was as strong as Liang Ban Hu, it would be Gou Han Shi having a headache instead and you could have had an easier time countering him. In the end, it’s my own ability being lacking that caused this. I’m the one who’s given you a headache, I’m the one that should be apologising.”
Xuan Yuan Po honestly said from the side: “I don’t understand the things the two of you are saying.”
“Then I’ll say something you can understand.”
Tang Thirty-Six laughed, he then looked at Chen Chang Sheng calmly and said: “We’ve already lost two matches, we can’t lose any more.”
While they were conversing, the matches continued; two had already finished.
Chen Chang Sheng’s match was pending.
Chen Chang Sheng thought for a while and said: “I can win this match.”
Finishing those words, he stood up and headed towards the Tower of Purging Dust.