The Human Emperor - Chapter 83: Spectre Steps
Wang Chong’s previous action of tossing sleeping gas pellets has already left her wary. Despite her skills and courage, she subconsciously backed away. At the same time, her palm struck out and with incredible might, she warded off the ‘hidden weapons’ in midair.
“He got me again!”
Upon realizing that nothing happened with those ‘hidden weapons’ that he shot out, the assassin was incensed. She was already outwitted once when Wang Chong presented her with the Wootz steel sword just a moment ago, and this time, she was deceived yet again with the antidote of the sleeping gas pellet. How could the black-clothed female assassin tolerate such humiliation?
Wang Chong’s martial arts meant nothing to her, but yet, he was slippery as though a loach.
“If I were to allow you to escape from me, I should just kill myself now!”
Seeing that Wang Chong was about to leap out of the window as though a cat, the female assassin swiftly threw 3 one chi long daggers straight toward the window, sealing Wang Chong’s path of escape.
(one chi -> 33.3cm)
If Wang Chong were to charge out forcefully, he would surely be struck by those daggers.
At the same moment, the female assassin’s body blurred. Her speed abruptly increased several folds, and countless distorted and blurred shadows appeared in midair. Reminiscent of a spectre flitting through space, she immediately caught up with Wang Chong.
Her sword tore through the darkness, falling straight toward Wang Chong’s neck.
Wang Chong was taken aback. He finally understood how she managed to avoid the sentries and bypass Arloja and the other experts’ detection.
Since it was impossible to escape through the window, Wang Chong immediately huddled his body with a ‘Dragon Coiling its Body’ to stop his movement. At the same time, he executed the Celestial Steps and counterattacked with his Wootz steel sword!
The crisp sound of metal echoed in the darkness. In a split moment, the female assassin’s sword was cut into two. The sharp sword tore through the other party’s sleeves, leaving behind a narrow wound on the other party’s white arms.
Before Wang Chong could dismember the other party, peng! An arm struck Wang Chong’s chest, and the massive strength sent Wang Chong flying backward. He crashed heavily into the wall and spurted a mouthful of blood. Severely wounded, his face was pale as a sheet of paper.
“What a sharp sword!”
In the darkness, the female assassin raised her arm to look at the faint cut on her arm. Her gaze fell upon the Wootz steel sword in Wang Chong’s hands and a hint of fear flickered across her eyes:
“I’ve heard that the number one swordsmith in the world has appeared in Great Tang, but I’ve never believed that rumor. Seems like you’re the one. ——Let me ask you, are you able to craft this sword?”
The female assassin flicked her wrist, and a xuan paper appeared in her hands. On it was the 7 chi long narrow sword which Wang Chong drew a moment ago.
After an intense fight, the female assassin didn’t continue to pursue Wang Chong. Instead, she asked about the seemingly unimportant blueprint instead. If it was anyone else, they would have definitely found the sight inconceivable.
But that wasn’t the case for Wang Chong.
Looking at the three cone-shaped daggers, Wang Chong’s mind was in turmoil.
“This must be fate!”
Wang Chong sighed.
Such a unique weapon didn’t exist in the Central Plains. In fact, in the entire continent, be it the Charax Spasinu or the Abbasid Caliphate, no one used this kind of hidden weapon.
Based on Wang Chong’s memories, only the people from a certain place would use this kind of hidden weapon. In another time-space continuum, that place was known as Japan. In this world, it was known as Ten Eastern Islands. They were ten islands in the seas of the East, and it was a land governed by a female monarchy. It was a country centered around martial arts, and martial artists were highly respected.
Wang Chong didn’t expect that the 7 chi narrow sword which he modeled based on the Japanese katana would attract the female assassin from the Eastern Islands which was at the exact same location as Japan in the other world.
It was as though the doing of fate!
This was probably the reason why she didn’t immediately kill Wang Chong the moment he walked in.
Even though Wang Chong’s mind was filled with thoughts, his reply was without hesitation.
Upon hearing Wang Chong’s reply, the female assassin stared at Wang Chong intently. Complex emotions flickered in her eyes, but soon, she reverted back to her icy-cold front.
“The longer a sword is, the easier it is to break in the midst of a battle. Even if you try to Your sword is 7 chi long, and that is already around the height of a human. Such a sword would break easily. On the other hand, if you try to harden it, it will just make it more brittle. How do you intend to overcome this problem?”
The female assassin’s voice was calm, but Wang Chong could sense icy killing intent from it. It seemed as though that if she sensed the slightest falsehood in Wang Chong’s words, her blade would immediately come crashing down on him.
Even so, Wang Chong didn’t panic.
“Hahaha, regardless of whether you believe it or not, if I say that I am able to, then I am surely able to!”
Wang Chong laughed heartily. Confidence exuded in his complexion.
The longer a sword was, the more fragile it was. This was the greatest problem one faced when crafting a long sword. It wasn’t like no one has thought of crafting a long blade before Wang Chong, but putting aside the issue surrounding the weight of the weapon, no one has been able to overcome the problem of the frailty of the sword.
Just like the female assassin said, it was likely for that sword to break in the midst of combat, and hardening it would just make the sword more brittle. If Wang Chong didn’t resolve this issue, crafting a long sword would just be a pointless act.
However, this issue wasn’t a problem for Wang Chong.
Wang Chong knew of a unique forging method which could avoid such a situation. This forging method was known as ‘heat treatment’. This could raise the resilience of a weapon significantly. Coupled with a few other techniques in the crafting process, the problem could be resolved.
However, Wang Chong wouldn’t tell this to the female assassin.
Currently, in this world, other than Wang Chong, no one knew of such a forging technique, needless to say, forge a long sword. This was a forging technique unique to Wang Chong only.
If Wang Chong wasn’t confident, he wouldn’t have designed this kind of 7 chi long narrow blade!
The black-clothed female assassin stared intently at Wang Chong, seemingly wanting to see through his guts to see if he was lying. Wang Chong returned her stare, not averting her gaze at all.
“Hmph! Then, the number one swordsmith in the world, I would have to trouble you to follow me. As long as you craft such a weapon for me, I might just give you a painless death. ——Don’t try to retaliate, and don’t try to scream as well. You won’t have the chance to do so! This time, I only threw you against the wall. It won’t be as simple as that the next time!”
The female assassin spoke as she lifted the broken sword in her right hand. At the same time, she stretched out her left hand, and three cone-shaped daggers were grabbed between her fingers. She seemed to be determined to kidnap Wang Chong to forge a sword for her.
Even though Wang Chong severed her sword into two, the female assassin wasn’t worried at all. Wang Chong was already severely injured by that palm strike of hers. Even at his peak, he wasn’t a match for her, needless to say, in his present condition.
Even that broken sword was more than sufficient for her to subdue him.
With light footsteps, the female assassin slowly walked toward Wang Chong. Her footsteps were light but determined, and it was as though she has determined that Wang Chong was a prey in her grasp.
“Heh, don’t you know that you aren’t far from death anymore? To think that you would be thinking of having me forge a sword for you.”
Sitting on the floor, Wang Chong suddenly chuckled.
“There’s no need to waste your effort. Do you think that I will believe your words?”
The female assassin mocked. Her footsteps didn’t slow in the slightest, and with each movement, she gradually approached Wang Chong.
“Heh, I knew you would react in this way. If I’m not wrong, the technique you practice should be the Spectre Steps!”
Laughing heartily, Wang Chong spoke.
Just a moment, the female assassin was mocking Wang Chong. However, upon hearing the words ‘Spectre Steps’, her body shuddered and came to a stop.
“The Spectre Steps allow you to tread through the darkness swiftly as though an apparition. You probably used this technique to sneak into my study. I don’t know where you learned the Spectre Steps from, but do you know that the Spectre Steps is actually incompatible with most cultivation techniques? The greater your mastery of this technique, the closer you are to death.”
“You already have a foot in the grave, yet you are still working for others to kidnap me to craft a sword. How hilarious!”
The ridicule in Wang Chong’s eyes was clear. He stared at the female assassin from the Eastern Islands as if he was looking at a corpse.
The Great Tang was rich and powerful. Like a magnet, it attracted numerous powers and tribes from around the world.
Under the seemingly peaceful surface of the Great Tang capital, countless powers were hidden in the shadows. This female assassin of the Eastern Islands clearly belonged to one of them.
In order to conceal her own identity and not incur anyone’s doubt, she joined one of these powers and learned a set of assassination techniques.
The Spectre Steps may be powerful, but it has a fatal flaw.
Regardless of which organization it was that accepted her, it was clear that they didn’t intend for her to live for long.
“You’re spouting nonsense!”
The face of the Eastern Islands female assassin turned cold, and the killing intent in the air suddenly grew much stronger. The temperature in the room dipped, and Wang Chong felt as though he was locked in an ice vault.
The aura the Eastern Islands female assassin emanated abruptly changed. Not only was it significantly more powerful than before, it felt sharp, just like the edge of a sword.
Wang Chong’s conjecture was spot-on. This female assassin has hidden her true skills. Her expertise should lie in sabers.
“I am spouting nonsense? Why don’t you try driving your Origin Energy then? Drive it according to the cultivation method of the Spectre Steps, and propel them toward your zifu and danzhong. See if there’s an aching sensation in your juque and fengze acupoints!”
Leaning against the wall, Wang Chong sneered.
Even though the female assassin claimed that she didn’t believe Wang Chong, she subconsciously propelled her Origin Energy according to the method Wang Chong spoke of. Weng, dense dark aura immediately shot out from her body. In an instant, as though an apparition, the female assassin’s figure blurred, melding as one with the darkness.
But the next moment, with a groan, the dark aura scattered. The female assassin reappeared in the room. Her face was extremely pale, and cold sweat trickled from her body.
Those cold, impassive, and calm eyes swiftly glanced at Wang Chong. For the first time, fluster could be seen in them.
——Wang Chong’s words were true. As she propelled her Origin Energy through her zifu and danzhong, excruciating pain immediately struck her juque and fengze acupoints. The Origin Energy in her entire body almost dissipated entirely.
“This is a good opportunity!”
Right when the female assassin panicked, Wang Chong pushed his palm against the floor, propping himself up. Then, with a ‘Dragon Ascending the Clouds’, he abruptly flipped across the window, toward the outside…
Eastern Islands (dongying) is actually a real name which is used to refer to Japan in history. Actually, by Wu Zetian’s rule, Nippon (Japan, or otherwise known as 日本 in China) is already known as its current name.
[The Great Tang Dynasty (AD618-907) can be split into two. In the midst of the Tang Dynasty, Wu Zetian, a queen, crowned herself as empress regnant and established the Zhou Dynasty (AD690-705). Eventually, when she passed away, the Tang Dynasty resumed.]
Fun fact: Ze Tian Ji (Way of Choices) is likely to be named after Wu Zetian, and both empresses are rather similar in terms of character.
The one-inch long daggers should be kunais.