“Venerable Fa Lan, it has been a while. Ten years, since we last met in Revelations City.” The figure in the palanquin led the charge with a respectful greeting.
The one, known as Venerable Fa Lan, merely clasped his hands together in a greeting and said nothing else.
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“The audacity!” Snapped Ling Jun.
“It’s fine,” said the figure in the palanquin. “Venerable Fa Lan wasn’t being rude, he’s just unable to talk, that’s all.”
“A…mute?” Bo Yong and Ling Jun were both surprised by that. “The abbot is actually a…mute.” The two battlemonks at the side frowned at that remark, clearly incensed by the teenagers’ attitude, however, Venerable Fa Lan merely shook that off with a smile.
“Venerable, we’re here in search of someone.” The voice said in a humble tone, though he had no intention of leaving the palanquin at all to speak.
The Venerable merely shook his head.
“Venerable, I have on hand, a missive from the monarch of your kingdom.” The voice said with a smile.
This time, the voice wasn’t just met with a shake of the Venerable’s head, the Venerable also waved his hand, and as he did so, a line of words slowly revealed themselves on the ground.
“The Elements of the Mind and Qi Technique!” Bo Yong immediately pointed out the name of that powerful internal technique of the Buddhist Sects.
Compared to that, the figure in the palanquin was a lot more calm about it. Not even lifting up the window blinds, he said thusly in a silky voice, “is the Venerable writing on the floor again? Unfortunately, I do not have the mood to look at them this time round.” He lightly waved his hands, causing the window blinds to lift up for a brief instant before falling down once more. Bo Yong focused his gaze ahead, but the words that had yet to be revealed fully had already been wiped clean.
“I’ve said so before: this time, you can’t shelter him.” The voice grew heavier but still, Venerable Fa Lan shook his head before lightly sighing.
Exasperated, the voice said, “Twelve years ago when the leader of the unorthodox cults, Ye Dingzhi, paid a visit to your teacher, Venerable Mo Ke, to inquire about the matters of heaven, no amount of threats could force him to budge -not even when the man’s sword qi came rushing towards him like a tidal wave, all he did was shake his head. Buddhism aside, that head shaking of yours has definitely inherited the spirit of the Venerable Mo Ke. Ling Jun, Bo Yong!”
The two teenagers drew their swords. In response to that, the two battlemonks immediately took a step forward, one fingering his rosary beads, the other flourishing his Buddhist knife, as they both glared at their opponents.
“How about I have some fun with you two first!” Bo Yong yelled, sword already rushing towards the knife-wielding battlemonk before the words even left his mouth. However, the battlemonk wasn’t fazed at all as he met the teenager’s challenge head on with knife raised high.
The name, Broken Vows Knife, stemmed from the breaking of one’s abstinence, in other words, to engage in manslaughter. That was why this particular knife technique was said to be a deviant amongst the other Buddhist martial arts; it was pure offense, brutal and efficient. The battlemonk in question had already spent countless years on this knife technique, having reached the eighth tier of the technique.
Within the Grand Sanskrit Temple, he was definitely the top expert when it came to that technique. Yet, in face of this teenager who was at most thirteen or fourteen years of age, his Broken Vows Knife wasn’t even able to gain a single inch of advantage. His knife was meant for offense and only offense, but so was the teenager’s sword technique, all the teenager did was attack and not defend.
In contrast, however, Bo Yong’s sword was a lot more nimble than the furious swings of the Broken Vows Knife. With a tap of his foot, he deftly landed atop the body of the Buddhist knife, leaping over the battlemonk an instant over to thrust a deadly stab into the latter’s back, forcing him to retreat several paces.
“You!” The battlemonk’s eyes were wide open with fury. He had held back previously because his opponent was a mere teenager, plus he also bore a missive from the monarch. Yet that same teenager just thrust a sword mercilessly towards his back. Had he been any slower, he would have mostly likely died there and then.
“See that, monk. This sword of mine is called Mercy, and this Mercy is for killing people. How about that Broken Vows Knife of yours, are you still planning to hold back?” Bo Yong laughed haughtily as he gave his sword a twirl.
Seeing that, the battlemonk grew incensed. He raised his knife once more, this time, however, his aura was vastly different. Even from the vantage point of Ling Jun, he could feel the overwhelming wave of knife qi, as if taking a single step nearer would rip him to shred. Yet, in the face of a knife qi that had to be even more fearsome, Bo Yong seemed that much more ecstatic as he dodged an oncoming swing and yelled, “A knife to slay one’s abstinence, and a knife to slice apart the mundane! That’s how it should be!”
In contrast, while the Broken Vows Knife had already managed to send Bo Yong weaving left, right and center, the battlemonk was grimacing in his heart. His knife was fearsome, but so was the toll it took on his stamina. Should he fail to defeat his opponent within thirty moves, he would have nothing left in him to continue. Should the fight drag on past a hundred moves, he would end up collapsing from exhaustion. From the looks of things, Bo Yong, with all his agile weaving, seemed to have resolved himself to dodging all hundred of his moves.
“Senior martial brother!” The rosary battlemonk rushed forth to aid his companion, having already seen through the boy’s intent.
“Even monks have learned to gang up on others now?” Ling Jun scoffed as he blocked the monk’s path with a sword.
“Alright then, I’ll stand aside.” Ling Jun laughed before nimbly leaping over the monk and tapping his sword over the monk’s shoulders. “See, I stood aside!”
The rosary monk howled, violently shrugging his shoulders in process and deflecting that sword away. His palm straightened out as he sliced downwards with his beads. Despite being beads, however, Ling Jun dared not receive it head on. It was said that the 108 Demon Subjugation Beads in that monk’s hand all had the power to subdue a dragon and tame a tiger. Thus he had no choice but to beat a hasty retreat, just in time for the beads to smash a hole in the stone floorboards.
“Remember to actually hit next time, monk. Else your temple might end up getting smashed to bits before you even save the person you want to save.” Ling Jun sniggled without fear.
However, the battlemonk didn’t respond this time. The beads in his palm started to furiously spin around as he began chanting something. Realizing that, the knife-wielding battlemonk first reacted with surprise, then promptly forced Bo Yong back with his knife before leaping to the side of the rosary monk.
“Subdue!” The rosary battlemonk yelled and the beads in his rosary immediately burst asunder with a thunderous bang. All 108 beads shot forth, propelled by the explosion as they dove at the teenager with unimaginable force.
“So that’s the Demon Subjugation Rosary Divine Skill -reminds me of Tangmen’s Ten Thousand Trees Flying Flowers Art.” Bo Yong said admiringly.
“Form up!” Ling Jun leaped to the side of Bo Yong and shouted. Bo Yong immediately reacted by tossing away his sword and slamming both his palms onto the back of Ling Jun. That sword was promptly caught by Ling Jun who began a furious sword dance with both swords, and by coalescing the invisible sword qi produced, formed a defensive circle that forcefully deflected the oncoming beads.
“To think that the beads which I vested twenty years of hard work on couldn’t even defeat a pair of kids.” The rosary battlemonk sighed bitterly. That single strike was the accumulation of twenty years of hard work and study, after that one strike, he no longer had any energy left to fight.
However, Ling Jun and Bo Yong didn’t get off unscathed either. The moment they made impact with the beads, a wave of force battered their chests, churning their insides upside down and forcing a spurt of blood upwards. Had it not been for the swords supporting them as they remained stabbed into the ground, both of them would have probably collapsed by now.
“Noisy…what’s with all…the ruckus today…why are there so many…people here.” A string of slurred words suddenly barged into the scene. Bo Yong and Ling Jun hurriedly turned around to meet the voice, but all they saw was a flash of shadow before they found the figure standing right before them.
“Such skill…” Bo Yong gasped but immediately stopped himself from finishing that sentence. ‘A level that was on par with our teacher…’
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