Chapter 5: The Talisman Sword

Yu Ci slid down the steep cliff, dashed a few more steps, and sensed that Daoist Yan’s presence had disappeared. But he knew that relying on that hidden cave to escape from a legendary cultivator was unrealistic. So, he took a breath and continued to sprint while trying to calm his mind. Using his finger, he drew runes in the air and, with the mystical power of the bronze mirror, temporarily stored them.

This was one of the effects of the Divine Illumination Bronze Mirror, though the number of runes and the duration they could be stored were limited. Only three runes could be stored, lasting for about the time it takes an incense stick to burn.

The runes were very complex. By the time Yu Ci had run ten miles, he had barely managed to draw two. Just as he was about to draw the third one, the night sky suddenly lit up. A crimson light shone from behind him, accompanied by a pungent, burning smell.

Yu Ci realized that the smell was of burning blood, mixed with the murderous intent of the assailant. He had expected Daoist Yan to catch up, but the speed still caught him off guard.

He exhaled a turbid breath, and without warning, flipped over and leaped to the ground. In the next moment, a red line swept past, cutting two trees with the thickness of a bowl in half five feet above the ground. The trees crashed down with a thunderous noise, raising dust and sending branches flying. Despite it being midnight, the commotion was clear, and the previously quiet forest suddenly became lively with the cries of startled animals and birds.

Daoist Yan missed his strike but still laughed joyously. His laughter grew closer as he caught up with Yu Ci: “Pretty boy, how sharp is my Nine Yang Talisman Sword?”

“Nine Yang? Isn’t it the Three Yang Talisman Sword?” Yu Ci rarely spoke, but this time he did, which slowed him down. Immediately, he felt a scorching heat above his head. Daoist Yan had flown over him with a blazing wave of heat, blocking his path. Yu Ci halted and assumed a defensive stance. Despite his grave expression, he showed no sign of panic.

“Pretty boy, you’re quite curious…” Daoist Yan said, eyes wide with a deathly stare, but Yu Ci maintained his expression as if the scene of over twenty herbalists lying dead, the enemy’s taunts, and the power of the Nine Yang Talisman Sword only warranted this much reaction from him.

“Good, you’re quite brave. I was afraid you’d be a coward who’d run at the sight of danger!” Daoist Yan was more intent on breaking Yu Ci’s composure the braver he appeared. Daoist Yan stepped forward, just two yards away, lightly swinging his Talisman Sword and grinning:

“Why is it the Nine Yang Talisman Sword? I can tell you. The Bai Ri Sect, stingy and petty, only brought out the lowly Three Yang Talisman Sword to deal with you mortals, making you overjoyed. Little did you know, the Bai Ri Sect has superior Six Yang, Nine Yang, and Pure Yang Talisman Swords!

“Of course, those three will never be shown to you. But despite their cunning, they still had to bow to me. Ten years ago, I infiltrated their sect and learned the ‘Fusion Refinement’ method. With enough Three Yang Talisman Swords, I could gradually refine them into Six Yang, Nine Yang, and finally, Pure Yang, reaching perfection.

“In the past two years, I’ve traveled between Tianlie Valley and Jue Bi City, working hard to achieve the Nine Yang Talisman Sword. It’s almost as good as the Pure Yang Sword. Three times three makes nine, the extreme number of yang. With this sword in hand, even if you got lucky and obtained a Three Yang Talisman Sword, it wouldn’t withstand one strike from my sword!”

Daoist Yan laughed again, but Yu Ci remained in his stance, unfazed and unpanicked. The forest was quiet, except for the awakened animals and birds making noise.

The laughter ceased abruptly. Daoist Yan, unable to continue, narrowed his eyes. He realized that Yu Ci was not an easily frightened novice. Prolonging this would only make it more frustrating, even if he eventually killed Yu Ci.

“Alright, I’ll send this bold pretty boy on his way!” Daoist Yan stepped forward, raising his Nine Yang Talisman Sword. His tall frame and sweeping red glow almost engulfed Yu Ci.

In the heat wave, the sharpness of the Talisman Sword was aimed straight at his forehead. Yu Ci slowly stepped back and, with his left hand in his sleeve, gently grasped a stored symbol from the Divine Illumination bronze Mirror.

“Ah?” Daoist Yan sensed something, glancing at Yu Ci’s hand. He saw a cloud of mist pouring from Yu Ci’s sleeve, forming a misty barrier. In the light of the flames, Yu Ci’s figure became elusive.

“Trying to escape!” Daoist Yan roared, his Talisman Sword cutting through the mist, slashing at the moving silhouette.

The sword light swept past, and Daoist Yan realized it was a decoy. He turned to strike again but missed.

Looking around, he saw the forest covered in thin mist. It couldn’t block much, but it was night, and the only light was from his sword. Beyond its range, his vision was significantly hindered.

Yu Ci moved on the edge of the light, ready to retreat into the depths of the forest.

“Tricky pretty boy, but such tricks won’t work on me!” Daoist Yan thought, regretting that his rushed cultivation had left his abilities unrefined. Without them, Yu Ci would have no chance.

With this thought, Daoist Yan relied on his spiritual sense, perceiving the situation within ten yards. He quickly noticed that Yu Ci wasn’t fleeing but staying within sight.

He’s waiting for an opportunity!

Daoist Yan, understanding this, lowered his tall frame, almost hovering above the ground, moving like a nimble monkey, covering several yards.

As he moved, a burst of white light pierced through, illuminating the forest.

Even as he flipped in mid-air, Daoist Yan noticed the blazing light, feeling its scorching imprint in his peripheral vision.

A thunderous explosion followed, striking a tree on the outskirts, splitting it and setting it ablaze.

Daoist Yan landed, glancing at the charred tree, his eyes twitching. If not for his spiritual sense, he might have been struck without knowing what hit him.

Palm Lightning! So fast, he must have used a jade symbol or something.

“This boy has some wealth,” Daoist Yan coldly laughed, but he now referred to Yu Ci as “boy” instead of “pretty boy.” He continued, “Let’s see if you have more symbols or I have more skills!”

Before finishing, Daoist Yan drew ten twisted lines in the air, forming red glowing tracks.

“Wind and fire, attack!”

A gust of wind, hot and fierce, blew in all directions, scattering the mist. Yu Ci, frustrated at missing his attack, saw this and turned pale:

“Channeling Qi into a Symbol!”

This was real channeling!

Even though he had guessed, confirming it shocked him. This wasn’t a trick like his bronze mirror; it was genuine.

To draw symbols in the air without any medium and channel spiritual energy was beyond human capability. It required high cultivation, where one’s soul was strong enough to create “spiritual intent,” which could replace traditional mediums to form effective symbols.

Thus, Daoist Yan was indeed at the transcendence level, a true cultivator with immense powers.

The difference was clear!

Without the mist, Daoist Yan spotted Yu Ci, turning with a cold laugh: “Boy, do you see my power now?”

Yu Ci pressed his lips, silent.

Daoist Yan stepped forward, laughing, “Any more symbols to show me?”

Yu Ci seemed to bite his lip, suddenly reaching into his sleeve with his right hand while keeping his left hand inside, in a strange posture.

At that moment, a red light flashed, and Daoist Yan silently lunged, striking down. He shouted:

“Die!”

Daoist Yan, still wary from the earlier lightning, would not let Yu Ci strike first.

Yu Ci looked up, staring at the Talisman Sword’s glow, seemingly stunned. As the sword descended, he drew a green light from his sleeve, meeting the sword head-on. The clash rang out, blocking the Nine Yang Talisman Sword.

Daoist Yan was surprised but then sneered, adjusting his sword and striking again. The Nine Yang Talisman Sword’s power made the green light tremble and dim, but Yu Ci spit blood onto the green light, shouting:

“Charge!”

A sharp gleam appeared. Under Daoist Yan’s incredulous gaze, the green light absorbed the blood, shining even brighter, almost solidifying.

The Nine Yang Talisman Sword struck again, but the green light remained intact. Yu Ci’s face was pale, but he grinned.

He had never intended to escape. Running was just to buy time to draw symbols. With limited time, he had only managed to use a mist illusion and palm lightning, both ineffective.

Luckily, Daoist Yan’s boasting gave him a chance to quickly draw the Seven Star Talisman Sword activating it with his blood, turning it into a tangible weapon.

Of course, one Talisman Sword alone couldn’t defeat Daoist Yan. But Yu Ci was different when wielding a sword; he preferred the straightforwardness of combat over the complexity of symbol use. Having spent twelve years wandering, he had drawn his sword and killed many.

This was his true nature.

Clearing his mind, facing the higher-level opponent, Yu Ci grinned:

“Let’s see how my Seven Star Talisman Sword compares to your Nine Yang Talisman Sword.”

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