Friday, March 24, 2017
The First Alchemist - Chap 45
Chapter 45 - Semi-Finals Part II
The semi-finals went on.
The other warriors had their chance to fight, and soon Chem Au’s name was called up again, along with the name of his opponent:
Normally at this time, Chem Au would grow worried hearing the crowd all around him cheer for his opponent, but for once he felt confident, more sure of himself that he could stand toe to toe with the warriors of the city.
But just as Chem Au began walking towards the stage, his little brother stopped him.
"What's wrong?" Chem Au asked, seeing Little Al frowning.
"Watch out for his spear.”
"His spear?" Chem Au turned to take a closer look at Dian Gu’s spear. It didn't look like anything special. The staff part looked rather ordinary, with only the sharp part of the spear having any dominating radiance to it.
"See the tip of the spear?" Chem Al pointed.
Chem Au looked, then nodded. The tip of the spear was white, but there was only a little sliver of it. Not worth mentioning.
But Chem Al looked worried as he stared at it. "Big brother, I know that the Hard Earth Pill has helped protect you, taking the blunt of most of your opponent's attacks, but you can't rely on that forever. Especially now. Something tells me there’s something very dangerous about his spear. Make sure to use your shield to block it."
Chem Au looked shocked. Was that spear really that powerful? It didn’t look like it had any special abilities when he saw Dian Gu using it in the preliminaries. Then he shook his head. No matter how powerful that spear is, it changed nothing. He was still going to fight with everything he had.
Chem Al walked to the middle of the stage and stood in front of Dian Gu, who looked like he wanted to spit in his face.
The battle began.
Dian Gu shouted, "Let me show you the power of my Dian Clan. Rising Lightning Skill!" Yellow lightning started wrapping around his legs.
Chem Au wasn't worried. He was impressed by this skill, but he had already seen it during the preliminaries. The skill only made Dian Gu faster, but not fast enough to get away from him.
“Soaring Crane Skill!” Chem Au activated his own skill, but just as white light started wrapping around his legs, his eyes widened when Dian Gu suddenly disappeared.
Wait! Where did he go?
Chem Au looked around. There he was! But just as Chem Au spotted Dian Gu, he disappeared again. This happened again and again as Dian Gu disappeared and reappeared around the stage, circling Chem Au.
Shit, he hadn't been that fast before. Chem Au wondered if his opponent had been holding back during the preliminaries. It was taking all of Chem Au's concentration just to follow Dian Gu with his eyes, trying to keep track of his movements.
Chem Au lifted his shield just in time as Dian Gu struck out with his spear. Dian Gu scoffed. Who did this village kid think he was trying to block with his boring looking shield? The tip of his spear was made from a Thunder Piercing Viper’s fang. It took a lot of his clan's money just to buy this small sliver, which showed how rare and expensive it was. He thought about how this one sliver was probably worth more than all the money his pathetic opponent’s tiny village could make selling crops in a hundred years. There was no way a simple shield could block it.
But to Dian Gu’s surprise, his spear bounced off the shield, leaving only a scratch. The moment that happened, Dian Gu disappeared in a burst of yellow lightning, narrowly avoiding Chem Au's returning sword strike.
Dian Gu reappeared again on the other side of the stage, still in shock. How could that shield block his spear? Only the most special shields and armor in this tournament had been able to block his spear, yet this boring looking dark green shield was able to do it too? Dian Gu narrowed his eyes. He would have to watch out for that shield.
But Dian Gu wasn’t the only one surprised. Chem Au couldn’t believe what had happened as well. That spear was able to leave a scratch on his shield! Even Huo Shan’s flaming sword, who he had fought in the preliminaries, couldn’t leave a mark. That spear was unbelievably sharp!
Chem Au held up his shield and sword, more wary than ever. He watched as the lightning wrapped Dian Gu started flickering around the stage again.
“Soaring Crane Skill - Second Layer!” Chem Au struck out with his glowing white sword as Dian Gu appeared in front of him again. But no, he immediately disappeared. It was a feint!
Dian Gu reappeared behind Chem Au, but before Chem Au could turn around to block, the spear ripped through his back and out of his chest. A torrent of blood gushed out, staining the ground.
But Chem Au’s painful torment wasn’t over yet as Dian Gu shouted, “Rising Lightning Skill - Second Layer!”
Electricity coursed through the spear, amplified by the white sliver at the tip which started to glow. Snakes of lightning started running attacking Chem Au.
Everyone in the audience could hear Chem Au screaming in agony.
“Stop! Stop it! Somebody help him!” Chem Mai shouted. She then ran towards her son.
But Sorka Jiu held her back. He then did the same thing to Chem Feng when he rushed forward. “What are you doing? Let me go!” Chem Feng shouted.
“Believe in your son. He is strong. He will get through this,” Sorka Jiu said to the Chem parents. However, although he said that, he was also a little worried. Chem Au had been hurt in this tournament before, but never to this extent.
And then Sorka Jiu looked at his little village chief, who remained calm as if he knew in his heart that Chem Au would survive this. That helped calm Sorka Jiu’s nerves somewhat.
After the lightning faded away, Dian Gu pulled back his spear, leaving Chem Au to collapse face down on the ground, a smoking ruin. Blood was pouring out of the hole in his chest, pooling around his unmoving body.
At the sight of this, while the people from Chem Village looked worried, almost everyone else was cheering, especially those from the noble clans who had a son that lost to Chem Au during the preliminaries.
"I knew it. His luck has finally ran out."
"He was strong for a village kid, but this is how far he can go."
Words like these passed around the audience. Some even started doubting the value of the pills again. Just as with Chem Au’s previous battle convincing them that the pills were authentic, this battle convinced them otherwise.
As for Dian Gu, he stood over the fallen Chem Au, gloating. His extremely fast speed, his powerful attack, he had been saving those for the finals. But when he learned that he was going to face the village kid, he decided to use all of his best moves now.
This village kid, to be able to make it this far was an insult to all of the hard work Dian Gu had to do to be able to qualify for the semi-finals, so he wanted to get rid of the village kid as fast as possible. Plus, he had to make sure that he didn’t lose to the village kid like Xi Feng did. That would have been the worst humiliation.
At that moment, Dian Gu’s thoughts were interrupted when he noticed Chem Au’s finger twitched. It was a small movement, but it was enough to make him wary.
Good thing too, because with a roar, Chem Au suddenly rose up and swung his sword, only narrowly missing Dian Gu as he flickered away just in time.
Chem Au might have gotten back on his feet, but he soon collapsed back on the ground, this time on his hands and knees. His body was screaming out in pain. He coughed, vomiting blood. He tried to circulate his profound energy as fast as possible to help heal the hole in his chest, but it wasn’t working. He was practically on his last breath before falling unconscious.
However, despite all this, he didn’t want to give up. He didn’t want to lose!
There had to be a way out of this, a way to win. But how? The only skill he knew was the Soaring Crane Skill, but he knew instinctively that its speed and attacks weren’t fast enough to catch or hit Duan Gu. And let’s face it, he had never completely mastered that skill. He was never really good at it. Sorka Bo, who was at the same cultivation level as him, was faster than him.
So he couldn’t rely on the skill. What else did he have that could help him? His shield could block the spear, and his sword could fend off his opponent for a little while, but that wasn’t enough. What else, what else? Shit, he tried to think of how he’d defeated the tough opponents he had faced during this tournament, but all he could remember was punching them.
Chem Au suddenly looked up. That’s it!
After what seemed like a long time, but was probably just seconds, Chem Au ever so slowly pushed himself back on his feet.
Duan Gu was shocked at the sight of this. How was this possible? But although he asked himself that, honestly, he knew why. When it comes to mastering the first layer of the Rising Lightning Skill, no one in the Dian clan, except for his father, was faster than him. But he never was good at mastering the second layer of this skill. His father knew that, and that was why they spent so much money to get the sliver of a fang from a Thunder Piercing Viper. Its sharpness and electrical amplification ability increased his offensive strength.
But after seeing Chem Au get back on his feet, it seemed like one spear thrust wasn’t enough. Duan Gu smiled. He wasn't worried. His opponent might still be standing, but he looked like he was about to fall over at any second.
Duan Gu twirled the spear in his hand as he shouted, "Rising Lightning Skill!" Yellow lightning wrapped around Duan Gu’s legs as he circled around Chem Au, disappearing and reappearing in bursts of lighting.
But unlike last time, Chem Au was standing completely still, no longer trying to follow Duan Gu with his eyes. It almost looked like Chem Au had already lost consciousness while standing up. He might have even been dead. The only telltale sign that he was still alive was the slight rise and fall of his chest.
In truth, maybe it was because he was delirious from the loss of blood or because he was close to losing consciousness, but somehow, Chem Au had entered a meditative state.
His plan had called for him to stay in one place. And when he told himself to stay still, no longer rushing, no longer running, this was what happened. He started to sense the world differently.
Somehow he no longer needed his eyes to follow Duan Gu's circling path. He could sense it just from the vibrations of his steps on the ground. That was how he was able to sense when Duan Gu was right behind him. Chem Au spun around and held up his shield, blocking the spear thrust.
"What the fuck?" Duan Gu shouted, then disappeared again to the far end of the stage. He was surprised. His opponent had seemed so sluggish before that he thought there would be no way that he could react in time to block his attack. But then Duan Gu shook his head as he thought of an explanation. Of course his opponent would be able to block him. After all, he was attacking from the same angle as the last time he thrust his spear into him. There was no way his opponent would forget that. That only meant that he just needed to attack from another angle.
In a burst of lightning, Duan Gu disappeared again. He flickered towards Chem Au’s side, but his spear was blocked again. And again, and again, and … again. From every side.
How was he doing this? Duan Gu shouted in his mind.
If you were to ask Chem Au, he couldn’t tell you the answer. Even he himself didn’t know what was happening. All he could tell you was that somehow the world had turned peacefully quiet like a lotus petal landing softly on a still pond. Even the sounds of the audience faded away. All he could hear were quick footsteps which he followed with his senses.
But while Chem Au felt at peace, Duan Gu was feeling frustrated. Laugh if you will or call him cowardly, but his hit and run tactics were what helped him win his battles. But this was the first time that he was being blocked so completely. It was time to up his strategy.
Duan Gu started to attack Chem Au from behind. He would constantly attack Chem Au’s back, disappear, then reappear again to do the same thing, and was blocked time and time again. But that was within his expectations. What was important was to get Chem Au to focus on the back.
Then suddenly, Duan Gu flickered in front of Chem Au and thrusted out his spear. A hit!
The spear ripped through Chem Au’s chest and out his back. Suddenly, Chem Au’s meditative state ended. The world came rushing back, and he was reminded of his burning pain. And now there was a second hole in his chest.
Chem Au coughed up blood, but he was smiling. “Finally got you.”
Before Duan Gu could react, Chem Au dropped his shield and sword and grabbed onto the shaft of the spear, then pulled it deeper into his chest. Grinding pain minced through him, but he ignored it in order to bring Duan Gu closer to him.
Duan Gu couldn’t believe what he was seeing. Was his opponent actually pulling the spear deeper into himself? Such a sight shocked him so much that he failed to run away or even let go of the spear before Chem Au reached out and grabbed him by the shoulder.
Chem Au grinned an evil grin. Gathering all the pain and misery he had suffered in this match, he tightened his fist and punched Duan Gu in the face.
Duan Gu flew backwards in a straight line, blood sputtering from his nose, until he landed on the far end of the stage. When his body hit the ground, he continued to roll and tumble until he finally stopped by the audience’s feet.
He didn’t get back up.
It was only then, after seeing his opponent on the ground, that Chem Au finally collapsed on his knees, the spear still punctured through his chest and sticking out of his back. But despite the pain he must have been going through, he still didn’t lose consciousness, so he was declared the winner.
At that moment, Chem Al rushed up on stage with his bag of medical supplies. It was time again to uphold the reputation of The First Alchemist.