Chapter 57. Misdirected Fighting Spirit
Shi Yup had been wary of Chi Xie Ming from the time Neng Ha Young entered the teahouse.
‘This is troublesome.’
The strong fighting spirit emanating from Chi Xie Ming was making Shi Yup’s pupils tremble.
‘About 15 steps.’
It was annoying, but the enemy’s aura was far too big. The radius of the area, based on Shi Yup’s estimation, should be about fifteen steps. Stepping into that man’s aura would probably reveal his presence.
That was why he had been being extremely cautious all this time. But then, Chi Xie Ming’s aura suddenly expanded by an extremely large amount. As Shi Yup had never seen such a thing before in his life, he was a little slow when it came to adapting to the situation.
‘He noticed me.’
Chi Xie Ming was looking around carefully. Neng Ha Young might’ve not known, but Chi Xie Ming’s aura currently encompassed the whole teahouse.
Shi Yup erased his presense as much as he could for now, as he felt cold sweat roll down his back. He was using his teacher’s signature stealth technique.
‘Hidden Qi Technique (氣遁法).’
When Shi Yup used this, no one would be able to notice his presence even if he stood right in front of someone. He would be completely invisible to the world.
But even a technique like this wasn’t perfect. After all, there were always abnormalities like Chi Xie Ming existing in the world. When meeting a being like this, the user of this technique had to expertly control the distance from the person with wise decisions.
Thankfully, as Shi Yup managed to somehow pull away from Chi Xie Ming before things got out of hand, he managed to keep himself from being completely discovered.
The problem was Neng Ha Young. She was exposed. Because of that, Shi Yup had to quickly make a decision.
This was his current distance from Neng Ha Young. If he were to move away even further from her, he wouldn’t be able to protect her from Chi Xie Ming.
While Shi Yup kept distressing over what to do, Chi Xie Ming moved. Shi Yup had no choice but to move with the man.
‘Nine steps, eight steps…….’
The distance between Shi Yup and Chi Xie Ming kept shortening until Shi Yup was right next to Neng Ha Young. If Shi Yup wasn’t at least this close, he wouldn’t be able to fully protect her.
‘How long would I be able to last?’
A drop of cold sweat ran down Shi Yup’s forehead.
The more the distance between Shi Yup and Chi Xie Ming shortened, the more energy Shi Yup would have to expend in order to keep himself hidden. In the end, Shi Yup had to spend an enormous amount of energy to keep himself hidden.
And as Shi Yup was extremely close to Chi Xie Ming at the moment, making even the tiniest mistake would give him away.
’This is dangerous.’
Countless warning bells were going off in Shi Yup’s head.
Even standing in front of an expert like this took energy. But then Shi Yup had to protect Neng Ha Young at the same time. This was why Shi Yup was focusing all his attention in controlling his breath and energy.
If the Hidden Qi Technique faltered here for even a millisecond, Shi Yup would be overcome with danger. He could start hearing Neng Ha Young talk with Chi Xie Ming. It seemed that they were just making small talk.
Shi Yup closed his eyes and began to focus. He had never pushed himself beyond his limits like this with the Hidden Qi Technique.
The sense of responsibility Shi Yup had for Neng Ha Young’s safety was what enabled Shi Yup to overcome his limits like this.
Once he overcame the initial feeling of tiredness and discomfort, Shi Yup was overcome with a feeling of satisfaction. This was a new experience.
His heart, which had been beating slowly moments ago, began to beat with great speed, and his glands were opened up as his senses began to expand greatly. Surprisingly, Shi Yup’s understanding of martial arts had suddenly improved at a crisis like this.
Right then, Chi Xie Ming’s sharp killing intent touched his senses. When Shi Yup opened his eyes, he could see Chi Xie Ming smiling at Neng Ha Young.
Shi Yup made his decision. At that moment, the air around him fluctuated as Chi Xie Ming’s hand moved like the wind itself.
Chi Xie Ming shook his hands painfully as he frowned when an ear-piercing sound shook the surrounding area.
“What the hell? There really was someone here?”
Neng ha Young took a look at Shi Yup’s arm. She didn’t know what was going on, but she knew that Shi Yup had just saved him. When she figured out what just happened, she became furious.
“You’re the one who’s impolite here.”
Chi Xie Ming clenched his fist and looked at Shi Yup. When he attacked Neng Ha Young, he could clearly see the background shatter next to the girl with Shi Yup emerging out.
Chi Xie Ming, who felt significant danger from this, put more strength into what was previously just a playful jab. But in the end, he was the one to get injured.
“That’s an interesting technique. What was it?”
Shi Yup didn’t say anything, and just stared at Chi Xie Ming. He soon confirmed something about the man.
’This person……. is hiding something.’
The things that he couldn’t see before clearly came into view. Even harmonious experts had rankings between them.
One could easily figure this out by seeing how even the fifteen guests were ranked into the three sovereigns, five emperors, and seven kings.
Shi Yup slowly put the hand he used to block Chi Xie Ming’s blow down. He then clenched his fist. He had improved quite a bit by getting to a new degree of understanding, but he still couldn’t clearly predict who’d win in a battle.
The only reason he managed to beat back the opponent that easily was because the man had underestimated him by a lot.
‘I can’t hope for such a thing to happen once more this time.’
When Shi Yup kept his mouth closed with an anxious face, Neng Ha Young spoke.
“Let’s stop playing here. We’re leaving.”
“Where do you think you’re going? We’re just getting started.”
Chi Xie Ming looked at Shi Yup and smiled. He didn’t even look at Neng Ha Young anymore. The man in front of him. That man clearly wasn’t normal.
That man had strength that was completely different from Gu Hui’s. He was young, to boot. Young enough to be his age. This person was surely someone who was biding his time for the next generation to come.
‘I can’t let him go.’
The reason why Chi Xie Ming couldn’t let Shi Yup leave ultimately lay in the fact that Shi Yup used a sword.
“It wouldn’t be fun with just our hands, right? How about it? Let’s have a go with swords!”
He could tell with the previous exchange. The calluses that were on Shi Yup’s hand wasn’t just for show.
‘How strong would he get with a sword?’
Chi Xie Ming fondled his sword hilt. He had never considered losing to anyone other than his teacher.
“One? No. Three should be possible.”
Three blows. The battle would be done by then. A swordsman of that calibre would definitely come at him with full strength from the start.
‘I’m stronger than him.’
They were both harmonious experts, but Shi Yup was still slightly weaker than Chi Xie Ming. Chi Xie Ming predicted that, and his prediction was correct. But that different in power was only as large as a sheet of paper.
‘But even that makes a difference.’
Shi Yup too thought the same thing Chi Xie Ming predicted, and made a dark expression. The more he looked at his opponent, the more their difference in power stood out to him.
“Since you’re not too weak, I’ll also go full out.”
Chi Xie Ming stood up and spoke.
“I don’t know why a person of your caliber is protecting this girl here. Well, I’m not that interested, though….. Anyways, if you try to run now, I’ll kill you. Both of you.”
Shi Yup couldn’t run away now. He calmed his breath and spoke.
“…….This isn’t a good place to fight.”
When Shi Yup said this, Chi Xie Ming took a look around. Shi Yup was right.
The people in the teahouse sensed that something dangerous would take place and left, but there were several martial artists nearby who were observing them.
The spectators just kept increasing with each passing moment.
“Indeed. There are too many people here.”
Neng Ha Young heard Chi Xie Ming’s words and reached a conclusion.
‘This person isn’t from the Alliance.’
Then where did this man come from? Was there really a place that could raise such a terrifying being?
“Shall we change places?”
Neng Ha Young bit her lips. She didn’t like being moved around the way her opponent desired.
And when she looked at Shi Yup’s eyes, she could see that he had no conviction in winning. The opponent was just that strong.
She had to earn time somehow. She had to have the worst scenario in her mind at all times. Chi Xie Ming looked at Neng Ha Young with an apologetic face.
“I’m not usually like this, but something really annoying happened to me today…”
-What’s that got to do with us?!
Neng Ha Young barely stopped herself from shouting. This was the nature of the martial world.
No matter how much you were oppressed, you couldn’t do anything if you were weak. That’s why one had to be strong. That was what the martial world was.
‘Come to think of it, I did something kind of bad, didn’t I.’
Chi Xie Ming scratched his chin with an awkward face. His fighting spirit that got roused from the time he met Gu Hui was released at the wrong person. The other side must feel like they got hit by a stray lightning bolt.
They didn’t even know about each other yet. But that didn’t matter. As long as Chi Xie Ming was able to expel the fighting spirit writhing inside him, he would be satisfied.
‘I’m just a little frustrated, aren’t I.’
Chi Xie Ming realized his current state of being, and smiled. It wasn’t good to restrain himself too much. If he wanted to climb to the top, he had to do something like this every once in a while.
“You choose the location. I’ll let you do at least that much.”
Shi Yup nodded. Then, he lifted Neng Ha Young into a princess carry without her consent.
The wind blew fiercely against their skin. The scenery around them passed by at a blur.
“Phew~ What a sight this is.”
Neng Ha Young couldn’t even hear what Chi Xie Ming was saying at their back. She just wrapped her arms around Shi Yup’s neck with a blush.
It felt like she would fall off if she let go. Her heart was beating wildly, and she felt embarrassed for some reason.
Stop dreaming, Neng Ha Young!’
No matter how many times she told herself that, it didnt work. Neng Ha Young was normally a very calm and cold individual, but this really was her first time experiencing something like this.
The thing that made her even more confused was the fact that this really didn’t feel all that bad. So Neng Ha Young closed her eyes with her confused heart in Shi Yup’s arms.
Shi Yup found a suitable location, and stopped. Several martial artists followed them, but since they were so slow, they were left behind.
The place they were at was a mountain located some ways from the town, and it was a place that wouldn’t attract too much attention.
“This is good.”
Chi Xie Ming, too, was satisfied. If they were here, no one would be able to find them.
Chi Xie Ming drew a long line on the far left side of the field.
“Miss, you shouldn’t step over that line. You might get swept up in the heat of the battle.”
When Neng Ha Young got released by Shi Yup, she momentarily lost her balance. She lost strength in her legs. Chi Xie Ming grinned when he saw that.
“You liked it quite a bit, didn’t you?”
“A little fierce, aren’t you? Well, just wait over there. I might hit you if you step over the line, so be careful.”
Neng Ha Young glanced at Shi Yup. It was hard to look at him in the eye, for some reason. Shi Yup read her eyes, and nodded.
“You can wait.”
Neng Ha Young bit her lips and stepped over the line. There was nothing she could do here.
She was confident in her ability to use her brain, but in a pure confrontation between martial artists, she could do nothing. For the first time in her life, she felt useless.
“Shall we begin?”
Shi Yup nodded. He didn’t know much, but at least he knew that this man in front of him wasn’t interested in hurting Neng Ha Young. That was enough. As soon as Shi Yup realized that he didn’t have to protect Neng Ha Young, a burden was lifted off his mind.
He might be able to win at his current condition. The moment Shi Yup thought that, Chi Xie Ming’s eyes widened. Shi Yup’s body had vanished into thin air.