Chapter 749: The Lord Master's calculations Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
Was He Yilian fighting for himself or as part of Cang Qiuzi’s plans? Perhaps there was even another force behind him? Not everyone had realized the serious implications at stake. They watched Long Feiye’s continuous stabbing and He Yilian’s growing collection of wounds as he failed to dodge them all. The empty sockets from his missing arms were already pouring blood, but he still held on!
He didn’t even knit his brows beyond continuing to evade the blows, stubbornly clinging to life instead of toppling. Everyone was shaken by the sight. They weren’t sure which stab of Long Feiye’s would take He Yilian’s life. Although Long Feiye hadn’t said a word, they were certain that he was holding back to wait for He Yilian to admit defeat.
Cang Xiaoying couldn’t watch anymore and cried out, “Eldest martial brother, you should admit defeat! Just admit your loss!”
Her voice sounded especially dreary and miserable in the silence. But He Yilian didn’t seem to hear at all as he continued to avoid the attacks. Blood and flesh flew in his wake! That’s right, he wasn’t only losing blood, but pieces of his flesh. The sections that Long Feiye had grazed were flapping in the wind, turning the formerly fresh-faced gentleman into a dismembered body as time passed!
Humans had their compassionate side. Aside from disciples of Lockheart Courtyard, many others were starting to feel distressed for He Yilian’s sake. Even various disciples behind Granny You were beginning to reproach Long Feiye.
Isn’t he going too far?
Suddenly, Cang Xiaoying ran to the foot of the stage and shouted, “Long Feiye, you might as well kill him in one shot! My senior brother has no grudge with you. If you want to take revenge for Han Yunxi, aim for me and my father!”
That’s right. He Yilian had no grievances with Long Feiye. How could a proper and upright eight level expert torment him like this? Why drag on the fight? At first, everyone suspected that He Yilian was stalling for time on purpose because he had other ploys in mind. But now everyone was suspecting Long Feiye of drawing things out instead. Only Han Yunxi and the sword sect elder knew that something was wrong. Long Feiye wasn’t dragging things out on purpose, but He Yilian was using his own life to keep the fight going.
Long Feiye had been utterly contained by He Yilian.
“Grandmaster, he...just what’s wrong with him? His internal injuries haven’t fully healed, have they?!” Han Yunxi asked desperately.
The sword sect master watched with knitted brows, his eyes fixated on Long Feiye. It wasn’t clear whether he was ignoring Han Yunxi or just hadn’t heard her question at all. Actually, his keen senses had already noticed that Long Feiye seemed stuck after he discovered He Yilian’s weak point. Once an expert discovered a vital weakness, they could determine victory instantaneously. With Long Feiye’s style, he would’ve killed the man within three strikes. But after all this parrying and all those injuries, he still hadn’t finished him off! Those who were ignorant would only assume that Long Feiye was torturing He Yilian on purpose as revenge against Cang Qiuzi. But he who knew the truth understood: Long Feiye couldn’t finish him off.
His every stab sought to take He Yilian’s life, but he couldn’t pierce the proper spot. Despite this, Long Feiye could have used his powerful sword qi to quell the man! He Yilian was no Cang Qiuzi. All Long Feiye had to do was call upon his eight level Nirvana Heart Arts to channel sword qi and shatter his internal organs!
But Long Feiye did no such thing. Forget about sword qi, even his swordplay was looking weaker. If not for the fact that he was steadily standing on stage with that expressionless look, everyone else would have noticed something wrong about him already!
The sword sect master was about to lose his mind. They had focused all their efforts on Cang Qiuzi and never predicted this “Cheng Yaojin”[1. Cheng Yaojin (程咬金) - a famous Tang Dynasty general depicted in folklore as a “somewhat inept and bumbling warrior who sometimes shows up at the right place and right time to save the day.” Two sayings abound about the man: 1) "Cheng Yaojin shows up suddenly along the way" (Chinese: 半路殺出個程咬金): Used to describe a situation where someone shows up unexpectedly and disrupts a plan. It is also used to describe an unwelcome busybody who shows up where he/she is not wanted; and 2) "Cheng Yaojin and his three axe strokes" (Chinese: 程咬金三板斧): Used to describe someone with a limited repertoire of skills, i.e. someone relying on the same old tricks.] to show up out of the blue! If this kept on, Long Feiye would enter cultivation insanity! The sword sect master was certain that He Yilian had to know something!
But who else would know of the Lustbite Seal atop Celestial Mountain besides him and Long Feiye? Even Han Yunxi, who stayed by his side daily, was ignorant. How could anyone else have found out? But the sword sect master had no time to worry about any of these. The most important thing now was to end the ranking matches quickly. He Yilian was hanging on while refusing to admit defeat. So what about Long Feiye?
The sword sect master rejected the thought as soon as it popped up. Leaving aside the fact that Long Feiye will disagree, even a master like me won’t accept it! He was a proud and venerated duke with a dauntless, indomitable spirit. How could he admit defeat?
But what else can he do?
“Long Feiye!” Han Yunxi suddenly cried out. By the time the sword sect master looked down, he saw Long Feiye fall heavily to one knee after striking out with his sword! His blade should have stabbed through He Yilian’s heart, but only reached air. In a flash, all of the hubbub died down in the crowds. Everyone watched stunned. Second elder, third elder, and Granny You all stood up at the same time to stare tongue-tied, never expecting this outcome. Even the white-haired Honored Elders seated high above had to exchange glances.
What was wrong with Long Feiye?
The sword sect master’s pride and joy who had reached level eight in the Nirvana Heart Arts, Celestial Mountain’s miracle and the martial arts community’s marvel, had suddenly knelt on stage? What was the matter with him? Were his internal injuries very severe?
So just then, he wasn’t missing on purpose. He simply...didn’t have the strength to kill He Yilian?
So He Yilian really is stalling on purpose! He knew that Long Feiye had internal injuries? What despicable tactics!
He Yilian speedily backed away into the distance. Even with both of his arms gone and cuts all over his body, even with fresh blood flowing from his wounds and the threat of toppling over any second, a treacherous smile graced his features!
He had to hold on!
No matter what, he had to keep fighting until the end. Even if the last bit of effort killed him, he had to wait for Long Feiye to die first! The Lord Master[1. Lord Master (公主) - the same mysterious leader first referenced back in Chapter 729 (term has been updated to this new title).] once said that one maintained an army for a thousand days to use it for an hour. Lord Master had arranged for him to enter Celestial Mountain and hide by Cang Qiuzi’s side for years just so he could repay his loyalty in this moment! Once, he had doubted his goals and secretly snuck down to ask the Lord Master wha he was supposed to do. His innate talent was extraordinary, yet he was forced to hide his skills. Over the past few years, he had witnessed Long Feiye’s exploits in the martial arts world and felt unresigned to it all. He even entertained thoughts of betraying the Lord Master and showing off his true abilities, then pledging full alliance to Cang Qiuzi. He wanted to help his master seize the position of sect leader.
But in the end, he held out. He still dreaded the Lord Master and couldn’t imagine the consequences of a betrayal. All he could do was keep waiting. When Long Feiye brought Han Yunxi to the mountain this time, he sent multiple secret missives to the Lord Master to update him on events here. Last night, the Lord Master gave him his first reply.
The contents of the letter gave him a sleepless night. The Lord Master had actually predicted that Cang Qiuzi would lose his match and ordered him to head onstage and challenge Long Feiye afterwards. He wasn’t to attack, only defend and drag on time. The last sentence in the letter stated that this was a possible chance. It might not succeed, but if he didn’t seize the moment, he’ll never get another one like it again.
He Yilian didn’t understand what he meant and even suspected the Lord Master was sending him to his death. He was still debating what to do when the ranking matches finally came around. It wasn’t until he saw Cang Qiuzi being swiftly eliminated that he believed in the Lord Master’s words. Thus, he went onstage and challenged Long Feiye. It wasn’t until the other man started having trouble attacking him that his doubts disappeared. Like the crowd, he assumed that the man was simply tormenting him on purpose. Now he trusted the Lord Master completely. He thanked him from his heart, and himself for making this choice!
It was clear that Long Feiye was harboring internal injuries--serious ones too. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have fallen to his knee without reason! Long Feiye must be insane to attack Cang Qiuzi with such massive sword qi despite his state. It would be easy for him to enter cultivation insanity in this state, thus reversing the flow of his blood and qi until he died!
He Yilian looked at Long Feiye’s ashen face as his grin grew broader and broader. He couldn’t wait. Even if he died, he had to beat Long Feiye first. After all these years, he could finally defeat him!
Today was worth it!
Long Feiye knelt on the floor, his hands grasping his sword for support as he bowed his head. Close up, one could see that his temples were covered in sweat as blue veins popped out from his head. Although he didn’t show it, who knew what kind of turbulent waves were churning beneath the surface? He was gritting his teeth and bearing it gamely!
“Admit defeat! Or else he’ll die!” Han Yunxi was on her feet and ready to rush down, but the sword sect master stopped her.
“He’ll never admit defeat. You’ll only distract him if you go down now.”
“I don’t want to watch him die! I can’t!” Han Yunxi’s voice grew hoarse. She tried to dash away, but the sword sect master had a death grip on her hand. “Han Yunxi, if you understand his pride, then you can’t let him accept a loss!”
Han Yunxi gave a start, her face covered with tears. “Grandmaster, are you just going to look on as he dies? Can you really do that?”
It was deathly silence around the plaza. Everyone was focused on the movements onstage. He Yilian and Long Feiye were about 15 steps apart, one a bleeding, standing mess, the other a kneeling enigma with his head hung.
Time trickled by. The sword sect master had no words to reply Han Yunxi, but he was as anxious as a ant on a hot pan. Feiye couldn’t admit defeat or withdraw from the match, so his only choice was to keep fighting. But if that was the case, he had to hurry up. Delaying any longer would only worsen the effects of his Lustbite Seal. Once the Nirvana Heart Arts lost the power to keep it in check, even gods would be hard pressed to save him!
Why? Why isn’t he moving yet? Has he already…
The sword sect master didn’t dare to finish his thoughts. Meanwhile, He Yilian had started his advance. He had been waiting for Long Feiye to continue as well. As long as they kept moving, Long Feiye’s condition would deteriorate faster. But Long Feiye didn’t budge. He was planning to wait it out, but he couldn’t hold on for much longer!
Despite standing, he could lose consciousness at any time. Blood dripped unceasingly from his body. He was afraid that he’d die from blood loss long before Long Feiye ever budged. No matter what, he couldn’t miss out on this chance…
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