Editor: Dhael Ligerkeys
The youngster knew he was dead from the moment he was exposed by Li Baxian. The reason he put on that charade was just to conceal his true motive. Since the sword cultivator had called him out, he assumed a stance and gestured with his scimitars. “Come on then. Let’s get this over with.”
Lu Ye placed a hand on his saber and gripped it lightly.
Li Baxian’s voice rang beside his ear. “Be careful, junior brother. Not only is he a ghost cultivator, he’s really a Heaven Grade Seventh-Order cultivator with over two hundred and forty Spiritual Points unlocked. The reason he’s only an Eighth-Order right now is because of the Heavens’ suppression. That said, the suppression doesn’t extend to battle experience, and both his strength and speed are much greater than that of an ordinary Eighth-Order cultivator as well. You might not be a match for him even if you are capable of killing an ordinary Eighth-Order.”
Lu Ye was charging toward the youngster even before he gave Li Baxian his reply. Whatever the reason his senior brother had decided to pit him against such a difficult opponent, it was a fact that the Battle Royale of the Legates was going to end soon. He would not allow the opportunity to kill such a powerful opponent slip through his grasp.
However, a stream of light flew toward his face almost as soon as he moved his feet. It took only an instant to get close to Lu Ye’s face.
Lu Ye responded by unsheathing his saber and slashing at the stream of light. The second the sparks flew, he felt a tremendous power transferring over the metal and splitting his purlicue instantly. In fact, it struck the Inviolable so hard that it was pushed upward. Lu Ye flicked his saber upward so that the stream of light would be knocked into the air.
The light turned out to be one of the enemy’s scimitars, meaning that the enemy had nearly skewered him with just telekinesis. He didn’t even get away unscathed. The qi of the flying weapon had left a bleeding wound on his chest.
Before he could even steady himself, the youngster rushed him so fast that he looked like a blur to Lu Ye’s eyes. Ghost cultivators were famous for their speed to begin with, not to mention that he was a Heaven Grade Seventh-Order cultivator. While the Heavens had suppressed his cultivation level for fairness’ sake, he was still way faster than your ordinary Eighth-Order cultivator.
The youngster swung the scimitar he was holding at Lu Ye’s face, prompting the young man to block it with his saber. This time, he was knocked back a step or two. Not only that, the scimitar he had parried earlier had boomeranged and was flying straight toward the back of Lu Ye’s head.
At his current level, telekinesis was something he couldn’t handle no matter what he did.
Hua Ci looked nervous, and Li Baxian was ready to fire a sword at a first notice. While he was the one who encouraged this battle, that didn’t mean he was going to leave his junior brother to his own devices. The second it looked like something was about to go horribly wrong, he would save Lu Ye immediately.
For a second, it looked like the scimitar would hit the back of Lu Ye’s head and kill him. Instead, it hit a Glyph and shattered it in a single hit. Lu Ye dropped his head the second he heard Protection breaking and just barely avoided getting killed. Seriously, it was close enough that the scimitar had cut off a few strands of hair as it flew by.
Not about to surrender the initiative completely to the ghost cultivator, Lu Ye thrust the Inviolable forward and imbued it with both his fiery Spiritual Power and a Sharp Edge. Unfortunately, the ghost cultivator was able to sidestep the attack and twist the curved blade around like it was a living thing. It cut into Lu Ye’s arm from an unthinkable angle and left yet another bleeding wound.
It hadn’t even been three breaths since the battle began, and already Lu Ye had taken two wounds from the enemy. They were only minor wounds, but it made two things clear. One, there was a considerable gap between Lu Ye and the ghost cultivator’s strength. Two, things were only going to get worse for Lu Ye at this rate.
Feng Yuechan shot Li Baxian an inquiring look, but he shook his head because he deemed it too early to interfere. The reason he had decided to pit Lu Ye against this ghost cultivator was because it was a rare opportunity to let Lu Ye experience the fine line between life and death.
During his stay at the Crimson Blood Sect, he had taught Lu Ye the art of combat for twenty days. It was a valuable lesson for the young man as a matter of course, but it couldn’t teach him how it felt to dance on a knife’s edge, something every combat cultivator must grow accustomed to. It was because they both knew Li Baxian wouldn’t actually kill him even though he had beaten the shit out of him during those lessons.
The situation at hand was different, though. Lu Ye was now facing off against a Thousand Demon Ridge cultivator, and his opponent had every intention of sending him to the afterlife. In other words, this was the perfect opportunity to hone Lu Ye’s ability to dance on a knife’s edge. Barring some exceptions, it was a rite of passage all combat cultivators must go through if they wished to surpass their own limits.
That said, Li Baxian could not help but wonder if his decision had been too rash. Lu Ye might have a shot at beating an ordinary Eighth-Order cultivator at his current strength, but this ghost cultivator was obviously too much for him right now. The only good news was that his fighting spirit hadn’t waned in the slightest even though the enemy was completely overwhelming him right now.
The two men exchanged a couple more moves in the blink of an eye, and the ghost cultivator proved that he was both stronger and faster than Lu Ye. Considering he could use telekinesis as well, Lu Ye was hard pressed to do anything at the beginning.
As time passed, he slowly but surely became accustomed to his opponent’s combat rhythm. It wasn’t enough for him to turn the tides, but he did manage to force a counterattack once in a while and protect himself from the flying scimitar using Protection.
They clashed a couple more times before the ghost cultivator abruptly called back his flying scimitar. It was because he realized that the infamous Crimson Blood Sect cultivator of the Battle of Goldentip was deserving of his reputation. At the beginning, he had thought he would be able to defeat Lu Ye with ease. He had even planned out the speech to bargain for his life after he had defeated Lu Ye and taken him hostage. Instead, all he got was the realization that the young man’s strength and battle experience were greater than his cultivation level suggested.
He could not afford to drag out this battle. At any moment, Feng Yuechan and Li Baxian could decide that enough was enough and interfere with this fight. He would be dead if that happened. On top of that, flying weapons weren’t all that useful in a melee fight like this, so he determined that wielding two scimitars would allow him to defeat his opponent in the shortest amount of time possible.
After the ghost cultivator had regained his weapon, his attack speed shot up drastically. Lu Ye immediately started accruing wounds at a much faster rate.
However, to the ghost cultivator’s shock, Lu Ye’s attack speed and strength actually increased as well. Even the Spiritual Power on his saber seemed much thicker than normal. It was almost as if he was growing stronger as he accrued more wounds.
A dozen or so breaths later, Lu Ye managed to stabilize the battle. He was actually going even against his opponent now.
The ghost cultivator simply could not understand how Lu Ye was able to increase his strength and speed in such a short time, but this was just the beginning. Another dozen breaths passed, and he discovered that he was slowly but surely being outsped and outmuscled by Lu Ye!
Lu Ye wasn’t the only one who got hurt when they clashed blades now. He too was accruing wounds little by little!
The Inviolable’s blade had turned completely crimson almost as if it was drowning in blood. In fact, a closer look would reveal that a thin stream of blood was surrounding Lu Ye as well.
When the ghost cultivator finally realized this, he exclaimed in surprise, “Blood Artifact?”
A Blood Artifact was a special Spirit Artifact that was branded with a Glyph of Blood Sacrifice. If the wielder was hurt, or if the wielder cut themselves to offer up their blood, a Blood Artifact would devour it and grow more powerful.
When the ghost cultivator saw the Inviolable’s transformation, he thought that it was a Blood Artifact. While a Blood Artifact was incredibly powerful, it also put the wielder at great risk. It was because it would continuously consume the wielder’s blood until the fight was over, or the wielder was sucked dry. That was why Blood Artifacts weren’t very popular in the Cultivation World. The average cultivator wouldn’t use this type of Spirit Artifact either.
If the ghost cultivator noticed that something was wrong with the Inviolable in the middle of a fight, then of course Li Baxian had noticed it as well. His expression turned serious. The reason he encouraged this fight was to earn Lu Ye some battle experience against powerful enemies, but he didn’t think his junior brother would go so far as to activate a Blood Artifact. Shui Yuan was going to bash his head in if his junior brother hurt his own foundation and vitality because of this.
It was at this moment Hua Ci spoke up, “Don’t worry, Brother Li. It’s not a Blood Artifact.”
“What is it then?”
She explained, “Lu Ye knows a Glyph called Bloodrage. It’s most likely that.” Back at Lady Yun’s residence, Lu Ye had told her about his four Glyphs. Since Hua Ci was present at the scene, she knew about them as well.
“Bloodrage?” Li Baxian commented with a frown. He didn’t know much about Glyphs because he lacked the patience to study them. That was why he had no idea what Bloodrage might be. Still, it should be fine as long as it wasn’t a Blood Artifact.
The battle continued. Metallic clangs peeled incessantly through the air, and Lu Ye was covered from head to toe in wounds. Strangely, every drop of blood that dripped out of his wounds had transformed into mist that surrounded his person.
If Lu Ye were to take off his clothes right now, they would see that a complicated Glyph completely made of blood was cycling slowly at the center of his chest. Bloodrage was a Glyph that was applied to his body, not his weapon. Not only was he shrouded by a mist of blood, his eyes had turned crimson from Bloodrage as well.
Lu Ye kept growing in strength and speed as more and more blood turned into mist. He had surpassed his limits a long time ago.
The tables had completely turned. The ghost cultivator who utterly dominated Lu Ye at the beginning of the battle could only defend himself now. He didn’t even have the time to launch a counterattack.
Another moment passed, and Lu Ye finally landed the decisive hit. A bloodcurdling scream pierced through the air as his opponent staggered away from him, blood spurting out of his chest like a fountain. When he looked up, the pair of crimson eyes was right in front of him. The young man, completely shrouded in a blood mist, descending upon him with an equally crimson blade.
He roared in defiance and raised his own Spirit Artifacts into a block.
There was the sound of blade cutting through flesh and blood, and Lu Ye appeared behind the ghost cultivator as light as a raindrop. He threw off the blood on the Inviolable’s blade and returned it to its sheath.
Behind him, the ghost cultivator stiffened while still maintaining his block. Then, he collapsed on the ground and bled a pool of blood underneath him.
At the same time, the blood mist surrounding Lu Ye suddenly dispersed into nothing. The young man’s knees buckled, but Li Baxian caught him before he could collapse as well.
“I’m okay. I’m just out of strength!” Lu Ye explained even as his face turned white at a visible rate. He had lost too much blood.
For a while, Li Baxian watched him with a complicated expression on his face. Finally, he said, “You pushed yourself a little too hard there, don’t you think?”
To say he did not expect this outcome would be an understatement. When Lu Ye told him that he could kill an Eighth-Order cultivator earlier, he had believed it to be the arrogance of youth. He had been prepared to jump in at every point of this fight. But not only did his junior brother make his claim a reality, he had done it all by himself! It was bonkers! This was before mentioning that his opponent was really a Heaven Grade Seventh-Order cultivator, which put him on par with an ordinary Ninth-Order cultivator even after his cultivation level was suppressed!
It was at that moment Li Baxian realized that he had underestimated his junior brother.