44- Surrounded (4)
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In case anyone is still wondering if this is a xianxia with all the system notices. Yeah, it still is.

Liu Xun advanced forward into the waves of lizardmen as he swung his ax around, smashing into each and every weak lizardman. Most of the ones he targetted were below the 3rd stage of qi gathering since he could easily finish them off in one blow. Those above would require extensive fights which would lead to him being swarmed. Thus, the black-robed youth stepped forth as he swung his ax. Crushing all the weaker foes while avoiding the stronger ones. The new system update was very useful in this scenario as it helped him to identify the weaker targets as well as notify him of any attackers from every direction in the proximity. It also allowed him to allow him to lock on to the target which was the white lizardman chieftess which appears to be attempting to avoid him as if guessing his intentions.

[Lizardman (Qi Stage 3) x2 is attacking from 9 o'clock (saber).]

[Lizardman (Qi Stage 3) is attacking from 2 o'clock (club).]

[Lizardman (Qi Stage 2) is attacking from 6 o'clock (claw).]

[Lizardman (Qi Stage 5) is attacking from 4 o'clock (claw).]

Basically two from the left, one from the right, one from behind, and a rather strong one from the back towards the right. It would be best to advance forth in the left diagonal direction to reduce the conflict with stronger foes. Meanwhile, looking at the surroundings.

System, area scan forward and detect the chieftess.

[Roger, area scanning using qi.]

This was another of the useful skills the Liu Xun had obtained since the system upgrade. It helps to detect all useful loot or enemies and allies in a certain radius set by the user. It was also rather cost-efficient only requiring him to use about 5 points of qi, yet the effects were massive. Using it once every few minutes would ensure that he was moving in the right direction without focusing his attention too much on when the lizardman chieftess has moved to.

Slashing through the weak 2nd and 3rd stage qi gathering lizardmen, the youth began to move deeper into the group of lizardmen. Many of the opponents in this area were all weak inexperienced lizardmen who were unsuited to battle. This allowed him to cause extensive damage without even suffering much for it. His stamina was depleting rapidly, but he now had a clear goal in mind. Gain leverage in battle by taking the chieftess hostage! Though the chieftess was probably an essence foundation lizardman, she had now been weakened to the 9th stage. This would make her an appropriate target and perhaps be able to stop the assault as she may have potential value to the chieftain who was causing the team so much trouble.

[Locating chieftess...chieftess is located. About 60 feet away at 2 o' clock, in between are 48 Lizardmen ranging from Unawakened to 4th stage qi gathering.]

[Current qi remaining 318/515.]

Alright, this is about 40 feet closer than before, I can close the gap!

Liu Xun thought out as he started to charge forward in a diagonally right direction.

Grahh! Grah! Graaaah!

Multiple lizardmen threw themselves forward selflessly as they were prepared to sacrifice themselves. Against this foe which had been mowing down their comrades, they were indeed very afraid. However, they have to protect the matriarch. They must sacrifice their life for the sake of the entire colony and prevent this intruder from approaching her. One unawakened. Two 2nd stage qi gathering. Many of such groups of lizardmen threw themselves forth to stop Liu Xun's way. The youth, however, could always efficiently dodge and avoid all of their sneak attacks and ambushes as if he had eyes on his back.

[Saber slashes(weak) incoming from the left.]

[Club attack(weak) from the right.]

This is too easy.

Liu Xun thought to himself as he swung his ax in response to the messages. One direct swing blew all threw weapons up into the air as all of the lizardmen were disarmed instantly. The confused lizardmen stood blankly in response to losing their weapons and stopped impeding him. Instead of stopping to finish them off, Liu Xun decided to move forward. He had one goal now, it was to reach the weakened chieftess and take her hostage! All other foes at the moment are just temporary distractions!

There she is!

Looking at the front, Liu Xun could see the visage of the white female lizardman that was adorned in fur garments that look slightly more resplendent than the other lizardmen. It was less than 10 feet away now! The white lizardman looked back nervously as she gripped her staff and decided to stop retreating. She began to chant some words as purple circles of incantations formed around her. Beside her, there was a relatively strong lizardman that was determined to protect the chieftess. It wielded a stone saber and a large wooden tower shield, probably a personal guard of the chieftess. It immediately stepped forth to prevent Liu Xun from advancing any further.

[Lizardman Defender (9 years) Power: Qi Stage 9 Rating: Moderate]

[Lizardman Chieftess (10 years) Power: Qi Stage 9 Rating: Moderate Status: Weakened]

These are two relatively strong foes for Liu Xun to manage by himself. But, he has to! The scenario calls for it since this could be the only advantage their group could capitalize in this scenario.

"Kishaaaaa......GURA!"

The lizardman defender roared out in a loud voice. All the surrounding lizardmen were surprised by his words and decided to step back. All of them then withdrew their weapons as they observed the duo who were looking tensely at each other. Even the lizardman chieftess was also surprised as she stopped chanting her spell.

Liu Xun was confused by this scenario. Why did they all suddenly back off, this is not advantageous for them at all. Looking forward, he could see the lizardman defender standing in front composedly, awaiting the youth's attack. Is this an official duel? Perhaps the beastmen aren't really just savages after all!

"If you are willing to respect a duel, then I won't target the rest as well."

It was uncertain if the lizardman understood his words. Yet, the reptilian beastman gave a light nod as it got into an offensive stance. There was a slight moment of suspense as both of them watched each other's moves. Liu Xun could feel the sweat travel down his cheeks as he looked at the defender carefully, awaiting any sudden moves. The dust that began to settle was then ruffled up once again.

Now!

Both of them then rushed towards each other. Liu Xun swung his ax from a downward position as he attempted an uppercut. This was the initiating move!

[Lizardman defender swings his saber upwards from the left (moderate).]

What a trick!

The lizardman was hiding his saber behind his tower shield! Still, the system message allowed Liu Xun to have an inkling of what move is coming. Thus, the youth confidently charged forth as he swung his ax forth with maximum momentum. Blue qi gushed deep into his ax as he began to swing his ax upward slightly earlier than expected.

Swoosh.

The youth then made a quick spin. A quick revolution as the ax spun around him, the ax was now slamming downwards as he slashed down with even greater momentum. He changed his move on that instant! It was better to meet the offensive attack than compete on whose attack was faster! He would not win the fight if they dealt equal damage after all.

GRAAAAH! CLAAAAAAAANG!

A loud roar came as the lizardman defender moved his tower shield away to deliver his upward swing. This blow was directly meeting Liu Xun's ax as the two weapons clashed with great momentum. A big spark occurred as the clash between the fifth stage human cultivator and 9th stage lizardman occurred. Despite Liu Xun using both hands, the quality of his qi was of lower quality. Therefore, he was just barely overpowered as he was launched upwards into the sky.

The lizardman defender smirked as it assumed that this was its chance for victory. It then swung its saber back as it prepared for another upward slash. The other lizardmen looked in amazement, while the chieftess looked with relative relief. The youth was finished in their opinion.

-

Meanwhile, Liu Xun was in midair. He could sort of predicted that he would have been overpowered even if he had all the momentum and weapon-wielding advantage. The cultivation realm gap was rather large after all! The difference between an early core formation and a mid-core formation would arguably be smaller than that of a middle qi gathering to peak qi gathering cultivator. It is the sheer proportion in quality and quantity difference since they were beginner cultivators that put him at such a disadvantage! Still, not all hope is lost! He had once countered the green spiders back then. He could do it again!

[Lizardman defender swings his saber upwards from the left again (moderate).]

Another uppercut huh! System, remaining qi.

[Remaining qi is 285/515].

Alright then, it is time to charge for that spin skill!

The youth thought out as he began to swing his body with his ax in midair. He planned to use his Tiding Storm Slashes skill again, this was the skill he used to fight the spiders from before. But this time he had the power of gravity, a higher cultivation base, and multiple more spins to create an even greater momentum.

Swoooooooosh.Wooooooooosh.Wooooooooosh.Wooooooooooosh.Wooooooooooosh.

The ax began to revolve around him again and again. One spin. Two spins. Three spins. Four spins. Then lastly, five spins. Each spin came with greater momentum and speed as the ax slowly approached its terminal velocity (as if something like that exists in my fiction, more power= faster, but basically the fastest Liu Xun could handle at the moment). The ax then slammed down onto the lizardman defender with enormous force!

The lizardman defender was rather surprised by the actions of the youth. It had already flung him up into the air, yet the youth was already preparing his next move! Still, it could not back then from this duel! It was the lizardman tribe's honor at stake here. It must fight to the death! The lizardman continued to swing its saber upwards as it intended to meet the blow against the youth.

CLLLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANGGGG!

A much greater spark happened this time as the two weapons and is clashed with each other with a much greater impact than before. The ground under the defender's feet began to crackle as the force pressed down greatly against him. Both sides were not willing to lose as they continued to wrestle for supremacy in this clash. Both the ax and saber roared out in anger as the friction between them continuously created sparks.

"I WON'T LOSE HERE!!!!!!!!"

"GUUUUUUURRRAAAA!!!!!"

Both of them roared out as they continually poured their qi and strength into the blow!

The stalemate continued that felt like an eternity was just barely a few seconds as adrenaline continually rushed into the two fighters. Both of them had blood-raged eyes as they poured theirs all into that blow!

-

Crack!

The weapon broke. Both Liu Xun and the lizardman were surprised. Looking at their weapons, both of them realized that the stone sword could not withhold the force of the blow any long as it snapped apart under the pressure. The ax then came down as it directly chopped into the defender's left hand, slicing it right of from the wrist. The lizardman defender had instantly lost both its weapon and most powerful offensive means!

The combat situation instantly changed. Liu Xun immediately could tell that he had the advantage, likewise could be said for the defender who could tell that he was now on the back foot. Both of them quickly then made their next move. Liu Xun immediately turned his ax upwards and slashed upward as he landed on the ground.

[Lizardman defender swings his shield inwards from the right (moderate).]

As Liu Xun was within the embrace of the Lizardman defender, it reckoned that a tailspin would be too late. It had no more left hand and its teeth were too distant, the best option was to smash its shield against the invader! This was not to beat the opponent, but rather to create more distance. It had already acknowledged that it had lost that last clash greatly and needed to increase the odds by creating a more advantageous position for itself.

Still, all of this was already predicted by the system as Liu Xun took note of the lizardman's next move at its infancy. He then adjusted the direction of his uppercut as its target redirected from the defender's chest to its right wrist! It was a snapshot decision in battle, to completely disarm and win the entire clash!

Swoosh! Snap!

The ax swung up at an angle with great force as it met with the unsuspecting defender's right wrist. The hand that was wielding the shield that was smashing down onto the youth was cleanly chopped right off. The lizardman defender was surprised by the change in the situation. It had initially thought that this human would be presumptuous enough like itself to try and finish off the fight with the advantage. Yet, he had countered directly and completely disarmed it without any means to counter in close contact. Right now, perhaps the only move it could do was use its teeth to try and meet against the youth's frightening ax.

The surrounding lizardmen as well as the white chieftess was awed by the scenario. They all knew how strong the defender was, just barely weaker than the other elders. It was entrusted with the honored role of guarding the matriarch. Yet, this defender was actually losing to a human that was much weaker than it was. Was it conceit? Not really, all of them could tell that both sides did not look down on each other as they displayed their true strengths. Still, the human had clearly outplayed their defender, hands down too!

The defender then gave a slight smile as it stopped resisting. It was beyond ugly to continue struggling after it lost both its weapons. It could still resist by using its mouth, but it was beyond unsightly. It then looked at the black-robed youth with its slit-like eyes as it burned the image of its slayer into its retina. The human in front of it may be much weaker than it was, but he was definitely more skilled and masterful as he took as much advantage as he could based on the situation. It was a glorious battle and a worthy death, was its last thought as it surrendered itself onto the finishing blow. It then closed its eyes as it prepared for its end.

Step. Step. Step.

Yet, all the defender could hear were rushed footsteps. It couldn't feel any pain. Was it already dead? Seconds passed as it began to wonder, the lizardman defender then opened its eyes. In front of it was nothing but an empty space.

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