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Home > The Sage Who Transcended Samsara

286 Caprice of Life and Death

 The wave of emotion had just surged through Meng Qi when a sense of alertness suddenly set in.

Jiang Hengchuan and he had been extrally careful on their way up in case someone tried to ambush them. However, after confirming that there was "nobody", their attention had shifted to removing their traces and finding a secret location to hide themselves. Their focus had no longer been on concealing their breath and figures.

Who knew, however, that the people Qiu Fei was meeting were hidden underground. They were like rotting corpses with close to no breath at all. Even if Jiang Hengchuan could use Oneness of Heaven and Men and Meng Qi employed all sorts of secret tactics, they could only feel the surface of the soil at best. It was difficult to penetrate it and thus no way to detect them. Yet they could simply rely on the minor trembling of the surface to tell whether there were people around, and hide at the same time!

The reason why they had not made a move yet was that they were too weak. They had been waiting for Qiu Fei, who was on the level of Half-step Exterior Scenery, to arrive before they attacked!

Meng Qi and Jiang Hengchuan looked at each other. They could not care less about exposing themselves now. Promptly, they made a decision to fall back.

Just as they were making their escape, the trio before them acted. With a swing of his Eyebrows-abrest Stick, Qiu Fei magically leaped over a distance of several kilometers. His stick was aimed right at Jiang Hengchuan's head.

The howling of the wind grew more intense. Weeds were blown to the ground or uprooted altogether. Layer after layer converged as what seemed like a perfectly uniform wall of wind was formed. It blocked off all of Jiang Hengchuan's paths so he had no choice but to face the Eyebrows-abrest Stick.

To Qiu Fei, at first glance, Jiang Hengchuan was evidently more important to deal with than Meng Qi. The man had achieved Oneness of Heaven and Men, after all. Hence, Qiu Fei was merciless in his attack.

A weaker Half-step Exterior Scenery could not create a natural phenomenon that was adequately coordinated with its user. It could only be used to subtly hinder the enemy or increase damage. However, for a normal Half-step Exterior Scenery where one's Inner and Outer Worlds were harmonious with each other, natural phenomena helped in a different way. They caused one's moves, genuine Qi and the like to improve, with the two aspects closely coordinated.

It was just like Qiu Fei at the moment. The fierce winds were not whipping around aimlessly, but in such a way that they could form a wall. That made up for Qiu Fei's flaws in his moves, and left Jiang Hengchuan no place to run.

The Eyebrows-abrest Stick smashed down on Jiang Hengchuan's head. Unlike other mighty and heavy Long Sticks, it was light and agile instead. It moved like the wind and could change with each strike. All its inner force and genuine Qi were held within, waiting for the right moment to explode.

Amidst the howling wind all around, Jiang Hengchuan seemed to be at ease, even enjoying the situation. He blatantly ignored the walls of wind closing in on him. It was as if he were a part of the wind and the surroundings, moving with the gales and as thin as a sheet of paper.

At the same time, he held out his right palm. His five fingers created various different hand seals, with each seal containing its own Dharma and Logos. They had countless variations, making it difficult to train.

His five fingers closed together before he calmly pointed with one finger. It was like the constant amidst numerous changes-- the world might be fraught with constant change, but change is always constant!

This was "one"!

Up against Qiu Fei's decent level of Half-step Exterior Scenery, Jiang Hengchuan was going all out right from the start!

There were also two Life-changing Sect Disciples. They both wore pointed hats and had the faces of corpses, but one was in black, and the other, white. They bore a striking resemblance to the Nine Serenities's Black and White Guardians of Hell, although these two looked exactly the same, almost as if they were replicas of each other.

The two of them faced Meng Qi, weaponless. The Disciple in white jumped up in an act that defied gravity and landed on higher ground. He slapped his hands together and the airflow began to collapse and turn dense, like a net from which there was no escape.

The Disciple in black leaped forward. With his left palm across his chest, he gently pushed with his right palm. He was working in perfect harmony with the Disciple in white, like their attack was supposed to happen this way and would be incomplete without either of them!

The two Palm Gusts collided. They turned into a vortex, sucking in the vitality and life of its surroundings. An ominous vibe emanated from it and chilly breezes quivered in the air.

Upon seeing their move, Meng Qi only felt that most of their flaws had been made up for by each other. He could barely make out a few imperfections in their attack, and he was not even sure if they were traps.

The ominous winds were everywhere and attacks came hurling from all directions. It was as if every weed and rock had turned into weapons for killing. If Meng Qi was not careful, they would suddenly strike or trip him up.

Plenty of people in the world just happen to die from various reasons. For instance, stepping on a stone and slipping backward normally should not be too large an issue. However, if the back of one's head happens to hit a sharp stone upon impact, it would be a different story. Such is the caprice of life and death.

By Yama's invitation, every small aspect could be a fatal point!

This move created by the two of them involved clever variations and made up for each other's flaws. It clearly demonstrated the essence of this truth.

"These two are Life-changing Sect's core Disciples!" Meng Qi subconsciously formed such a notion. He wielded "Heaven Inflicted Pain", its silvery-white lightning sharply and suddenly rising.

In an instant, he had made his decision. He chose not to use the "Buddha's Lamp" that had yet to be exposed, but rather, activate "Heaven Inflicted Pain". Thunderclaps were the natural enemy of evil creatures anyway!

Meng Qi performed all nine strokes in quick succession. "Heaven Inflicted Pain" seemed to turn into a series of residual shadows that pushed the evil winds away and compressed the airflow. There was a thunderous rumble, as if thunder had descended from the heavens-- fierce, tyrannical and evil-eliminating!

Even without the Purple Thunder Force with it, the nine forces of Knife Qi transformed into a Thunderbolt Python, winding around one another like a Thunder Light Wild Dragon. Then it flew straight at Life-changing Sect's two disciples.

Knife Qi streaked across the sky as the rumbling sounds and flashes of lightning ceaselessly continued. The surrounding grass and soil seemed to have felt its might and got burnt to ashes, as if they had been struck by Sky Thunder.

The charred blackness sped towards the Black and White Guardians of Hell. All the evil winds, chilly breezes, and lack of constancy were wiped out in a flash.

Meng Qi wanted to quickly finish this because he was worried that the enemy might have reinforcements or the Zombie Swordsman of Ning Province might be near. His intention was to force some distance between them and immediately leave the scene. He did not think about how he could use the Nine Strategies Beyond the Swords and Outline of Heavenly Knife to analyze their "caprice of life and death" move. Instead, he focussed on fighting ingenuity with strength, using Thunderclap's vitality to righteously suppress it!

The Knife Qi concentrated. Its blinding light and ferocity were evident. It was both strong and unyielding. Once it struck, all things evil and supernatural would be utterly obliterated!

Thunder Light Knife Qi swung down with crackling sounds, completely destroying their move. For the first time, the corpse-like faces of the two Life-changing Sect disciples were contorted with fear.

However, since their move was hardly ordinary, it managed to slightly weaken and delay the assault by the Knife Qi. The disciple in white used Thousand Pounds Falling to drop himself to the ground in a hurry such that he stood next to his companion in black. He placed his palms together and drew half an arc.

This move was particularly strange. It unexpectedly produced the feeling of life and harmony and was fierce and unyielding. However, upon closer sensing, one would realize that hidden within the vitality was a point of extreme deathliness. The core of this move was in fact a change towards weakness!

As if he were complementing it, the disciple in black placed the back of his hands together and drew half an arc as well. The evil winds started blowing again, bringing back deathly notions. His move was like water, pervading everywhere. Yet at its core, there was vitality hidden within with fierce variations!

The duo's moves combined into one once more. The surrounding airflow got pulled in by their momentum and formed a sphere of air. Death was hidden within life on the left, and life hidden within death on the right. They continuously changed from one to the other, whipping life and death around and around. The caprice in it was all too obvious.

To think this move demonstrated the taiji of life and death!

The idea behind the move was similar to Meng Qi's "Trio Combination of Yin and Yang, which is Yin and which is Yang?". Life and death are rooted in each other and could flow from one to the other. However, the cleverness of the move and the way it used Dharma and Logos far exceeded Meng Qi's creation. After all, it was one of the Life-changing Sect's ultimate moves.

Meng Qi's "Trio Combination of Yin and Yang" contained both Yin and Yang. He would wait until he and the opponent's moves had collided before he would deduce the root of the latter's move. If the opponent had already suffered, he still had plenty of tricks to spare, such as holding back his genuine Qi by half. Meng Qi could easily change and play along. However, with Life-changing Sect's move, every moment could be life or death. No matter how he responded to it, it was simply too capricious!

Thankfully they were on the defense!

More crackling sounded like the knife energy Thunderbolt Python charred the ground black with all the might of heavenly punishment. It crushed rocks into dust and heavily struck down on the Taichi of life and death.

The taiji spun around and around. It changed from life to death and took away the fearsome thunderclap of the Knife Qi. Then it changed from death to life and caused genuine Qi and the airflow to erupt.

"BOOM!"

The taiji of life and death and Thunder Light Knife Qi exploded together. Either black streaks of charred material lined the ground or soil flew in the air.

Jiang Hengchuan's Normalizing Finger struck the Eyebrows-abrest Stick. His slender fingers were a stark contrast to the thick and heavy stick, but they solidified together like a static frame of scenery.

The howls disappeared and genuine Qi within returned to the way it had once been. Everything had returned to normal!

Making use of this point, Jiang Hengchuan pulled his right hand back and reached his left palm out instead. His palm movements were like tumbling waves and their force like a rolling dragon. The ground rumbled and shook, displaying his power.

Qiu Fei had no choice but to use his stick to fend off the attack.

"POW!"

The crash resounded throughout the area. Jiang Hengchuan flew backward from the force and escaped Qiu Fei's attacking range.

On the other side, the two disciples of Life-changing Sect simultaneously let out an enraged roar after blocking the blow from "Heaven Inflicted Pain". They were about to attack again when they saw that Meng Qi had already retreated. He was going along the edge of the mountain and dashing towards river Jin at such a rapid speed that he almost looked like an illusion or the devil himself.

Meng Qi and Jiang Hengchuan separately made their getaways with the Life-changing Sect disciples and Qiu Fei respectively hot on their heels. The two of them made half an arc before slowly approaching each other.

Qiu Fei's expression was grave. He was chasing with everything he had, gradually closing in on Jiang Hengchuan.

Just then, Meng Qi and Jiang Hengchuan locked eyes. In an act of tacit cooperation, they both pushed their palms in the other's direction.

Normally, it was impossible to lend one's power in such a way. However, Meng Qi had the Immortal Pressing Art, and Jiang Hengchuan could more or less guess what its unique ability was. After all, he had fought Meng Qi before.

With a dull puff, the two palm motions collided. The two of them borrowed the palm force to push themselves away from each other again at a much faster speed. Then they fell into the river at the same time.

Qiu Fei slowed down. He could only blankly stare as he did not dare to enter the water. His opponent had the means of threatening his life, and if he were to enter the water, he could not use his various kung fu and Half-step Exterior Scenery powers. It was exceedingly dangerous!

The river water slowly flowed. Qiu Fei's eyes were full of hatred.

...

After returning to the compound, Meng Qi used his inner force to evaporate the water on him. Based on the situation just now, he could roughly guess why the Swordsman of Ning Province had not appeared.

He had lost control before. After the two nine acupores disciples had regained control, he did not dare to use it before Meng Qi again.

Back then, his powers had seemed so miraculous and the Supernatural Power of Shaking Heaven and Hitting Earth had left them dumbfounded. That was probably why the two disciples from Life-changing Sect and Qiu Fei had not revealed themselves but directly left with the Swordsman of Ning Province.

"Qiu Fei is colluding with the Nine Evil Paths. He must be reported to Six Fan School and the Martial Artists Community must be activated to defeat him together." Meng Qi planned to get help without revealing his identity.

Jiang Hengchuan agreed, "That's right."

At this point in time, there was barely a sliver of light on the horizon. The duo rushed over to Six Fan School and happened to bump into Green-ribbon Arrester Dai Fei.

"Qiu Fei of Yangxia's Qiu Family has died," said Dai Fei, cutting to the chase upon seeing the two of them.

A thought suddenly sprung into Meng Qi's mind. "Escaping with a fake death to avoid implicating his family!"

If it was so, Qiu Fei was actually pretty decisive, to be able to harden his heart like that. He was not counting on luck or trying to deny anything.

Jiang Hengchuan mentioned what had happened the night before, and Dai Fei had similar views to them. He furrowed his brows and said, "The Qiu Family can be said to have an established background. If Qiu Fei is faking his death, it'll be difficult to implicate them. Sigh, let's just check out the scene first."

Qiu Fei's corpse was a fleshy mess. It looked like he had been murdered by the Swordsman of Ning Province. Dai Fei retrieved a part of the flesh and blood to bring back to verify his blood lineage.

Once again, their lead had broken. The chess match of Maoling still seemed to be under the control of the mastermind. However, Meng Qi was not irritated in the least. He discretely left the city and found a secret location, where he crushed the Samsara talisman.

This was the three-month limit agreed. After completing their investigation of Zhenwu's Decoy Grave, he would ask the nearby Jiang Zhiwei and Ruan Yushu to sneak into Maoling. It would be even better if the little glutton brought along some heavy protection with her. Then they would see if the mastermind and Wang Siyuan could possibly predict that!

Hmph, this chess match will definitely exceed both of your control!