Chapter 447: Cao Shuiqin

    Chapter 447: Cao Shuiqin

    Jun Yongye gave her a final nod, then left the ring.

    Compared to the other fights, this one had been almost tame. Although Yan Ningya's charge had been a spectacle, the rest looked like a plain sword battle. However, one of the strongest hopes for the future of the Great Conclave had lost. The crowd muttered among themselves at the result.

    Mo Xiao, her mouth slightly agape, slowly turned her head to look at the Terminator. Her shock turned to a smile. "Forgive me, Your Majesty. I was on the edge of my seat and got over-exited. You have incredible perception."

    The Terminator did not speak. Were his eyes really so good as she said? The truth was that the aura Jun Yongye bore made him uncomfortable. It was partly for this reason that the Paragon hadn't stopped Yan Ningya from trying to destroy him.

    Lan Jue, meanwhile, watched from his small sofa with narrowed eyes. The swordsman's display had him thinking, and only those like Lan Jue who knew the art of combat could see how dangerous that fight had been. Yan Ningya should have tested him out first, and then used her Discipline in the same moment as her Alluring Blade. That would have been the most effective use of her skills.

    At any rate, a ninth level eighth rank Talent who could perfectly fuse their martial art with their Discipline... that was something that got people's attention. And although she had lost the fight, her attack would easily have destroyed the arena if those shields hadn't been there to protect them. Still, in the end Jun Yongye used nothing but his ordinary-looking sword to knock her aside.

    The Pharmacist looked as surprised as many in the audience. "He... he is no man.

    "Not a man?" Lan Jue looked at her quizzically.

    "He's a sword.... Unbreakable Blade style. He's quite strong," she illuminated.

    Lan Jue wasn't a student of the sword, so his knowledge didn't extend passed the rudimentary. However, the Pharmacist was indeed trained in swordsmanship, since her Discipline and martial art both used one. She was certainly the one to ask for insight in to use of the blade.

    Jun Yongye did not remain to watch the rest of the fight. His firm and steady gait took him right out of the arena.

    Lan Jue sat in silence, and even closed his eyes momentarily. The fight had given him more than just a passing moment of excitement. There was something in there to be learned.

    Ever since acquiring the special conductive metal from Lyr, Lan Jue had, on occasion, turned him mind to the future Astrum he would bear if he became a Paragon. Each Astrum was unique to its user, and every Paragon bore one. On the day they died, their weapons would inexplicably be destroyed along with them - as a part of themselves. One of the main reasons that the Gourmet and the Bookworm were still considered weak even among Paragons, was in part because of their lack of an Astrum.

    Something he'd seen when watching Jun Yongye awakened an understanding in him. He knew what he had to do.

    In the legends of ancient Greece, Zeus' weapon were his lightning bolts and sometimes a spear of lightning. Likewise, those had been the tools Lan Jue employed in his own battle tactics. Now that he'd seen Jun Yongye's demonstration, Lan Jue wasn't so sure his was the best method.

    Once an Astrum was created, it could not be changed. If Lan Jue were to adhere precisely to the old tales, than a spear would be best. However, still he hesitated. He was an Easterner who was given the name. Somehow, he just felt as though the spear was not the shape his Astrum should take. He had been moved by Jun Yongye's mastery with the blade, and wanted that for himself.

    In ancient China the sword was called the lord of weapons. It was the most difficult to learn, but his earlier dabbling in swordsmanship became a desire when he saw what it could accomplish.

    When he opened his eyes, the ring was occupied by two new people. The Driver and Cao Shuiqin had already begun preparing for their fight.

    The Pharmacist, seated beside him, had also come to from her own thoughts. She was somewhat taken aback by the light of determination she saw in Lan Jue's eyes when they opened.

    "I guess you made up your mind," she said with a smirk.

    Lan Jue nodded. "Coming here was the right decision. Watching that fight helped me decide what my future Astrum will be."

    She blinked at him. "The sword?"

    He nodded.

    The Pharmacist smiled at the revelation. "If you feel that is the right choice, then it is the right choice for you. The first feeling is often the correct one. Congratulations on your revelation."

    Finding one's chosen path with such conviction was not an easy thing. This was especially true when an Adept reached such levels as they inhabited. Once a Talent got to these heights, everything they did was to prepare for the breakthrough to Paragon. The more abundant this preparation, the easier their eventual success would be.

    "Three, two, one. Begin!" The fight had already started.

    Cao Shuiqin looked like the very picture of soft femininity. Although she wasn't as attractive as Yan Ningya, her gentle aura was almost hypnotizing. She was covered in a yellow dress, and carried a guqin with her 1.

    "Another Easterner," the Pharmacist mused.

    Lan Jue blinked. She was right! The North appeared to have the tournament wrapped up, but the Easterners who came to participate were making a show of it. Himself, the Pharmacist, the Driver, Jun Yongye, Cao Shuiqin, Xiangyuan Shishi and Ying Suifeng 2 were its representatives. Unfortunately, the third group had an abundance of Easterners, and only one could advance.

    Lan Jue was surprised when Cao Shuiqin was the one to initiate the fight, and not the lightning-fast Driver.

    She started with a coy smile, which immediately made the Driver freeze in his tracks. A strange look filled his eyes. In that fraction of a second, her delicate hands lay upon the seven string, thirteen bar instrument. They danced like waving blades of grain, coaxing forth a simple chord.

    The humming strings shot forth a fan of sharp, blue daggers of air. The translucent attack spread right for the Driver.

    The Driver was still distracted by her smirk and thus was surprised by her strike. Just before those dangerous weapons pierced him, he shot in to the air as a bolt of lightning. There, he reappeared before launching himself down again toward his waiting foe.

    1. This is a guqin. I tried to learn guzheng once, which is one of these just with more strings. I was viciously teased, because instruments like this are widely considered a woman's instrument, despite those lying Kung Fu movies which have blind old guys throwing daggers made of sound from these things. The distinct lack of sound-weaponry is ultimately what made me quit.

    2. Translated earlier as 'Windshadow' in Chapter 432. Changed to the normal Chinese name.
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