Chronicles of the Heavenly Demon
Chapter 135 – Aquatic Fight on Qinghai Lake (1)
Translated by : moonchildkhz
The first one to attack was Jang Seo-ah.
The sword in her hand flashed, seeming to spark at random.
In addition, wind billowed, scattering the mist and fog surrounding them.
Blue clouds, red sunset.
The swordsmanship of Qingcheng.
Gwan Tae-ryang deflected the blue clouds.
Jang Seo-ah’s attack unfolded along a straight path towards Gwan Tae-ryang, making it easier to defend against.
Although her first attack had failed, she didn’t stop.
On the contrary, she attacked with a similar move.
Blue clouds and brilliant red glares flashed through the air.
Gwan Tae-ryang slashed through the clouds and smacked the balls of red qi everywhere.
Since they were relying on their boats to exchange moves, they had to make the best use of the available space.
Moreover, battles on water were hard to win unless one’s lower body strength was tremendous. Every time the moves collided, the boats would rock back and forth with the waves, making it hard to grasp one’s center of gravity.
Their blades collided again and again.
In this exchange of moves, Gwan Tae-ryang was quite impressed by this young woman. When he had first identified her as a woman, he had slightly dismissed her strength.
But now she was fighting him fair and square.
Her skills seemed to be higher than any other woman he had ever met.
No, there’s one stronger.
Gwan Tae-ryang corrected his judgement. The strongest woman he had met was not the one standing in front of him right now.
It was Chun A-young, who after graduating from the Cave of Latent Demons had become Captain of the White Ape Unit and was now the Divine Maiden.
Still, his opponent’s skills could not be ignored.
You have no idea how vast the world is.
A frog in a well.
The world of Murim was vast.
That was something he had heard from Woon-seong, back when he was defeated for the first time in the Cave of Latent Demons.
Those words came back to him as he fought against this unknown woman.
Ever since leaving the Cave of Latent Demons, he had been training and training some more. Perhaps he had become proud of his progress and become arrogant once more.
Then let’s take this opportunity to clear my pride.
Let’s try our best once again.
With that in mind, Gwan Tae-ryang took a step back to avoid the blue clouds flying his way.
His heel touched the oar at the back of the boat.
He had stepped away from where the sword could reach and ended up in this situation.
Gwan Tae-ryang, realizing he was out of range, asked the woman, “What is your name?”
Hearing his question, Jang Seo-ah, who was about to swing her sword again, paused.
She drew her sword closer, keeping it defensively in front of her.
Gwan Tae-ryang shrugged. “I think your skills are amazing… I’d like to at least know your name before I kill you.”
Jang Seo-ah bit her lips. Gwan Tae-ryang’s words were meant as praise, but she felt insulted.
For that reason, her blade became sharper.
“Dear demonic dog, I have no need to tell my name to a dead man!”
Gwan Tae-ryang released his iron bracers as he talked.
There was a loud thump and some splashed.
He groaned. The iron bracers had sunk into the water.
“Oh, I’ll have to make new ones.”
Gwan Tae-ryang showed a mildly upset expression, then aimed his blade towards Jang Seo-ah.
With his appearance, he made quite the valiant figure.
Jang Seo-ah was startled and stepped back.
Heavenly Sword Unification?
To be unified with the sword meant to see the sword as an extension of the body, to see the body as an extension of the sword.
It was to be one with the blade.
The user could not be separated from the blade.
Jang Seo-ah’s teacher had also been at this stage.
Of course, Gwan Tae-ryang’s state was not comparable to that of the First Apprentice. Even though the man had a terrible personality, his Orthodox practices had allowed him to reach tranquility of the heart and sword.
In comparison, Gwan Tae-ryang was a bit messy and awkward.
Nevertheless, Jang Seo-ah was furious.
“How dare you! ”
I can’t believe you have reached a higher stage.
Jang Seo-ah swung her sword.
She leapt into the air. Like a swallow, her sword movements were elegant and sharp as she slashed towards Gwan Tae-ryang.
It was at that moment that Gwan Tae-ryang heard a voice in his ears.
– Never lose.
It was the voice Woon-seong.
Woon-seong was watching the two from a nearby ship. When the woman revealed her swordsmanship, he had immediately recognized it as belonging to the Qingcheng Sect.
Of course, it took some time to recognize who the woman was. But there was a reason.
Unlike the Sword of Heaven and Sword of Man, her appearance had gone through dramatic changes.
However, it did not change the fact that she was a successor of the Blue Clouds and Red Sunset Sword.
Needless to say, Woon-seong recognized Jang Seo-ah.
Jang Seo-ah was an enemy of Woon-seong; Woon-seong was an enemy of Jang Seo-ah.
He wanted to go out there and snap her neck, but he was an avenger and the Heavenly Demon.
He had to consider his identity.
That was why he had sent a message to Gwan Tae-ryang, telling him to never lose.
Gwan Tae-ryang simply thought that Woon-seong was cheering him on.
It was unnatural, considering the character of the Leader. But, it made sense given that the Cult was all about strength.
Gwan Tae-ryang shouted loudly, so that he could be heard despite the fighting.
Jang Seo-ah shouted as she swung her sword. Gwan Tae-ryang blocked with a blade, using his own attack to propel her backwards and off his boat.
Jang Seo-ah spun in the air, trying to find her balance and return to her original boat.
However, Gwan Tae-ryang was a step faster.
With a swipe, her boat split, bursting into pieces.
Now, the boat was just a bunch of wooden planks floating around Qinghai Lake.
Unless she could walk on water, she would not be able to continue attacking.
Gwan Tae-ryang thought this way and did not doubt that Jang Seo-ah would fall into Qinghai Lake.
However, Jang Seo-ah had better movement arts than Gwan Tae-ryang expected. She flipped in the air and let herself land on the water.
Murmurs of surprise came even from those of the Qinghai Alliance when they saw this.
“Crossing the River on a Reed?”
When one’s movement reached such a stage, it was possible to run on the ground so that the grass would not bend. Even more, it was possible to walk on water.
Being able to stand on water was the best way to prove you had learned the Art of Lightness.
In other words, standing on water was just below standing on air.
But had Jang Seo-ah reached such a stage?
While everyone else was astonished, Gwan Tae-ryang calmly examined the situation.
He shook his head.
No, she hasn’t reached that stage.
As if to prove him right, there was a wooden plank the size of a palm beneath Jang Seo-ah’s feet.
Daruma Crossing the River.
Bodhidharma, the founder of the Shaolin Temple, had crossed the Yangtze River by floating on a leaf.
‘Daruma Crossing the River’ was not comparable to the Art of Lightness, but it was another way one could seemingly float on water.
Of course, Jang Seo-ah was not able to support herself with just a reed.
But a wooden plank was sufficient.
She grabbed her sword and sneered, “Did you think it would be that easy?”
It was a venomous voice.
As soon as he heard this, Gwan Tae-ryang came to a conclusion. This match would not end until one of them slit the other’s throat.
The fight between the two became fiercer.
At this time, Gwan Tae-ryang’s boat was also shattered.
In this case, Gwan Tae-ryang chose to use Flowing Karmic Haste, not Daruma Crosses the River.
Both ‘Daruma Crosses the River’ and ‘Flowing Karmic Haste’ were fundamentally different from the Art of Lightness, and pursued different things.
If ‘Daruma Crosses the River’ had the serenity in movement, then ‘Flowing Karmic haste’ sought movement in the serenity of the world.
Of course, that did not mean that Gwan Tae-ryang’s movements were tranquil.
Each time the soles of his feet hit the surface of the water, there would be a burst of energy, like an explosion.
With the recoil, Gwan Tae-ryang would be propeled upwards.
Just as Jang Seo-ah could not perfectly use ‘Daruma Crosses the River’, Gwan Tae-ryang was not able to perfectly use ‘Flowing Karmic Haste’.
But even with that, there was a difference between the two.
The water splashed higher than ever before as Gwan Tae-ryang jumped about in the lake.
Jang Seo-ah grit her teeth.
As the lake water rippled, the boards floating on the surface would violently rock.
Moreover, the boards that were reasonably large and easy for her to stand on had been lost to the waves.
As a result, only a few planks were still floating, all of which were difficult to use.
In addition, Gwan Tae-ryang was not so gentlemanly as to pull his punches, or stupid enough to miss an opening.
Seeing his chance to victory, Gwan Tae-ryang’s offensive swirled like a storm.
At the same time, energy condensed around Jang Seo-ah’s sword.
A supercharged ray of energy could soon be emitted.
Gwan Tae-ryang’s attack exploded against Jang Seo-ah’s Sword of Blue Clouds and Red Sunset.
In the aftermath of the shock, Jang Seo-ah’s sword started to crack.
Gwan Tae-ryang did not stop attacking.
The sound of metal against metal etched through the lake.
Exactly six seconds after her sword first cracked, Jang Seo-ah’s sword shattered into pieces of bronze.
Looking at it, Jang Seo-ah’s eyes widened.
In the seventh second, Gwan Tae-ryang’s sword pierced her chest.
Broken bones, split muscles, torn blood vessels. The thick veins leading to her heart were slashed and she began to bleed out.
Jang Seo-ah raised a pale hand to her chest with a shocked expression.
Her hand came back wet with blood.
She moved her lips to say something.
Before she could finish speaking, Gwan Tae-ryang swung his blade and cut off her head.
The severed head flew high into the air.
Gwan Tae-ryang stretched out his arm, grabbing it and brandishing it forth.
Then, as it was, he shouted in resounding victory.
The first match against the Qinghai Alliance had ended with a fabulous victory.
Woon-seong raised his hands and clapped.
Clap, clap, clap.
It was the celebration of a victorious lieutenant, and a celebration for another enemy dead…