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Home > The Sage Who Transcended Samsara

168 The Four Movements of Martial Arts

 Ridges and peaks rose up and down. The wind atop the mountain was cold and desolate. The mountain temple was so dilapidated that it could not keep off the howling wind and the fire burning inside was swaying and flickering, making the shadows appear like devils brandishing their claws.

Lu Zhongqi was munching on a freshly steamed bun, his eyes on the dancing fire as he lost himself in his thoughts. They had changed their route and detoured around the border village to avoid the martial masters trying to intercept them. They were almost in the capital city.

That knowledge did not bring him any relief. The closer they were to the capital city, the more anxious he felt. It was as if the peace over the past half month was the calm before the storm.

He had a hunch that the treacherous men at the court would definitely not give up considering they had even sent Du Wuchang. Even more powerful masters would be coming. This worried him very much.

Lu Guan was seated in front of the fire with the military book not leaving his hand as he ate the steamed bun. He was composed, without any hints of worry or fear of the enemy attacking at any given minute. Taoist Hu could not help feeling amazed by his composure.

"General Lu is most definitely an elite general who wouldn't blink even when his enemy is behind him!"

When he thought of this, Taoist Hu tilted his head and glanced at Meng Qi who had his long sword over his knees and eyes partially closed. He also took a glimpse of Ruan Yushu who was calmly and gently playing the zither. He sighed with emotion, thinking of how much calmer these two young men were compared to him.

"Truly, the more one travels the Jianghu, the more cowardly one becomes."

"Everything will be fine after tonight. Those treacherous men won't dare to kill in broad daylight once they reach the capital city. After all, General Lu was summoned by the emperor himself. Besides, there're so many households and people in the capital city. Once the secret was leaked, it would naturally be a crime worthy of the extermination of entire families..."

Taoist Hu tried to comfort himself with these thoughts. With a clang, he pulled the Long Sword strapped to his back and gently touched it.

This Tiger Roar Sword had been his companion for nearly 30 years, stained with the blood of uncountable wicked men. He hoped it would help him weather this storm. His death was unimportant, but it would be a disaster for the people if General Lu was killed.

He suddenly paused, halting the hand caressing his sword. He turned his gaze toward the door of the dilapidated temple.

He saw only a huge man standing there, a man carrying a broadsword. No one knew when he had arrived, quietly watching everyone inside the temple.

Taoist Hu jerked straight up and pointed his Tiger Roar Sword at the intruder. His expression was somber and his voice low. "Sword General..."

Lu Zhongqi was so frightened by that name that he stood up. It was actually Sword General, the famous swordsman in Jianghu! His strength was only beneath the likes of Evil Prince and Demon King.

He had strong Inner Qi Force and a swift and fierce sword art. When he attacked, he was like a pathbreaker like a general, thus his nickname was born. His direct attacks were stronger than Wu Duchang's by miles. He had once challenged nine Top Class Master Pros and slain them all. Whether it was reputation or force, he was superior to Taoist Hu, the strongest on their side.

Lu Zhongqi looked at his three companions in fright. He saw Lu Guan slowly putting down his military book and stood up. He seemed to be planning to fight against the opponent with Taoist Hu, but without any sign of panic. Ruan Yushu was still playing the zither, her faint tweedle creating a profound artistic atmosphere. But what was the point of that?

The one who liked honing his bladesmanship, Little Meng, was still seated and his expression bore no change. It was as if Sword General was his companion instead of a martial pro.

Lu Zhongqi could not help wondering if Meng Qi was frightened speechless. After all, Sword General was towering over everyone and his aura was forceful. Even if he was just standing there, he was terrifying like an insurmountable peak. It was enough to make Lu Zhongqi shiver and his heartbeat quicken.

He had long heard how martial arts masters all liked vying with each other with Qi and mind battles. He shrugged it off as nonsense but today, Sword General made him believe it was not groundless! Even just standing still next to the door, Sword General managed to cripple his fighting desire and make him panic so much that he could not even display 60 percent of his strength.

The Sword General gradually walked toward them, the dilapidated temple seemingly trembling with his every step. After seven steps, Taoist Hu's hand, holding the sword, began shaking. The man before him seemed to grow even larger as if he was a giant stepping out of myths and legends!

"Taoist Hu, this has nothing to do with you. If you leave now, I won't stop you," Sword General said in a deep voice.

Taoist Hu took a deep breath and said, "General Lu carries the hope of the world with him and is vital in addressing the issue of West Invaders. As the saying goes, I rather become a dog living in times of peace than be a man living in chaotic times. I'm not talented but I'm willing to exchange my life for the peace and happiness of the people! You do such evils and you will get your retribution sooner or later!"

He discreetly made a gesture at Lu Guan, indicating for him to escape while he distracted Sword General.

Lu Guan did not move. "I have never considered my life superior to others. Though I enforce strict discipline on my army, I always take the lead. That's why I can have such strong Iron Mountain Force."

When he spoke, he sounded overwhelmingly vigorous as if he was leading a force over a hundred thousand soldiers. It gave Sword General quite a shock.

Lu Guan's confidence influenced Lu Zhongqi and his fear suddenly disappeared. He said confidently, "Unless we die, we will never retreat! As long as the Iron Mountain Force exists, we'll kill all the Tartars!"

Sword General drew his sword with a clang. The sword was broad like a door plank.

"I'm indebted to someone so I have no choice but to kill you. Please accept my respects." Sword General solemnly made a salute. He spoke as if killing Lu Guan and the rest was as effortless as killing mere chickens or dogs. Fear once again gripped Lu Zhongqi.

Sword General's expression was calm with underlying sympathy. With a wave of his broadsword, he became ready to attack.

Just then, Meng Qi who had been caressing his sword without a word suddenly stood up. With a clang, he unsheathed his Long Sword.

He looked at Sword General with a poker face.

"If you can force me to make a single defensive move, we'll count that as my loss."

"That sheer arrogance!"

It was not simply Sword General who thought that. Meng Qi's companions, Taoist Hu and Lu Zhongqi, both thought the same!

No matter how outstanding Meng Qi's sword art was, Sword General was an experienced swordsman famous throughout the Jianghu. How could he be incapable of even forcing Meng Qi to make a single defensive move? Even if it was Devil Empress or Royal Advisor in Meng Qi's place, they would never have dared to say such things!

He's a young man who has an exaggerated opinion of his abilities!

Just as Sword General was feeling disturbed, Meng Qi drew his sword and stepped forward as if tramping on his heart. He reclined his Long Sword like he was a child scrawling.

"Eh?" Surprised and confused, Taoist Hu and Lu Zhongqi could not believe the arrogant Little Meng would use such a flawed sword art. His movements were like that of an untrained swordsman! Ruan Yushu seemed deep in thought as if she had a dawning realization.

Sword General was finding Meng Qi's swordsmanship hard to decipher. Though it was deeply flawed, it was constantly changing, making him unable to understand it properly.

Meng Qi had broken all the momentum he had created earlier, putting him at a disadvantage. Left without any option, he could only wave his broadsword as if it was an iron bar and keep Meng Qi out of his defense circle.

Like a falling leaf, Meng Qi dragged his Long Sword down to the ground and hit the point of Sword General's broadsword.

Sword General felt the weight of the Long Sword like a Thousand Pounds Falling. His wrist not being able to bear the weight, his hand dropped.

Meng Qi pulled his sword upward with the rebounding force and pointed the end at Sword General's throat at a slant.

All Sword General could do was taking a step backward.

The minute he moved, Meng Qi stepped forward like a shadow.

The Sword General roared and used an unknown skill. He lifted his broadsword as if he was going to hack Meng Qi in half.

His sword art was different from most people's. It was extremely fierce!

Meng Qi jumped up and twisted his sword obliquely upward.

Considering their distance, there was still a gap between Meng Qi's sword end and Sword General's throat. It was not easy to cut him that way, but with the sword twisted upward, it was now close to Sword General's jaw.

With a slick sound, the sharp Ice Palace Sword penetrated Sword General's jaw and went all the way up to his brain. His head was forced up and he also dropped his broadsword.

Meng Qi landed on one side, his Long Sword pointed at the ground. Blood slowly dropped from the sharp end of the sword.

Thud! The massive Sword General fell backward, kicking up clouds of dust.

"You lose," Meng Qi coldly said. He then returned to sit by the fire.

Sword General's eyes were round, containing traces of fear and surprise. But there was no longer any breath for him to answer Meng Qi.

He had truly failed to force Meng Qi to make even a single defensive move! And Meng Qi killed him with just four moves!

Lu Guan, Taoist Hu, and Lu Zhongqi looked at the indifferent Meng Qi who looked as if he was just steaming a bun. They glanced at Sword General who died with grievances and their fear of Meng Qi's sword art rose.

When they recalled the battle earlier, they realized none of Meng Qi's moves had been brilliant. On the contrary, they were ordinary and flawed. But he had a very firm control of his timing, angle, and strength. It was as if he knew Sword General like the back of his palm!

There's actually such a sword art and swordsman in the world!

Taoist Hu thought he already had a firm idea of Little Meng's strength, but his sword art was far more terrifying than he had imagined. Perhaps Meng Qi's sword art was already comparable to that of Demon King and Ruyi Monk.

He's still so young! Could there really be a natural-born swordsman?

With Little Meng in their team, they could now enter the capital city without any dangers. Lu Zhongqi sighed in relief and nodded at Meng Qi in gratitude. He ran to Sword General and searched his corpse.

Sword General was here to kill and had a bold, unconstrained character, so he only carried dry food, a bag of silver, and a letter with him.

Lu Zhongqi picked up Sword General's broadsword and put it beside Meng Qi. That was the treasure from his victory.

Meng Qi remained composed without saying a word. Inside, he was excited and proud of himself.

After Lu Zhongqi read the letter, he exclaimed, "Oh no!"

Taoist Hu anxiously asked, "What's wrong?"

Lu Zhongqi's expression turned dark. "This letter is from the Four Villains of the Zheng Family! They also want to kill General Lu!"

"The Four Brothers of the Zheng Family?" Taoist Hu was astonished and Lu Guan was also frowning.

Lu Zhongqi knew the only person they could depend on was Little Meng, so he immediately explained, "Separated, none of the Four Villains of the Zheng Family was Sword General's match. Their advantage is in their joint mystique trick and the fact that they'll always fight and retreat as one. So they're once considered on par with Demon King and Moon-bathing Taoist. But after they're defeated easily by Evil Prince in an assassination attempt, they're forced to be his servants. That's why they're no longer listed as being on the level anymore."

"Even so, their cumulative strength is close to the highest level in the world. Sword General is no match for them!"

Joint mystique is really effective but they simply court death if I use 'the Immortal Pressing Art' which is not afraid of joint attacks..."

Meng Qi sniggered.

"What's most terrifying is that they are Evil Prince's servants now. That means Evil Prince is also involved in this!" Lu Zhongqi was panicking again. "Brother Meng, Lady Ruan, why don't we travel through the night?"

"Too late for that." A sinister laugh came from outside the door.