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Home > The Sage Who Transcended Samsara

127 A Measurement of Strength

 Shen Zui was startled. "I'm not exactly a Jianghu rookie. My reputation and battle record are already out there, but he still had the gut to come knocking, which meant he was extremely confident in his strength and martial art abilities. Of course, I can't rule out the other possibility that he was, in fact, a reckless lad. But could a reckless lad kill An Guoxie, a master with Nine Apertures opened?"

He couldn't, even with the help of friends whose abilities were not up-to-scratch!

At this moment, the other two bandits that were resting charged out of their tents as well. One was carrying a blade, the other a sword. The blade was a run-of-the-mill Horseman Sabre, and the sword was a narrow, long sword with two deep blood grooves.

When Meng Qi finished his "greetings", he charged at them before Shen Zui could say anything. He waved his Red Sun Evil Blade and the flash of the blade shrouded both Shen Zui and one of the horse bandits. The blade flash came in waves, one faster than the previous, sometimes fierce and unpredictable, sometimes exquisite and straight-forward. He displayed his bladesmanship to the extreme.

Gu Changqing took over the other horse bandit and stabbed at him with his long sword; His sword skills were superb and his defense was leak-proof. He made himself invincible first before defeating his opponent.

The horse bandit that was battling Meng Qi with his blade was totally overwhelmed by the storm-like attack of Meng Qi, feeling the blade could strike him from any direction or any position. He was struggling to defend himself, let alone using his deadly bladesmanship which was developed through his battle experiences.

Fortunately, Shen Zui was by his side. He was using a seemingly average long sword, but it seemed to have a blood mark imbibed within. Shen Zui's sword art was based on a circular motion. Its defense was air-tight, obviously derived from the Tai Chi sword art.

Clang, clang, as the swords kept hitting together, Shen Zui had roughly figured out Meng Qi's bladesmanship. Then he suddenly flicked his sword.

This sword motion seemed slow like trying to lift something heavy, but what was concealed within was an attack move. Clang! The sword hit Meng Qi's blade, successfully disrupting the momentum of his blade motion.

Shen Zui's good hearing and eyesight were incisively and vividly shown in this sword move.

Meng Qi initially had wanted to end the battle quickly, with the idea of using the Golden Bell Shield to penetrate his line of defense, but his every attack with the sword was aimed at the mid-brows, eyes, throat, temple, groin and other such common weak points. Sheng Zui was indeed a Jianghu veteran, very cautious and not leaving any chance. So Meng Qi dropped the idea of a sudden attack and decided to calm down and using his battle to "sharpen" his blade.

Since Meng Qi's blade momentum had been disrupted, he saw that Shen Zui's sword motion had changed. It kept attacking him continuously in waves, forcing Meng Qi to focus on defense.

Shen Zui indeed was a renowned master with Six Apertures opened

!

After Meng Qi silently praised Shen Zui, he decided to first get rid of the hidden danger and suddenly jumped to the left side.

When Shen Zui's long sword circled around, it struck towards the left side too, as if waiting for Meng Qi's mid-brows to fall onto the sword.

But Meng Qi suddenly slid backward and got away from the sword's attacking range. As he slid back, he collided with that horse bandit.

The horse bandit did not expect that Meng Qi would attack him with his "back", so he could not stop the momentum of his Horseman Sabre and hacked Meng Qi's back. His blade cut through Meng Qi's robes and caused a dark gold glow of Meng Qi's skin and a shallow wound.

Then he felt as if his Horseman Sabre was clamped by Meng Qi's muscles. The dark gold glowed brighter and surged at him, causing his own Horseman Sabre to backfire in his chest. Meng Qi's Buddhist Commandment Blade turned backward and penetrated his abdomen.

The dark red blade light flashed while Meng Qi slid his feet and avoided Shen Zui's shadow-like long sword attack.

The horse bandit with four acupores opened lay on the ground, with blood spilling out and guts showing.

Shen Zui's eyes turned red with fury as he watched his friend. He changed his sword form again. It was no longer coming at Meng Qi in tides, but like violent waves, surging at Meng Qi. Meng Qi had exerted all of his amalgamated bladesmanship, but still could only just manage to defend. After all, only the "Peace Quietude Split" part of his bladesmanship had exquisite form, and the other parts like Five Tiger-like Bladesmanship and Blood Bladesmanship were only at the Qi-cultivation Stage level. Though each was unique, they were not considered top-shelf during the enlightenment period.

Hence, even though Meng Qi had amalgamated different forms, his bladesmanship was not considered outstanding at the enlightenment period. Facing an opponent of Shen Zui whose sword art was impeccable, his was far inferior by comparison - Shen Zui's sword forms all seemed to be the creme de la creme of sword arts at the enlightenment period.

Meng Qi had derived his bladesmanship from the changes of the Peace Quietude Split, then utilized some moves from the Mortal Dust Fall and formed his own unique form. The more he practiced, the more mature his bladesmanship had become, to the point where it could stop the momentum of the "waves of the ocean", metaphorically speaking. Given some time, Meng Qi might be able to truly comprehend the "principles" of bladesmanship just like Jiang Zhiwei, and raise his form up to legendary status.

Of course, this was way down the line, but faced with Shen Zui's frightening sword form, Meng Qi no longer wanted to "practice his blade form" with Shen Zui. He decided to end the battle quickly, otherwise, his weaknesses would be exposed, resulting in the Shen Zui's getaway or his own demise.

"Either will be an option I'm going to regret later, so why not finish him while I still have the chance?"

However, after this battle, Meng Qi had a better idea of his own strength; Without using a go-to move and supplementary tactics, he could rival an average master with Six Apertures opened but could not compare to the likes of Shen Zui. If he did utilize his go-to move and supplementary tactics, then even a master with Seven Apertures open was no match. As for masters with Eight Apertures opened, it depends on favorable situations, more than likely, however, he could only wound them and make a getaway because after opening Six Apertures, the hallucinations created by the Transformation Strategy would no longer be effective - when the opponent was prepared.

However, if he did not worry about damage or consequences and his power erupted in a short burst, then it would be a different story.

Yet by the time the fifth level had been consummated, he would have one or two less weak points and he had been more powerful in battle!

Just when Meng Qi was about to activate the Transformation Strategy and end this battle quickly, Shen Zui seemed to have decided the same too. A flash of red appeared before his eyes and the long sword came at him. It was fierce and weird, one move faster than the next. After defending three strikes, Meng Qi realized that his soul had been locked up.

Meng Qi had rarely seen such lethal sword art aside from the "Yama's Invitation" and "Sword of Anatta". It was fortunate that he had witnessed such lethal moves before, hence he was rather calm and unaffected mentally. His used Buddhist Commandment Blade which seemingly made eccentric patterns seemed full of the charms of the real world.

Clang, clang. Meng Qi blocked Shen Zui's two sword moves, but his Buddhist Commandment Blade had been swatted to the side, and therefore unable to block the third attack!

Shen Zui's sword was pointing straight at Meng Qi's throat, the momentum of which was fierce that it could not be stopped or dodged. It seemed that apart from focusing all his energy on the Golden Bell Shield to block the attack, Meng Qi had no other means of stopping it. But his throat was a weak point, so how severely he'd be injured was not known.

In that instant, Meng Qi used his left hand to block and redirect the course of Shen Zui's sword flash, and thus the sword penetrated his shoulder.

The dark gold glow ran deep into his skin, and the long sword seemed to have turned into rotten wood, only penetrating a bit into his skin.

Blood sprayed all over the long sword, and Meng Qi felt his blood boil. He almost could not block Shen Zui's ensuing palm attack, but luckily his Lightning Changes were perfect for small maneuvers.

Meng Qi took a step back and wielded his own blade, ready to counter.

"It's impolite not to return the favor!"

His mid-brows was pulsating, he projected his will and it concentrated into a thorn, fiercely stabbed towards Shen Zui's head.

Shen Zui knew that Meng Qi killed An Guoxie, and being a master with Six Apertures opened, Shen Zui was prepared. The Transformation Strategy would not be able to create hallucinations under these circumstances - Meng Qi was able to stitch-up An Guoxie because he had underestimated Meng Qi, an unenlightened little monk.

However, creating hallucinations was only part of the Transformation Strategy. The other hidden quality it possessed was to attack people's will. This function of the Dharma Access was perhaps even more important, not to mention deadly!

Of course, it could not compare to Su Yuanying's evil eye effect, whereby a person would feel pain at the mid-brows and faint as if seeing something evil. It would, however, create a fainting feeling, which was more than enough to defeat an opponent of similar strength!

Though Shen Zui's deadly move did not achieve the lethal effect it had intended, he was still confident in facing Meng Qi's counter-attack with the blade. He just had to find another opportunity to escape.

He waved his long sword in an attempt to block the Buddhist Commandment Blade, but in that instant, a sharp pain throbbed in his mid-brows and he felt hazy, resulting in the slowing down of his move.

Meng Qi had expected this, so he knocked away the long sword with his Buddhist Commandment Blade.

Shen Zui's vision went dark momentarily, and then cleared up again, but everything was different. Being prodigious with the sword, his fighting skills with his fists paled in comparison. In stark contrast, Meng Qi's was more ferocious by the second, not to mention his pernicious Buddhist Commandment Blade.

Before long, Meng Qi had realized that Shen Zui's palm skills could not compare to his sword art, so he feinted a weak point and took a hit on his Mid-chest. Then he placed the Buddhist Commandment Blade on Shen Zui's neck- If he were using a sharp weapon like a long sword, Meng Qi would not have dared to purposely expose a 'not too weak' weak point to take a hit.

Whilst Shen Zui was deciding whether to surrender to commit "suicide", Meng Qi seized the chance and whacked the sword on the ground with his left hand and used the fingers on his right hand to perform the move Snowmelt Acupinning Hand, sealing off all the major acupores on his chest.

The horse bandit of the enlightenment stage was already struggling on the other side. He became more flustered as he saw Shen Zui being captured. Gu Changqing saw his moment of weakness and stabbed him right through the heart.

Meng Qi pulled his Buddhist Commandment Blade and brought with it the top row of Shen Zui's teeth, afraid that he would bite his tongue to commit suicide. He laughed and asked, "Big Dangzi, where had my Junior Brother gone to after passing the Che Lie Gorge?"

These horse bandits have definitely seen Zhen Hui because they could describe his features and ability in such detail. But since they had not received the Evil Sword Hunting Order yet, there was no point in robbing a little monk who himself needed to beg for alms.

"If I can tell you, could you spare my life?" Shen Zui said without any teeth.

Meng Qi remained expressionless, then replied, "No, I can't. Big Dangzi, did you spare those merchants when you robbed them? Did you not kill them to ensure total silence?"

Shen Zui remained speechless.

Meng Qi suddenly burst with laughter and said, "To be honest, I'm not exactly a man of justice, but if I don't kill you, then my whereabouts would be exposed, so, you have to die."

Then he changed the topic. "But, there are many ways to die, a painless death or a painful one, which do you choose Big Dangzi?"

Shen Zui knew that Meng Qi was being honest when telling him that he would die, it was rather convincing, which meant that what followed, the different ways to die, was also in earnest.

Meng Qi pointed towards a cautions Gu Changqing and said with a weird smile, "My friend here loves men, especially a young forty or so handsome man with a great body like yourself, Dadangzi. He's been itching for a while now, would you like to make his day?"

Shen Zui's face had suddenly gone pale, he had been living a great life, which he did not want to be shamed in the last moments. So he answered, "I... I'll tell you everything."

When Gu Changqing heard this, he glared at Meng Qi.

"Damn you, making up stories about me to scare people!"

As he listened, he turned to look at Shen Zui... He was about to barf when he covered his mouth and got away.

"This dude has no mental endurance, lucky Shen Zui is lying down..."

Meng Qi stared at Gu Changqing with a smile.