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The snow plain was very thick, unknown as to how deep it went, each snowflake, or perhaps snow fragment, was a strand of Star Brilliance, containing an abundance of energy within.
A single fragment of the snow plain, with a circumference that approached a kilometre, contained tens of thousands of snow fragments, and harboured an untold amount of energy. Upon being lit by his divine sense, they instantly let off immeasurable amounts of light and heat.
Previously, in front the Black Dragon, Chen Chang Sheng had skipped Purification and directly performed Meditation, narrowly avoiding being set ablaze by that light and heat, if it wasn’t for the dousing of dragon’s blood, he would probably have had an early death.
Earlier, in the match against Zhuang Huan Yu, he had set alight a fragment of snow plain, even though his body was far stronger than it previously was after bathing in dragon’s blood, it was still difficult to withstand, if it wasn’t for that sudden Autumn rain, he would probably have died.
The light and heat given off by just a single fragment of snow plain was already that horrifying and hard to endure, let alone lighting up ten fragments at the same time, he completely had no way of withstanding it and it was a method that risked his life.
He absolutely had to defeat Gou Han Shi and obtain first upon the First Banner, only with this could he enter the Pavilion of Ascending Mist and discover the secret to going against heaven and changing his fate. As with what he had said before, he had to risk his life in order to save his life.
In but an instant, his body became incredibly hot, his temperature reaching unimaginable heights. The rain that fell on him rapidly evaporated, its pitter patter couldn’t actually even wet his body in the slightest; in contrast, he began to sweat perpetually, the sweat gushed out thickly, evaporating the moment it came into contact with the surface of his body.
His entire body was cloaked within the white steam; with both, rain and sweat, the smell was rather strange. At the same time, through the fog, it be seen that his face was slightly distorted, extremely peculiar.
With but a moment’s work, his clothing had been soaked through and then dried over ten times. No matter how sturdy the material of his clothing was, it couldn’t tolerate this continuous cycle.
Upon the rain falling from above the tower suddenly becoming heavier and greater, his clothing immediately split apart from the deluge of water, becoming multiple strips of cloth that were hanging onto his bare upper body, seeming rather comical, but for those up on the second floor, it just looked all the more shocking.
That’s right, the rain that fell from above the tower suddenly became extremely heavy, as if it knew he was currently situated on the edge of death, the rain strived its utmost to fall and the sound of its descent could be heard, akin to someone having jabbed a hole in the bottom of the heavenly lake.
The rainwater was also extremely cold, as if it was rain from the end of Autumn that heralded the arrival of snow.
Even so, the cold and violent rain landing on his body couldn’t stop his temperature from rising. Amidst the tendrils of white steam, his eyes revealed an expression filled with pain.
The sound of cicadas grew greater outside of the tower, ever shriller and more forlorn.
Within and without the tower, it was akin to two different worlds, two different seasons.
Chen Chang Sheng’s flesh ached immensely, as if they were splitting apart, his skin became extremely sensitive, with each raindrop giving him pain that felt like as if he was being flayed.
His entire body became as if it was actually burning; though flames could not be seen, the air around his body had already began to distort, giving a bizarre scene.
The burning of such a fearsome quantity of Star Brilliance alongside such a hard to endure pain still couldn’t make him close his eyes, he stared at Gou Han Shi’s eyes; the hand that was strapped to his sword became deathly pale.
He started to move, slowly, yet firmly, attempting to continue seeking the chance of victory.
He didn’t know when he would faint from the pain, or at what time might he be burnt to death, but he had to endure the pain and take the opportunity of his True Essence being far stronger than it had ever been to defeat his opponent.
Gou Han Shi looked at Chen Chang Sheng slowly approaching along with the white steam, his expression incredibly stern.
He lightly shook his right arm and his sword broke through the air, supple, yet incredibly steady, striking towards Chen Chang Sheng.
Within the rainstorm, Chen Chang Sheng’s figure suddenly hastened. Using a fearsome speed and Discerning Steps, he avoided that placid, yet powerful sword manifestation. The short sword within his hand borrowed the rain’s momentum to strike out towards Gou Han Shi.
Within an extremely short time, the two had exchanged sixteen manoeuvres.
Gou Han Shi’s Li Shan Sword Arts were naturally transcendent and powerful, while Chen Chang Sheng’s counters were incredibly spectacular.
Occasionally transforming the Staff of Mountain Toppling into a sword art, coupled with countless sword techniques from various sects and academies being casually utilised by him.
Combined with his already deep familiarity with Li Shan Sword Arts, he had actually managed to narrowly block the attacks.
The situation had become tense; those observers on the second floor remained silent, but internally, they had already been captivated by this. Especially in their praises for Chen Chang Sheng, having seen this sword bout, they all thought that Zhuang Huan Yu’s loss was definitely not a mistake.
In this battle, Chen Chang Sheng displayed what could only be called a fearsome battle will and an incredible learning ability. It had to be known that from the start, when facing against Zhuang Huan Yu, he had no confidence at all on the way of the sword.
Currently, battling against Gou Han Shi who was widely agreed as to being extremely strong in sword arts, his sword technique was actually becoming increasingly sharp, truly transitioning the knowledge he had learnt from cultivation books into real aptitude for battle.
It was a shame then, that Orthodox Academy had steps before its entrance, Li Palace and the tower itself also had steps, even the entire world was filled with these steps and that these steps were a hurdle for countless people.
Before Gou Han Shi there also existed a hurdle, no matter how talented Chen Chang Sheng might be, or how strong his will, it was still something that cannot be skipped across. After all, he had only properly started cultivating for less than a year, and if we were to count from the moment he successfully completed his Purification, then it had only been less than a few months.
With a sharp sound, the rainstorm inside of the tower stopped.
The reason why the rain stopped was because Chen Chang Sheng’s temperature had returned to normal.
What was fortuitous was that he hadn’t died, but what brought about this fortune was something unfortunate – the True Essence within his body had already been exhausted in this battle.
Silence blanketed the tower.
Gou Han Shi stood in his original position, his right sleeve slightly drooping and his complexion a little pale.
Chen Chang Sheng stood opposite, his tattered clothing was nothing more than strips of cloth, and upon his bare body, he continuously bled.
This battle had finally reached its end, he had completely lost any chance of winning, yet, outside of everyone’s expectations, and perhaps, even his own, he didn’t feel all that sad, neither did he have any thoughts of grief, rage or bitterness; he felt very calm.
Because he had already tried his best.
In order to continue living, he had pitted his life.
If even this was not enough to succeed, then it could only be said that heaven’s way, or perhaps fate, had arranged it as such.
He hadn’t accepted it, he had tried to challenge it, but he failed; that was all there was to it.
After the ten fragments of snow plain, he had continued with lighting the plains twice more, the last attempt had already completely burnt away all the snow plains. He really had strived his utmost, but it had failed.
He had the right to be calm, perhaps even the right to be proud.
He lowered his gaze to look at his right hand, the short sword was strapped to it.
From start to finish in this battle, his and Gou Han Shi’s sword had never actually clashed, this was because Gou Han Shi felt slightly fearful of it, which also made it clear that his ability was still far too low.
He should have the right to be calm, yet why did he feel a slight inability to yield?
Chen Chang Sheng looked at the sword in his hand and silently contemplated.
He then raised his head and his sword, charging towards Gou Han Shi.
He knew that this would be the final time he raised his sword.
It was indeed as such.
Gou Han Shi raised his arm and Chen Chang Sheng was sent flying backwards towards the wall.
While travelling through the air, he felt a little exhausted, a little glad; that’s because he could finally stop thinking, finally stop feeling regret; he felt that the deep-blue skies above were a little piercing to the eyes.
He closed his eyes.
But the skies didn’t darken.
He saw the burnt and empty, seemingly scorched earth of the snow plains.
He saw the remnants of trickling water upon the wild plains.
He saw something even farther away.
At that location, within the sky, there was a lake suspended.
Only today, did he see clearly, that within the lake, there is actually a mountain.