AOH – Chapter 116

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CHAPTER 116: OPEN YOUR EYES

He arrived at the top with a thud. Arial look back at the bottom. He still can see many of the martial arts school in the bottom.

No doubt they will be brought to this peak with their elders and teachers. After all, not all disciples know lightness technique.

Mostly the junior disciple will need their senior help. Since Arial is alone, he doesn’t need to care for others or help anyone to reach the second peak.

And honestly his heart is still boiling after getting insulted like that. Since he lives his second life, he is rarely ever been insulted.

So, such treatment is….unusual for him.

The moment Arial reach the second peak he could see boulders of stone, hundreds maybe thousand round stone, rectangle stone all undoubtedly were carved with great precision.

Some are stacked like towers while some are stuck in some cave entrance.

But Arial know why the round stone seem to be so beautiful. It is a sign someone use these stones as a practice to either increase precision in attack or using internal energy to sculpt these stones into such perfect shape.

If Arial instinct is correct then mostly these are an expert work. Though Arial didn’t know which expert is capable to do this.

Arial knows that while these stone seem to be cut from a chisel, Arial had a nagging suspicion that these stone is cut using the expert bare hand.

Imagine the power he has to use, the accuracy, the patience and the concentration it took the expert to do this impossible task.

Arial could understand why it is called the Stone Peak. Arial sense a presence behind him and he turn his head to see the green silhouette behind him.

Batrisya is behind him. She is smiling and look a bit puzzled.

‘It seems you have reached here first. Undoubtedly the rest of the school will follow in a while’

Batrisya say as she looks at the bottom. She could see the rest of the sect is climbing to this peak, while some elders run upwards bringing their disciples. Then she looks back at Arial and gives him some advice.

‘It is wise for you to choose one of the caves as your place to rest since the battle will be held tomorrow in that area. In a way, it is good you came here first since you can choose first.’

She pointed to a bridge heading to some forest.

‘There is an arena there, suitable for battle, created by my teacher. It could hold all of the spectators. When your name is called please enter or you will be disqualified.’

Arial nodded and cupped his hand.

‘Thanks for the guidance.’

Arial may be angry at those people that underestimate his school but he has no offense against this person. Why make enemies?

‘My pleasure. And do not worry if that Abbess will retaliate. After all, your safety is guaranteed. Of course outside the battle it is guaranteed. On the battle arena, either you die or live depends on the victor.’

Arial nodded.

‘Easy, then I just have to win.’

‘That is very confident of you. Experts that enter this tournament are not so weak for you to make such boastful statement.’

‘I just state the truth.’

Batrisya stared at him and she sighed.

‘Fine. I just hope your ability will be able to prove that. And be careful not to offend too much people. From what I hear of your reputation you are very strong in will and strength, and you rarely surrender or give in to other people, but there is wisdom in backing down too.’

Arial just grin.

‘Is that so?’ She just shakes her head.

Then she jump again to one of the cliff and began once again climbing, running with incredible speed , jumping with incredible height by relying on the force of her feet, leaving a hole to the clean surface of the mountain hill, in which she make her footholds.

To anyone else she may look like she is flying.

She must have gone to Heaven Peak to report this to her teacher. Arial mused. So in a way she is the supervisor. Reporting everything to the 4 Immortals. ‘Hubris’ Arial said when he thinks of the 4 Immortals. What do they think they are? Gods?

Arial pick one cave and then using one of his sword to carve his name onto the cave entrance.

He then enters the cave and then he began to train. He stands resolutely, take a breath and clear his mind and his anger and he begins his training. Today he did not enter the Scape.

He unsheathes his sword and begins practicing swordplay without imbuing the weapon internal energy.

Slowly he distributes his internal energy into the weapon and his attack becomes faster, flurry like a flashing light in the dark caves.

The cave wall becomes Arial victim.

Stony surfaces become lean, scratched with Arial strike. One of the problems that Arial had is the distribution of internal energy.

When he was a child he remembered, every sword he use shatter. At first he thought that he is too strong, that only Enochian blade can withstand his internal energy.

He is not wrong but neither he is right.

After all even the 4 Immortals have massive internal energy but why did their weapon not shatter?

Arial finally understand his problem. He does not understand the distribution of internal energy.

He always put too much. You don’t have to put too much internal energy into the weapon. Arial always put everything in his weapon like a broken dam, that always releasing water, without stopping.

And because of that Arial has a misconception that only a legendary sword can contain his energy.

If not for the pointers he received in Linzi, he might still live with that notion, believing himself unable to wield normal weapon.

Instead he only has to release the strongest power when it’s necessary.

Arial understand this when he learns the Channel in the body, one of the profound book of Linzi Temple.

Arial realize he still have many to learn.

Equal distribution and then when necessary release the explosive power in the tip, or the edge of the sword to give the enemy a hard time and not to mention being one with the weapon.

Of course with Enochian Blade Arial didn’t have to hold back but he also know that he uses it recklessly.

How many or how long can he keep fighting if he does not conserve his internal energy? Cultivation he understands.

Conservation?

That he lack in many aspects. It is fortunate that Arial has an amount of internal energy that enables him to do such incredible feats.

It is incredible enough he have defeated many experts in his teenage years with broken understanding.

If not for his extraordinary amount of internal energy he may have die a long time ago. Even Heaven help him.

Sometime he has this thought. Did Heaven help him? Or is it something else? For some reason, Arial believe that finding the seals in the basement of that Secret Library is not purely by chance.

For some reason, he had this nagging suspicion that there is something else. That all that happens is not purely by chance.

That there is some forces in this world that want him to find that seal. Of course in this second life, the seals are not recreated.

Arial confirm it. After all the seal last time was created as a sign of the last desperation of humanity.

A last desperate action. Even till these days Arial could not believe how lucky he was to see that seal and understand it in time to activate it.

Is it just coincidence? Fate? Destiny? Or something else? Sometimes these thought plaque Arial mind.

However there is something else he also thought about. If the seal is not created how could he still be here?

How could he still remember? Did he really travel through time? Or is it something else? A paradox?

How could he still remember? If traveling through time is deemed impossible why did he succeed?

What is special about him? Now he is special. But before? He was nothing but a coward, a normal person, living day by day, hoping to survive, and living in a world that have no mercy.

All this and more. He could not help but ask question. Arial understand something in his long years of living.

Sometimes, just sometimes, the question is more important than the answer. Then realizing he is not paying attention to his training Arial once again focused back his attention to the task at hand.

Arial also knows that there is inner skill and martial skill. Inner skill means internal energy skill and martial skill mean external attack.

Arial know he mostly excel in inner skill instead of external. But he could not be greedy. It’s not like he wanted to learn all the skill in the world.

But to let himself be weak? No, that is unforgivable. He knows the feeling of the weak. There is no excuse for him now to become weak again.

He has been born and raised by one of the most powerful family in the continent, even though that family rise is mostly Arial doing, but still.

He has been given advantages he is not been given in his past life. He was weak. Now he is strong.

And to let himself being weak again? Out of the question. But Arial also understand why he is weak.

In a way it is his enlightenment. The reason he is weak is not because he was lazy in his past life.

It was not because he did not come from a rich family. It is not because his parents die. It is hopelessness.

The absence of hope in a dark and cruel world. Where the strong oppress the weak. If there was a sliver of hope, a light to shine the way, Arial might have the strength to fight in that last battle in Renasia.

Maybe he would have come out from the Library, and hand the secret manuals and the weapons he found in the basement to the Human Army but he did not.

Because he had no hope. He found no hope in that world. There is nothing worth preserving anymore during that time.

He has no one to live for. No one to fight for. No one to love. No one to make it all…..worth it.

If he had found these in his first life, if he has even any of that, people to love, people to fight for, maybe he wouldn’t have run.

Hope makes you stronger. Arial admitted. More than fear. Hope is stronger than fear. It doesn’t make you weak.

It always makes you stronger, tempered with patience. Because hope is a possibility. A possibility where things will be better.

And that possibility makes the dark and cold world bearable. It is for that reason Arial was weak before.

He has lost hope.

Never again. He promised during his days making sure that the Demon Army never cross that Wall. And now the future is changed.

Everything has changed. He has someone to love. Things to protect. People that makes all this….worth it.

Arial keep practicing the swordplay even though he could already hear the chattering conversation outside.

It seems the other schools have arrived. From their footsteps it seems they also searching for a cave.

Someone stumble into Arial cave but looking at the name carved outside on the cave entrance that person quickly run along and finds another cave to inhabit.

By now most school have been acquainted with the rules. Most of them also began training.

Arial did not practice Imposing Presence today, only swordplay. When night came, Arial sit cross legged, open his knapsack, brought out a few food he gather in the forest and eat it.

Arial then stand up and lean on the cave entrance looking at the stars. For some reason Arial could not take his eyes off the glittering stars that is twinkling in the night sky.

‘I miss you’ he mutters under his breath.

‘Every day, I’m missing you’ he said as he looked at the twinkling star.

“If I could sing you a love song, Elvenan. I still remember that eyes that looked at mine. How you hit me with laugh when I least expect it. It never gets easier, missing you. And sometimes I wonder if it ever will.”

Arial close his eyes and he enter the scape. In the real world he is seen leaning on the cave entrance shutting his eyes.

But in the Scape Velamina is in front of him, sitting in the Plains with a wine on her hand, with that mischievous smile and her lively green eyes.

‘I look at you several times a day enduring this pain. I want to hug you.’

Arial look at the memories, reminiscing, looking at the simulated day when he and Velamina on the Plains.

‘I miss it. Kissing you. Hugging you. But why is my tear falling today?’

The visage of her smiling brightly is burn inside his head is such a powerful image that Arial could never cast it off.

He blames her before. Not anymore.

‘Return to me’ he pray.

When someone you love leave, and you’re not expecting it, you don’t lose her all at once; you lose her in pieces over a long time.

Her scent fades, her touch forgotten, her quirks become blurry in the images of your mind. Day by day, weeks by weeks, you accumulate the parts of her that are gone.

Just when the day comes, when there’s a particular missing part that overwhelms you with the feeling that she’s gone, there comes another day, and another specifically missing part.

And feeling this Arial is choked with a feeling of longing, seeing the stars in the skies.

Looking at Velamina, Arial look again at this image of her, this beautiful image of her forever embedded in his mind, replayed a thousand times in his mind.

Everything about her, no matter how hard he try, no matter how he struggle he could not forget her.

And then he opens his eyes. Tears are in his eyes. Looking at the stars he wiped his tear and return to the cave and sleep.

*************************************************************************

In the morning Arial is still practicing. Most of the cave surface is scratched and some bore holes.

Arial is mastering the idea of distribution of energy.

Sometimes he releases it at the tip. Sometimes at the edge. Sometimes at the back. Combining inner skill with swordsmanship.

Then his ear picks up the voice. Batrisya. The tournament is beginning. He heard the announcement. Sun Moon Sect is fighting the Blinding Sword Sect.

Arial smile and shakes his head.

“Train’ he said to himself.

Arial is not interested in their fight. Then about an hour, their battle concluded. Arial with enhanced hearing can hear pretty well even though he is in the cave.

Then Yilin began fighting Taojing. The result is Monk Sigrid from Yilin won. It is something that Arial expected. After all with Yilin reputation, there is no way it will lose to some new sect.

Even though Taojing has long been around, compared to Yilin, they are but a child.

Then from outside Batrisya announced Two Bladed Sect Aeri will fight against House of Knives Eain.

Arial grin and sheathe back his sword.

‘Now this is interesting’ he said to himself.

He take a breathe and release his breath, relaxing his tense muscle and his focus sweep across the Peak, his ear hearing the most faint noises, his nose smell even the most faintest smell and his sense spread out all across the forest, the water and the jubilant atmosphere around the arena and then with opening his eyes, the feeling, the smell, sound disappear in a second.

‘So that is how it is’

He began walking to the entrance and see that around the area is empty. They all must be at the arena. Arial mused

Arial quickly jump around the hills and with his lightness skill, he rushed to go to the arena. He reached the bridge and finally he arrived at the Arena.

There is a gigantic statue of a Giant in the entrance of the arena. The moment Arial arrive the school stirred.

Arial after all, insult the Abbes of Ermeishan yesterday. The fact he is a junior and insults his senior is not view well in the martial art world.

But Arial on the other hand is confident of his strength. So many of the disciple of Ermeishan look at him with contempt while some school lauded Arial bravery.

‘Teacher let me dispatch him’ one of the female disciples said unsheathing her sword, ready to attack Arial.

The Abbess stays her disciple hand.

‘We will settle the insult in the arena’ the Abbess said.

‘There is no need to offend the Western Serpent because of a young boy.’ The Abbess advised her disciple.

The disciple move back and sheathe back her sword. But honestly? The Abbess believes that Arial is not her match but it is not like the Abbess doesn’t know who Arial is.

He is a lord, with an army rivaling any great kingdoms. She is not like the 4 Immortals that are confident on taking an army by herself.

While she views Arial disrespect of her as an insult to her personally, even she would not risk her sect safety.

Who knows what could happen if she offends the lord personally?

Even though Ermeishan is in Southern Tai, she knows how much influence the lord of Arrandy has there, and the resources he could employed.

So for now she exercises caution. But if Mu Liyun kills him in battle there will be no problem. She will also receive the 4 Immortals protection if Arial army retaliates.

She just needs to extract a promise from him never to hunt their sect before fighting, that is of course if Arial survive his fight with Nanshan Shu Ren Gui.

The Abbess doesn’t believe that Arial is powerful enough to fight with Shu Ren Gui. Arial could see Mu Liyun giving him the eye.

Arial then puff his chest. She just gritted her teeth.

‘After all in the martial art world, strong is right.’ One of the martial artists spoke in defense of the lord, seeing that the lord show no fear in his eyes, looking at the Abbess, his eye challenging

‘Maybe because he is strong’ a martial artist said offering an explanation.

‘Or maybe he is just stupid.’

Yet Arial ignored all of this chattering behind him. After all, everything will be make clear in the upcoming battle.

Arial cross his arm and look as the battle between two assassination schools begins.

‘Begin’

Batrisya yelled beginning the battle between Aeri and Eain. Aeri uses a blade while Eain used a knife.

They first circle each other looking at each other opening. Their eyes shine with a glint of murderous aura.

Most people when they are fighting will make some conversation but both of these two fighters is not talking.

Full concentration to the obstacle in front of them. They just stared at each other, their eyes, no doubt looking, analyzing weak spot on their opponent bodies.

Then with a slight grin on both of these two fighters they clashed with a clang of two different types of weapons as sparks fly and the arena rang with their clash.

Arial smile.

Arial type of weapon has always been a sword and a glaive. So he is curios of knives technique and most importantly Blade technique of an assassin who is reputed to use stealth in their attacks.

Aeri uses blade technique while Eain uses Knife technique.

Flying knives is thrown to Aeri with incredible speed, all of the knives originating from spot Arial could never even imagine.

Some were thrown when Eain flutter his sleeve. Some when he is crouching, taking it from his leg, a leg strap with dozens of knives.

Aeri deftly dodge all that with great agility, dodging left and right, ducking down, crouching, and then when he spotted a chance he go on the offensive trying to slash Eain neck while Eain sidesteps to his left and duck down and try to cleave Aeri neck with his big knive.

‘Oh that is close’ one said.

They are fast another chimed in.

‘This is the battle of an assassin. Nimble footwork, hidden weapons and fast attack’ Demon eye Zheng give his commentary.

Arial nodded. He then turned back to look at the battle.

Aeri manage to use his lightness skill to get out of that crisis but there is some scratch on his neck.

Blood can be seen flowing from that scratch. He grins a little.

The crowd is concentrating on the battle as they look with open eyes, not wanting to miss even a moment. A few second late and he would lose his head.

‘Such cruelty’ the Yilin Temple disciples said. Yilin it seems does not afraid of the Renasian sect very much.

‘Hahaha. Dodging and striking. Beautiful.’ one drunk said looking at the battle.

‘Drunk Jean, don’t yell so hard’ some laughed.

‘Hahaha…I am complimenting the battle. What does it matter to you?’ and he laughed. The others followed, even Demon eyed Zheng.

This time both the fighter in the arena once again took position, circling each other again and in matter of second they clashed into a storm of flurried attack between these two.

In about 10 second they must have exchange 40 strikes against each other. All the Junior disciple could see is some flashes and all they could her is the sound of the blade and knives clashing.

Arial on the other hand could see it clearly.

‘What a prodigious skill in speed technique.’ Arial said.

Both of them is like lightning, dodging, striking, slashing, cleaving with both of them not giving an inch to their competitor.

‘This is a very high level battle’ the Abbess said.

Arial ears perked up.

‘True’ Arial have to admit.

Only high level expert can enjoy this battle to the fullest. Aeri jump back ward when he try to dodge another of Eain attack when he spotted the round stone and with one kick the stone flew to Eain.

Some gasped. Who would have thought that this thin assassin could have such strength?

Eain who is shocked by Aeri strength did not have enough time to response and instead of dodging he used his sect technique Splitting Sky technique and the stone is slice to two but Arial already know the decision.

Aeri turn to a shadowy like figure and with incredible speed he stab Eain head, creating a hole in the forehead of Eain.

With one flick of his wrist, Eain head explode to smithereens. Blood is like a raining day, filling the arena with dot of blood.

‘So that is the Dark Blade technique’ Shu Ren Gui said.

One of the Sun Moon Sect who heard this ask

‘Senior Shu, please tell us, what is that technique?’

‘Dark Blade technique is one of the secret techniques of Two Bladed Sect. Even I do not have such extensive knowledge on it but one could say that under the influence of that technique for about 3 second the user will be imbued with an almost godlike speed.’

Arial nodded secretly. He has to admit it. That when Aeri use that technique, even Arial could not see him.

But Arial believe such technique must have some restriction. After all, if it can be used every time, why not used it every time?

It must harm the body to always use the technique so that must be why it is restricted to three second.

None of the martial artist is very shocked that Aeri killed his opponent. After all both of them came from an Assassination school.

This is a norm for them. If they do not die here, they will die someplace else. But if Aeri fight one of the righteous sect, Arial believe he will be more hesitant to kill.

After all the Righteous sect is very vengeful. It can turn into a blood feud between schools. And most school of the righteous sect will force their opponent to surrender.

This is the norm.

Arial seeing this, is satisfied.

‘So that is how to execute Dark blade technique.’ He grins as he open his eyes.

He understands it. The intricacies of the technique, the inner skill employed in the foot, and the trajectory of the force when Aeri dashed for his enemy vital organs.

Arial could not see this before.

Only after he change his heart with the dragon, he could see the subtle changes in energy, the force employed, and during the battle Arial use this ability to capture the moment of Aeri using the Dark blade technique onto his memory.

Then closing his eyes, he open his Scape and with that a scene of the fight emerged but this time Arial slow it, so slow Arial could even see the tiniest movement that Aeri made.

It is a terrifying abilities Arial received from the dragon.

With this ability, with Arial deep understanding of internal energy, he can copied anyone technique when he see it and commit it to his memory.

After all his foundation of technique springs from the sea of creation, referring to Levitia, as he is also called the sea of creation of martial arts.

Arial after seeing this battle without caring for anyone exited the arena and once again went back to his cave after seeing the battle and gaining some insights.

He will wait his name called and then he will fight Shu Ren Gui but for now he needs to train again.

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