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Currently, Chen Chang Sheng’s clothing was in tatters, his chest wounded, it was as miserable a scene as you may wish to envisage, if Tang Thirty-Six was to see him, he would definitely mock him, saying that he’s been beaten to the point of looking like a mongrel.
Yet, under this type of situation, he actually wanted Zhuang Huan Yu to concede defeat –from his expression, he didn’t appear to be joking.
His manner was very serious, and his voice, sincere, this caused Zhuang Huan Yu to become livid, feeling tremendously humiliated and demeaned.
Chen Chang Sheng did not intend to mock him, only calmly giving a verdict.
Whether if it was due to that Autumn rain, or because his body’s strength had increased; since the scorching Star Brilliance didn’t burn him to death, it could be inferred that the snow plain can supply an endless amount of True Essence.
In truth, his current True Essence levels were more abundant than ever before – the biggest discrepancy between him and Zhuang Huan Yu was now eliminated, why wouldn’t he feel confident?
“What is he basing his confidence on?” asked the principal of Star Seizer Academy, from beside the window, with a frown on his face.
Even if Chen Chang Sheng had inexplicably undergone a second initial meditation, all the personages within the Capital knew that he had only determined his Fated Star and started guiding Starlight to purify for less than a year, while Zhuang Huan Yu had already been cultivating for over 10 years, on what basis did he believe his True Essence levels to have caught up to his opponent’s?
Chen Chang Sheng used reality to prove to everyone, that his confidence was logical, even if it wasn’t clearly apparent as to where the logic was.
Zhuang Huan Yu stared at him, the Sword of Hithering Light that was pierced into the green slabs, lightly shook. Hundreds of sword forms once again began to take shape, striking towards Chen Chang Sheng from all directions; it was as if another spell of rain had descended upon the tower.
Chen Chang Sheng’s right hand was grasping the short sword. The position he held onto was somewhat high, with his palm covering the scabbard’s edge, as if he was holding both the scabbard and hilt at the same time, making him naturally unable to draw the blade.
He didn’t draw his sword, neither did he dodge or use his body to forcibly take it on, instead, he wielded both sword and scabbard as one and swept outwards.
Within the tower, a buzzing noise could be heard and a gust of wind arose.
Several powerful sword drafts came into contact with the surrounding sword forms, giving off several muffled sounds, one after the other, the sword forms shattered and disintegrated.
Pitting True Essence against True Essence, with both equally matched, this naturally meant using a sword to break a sword form, would be easily achieved.
Expressions changed for all those important figures by the second floor window. It could finally be confirmed that Chen Chang Sheng’s cultivation level was completely different from how it was previously; whether in terms of purity or the volume of his True Essence, he was, at the very least, no longer any weaker than Zhuang Huan Yu.
The hands that were tightly clenched together in Mo Yu’s sleeves had already loosened, she brushed the window frame, remaining expressionless, yet internally, she was not as calm as she projected herself to be.
She didn’t wish for others to know that she did not want anything to happen to Chen Chang Sheng.
At this moment, she no longer had to worry that he wouldn’t be able to defeat Zhuang Huan Yu; yet, Chen Chang Sheng’s performance, alongside his unreasonable surge of True Essence, made her think of that event, many nights ago, when she had watched the stars with Her Divine Majesty at the Platform of Sweetdew.
That night, Her Divine Majesty had perceived that someone within the Capital had determined their Fated Star, with the star being located extremely far away; that person’s divine sense was extremely calm and powerful.
That person… was it Chen Chang Sheng?
The important figures stood by the second floor window, contemplating; the battle below had already become intense.
Chen Chang Sheng used the sword and scabbard as one, relying upon True Essence to forcibly destroy those rainstorm-like sword forms, his figure became indistinct and at the next moment, he arrived in front of Zhuang Huan Yu.
A distance of 30 odd metres, covered in an instant, he didn’t borrow the sword momentum of Zhong Shan’s Sword of Wind and Rain, but had used Discerning Steps.
By this time, Zhuang Huan Yu had already calmed down completely, Chen Chang Sheng easily destroying his sword forms made him feel slightly surprised, but it wasn’t enough to distract him again. His face didn’t show any signs of fear, all that could be seen, was the extending of his right hand; the Sword of Hithering Light increased in its shaking and with a loud ringing sound, it released itself from the ground and returned to his hand.
*CHA* *CHA* *CHA* *CHA*
Over a dozen continuous sounds of a sword reverberated out.
It was as if the sword in his hand had come alive, its keen edge cutting through the air with a slicing sound as it thrust towards Chen Chang Sheng.
The floor that had been washed out by the Autumn rain had remnants of wet sand left behind, that sand was swept into the air by Zhuang Huan Yu’s blade becoming dozens of minute sand streams.
Those sand streams were a sword art; they were a visible movement of the sword.
Chen Chang Sheng could use True Essence to destroy those sword forms, but if he wanted to block those lightning-like sword manoeuvres, it would require an even more sublime sword move.
The expressions of those observing personages on the upper floor became extremely focused, they had all seen or heard of the event, detailing Chen Chang Sheng and Gou Han Shi’s exchange of manoeuvres at the Ivy League gathering.
They knew that this unremarkable youth from Orthodox Academy was the same as Gou Han Shi, someone that had read the scriptures in their entirety, knowing sword arts from countless sects and cloisters, they couldn’t stop themselves feeling curious as to how he would counter.
Tens of sand streams streaked towards Chen Chang Sheng from various angles.
Behind each stream, was a cold blade’s edge.
Chen Chang Sheng still didn’t draw his sword.
His hand held onto the sword’s hilt and scabbard, even if he wanted to draw the blade, he couldn’t.
He grasped the sword short and struck out while holding it as such.
A blow that was exceptionally clean and sharp; simple and powerful.
It didn’t even resemble a sword art, nor could anything superb about it be seen, akin to a married woman washing clothes by the river, grasping a wooden club and continuously pounding upon a stone.
A seemingly normal strike, yet as he raised and struck out the short sword, at least three personages by the window side suddenly cried out in surprise.
“The Staff of Mountain Toppling.”
That’s right, what Chen Chang Sheng used was not a sword art, but a stave art.
He had read the scriptures in their entirety from a young age, reading a large amount of books extensively. Upon entering Orthodox Academy, he had ceaselessly compared them with the works on cultivation contained within the library, converting as much of the scriptures as he could from what he had read in his previous 14 years, into knowledge that was needed for cultivation.
In discussing knowledge of cultivation methods from the various sects, cloisters and schools in the world, apart from Gou Han Shi, no one else could compare with him.
His cultivation was also extremely diligent, within just half a year, he had grasped a large amount of sword arts and other cultivation methods; at the Ivy League gathering, he guided Luo Luo and Tang Thirty-Six to victory over Guan Fei Bai and Qi Jian; what he relied upon, was this capability.
Yet, a lot of people would forget, that his understanding of those sword arts and cultivation methods, for the most part, was nothing more than academic.
He knew how the Three Forms of Wen Shui should be utilised; the sequencing and angle of Lian Shan’s Seven Swords; yet, this didn’t mean he could use the Three Forms of Wen Shui, or that a casual manoeuvre from him would be Lian Shan’s Seven Swords. Not to mention he had yet to complete his Purification at the time; being unable to cultivate, even if he wanted to practise the sword, he couldn’t.
Even if he were to be hard working and diligent, no matter how spectacular his talent might be, it wouldn’t be possible to grasp so many different techniques in just a few short months.
Wanting to have a measure of success on the path of the sword, required more than 10 years of hard work at the very least.
Whether be it Qiu Shan Jun, or Guan Fei Bai, who had proven at the Ivy League gathering that he could use a hundred or more different sword arts, it would be the same.
Others might forget all these things, but Chen Chang Sheng himself would not, he knew very clearly that he couldn’t possibly win against Zhuang Huan Yu or any of the four disciples from Li Mountain in terms of sword arts; even if he could think of a move to counter his opponent’s sword manoeuvres, he wouldn’t be able to perform that move in the midst of such an intense and stressful battle.
Cultivators of different stages, would require battle methods of different levels. He currently required a relatively simple and effective means of battling; he didn’t think of a sword art that could counter Heavenly Academy’s dao sword, but something he could currently firmly grasp and utilise, therefore, he lowered his grip, simultaneously holding onto both hilt and scabbard.
This method of handling his sword made it evident, he had no intention of drawing the blade.
With such a grip, the short sword became a short staff.
What he used, is a stave art.
The Staff of Mountain Toppling.
The cries almost erupted at exactly the same time up on the second floor.
The ones who let out the cries of exclamation were the two Archbishops of the Holy Church and the Bishop of Temple Seminary.
That was because they knew of this stave art and it was also because they hadn’t seen this stave art for many years.
The Staff of Mountain Toppling is a stave art from Orthodox Academy, legend had it, that it was originally a penalty stave used by Orthodox Academy’s Regulatory Department to discipline students that had broken rules.
Orthodox Academy had already declined for over a decade, this stave art naturally also didn’t appear upon the continent for over a decade.
The two Archbishops of the Holy Church were important figures from the Orthodoxy’s new faction, and were naturally opposed against Orthodox Academy, which represented the tradition faction, yet, even for they, after over a decade, to suddenly see the Staff of Mountain Toppling that was renowned within the Orthodoxy, they couldn’t restrain themselves from letting out gasping cries of exclamation; their expressions instantly became rather complicated.
Xue Xing Chuan and Xu Shi Ji were likewise, individuals that had seen Orthodox Academy’s past glory, they were only slightly slower than the three bishops, but they also recognised the stave art used by Chen Chang Sheng, causing their expressions to immediately change.
The Staff of Mountain Toppling is Orthodox Academy’s penalty stave, following the concept of being rough and direct; simple and concise. Its aim was to topple students, to cause pain.
This stave art didn’t seem to have any logic that could be spoken of, but in reality, it concealed a lot of logic, the same as Orthodox Academy’s regulations; you couldn’t possibly avoid it, you could only endure it.
Zhuang Huan Yu’s expression became incredibly severe, yet the sword in his hand did not slow down in the slightest.
The momentum from Chen Chang Sheng’s short sword was too direct, direct to the point where it seemingly couldn’t even be considered a manoeuvre.
From the look of it, it seemed like the sword in his hand had enough leeway to forcefully strike upon Chen Chang Sheng’s body first, but the short sword in Chen Chang Sheng’s hand gave him a feeling that if he was to do so, at the next moment, no matter how heavy an injury Chen Chang Sheng was to sustain, the short sword and scabbard would still strike upon himself.
Forcefully striking first seemed to lack any meaning; dodging? It seems dodging wasn’t possible, then all that could be done was to block.
Zhuang Huan Yu’s True Essence boundlessly flooded out, the blade’s edge cut through the air, heading towards Chen Chang Sheng’s sword.
The Staff of Mountain Toppling against the Sword of Hithering Light, akin to Orthodox Academy against Heavenly Academy.
If the newly revived Orthodox Academy wanted to regain its position within the Orthodoxy, it seems it had to pass this hurdle.
The two blades met in the air, separated, and then met again. No matter how unreasonably Chen Chang Sheng’s sword struck, it would be blocked by Zhuang Huan Yu’s sword; no matter how transcendent Zhuang Huan Yu’s sword manoeuvre was, it couldn’t break Chen Chang Sheng’s sword.
Within an extremely short period of time, the two swords crossed each other over a dozen times.
Within the tower, ear-deafening sounds of clashing resounded.
Surrounding the two of them, over a dozen white air masses would constantly appear and then instantly blow apart.
Those air masses were manifestations arising from the tumultuous clashing of their swords.
*BANG* *BANG* *BANG* *BANG* *BANG*
Two figures suddenly separated from each other.
Zhuang Huan Yu let out a muffled groan, his face slightly pale, the right hand that held his sword was lightly trembling.
He hadn’t managed to completely seal off Chen Chang Sheng’s sword.
At the last moment, Chen Chang Sheng’s sword and scabbard came down, striking upon his wrist.
If his sword manifestation wasn’t pointing straight at the time, in the midst of thrusting forwards, barely brushing past the tip of Chen Chang Sheng’s scabbard, his wrist bone would probably be shattered right now.
A direct face-off, sword against sword, had actually resulted in him being in the weaker position.
Zhuang Huan Yu couldn’t accept this fact; his face became slightly ashen.
At the next moment, he threw his scabbard onto the ground, once again heading forwards.