Chapter 22: 022
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
A deep fog permeated the manor’s surroundings.
Lin Sheng carried his black sword and treaded forth slowly on the right side of the horse trail. The gravel and withered grass produced small crunches whenever he stepped on them, and the sound of rustling tree leaves could be heard in the wind.
Lin Sheng scanned his surroundings and saw dark dense forests on both sides of the path where black tree branches swayed back and forth. He started to imagine what would happen if something suddenly lunged out of the darkness.
Up ahead, a black oil lamp hung from a lonely lamppost at a Y-junction with two dry corpses sitting back-to-back, leaning against it. The dead bodies were dressed in black clothing, and their faces were indiscernible as messy, weed-like gray hair covered their faces.
Lin Sheng was stunned for a moment. He held his sword and plucked up the courage to move closer. With the exception of the howling wind and two dead bodies, there was nothing else around. But as Lin Sheng got closer, he felt inexplicably lonely as if he was in the middle of an empty football field.
“I’m at least four or five hundred meters away from the manor. I guess I won’t be so unlucky to bump into the monster again.” Lin Sheng knew his limits; he could not beat the monster’s speed and strength. Although he had inherited some of Ravel’s memories, his real strength was still inadequate. This was because, firstly, there was no change in his physical strength so his powers and speed still remained the same. Secondly, the only skill that Lin Sheng acquired from Ravel’s fragmented memories was the thrust technique, which was the most basic of the basic moves.
“In terms of real strength, I may not even qualify as a backup fighter in Ravel’s world.” Lin Sheng forced a smile. But when he thought of the possibility of acquiring more fragmented memories, he began to look forward to killing more monsters.
Thinking of that, Lin Sheng held his sword and slowly got closer until he was less than a meter from the bodies. As he jabbed the arm of one of the corpses with his sword, the body fell to the ground, and the head detached itself from the neck, exposing a hidden dagger in the arms of the corpse. “Is it completely dead?” Lin Sheng squinted. When he tried to pick up the dagger with his sword, the dagger dropped into the mud.
Just then, a hissing sound suddenly came from his right. He quickly turned, looking in the direction of the sound.
In the darkness, a monster with a black sword growing on his right arm slowly limped toward him. Its head was wrapped in a white headscarf stained with blood, and the skin on its neck and arms were covered in festering pustules.
“Not again!” Lin Sheng clenched his black sword, staring intently at the monster. Armed with Ravel’s fragmented memories, he thought that he could try to take the monster head-on.
“A surprise attack isn’t going to work, and there is no escape.” Lin Sheng took a deep breath, holding his sword with both hands and slowly raising it beside his ear.
The rotten swordsman hissed as he got closer and closer. Lin Sheng’s mind was totally focused.
A gust of wind suddenly blew past, and Lin Sheng charged at the rotten swordsman, aiming for the neck of his enemy. As his black sword pierced through the air, a bursting sound could be heard.
The move would be lethal if it hit its target. Strength and swordsmanship did not help when the body was decaying. The rotten swordsman would not stand a chance if he got hit.
However, the festered swordsman was not a sitting duck. He swung his black sword upward in an arc and intercepted Lin Sheng’s blade in time.
The swift riposte that came straight out of Ravel’s memories bounced Lin Sheng’s sword back. He leaned to the right, avoiding the incoming sword of the decaying swordsman.
“Go to hell!” Lin Sheng swiftly swung his sword in a downward movement, trying to cut off the enemy’s wrist. A muffled sound was heard. The swordsman was able to make a quick change of direction, blocking Lin Sheng’s attack.
Both of them were forced to step back respectively. However, Lin Sheng lunged forward again in less than a second, thrusting his black sword straight at the rotten swordsman’s chest.
Yet, the swordsman blocked his move again. Lin Sheng was forced to retreat a couple of steps. Now, both of them stood face-to-face at a distance.
The keys to Naxi swordsmanship were timing, angle, speed, and distance. A stalemate would ensue if one’s skills were not better than another.
As the fight continued, a hissing sound began to travel from afar.
After a while, Lin Sheng figured out that the swordsman was an entirely different type of fighter from Ravel. Although the swordsman’s attack was not aggressive, his defense was pretty formidable. This could be seen from the successive blockade of Lin Sheng’s attacks.
Exhausted, Lin Sheng began to gasp for air as his body reached its limit. Despite the weeks of continuous practice, one thing was undeniable: he was only a high-school student with very little training. It was already outstanding that Lin Sheng could play with the rotten swordsman for so long.
Each time their black swords collided, Lin Sheng would feel his arms go numb. He needed to use all his strength to avoid losing his sword. But the rotten swordsman fought only with one hand. This meant that there was a large gap between them in terms of strength.
“This is too much!” Sweat was running down Lin Sheng’s forehead and temples. He was gasping breathlessly for oxygen.
Right then, the dream had become as real as reality; goosebumps began to rise on his skin while the chilly wind blew.
“I need to end this quickly. Otherwise, running is the only option!” Making up his mind, Lin Sheng kept an eye on the rotten swordsman while he glanced at the ground around him from the corner of his eye.
Very quickly, he thought of a simple plan. Lunging forward again, Lin Sheng aimed straight for his enemy’s chest.
However, the rotten swordsman quickly blocked it and reciprocated with a riposte. While he fenced off the attack, Lin Sheng slowly moved toward a darker area nearby. When he got close enough, he bounced back, turned, and quickly fled.
The rotten swordsman was stunned for a moment before he gave chase. Not realizing that there was a sharp rock protruding out from the ground under his feet, the rotten swordsman tripped and lost his balance. Before he could recover his balance, a black sword was already coming his way.
It was Lin Sheng who had turned back, striking him with the black sword from above.
The black sword struck the rotten swordsman’s head in the dark, cutting as deep as a third into his head before getting stuck.
Lin Sheng continued to put pressure on the sword but still failed to cut the head in half.
“This is bullsh*t!” Lin Sheng gasped, drenched in sweat.
“The human skull is much harder than other parts of the body. Slicing a skull in half is just impossible.” Despite all his might, the sword could only go as deep as one-third of the skull, which he felt was pretty impressive already.
His angle and speed of attack were impeccable, while the black sword was as sharp as it could get. Nonetheless, it could only go so far.