Without any hesitation, Li Mu threw him a punch. That was the first style of the Zhenwu Boxing.
Zhenwu Boxing was one of the most potent combat techniques he knew. Given his current physical strength, the power he created through that style was really frightening.
Although Li Mu was confident about his best moves when dealing with the Celestial Being, he dared not be careless.
The fist energy rose up and shot to the sky. Like a powerful dragon, it offset a portion of the horrible pressure.
But that was merely a small portion.
The strength the expert in the Celestial Being Realm carried was indeed daunting.
Li Mu’s heart thumped faster.
‘This Red-hair Killing God’s one strike in anger is already destructive enough to shake heaven and earth. If he goes all out, I’m afraid the place within a radius of dozens of miles will be reduced to ruins.’ Also, Li Mu distinctly felt that the Spiritual Qi in the environment seemed to be under the control of Zhang Bulao’s mind and he could no longer draw any Spiritual Qi from the surroundings to replenish his internal qi.
‘Perhaps this is one of the secrets of the Celestial Being Realm.’
The one-on-one battle kicked off at once.
However, at that precise moment, without any sign or notice, a different voice was heard—
“Which one dares affect the power of heaven and earth in Chang’an?”
The unexpected voice sounded majestic and forceful, which instantly caused the heaven and the earth to resonate as if that was the voice of the entire Chang’an.
Next, the power of heaven and earth Zhang Bulao mobilized dispersed completely, so did the unbelievably fearful pressure imposed by that Celestial Being. At the gate of the Hanshan Academy, everyone felt their heart lightened, as though a boulder weighing down upon them was lifted all of a sudden. Then, even their breathing became smoother.
The Red-hair Killing God abruptly turned a delicate shade of green and muttered, “Your Lordship?”
“In the major cities of our empire, Celestial Beings are banned from any forms of combat. That’s the law. But Elder Zhang, you violated it knowingly. Do you reckon our Western Qin Empire has no sharp blades or good experts to enforce that law so you can escape its punishment?” The unexpected voice was full of a sense of authority and righteousness. The one speaking was exactly Magistrate Li Gang, the actual ruler of Chang’an, the Commander of Border-provinces, who had a high standing and great power in the empire but chose to keep a low profile those days.
Zhang Bulao then looked slightly embarrassed.
The great empires on the Divine Land all laid down the law forbidding any disruption to the power of heaven and earth in significant cities. Bluntly, such potent experts in the Celestial Being Realm was disallowed to fight in those metropolises.
Any moves the expert in the Celestial Being Realm took could be quite destructive. Several Celestial Beings had a brutal fight and created the True Fire, which directly flattened the city where they fought. Generally, it would take the empire decades or centuries to build a metropolis, not to mention how much money, labor, and resources it demanded. Such a city was a big fortune for the empire. Well, what a loss it suffered when that city was ruined overnight!
Hence, all the great empires enacted stringent laws to prohibit the violence of the experts in the Celestial Being Realm in major cities.
In the Western Qin Empire, there was once a battle between the heads of two first-grade sects in the city called Fu Feng. After they combated for a day and night, the Fu Feng city with a history of a century was only left with debris, and hundreds of the local plain folks were killed or injured in that fight. The heads of the two sects were both in the Celestial Being Realm. The loss they incurred for the Western Qin Empire also turned out to be huge.
Later, the emperor of the Western Qin Empire displayed his wrath.
Under the majesty of the emperor, the Guanshan Pasture, one of the top nine Holy Clans, sent out four experts, who were all Supreme Elders, to wipe out the two first-grade sects. They eradicated their orthodox teachings and exiled all their disciples into the military. As to the two experts in the Celestial Being Realm who stirred up the trouble, they were also captured and forced to mourn for the dead with their Celestial Being blood. After that, they were sealed right under the relics of the original Fu Feng city, and upon which a new town sprang up, keeping the two Celestial Being down-trodden from generation to generation.
Thus, the two prominent first-grade sects were reduced to ashes in the wrath of the emperor.
Since then, no experts, even though they were in the Celestial Being Realm, did not dare to defy that law.
Similar tragedies had also occurred in the Northern Song and the Southern Chu, and they all ended in the same way.
A moment ago, provoked by Li Mu’s scornful remark, the Red-hair Killing God let his rage took the best of him and neglected the rule. When he mobilized the power of heaven and earth, he instantly violated the law of the empire and caused Magistrate Li Gang who was in charge of Chang’an to harshly rebuke him in person.
That was because he had just tramped on the bottom line of the empire.
Since the Western Qin Empire was one of the three great empires in that era, it was an enormous and influential country on the Divine Land. Although the Qing Sha Clan was a mysterious faction that had thrived for several thousand years, it still did not dare directly challenge the empire.
Therefore, the moment Li Gang’s voice sounded, Zhang Bulao’s face looked quite awkward.
Li Mu, however, was startled.
‘Hold on. Your Lordship?’
‘Did he refer to that brute magistrate, Li Gang?’
‘That guy is an expert in the Celestial Being Realm?’
‘Are you kidding me?’
Li Mu felt his world outlook be overturned.
He had always looked upon that treacherous, power-thirsty, politically scheming brute. Therefore, all those years, he had never attached much attention to that magistrate. Adding that during his stay in Chang’an the magistrate had stayed too quiet, he almost forgot Li Gang was there.
Looking back on the people and forces that Li Mu had dealt with—the Musical House, the second prince, the Supervisory Department, the Heaven Sword Martial Club, and that prince of the Lord Zhenxi—all of them were extremely unbridled and overbearing. Nonetheless, His Lordship sat back and watched all the drama. Even on that night when his son, Li Xiong, was beaten to a pulp by Li Mu, the magistrate did not make any comment later when he learned about the incident.
Naturally, the others all thought His Lordship did not have the audacity to handle Li Mu.
But based on the current situation, that was incorrect—he did not feel like doing it.
‘The lord of a metropolis has laid so low. He is… too damn good at playing the coward, isn’t he?’
Aside from the tremendous shock, Li Mu felt somewhat speechless.
‘It’s true that the devious lurks around for ages! The dog that never barks bites!’
“Celestial Beings’ battle shall take place out of the city.”
Magistrate Li Gang’s voice resonated again. It was still dignified, stately, filled with a note of conclusiveness.
The underlying meaning of that remark was quite simple—if the combatants wanted to duel, they could go to the outside of the city, and then Li Gang would not step in even if they poked a hole in the sky out there. It clearly implicated that the magistrate would by no means take Li Mu, his unworthy descendant who had severed all ties with him, under his wings.
Upon hearing that remark, Li Mu was not surprised at all.
He thought it was only reasonable for the brute to leave him high and dry.
Otherwise, how could the father let his son drift in the world for eight years and never care to inquire nor to hear about his news?
“Old dog, dare battle against me outside the city?”
Li Mu threw down the gauntlet.
His Samsara Knife buzzed out of the sheath. Li Mu instantly leaped onto it and rose to the air. Then, he turned into a jet of light and soared towards the outside of Chang’an.
Choked with outrage, the Red-hair Killing God nearly spilled blood out of his mouth.
He was going to say the same words to Li Mu, but the latter was one step ahead of him and made it look like he was the spineless one.
Next second, a ray of red light flashed, and Zhang Bulao turned into a jet of red light chasing in the direction of Li Mu.
With eyes following the two mighty experts, those at the gate of the Hanshan Academy bore different looks.
Lei Yinyin, Dean Qu, and others were very impressed, but they felt slightly concerned as well. Despite the great power Li Mu just demonstrated, Zhang Bulao, the Red-hair Killing God, had been notorious for years. The current status he enjoyed was earned by innumerable slaughters at the mountain of corpses and the sea of blood. Plus, he was an elder of the Qing Sha Clan and had profound knowledge in martial arts. So, it seemed that the odds were against Li Mu.
On the other hand, the expressions of He Yunxiang, Tie Zhan, and the others rapidly changed more than once. The sight that Li Mu rode on his broadsword and flew away like an immortal was replayed continuously in their minds. ‘Riding a flying object? That’s the signature move of the unparalleled master in the Celestial Being Realm! Has Li Mu already become a Celestial Being?’
‘Well, anyway, with the Red-hair Killing God taking the field, Li Mu is a dead man!’
As he exercised his Cultivation Method to treat his injuries, He Yunxiang kept darting nasty looks at Lei Yinyin and Dean Qu.
‘On no account could Li Mu come back alive. Then, when Fengming Academy losses its backup, they will be at my mercy, won’t they? Let’s haul some benefits first…’
He came up with another evil idea.
On the outskirts of Chang’an, a hundred miles away from the downtown…
In thick and primitive mountain woods, peculiar peaks pointed to the sky. Wild beasts sneaked around, and flocks of birds flew over the placer, but few people trod.
A blast that almost shook the earth and swayed the mountains spread out.
A stone peak that was several hundred meters high trembled violently. Rocks cracked, trees snapped, the ground quaked, and dust rose and clouded the sky. Shortly, the peak collapsed with a rumble, unnerving packs of beasts and birds within the radius of dozens of miles.
Li Mu leaped up from the collapsed stone peak. His Samsara Knife glowed brightly and dived to his feet. Li Mu rode on his weapon and ducked scores of jets of sharp scarlet light in an instant.
The battle had proceeded for about half an hour.
Li Mu was at a disadvantage.
The Red-hair Killing God was floating in midair as if he were an omnipotent deity.
He was holding a scarlet machete, engraved with odd marks similar to pine trunk. It carried an enigmatic warlock stars deployment. Dim scarlet light was shimmering on it. And each time the light flashed, the pine trunk-like marks altered.
Zhang Bulao was wearing an expression of blatant cruelty, just like a cat toying with a mouse.
He casually slashed with the machete, producing a streak of scarlet qi that stretched to dozens of feet. It cut open the void and parted the waves of energy before chopping the massive stone peak in two right from the middle. Indeed, its power was unmatchable and extremely overbearing.
Meanwhile, Li Mu could only dodge by riding his flying broadsword and launch a counter-attack once in a while.
“If that’s all you’ve got, today you are bound to be buried at this place.” Zhang Bulao taunted.
He figured Li Mu must have some brilliant maneuvers to rely on, now that he invited him to battle on his own accord. Therefore, he reminded himself that he could not throw caution to the wind yet. That he kept throwing those menacing strikes was merely an attempt to make Li Mu show his ace card. But no matter what, he firmly believed that for him, killing Li Mu was just child’s play.
Li Mu, however, did not give a reply.
He focused on performing the Broadsword-commanding skill, which allowed him to ride on the Samsara Knife. As if surfing, he darted here and there quite agilely in midair to avoid the head-on attack of the scarlet blade light.
Li Mu abruptly leaped higher in the air. The Samsara Knife under his feet suddenly picked up speed and charged at Zhang Bulao like a shooting arrow.
He was commanding his broadsword to kill!
Zhang Bulao’s face remained as stony as ever. He swiftly held up the scarlet machete with each hand at one end.
Sparkles burst out. The attempted hack of the Samsara Knife was blocked.
The real beauty of the broadsword-commanding skill lay in the rapid change of moves. The instant that hack was hindered, the Samsara Knife zoomed up like a jet of red light and immediately cast numerous fresh hacks at Zhang Bulao from all directions.