Return of Mount Hua Sect (Novel) Chapter 1675

C1675. Isn't this the situation you expected? (5)

The shadows of the hands covered the entire world.

It was as if he had fallen alone in the middle of a vast stormy ocean. The moment a huge wave loomed over him, his life would end without being able to do anything about it.

Overwhelming despair.

But Heo Gong stood firm in the midst of that terrifying vision, stabilizing his wavering mind.

'It's an illusion.'

In the end, an illusion is just something that deceives and confuses people. As impressive as it may be, an illusion can never really hurt a person.

What he had to do was find the real attack hidden behind that illusion.

It might not have been such a difficult task.

Wudang's technique is a pure martial art that dismantles all the evil in the world. A martial art that is completely opposite to that of the Evil Faction.

Tang!

Indeed, his Pine Pattern Ancient Sword precisely struck the hand of the Thousand-Faced Gentleman hidden among the shadows.

But that hand, barely withdrawn, unleashed countless shadows again. As if water were refilling the space left by a rock falling into a lake.

An endless repetition.

His sword could pierce the real hand hidden in the illusion, and his eyes could find the one truth among many lies.

But the problem was that this wasn't a single decisive battle.

If at any moment he lost sight of the real hand amidst the illusions, the blow would accumulate on Heo Gong's body.

Pak!

Just like now...

Crack.

Heo Gong bit his lips until they bled.

Among dozens of attacks, he had failed to identify the real hand just once. That one hand he had failed to block now struck his chest, infusing him with a malignant energy.

He wondered if being burned with a red-hot iron would be as painful as this.

But more than the pain, what tortured Heo Gong was the tedium... no, the fear of this endless repetition.

Pak!

Had that momentary hesitation shaken his reason?

The illusions he had failed to identify struck his shoulder and thigh in rapid succession.

"Ugh!"

Unconsciously, Heo Gong took a step back. He knew that the more he retreated, the more the range of movement of the enemies climbing the cliff expanded, but he couldn't help it.

The pain surging from the struck areas was persistent but "weak."

Although Heo Gong's defensive energy was pure, he couldn't have survived unscathed from direct blows of that caliber.

However, the struck areas seemed as if they had been attacked in a friendly duel, not lethal.

That meant even the real attacks didn't contain much force. If the illusionary attacks were mere empty shells, how to call these almost powerless attacks?

How to distinguish the real from the fake?

Heo Gong was trapped in that dilemma. In the ambiguous distinction between truth and falsehood, between reality and illusion.

"You seem frustrated."

At that moment, the swirling energy disappeared as if it had never existed, and the Thousand-Faced Gentleman appeared with his hands behind his back, looking relaxed.

To others, it might seem arrogant, but to Heo Gong, it looked different. It was an action that demonstrated meticulousness in not showing even the small scars etched on his hand during the exchange of blows.

That meticulousness made Heo Gong's heart grow cold.

"You have great sword skills. I must admit. As expected of Wudang."

“......”

"But... you've been on the mountain too long."

Crack.

Heo Gong ground his teeth and asked.

"Do you have no intention of fighting fairly?"

"What could be fairer than this? I attack the enemy's weakness with my strength. I use any means to secure victory. That's what I consider fair."

“......”

"You should feel honored. The fact that I'm trying so hard means I recognize you."

Heo Gong took a deep breath.

If this were really a fair one-on-one duel, Heo Gong wouldn't be in a hurry. But it wasn't. He needed to defeat his opponent quickly and stop those climbing the cliff.

From the beginning, the balance was tilted in favor of the enemy. Could Heo Gong make that balance tilt in his favor again?

Heo Gong clenched his teeth and gripped his sword tightly.

'It's not about whether I can do it. I must do it.'

In the past, he would have denied it was possible. Forcing something beyond his abilities would be foolish and lead to ruin. But now, Heo Gong knew there were things he had to do, regardless of whether he had enough skill or not.

He only regretted not learning this earlier.

Ssst.

Heo Gong slowly moved forward. The Thousand-Faced Gentleman narrowed his eyes.

"How impatient."

For the Thousand-Faced Gentleman, there was no rush to continue this relaxed conversation. If he joined those climbing the cliff, he could cut off Heo Gong's head without much effort.

But Heo Gong's situation was completely different.

"Are you going to keep repeating the same thing? You should know by now that your sword can't pierce my energy."

Heo Gong smiled faintly.

He wasn't wrong. Wudang's technique is one of waiting, waiting for the opponent's mistake. Although he could identify the real hand, if the opponent didn't hurry, he could only prolong the fight.

But...

"I learned something else."

In that unforgettable duel.

Taat!

Heo Gong lunged at the Thousand-Faced Gentleman.

"It's not the sword technique that matters!"

Whoosh!

At that moment, the shadows of the Thousand-Faced Gentleman exploded forward. The view instantly blurred. But, unlike his previous responses, Heo Gong raised his sword behind his head.

Then, he lowered it.

Pang!

The black and white energy spinning in his sword spread like a whirlwind.

The shadows of the Thousand-Faced Gentleman, stretching across the world in a blinding white, disintegrated like illusions when meeting the powerful energy of the sword.

He didn't distinguish between reality and illusion. If he destroyed both the real and the illusory, the distinction became irrelevant.

The Taiji Wisdom Sword, said to contain all the wisdom and harmony of the world, unfolded as aggressively as if it were a sword from the Evil Faction.

“Eh?”

The Thousand-Faced Gentleman, surprised by the aggressiveness, stepped back with an alarmed expression. Seizing this opportunity, Heo Gong gritted his teeth and charged after him.

Paf! Paf!

The remnants of the undispersed shadows struck his body, but it didn't matter. After all, they were attacks without real force.

"You won't escape."

The sword launched again like a bolt of lightning. In an instant, the Thousand-Faced Gentleman, with a cold look, vanished from his position.

This man, known as the best in the Evil Faction and also the fastest, wasn't easy to follow with the eyes. However, Heo Gong was also formidable.

Paat!

Heo Gong's sword abruptly changed direction and sliced through the air above his head.

Ssshk!

He felt nothing, but the sound of something being cut was unmistakable.

Paf!

At the same time, a sharp pain pierced his back.

It was inevitable to create an opening when forcibly turning his body. Moreover, without the determination to accept wounds, it was impossible to capture his enemy.

"Haaap!"

With a shout, Heo Gong expelled the blood from his mouth as he raised his sword. Two energies converged at the tip of his sword, and then, the blade descended.

Kwaaang!

The tremendous energy broke the rocky surface, uprooting several pines before stopping on the mountainside. Leaving large scars in its wake.

"Huff!"

Heo Gong breathed heavily.

Moments later, the Thousand-Faced Gentleman appeared, descending to the ground. His eyes were somber.

Looking sideways, he saw a small wound on his calf. It seemed like a superficial scratch, but the wound had cut at least half a chi of muscle.

The Thousand-Faced Gentleman's hand trembled slightly.

A leg wound is different from a hand wound. While the hand is a tool to mock the enemy, the leg is essential for survival. It was like a lifeline.

The recent wound had touched that lifeline.

"I didn't know Wudang was such an aggressive sect."

The Thousand-Faced Gentleman murmured, and Heo Gong exhaled deeply.

This wasn't traditional Wudang technique. Using a deviated technique required more than twice the energy. Manipulating the Taiji Wisdom Sword this way was madness, especially given its high energy demand.

No wonder his shoulders were heaving with just two attacks. This wasn't what Wudang's sword intended.

But Heo Gong also knew.

"The sword is just a sword."

"Hm?"

"What's important is that I'm a Taoist of Wudang, not how I handle the sword."

Heo Gong's exhausted face twisted into an expression that could be a smile or a gesture of frustration.

"There was someone who used a sword like that of the Evil Faction... and yet was more Taoist than anyone."

“......”

"The sword is just a tool to realize my will. If I used the same sword in all situations, I'd become someone dragged by that sword."

"Your theories about the sword would be better received by your disciples. Ah, that is, if your disciples survive this war."

"It seems you've realized how hard it is to kill me. That's why you talk like that."

"...your tongue has become sharper."

The Thousand-Faced Gentleman smiled. Heo Gong gripped his sword tightly again.

He didn't need to complain about unfairness. If his enemy didn't fight the way he wanted, then he would guide the battle on his own terms. That detestable man would probably say the same.

It's ironic.

Reaching the pinnacle of swordsmanship meant despising the sword more than anyone else.

"Is it the law of extremes?"

Heo Gong pushed his thumb forcefully into the ground.

There was no certainty that it was the right choice. But at least he knew being dragged along like before was the wrong choice.

He had to try something. He couldn't wait helplessly for defeat.

"Mmm..."

Heo Gong was about to launch himself again when the Thousand-Faced Gentleman glanced sideways and spoke.

"It seems... the situation won't resolve with just your efforts."

"What?"

Then, Heo Gong saw it clearly too.

His comrades, who had gone to block the slope, were climbing back up.

"Sasuk!"

"We can't hold them off any longer!"

Heo Gong's eyes widened as much as they could.

His comrades, exhausted and wounded, were trying to reform their line at the top of White Cliff. The situation looked dire.

Would they abandon this peak?

In front of so many enemies?

Did they know what it meant to give up the slope?

Thousands of thoughts crossed his mind, but at that moment, he couldn't do anything. The determination that filled his eyes faded like the tide, replaced by a feeling of helplessness. He looked at the Thousand-Faced Gentleman.

The latter, with a mocking smile, spoke kindly.

"This is war."

“……”

"It's time to end this. They won't remember your name, so die with resentment."

Finally, despair reflected on Heo Gong's face.

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