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Translated by: Hypersheep325
Edited by: Michyrr
In the ruins of the inn, Su Li sat up on the chair. His eyes were closed like he was asleep, but he was actually awake.
His hand gripped the Yellow Paper Umbrella, but it did not carry the intention of holding the sheath and pulling out the sword.
That metal spear that descended from the sky was only several zhang from him, and his black hair had already begun to waft in the air.
This peerless expert that had once been undefeatable had finally been forced into desperate straits. Who could rescue him?
Su Li had no friends. He had never trusted others besides the people of Mount Li.
Yet Mount Li was too far. In Xunyang City, there was currently only Chen Changsheng.
The only person that could help him block this spear was also Chen Changsheng.
Chen Changsheng had to help him block this spear.
Consequently, something occurred that exceeded the expectations of everyone present. The streets around the inn suddenly began to grow extremely hot. The paper snow that fluttered down from the sky danced around even more swiftly than before. Some of the paper pieces that landed on the emperor's carriage even began to curl up as they were scorched.
This heat originated from Chen Changsheng's body.
He was using an almost insane method to burn his true essence.
This was precisely the second sword Su Li had given to him: the Blazing Sword.
His sword intent violently soared, filling that space on top of the emperor's carriage.
This berserk sword style possessed the soaring sword energy of the Burning Heaven Sword, the unique secrets of the Golden Crow Sword, and in the instant that the true essence was set ablaze, it possessed the resolve and daring to die for a good cause that was part of the Mount Li Sword Style's final move.
This sword style had originally been specially developed by Su Li so that Chen Changsheng could surpass cultivation levels and battle with experts.
When he had first used it in that tea house by the official road, Chen Changsheng's Blazing Sword had directly chopped that Star Condensation tyrant of the north, Lin Pingyuan, into a pile of trash. Even if Liang Wangsun's cultivation was unfathomably profound, when faced with this attack, even he was somewhat moved.
Liang Wangsun loosened his fingers and turned them into a sword, while his Vajra Pestle swished up to meet the attack.
But Chen Changsheng's Blazing Sword did not actually thrust at him.
He reversed his dagger and stabbed forward once more, but his target was not Liang Wangsun's forehead, rather a certain space in the air to the right of him.
This attack seemed very low-key, but it actually possessed a deep meaning. The location which the edge of the sword pointed at required a massive amount of knowledge.
This was the first sword Su Li had given him: the Intellectual Sword.
The Intellectual Sword required a vast number of calculations, a talent for deduction, a brightly lit sword heart, and…extremely good luck.
For a Star Condensation expert like Liang Wangsun, their Star Domain could be called perfect. Even if Chen Changsheng's attack was going from the inside to the outside, it was still extraordinarily difficult to break through. Thus, at this moment, he could only do his utmost.
Perhaps because his fate was bad, or perhaps because it was too good, whenever he did his utmost, his luck would always be all right. With a light crack, the dagger pierced a small hole through Liang Wangsun's Star Domain.
Chen Changsheng's figure abruptly vanished. Emitting heat and sweeping up bits of paper, he returned to the inn.
This was the Yeshi Step.
The interior of the inn was a complete mess. Su Li sat in the chair, his eyes closed like he was waiting for death.
That metal spear pierced through the snowy sky and was about to run through his abdomen.
Chen Changsheng appeared in front of Su Li.
Everyone that looked at him felt their eyes ache. This had nothing to do with the sword intent from the very beginning, but because his body was currently exuding a terrifying heat. Although there were no flames on his body, he still gave the feeling like he was aflame.
Confronting this spear which fell down from the sky, Chen Changsheng bared his dagger in front of him. The dagger did not grow brighter, and the might of a dragon did not make its appearance. It seemed very ordinary, like a rock or a pile of sand.
When rock and sand were mixed together, they could be made into a dike.
This metal spear descending from the sky was frighteningly powerful, like a flood that was inundating the banks.
As Chen Changsheng held his dagger horizontally, it seemed like a massive dike had appeared before this devastating deluge.
This was the third sword Su Li had taught to him.
This sword had a very idiotic name. It was called: The Stupid Sword.
According to Su Li's words, this was a very stupid sword style, so only the stupidest of people could learn it. This sword style was also the most natural, because there was simply no way it could be used to face one's enemies. It could only be used for defense.
It was called the Stupid Sword because to learn this sword, there was no other method but practice through repetition, to practice until the seas dried up and stones rotted away, to practice until the stars turned and the Big Dipper moved, to practice for as long as the heavens existed and the earth persisted, such that it should be impossible for someone to ever confirm that they had learned it.
When Chen Changsheng heard these words, he had completely put the idea of learning this sword out of his mind. Only when Su Li said that this Stupid Sword could be considered the world's most powerful defensive sword style did he change his mind. Once the sword had left Mount Li, Su Li's attainments on the path of the sword had become even more exceptional, and his experience was broad and deep. His judgment would naturally not be wrong.
But when Chen Changsheng began to properly learn this Stupid Sword, he began to regret his decision.
Because not even Su Li had successfully learned this sword. In all of Mount Li, even in all of the continent, there was not one person that had successfully learned this sword. Not even along the course of the interminable river of history could one find a person that had learned this sword. To describe it another way, this sword style existed only in books, existed only in some imaginary path of the sword. It had never appeared in reality.
Su Li had said that the reason he had never been able to learn this sword was that he was just too much of a genius. His sword was free and unburdened, unwilling to accept such constraints. But there was truly a possibility that Chen Changsheng could learn this sword. This was because…in certain aspects, Chen Changsheng really was very stupid.
Chen Changsheng would naturally not put any more faith in Su Li's words. And yet, he really did begin to very stupidly learn the sword. He relentlessly practiced it, day and night, until at some point, he felt like he had seemingly learned this sword.
But it was impossible to confirm, because he had never tried it before. Until now.
That unbridled metal spear pierced through the snowy sky and descended.
The simultaneous assault of ten thousand swords was no use here, because it was very obvious that the freak riding the kite was completely insane. To kill Su Li, he wouldn't care in the slightest if ten thousand holes were stabbed through his body.
Chen Changsheng could only use this one sword.
Since he was blocking a spear, there was naturally nothing he could do but block it.
He held his dagger horizontally in front of him, staring at the approaching spear and that fluttering red ribbon. His mind grew extremely tense and his body grew as stiff as a board. But his sword heart was incomparably calm, and his expression could even be described as somewhat dull.
At this time, one could truly say that this boy looked rather stupid.
The red ribbon danced, tearing through the paper snow.
The metal spear reached the interior of the inn. The bright and unbridled spear tip met with the dark and steady dagger edge.
In a flash, the tip of the spear struck the dagger several thousand times.
The pieces of paper that drifted in the inn were slashed into bits and turned into powder. It seemed to become even more snowy, the snow more real.
There was a massive boom.
Waves of Qi burst out from the inn. The paper snow was completely expelled from the inn, enveloping all the streets in a several hundred zhang radius around the inn.
From the silence arose an ear-piercing sound.
It was the sound of metal grinding against metal.
The metal spear was slowly moving backwards.
Chen Changsheng still stood in front of Su Li.
His face was pale and his body was trembling nonstop, especially his two legs.
It seemed like he would collapse in the next moment, but he did not.
He had not even taken one step back.
He himself did not know of this fact because that metal spear had truly been too powerful, too terrifying. In the very last moment, he had even shut his eyes. Even now, he still had not opened them.
The aftermath of violently igniting his true essence was still present. His body temperature was extremely high, blazing hot beyond belief. From time to time, a bit of paper would land on his body, then immediately ignite, giving off several strands of white smoke. It gave him a rather strange appearance.
The crowd looked at Chen Changsheng as he gave off white strands of smoke, so shocked that they couldn't find any words to say.
Impossibly, he had forcefully broken through Liang Wangsun's Star Domain, returned to the inn, then firmly blocked that metal spear which tore through the sky. Just how had this youth done it? It must be known that no matter how much of a genius he was, he was only sixteen years old! The opponents he faced today were definitely not his peers in the Grand Examination, but true experts on the Proclamation of Liberation!
"Extraordinary, to actually block my spear."
An emotionless voice resounded from the inn.
Chen Changsheng opened his eyes, finally seeing clearly that freak that had come in on a kite.
The freak's body was somewhat slim. He wore a set of shabby short garments, exposing half of his arm and his calves. A white piece of paper covered his face. A nose and mouth were drawn on the white paper, leaving only the two eyes exposed.
Chen Changsheng was truly extraordinary—this was what everyone present was thinking.
Because he could block this person's metal spear, because this person was Painted Armor Xiao Zhang.
From the opening of the Boiling Stone Summit forty years ago, the world of cultivation formally welcomed the generation of blossoming flowers. With the rush of countless geniuses setting forth, Painted Armor Xiao Zhang had always been the most dazzling name. His fame was on par with Wang Po of Tianliang, and he was one of humanity's true experts. And in many people's eyes, he was much more frightening than Wang Po of Tianliang, because he was a lunatic.
Many years ago after the conclusion of that Boiling Stone Summit, Wang Po had taken the top spot, while Xun Mei, Liang Wangsun, and the rest were all behind him. Xiao Zhang was not willing to accept this, and so in order to surpass Wang Po, he forcefully cultivated a method that had some sort of problem. In the end, he lost himself in madness and failed. However, just as everyone thought that he would decay and fade away, who could have imagined that he would actually cast off the entirety of his cultivation and cultivate anew? And who would think that in a short few years, he would actually once again enter the upper level of Star Condensation!? How crazily powerful was such a will!
Because he had gone mad, Xiao Zhang was not able to attend the second year's Grand Examination. At the same time, his face had been heavily injured, almost to the point of disfigurement. It was also at that time that he began to cover his face with a sheet of white paper, which he had never taken off since. The reason the world knew him as Painted Armor Xiao Zhang was, besides the fact that the sect he came from was famous for its painted armor, precisely due to this sheet of white paper.
The tales say that at the time, the Divination Elder had once asked him, “Why do you not use a mask?” Xiao Zhang replied, “I use a white sheet of paper to cover my face only because I don't want to scare small children, not because I'm ashamed of seeing others. Why should I use a mask?” It was just that the Xiao Zhang of that time could not have imagined how much fear that white sheet of paper would inspire in his opponents in the following thirty-odd years.
This was Painted Armor Xiao Zhang. He was insane and also extremely unbridled, and there was no obstacle that his spear could not overcome! With Chen Changsheng's current age and level of cultivation, to actually be able to block his spear was truly an extremely outrageous matter.
At this point, Liang Wangsun also looked over at Chen Changsheng, thinking about that first attack Chen Changsheng had aimed at him, as well as the attack which had broken through his Star Domain. He was rather confused—how had the first attack been so berserk? And the second strike actually seemed like it could think, like it was alive! What sort of sword technique was that? Why had he never seen such a thing in the annals of the Orthodoxy!?
He and Xiao Zhang had not imagined that this youth would be even stronger than had been described in the rumors. When they first learned of his exploits in the capital, such as the Grand Examination, these true experts did not view it in a good light. It must be known that in the Grand Examination thirty-odd years ago, if they had also gone, then Snow-treading Xun Mei would not necessarily have gotten first rank on the First Banner. Only when Chen Changsheng comprehended the entirety of the front mausoleum in one day did they begin to sense that Chen Changsheng's talent was truly shocking. But how could it be this strong?
But even if he was stronger, there was a limit. It could only come up to a certain point.
A slight breeze brushed the white paper, making it rustle. Just like that, Chen Changsheng collapsed, sitting on the dusty and rubble-filled floor. He was not bleeding, but his wrist bone was broken. He sat in front of the chair, powerless to lift up his dagger once more.
Liang Wangsun shifted his gaze to the chair behind Chen Changsheng. Xiao Zhang also directed his gaze to that chair—they would never forget who the person sitting in the chair was, and as a result, they understood why Chen Changsheng's sword had been so strong.
Su Li sat in the chair. At some point, he had opened his eyes.
He lifted up his right hand and patted Chen Changsheng's head. Teasing, he said, "I guess you really are stupid enough."
Chen Changsheng's voice was very feeble, but still as stubborn as ever. "Just how I am stupid?"
Su Li replied, "Shouldn't you have gone just now? Just what are you sticking around here for?"
Chen Changsheng answered, "If I left, what would happen to you?"
Su Li asked, "As simple as that?"
Chen Changsheng was puzzled. "How could it not be this simple?"
Su Li was silent for a few moments, then sighed regretfully, "No wonder Qiushan couldn't learn this sword, my little girl couldn't, and not even I could do it, but…you could do it."