51 – The First of the Heavens and the First of the Earth (7)
I wanted to be a respected teacher.
But if that meant blocking my student’s path.
Then, as a teacher, what I should do is…….
* * *
What on earth is Master talking about. Bi Yan didn’t dare to know the meaning, he was just not confident enough…….
But why does Master blame himself? She wanted to say it right away, but she couldn’t find the words.
He must have sensed my embarrassment. The Master smiled. It was a beautiful, bittersweet smile that made me feel warm.
“Let me be clear. That rank is fake.”
“That’s impossible…… I won with that rank!!!”
“That’s not because you’re a great rank.”
It was just a jotting down of the knowledge in my head, a scribble if you will. Yeah, that’s all it was.
But it was in the hands of a genius, a genius that never was and never will be. That’s why it saw the light of day.
He said it out loud, bluntly. Bi Yan couldn’t understand the words. If it was true, then…….
“Why would you do that?”
It was a pure question. Normally, you wouldn’t go to such lengths to prepare a fake letter. Did she know what she was going to steal?”
That made sense. The Master already knew what Bian Yan would sneak away with. That’s why he did what he did.
But even so, I couldn’t help but question the meaning behind the fake letter. At that, Tian Bi Liu laughed out loud.
“Then let me ask you a question in reverse.”
“If the memo was fake, would everything you’ve built be lost?”
It was actually more of a rebuttal on Tianbiryu’s part. The reaction was more intense than he expected, so he opted for a question instead of an answer.
Still, it came as a shock to her. There were things that Bi Yan had built up. He had conquered Hebei, united the warlords.
I thought I owed it all to you, Master, but it wasn’t to me. “Just because one rank is fake, it doesn’t make it all go away.” “What you’ve built, it belongs to you and you alone. Do you understand now?”
“…… Yes, I understand now.”
“I understand now why the Master called the rank the Heavenly Horse. I understand now. The Ten Thousand Horse is a mythical beast.
And it’s nothing more than a fantasy. Flying horses are out of this world, but that makes them all the more fitting.
Flying horses. In that moment, Bi Yan felt something binding him break.
The sword, too.
Swordsmanship, swordsmanship, swordmanship, servicemanship…… Everything has a form. And no one doubts the form, for it is the most efficient.
But the form is also a shackle that binds.
If one could free oneself from the form, only by wielding it.
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If one could reach the one ultimate, not being limited by the form. Like a horse running free in the vast sky. Biyun said. “A sword that is free above all else.”
Biryu replied with a smile.
“That is the Heavenly Horse.”
Then, he opened his eyes. He seemed to have lost consciousness for a moment. She wondered if she’d been properly attacked by a thousand horses. A deep sense of loss plagued her.
The wounds are so deep that she won’t be able to use her internal energy for a while. Spitting out a mouthful of blood, Bi Yan came to a conclusion about her condition.
But even if I can’t use my history. It doesn’t really matter. A path that does not rely on internal energy. A sword that nothing can bind.
The sword is me, and I am the sword.
* * *
“The momentum has changed.”
I can’t feel the life in me now, the life that I once wanted to capture and kill. But it doesn’t seem to have lost its fighting spirit. What has changed?
Had he realized something? Tianma quickly shook his head.
The power flowing from the short circuit condensed in his hands, bending to his will.
A destructive force that could pierce mountains with a mere touch.
Still, we were once allies.
I’ll have mercy and kill you with a single blow. A blade of perverse mercy was wielded. Even as he did so, Bi Yan stood ready. She swung her sword. A clean slash.
But it was only that. It contained no power, and it was not a sword of the terrible weight he’d seen before.
Then, without warning, Tianma’s hand and Bi Yan’s sword clashed together. Not a sound was made.
“What is this?”
The power contained in the palm of his hand exploded at once, a simple thing that could hardly be considered a martial art, but its destructive power was immense.
An overwhelming power. The kind of power that could easily destroy the shapes and forms that the cowards of the Martial Realm sought after. And yet, it was gone in an instant.
It felt like it had been erased by something, and just as he was questioning it. Only then did Tianma see it. His own arm, severed.
“You cut off my arm, protected by a self-defense weapon, as easily as tofu.”
For a brief moment, Tianma looked at the severed section of herself, and recognized the technique. It was a very clean cut, meaning the self-defense weapon was useless.
Before another series of strikes could follow, Tianma fell straight backwards. At the same time, it released its power-consuming self-defense weapon. Nothing but offense after all.
Either I kill you first, or you kill me. Tianma laughed hysterically. The power flowing from his dantian rose from his body. “Yes, this is how a fight should be.” “You have no intention of backing down?” “I have lived my life in a certain mold.” “Therefore, I will decide the final outcome myself.” No pity. I don’t care what his life has been like. They are each other’s enemies. That was enough for now.
It was Tianma who made the first move. He approached, his destructive jutsu shattering the ground, a weapon in its own right.
Brushing aside the flying debris, Bi Yan rushed forward as well. Not wanting to be hit from the front, he immediately looked for a gap.
‘Even if I can cut through everything. The end of it is a sword!”
As he approached, he unleashed a burst of internal energy, creating a storm. Caught in the storm, Bi Yan’s stance collapsed. Kwon took advantage of the opening to strike.
With only one punch left, the most ferocious fist anyone had ever seen swung unforgivingly at Bi Yan. Only, there was no sound.
It was more like a whimper. Tianma’s gaze traveled to his own arm, the only one he had left, and this time it was severed.
“It must have broken his stance.”
“The sword is me, and I am the sword.”
“In other words, you didn’t need a sword to begin with.”
“I can ring without a sword. I had heard of such a thing, but I had no idea it existed.
It was similar to the sword of the man I had fought before. A sword with no history, but a weight as heavy as a mountain.
Two arms were sliced off. The battle was lost at that point, but Tianma laughed out loud.
“You’re not afraid to die, are you?”
“Those who fear death have lost much.”
“But I am not afraid of the throne. It’s a satisfying death.”
“Yes, it is.”
I was born a man, and until the end, my life was molded by someone else. Even so. At the end of the day, I get to decide.
He fought and fought and fought. So much blood on his hands. He was being called a thousand horses by now, and this would be his last.
Well, except for not being able to drink and eat meat, and not being able to kill more, but that’s a satisfying enough death.
“Kill him. You’ve earned it.”
“No, but I will.”
Scythe!!! A merciless blow decapitated the Thousand Horse. The severed head fell to the ground. The demon returned from hell and went back to hell.
His severed head, however, smiled in satisfaction. Bi Yan sighed.
It seemed he had gotten his wish, but there was nothing she could do. It would be best to kill him like this, with no repercussions.
“I suppose all that’s left is the remains.”
Even the capture of the Heavenly Horse was nothing to her. It had been so long and painful. Wouldn’t her master understand that?
“No.How painful and lonely I’ve been. How I’ve wasted each passing moment.
But now it’s really only a matter of time. Once I’ve dealt with the last of the residue, once I’ve returned the Martial Blind to its rightful place. It’s really over.
Just a little longer, Master.
Disciple Bulcho, I’ll be right back.
Bi Yan moved. The blood on his sword began to carve lines on the floor. The mage was no longer her enemy.