Ch.106: The result of foolishness
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He knew from his last life how to crush beast cores with only his teeth and how to make use of the reaction that the freshly crushed core would cause when it was absorbed by the membranes of his mouth.

The energy that was within the cores of beasts, whether spiritual, demonic or common, was very useful to boost certain fighting styles.

The spiritual beast cores had never been too suited for him, but demonic beast cores were great for enhancing instinct and strength, while the ones of common beasts were good for enhancing speed.

It would not be a pretty battle, Xie Yi decided as he licked his lips and lowered his body. Fighting like a beast was never pretty, but it was convenient.

Besides, he doubted that Yao Ming knew how to deal with this style.

Indeed; Yao Ming’s face turned pale and he gritted his teeth. 

Xie Yi was the first to move with a loud snarl.

The power of their swords slamming together enough to cause Xie Yi’s simpler weapon to groan under the strain.

He stared up at Yao Ming, seeing the determination in the other’s eyes.

With his centre lowered, Xie Yi fought on a different height than Yao Ming, who continuously had to direct his slashes and attacks lower than he was used to.

Xie Yi found it easy to move by jumping and rolling. He used the terrain to his advantages, vanishing in the fog as he needed it.

Yao Ming cried out loudly when Xie Yi jumped at him from an unexpectedly high point, grabbing his shoulders and throwing him over with the additional strength of the movement’s gravity.

Xie Yi’s hand darted out, slamming against Yao Ming’s chest and throwing the other even farther away. His sword was already broken and discarded.

Yao Ming wheezed when he reached the ground and rolled to his feet. He retreated two steps, holding a hand against his chest and then hurriedly taking out a pill from his satchel.

“Monster”, he snarled at Xie Yi who watched him without worry.

Ultimately, he wanted to teach Yao Ming a lesson. The other could eat pills as he wanted.

“I’ve underestimated you”, Yao Ming admitted without shame. His breathing became easier, the spiritual energy he emitted growing denser again. 

Xie Yi watched him curiously. From some sort of space, Yao Ming pulled out a number of small, black balls that shrieked when he inserted his spiritual energy. The man grinned evilly.

“So let’s see what happens if I overestimate you.”

Xie Yi frowned. His hair was standing up and his skin felt cold.

What Yao Ming was holding was no good for him.

He threw himself away with a curse just as the first one landed and with a violent cracking, the area turned into a ball of lightning.

Stunned, Xie Yi looked at the ground. He was remembering those things - they must have been given to Yao Ming by his family.

And damn, they should be expensive! He was throwing those around like that?! Hey now, even in his past life, people had used them only against him - the leader of the sect! You didn’t use stuff like that on small-fry! (Admittedly, he still was small-fry.)

One should never underestimate the power of lightning. Even cultivators would have their trouble with it for a simple reason - it was too fast. Once in your body, it was unstoppable and its great power could cause people’s cores to crack or their channels to burst, aside from the usual problems lightning would bring.

“Not pulling any punches”, Yao Ming laughed darkly.

Knowing that Yao Ming held the Heaven’s Wrath pellets, Xie Yi was unwilling to get too close.

He growled and retreated into the fog.

Squatting down, he watched Yao Ming while keeping his own breathing shallow and slow.

The other cultivator was concentrating on his surroundings, ready to throw. He kept on slowly turning, not lowering his vigilance.

Xie Yi picked up a pebble from the ground.

With a quick movement he threw it, not too far from himself, and watched Yao Ming’s reaction.

The man reacted by glancing over, but was not baited into attacking or fleeing into the other direction. The mind games you could play were too numerous  - who knew where Xie Yi was actually hidden.

“Not even fighting like a human now?”, Yao Ming shouted, calling on his spiritual energy and drawing dangerous-looking lines around his body.

Xie Yi rolled his eyes. Was he stupid? His sword was broken. Meanwhile, Yao Ming still had his and even had that stupid lightning.

Way too annoying.

He breathed in and out for a while. Once things had gotten stuck at a stalemate, he moved to the front of the stone. The thick white clouds kept him hidden for now.

With the stone as his base, he concentrated all his energy in his legs to launch himself forward.

Yao Ming jolted around, moving his sword for a strike - and widening his eyes when he hit nothing.

Xie Yi chuckled.

Before Yao Ming could truly locate him he was gone again. 

Yao Ming was too young to have solid nerves. He’d expect every movement to be an attack or a trick. Feints, yes, but always followed up by another attack.

Not someone literally passing him by.

Xie Yi had used Yao Ming’s expectation of him staying close to the ground to his advantage and had moved around shoulder-height. He had done nothing but jump by, to be blunt, with the pure intention of making Yao Ming nervous.

And by the third time he had done it, it worked excellently.

Yao Ming was getting unsettled. He was turning around quicker now, uncertain.

“Why not give up?”, he asked with a laugh, using his spiritual energy to dissolve the sound and let it appear from all sides.

It was amusing to see Yao Ming weak like this despite having a weapon that even the past Xie Yi hated.

Yao Ming snarled angrily at the taunt.

Obviously, he decided to not let himself be played anymore.

Now it was Yao Ming’s turn to dash into one of the white walls. Xie Yi followed him in readily.

Now both of them were blind.

Xie Yi threw an experimental kick at Yao Ming, who evaded swiftly and turned his sword. It made an ugly sound when Xie Yi caught it between his hands, nearly breaking it.

One fighting bare-handed, the other with a sword.

Even if Yao Ming was stronger, Xie Yi had more experience. It was clear who was playing with whom.

Xie Yi laughed as he had Yao Ming where he wanted him.

Another feint and Yao Ming found himself with his back against the wall.

His face froze.

The dark eyes were fixated on the blurry figure of Xie Yi walking closer.

“You should reconsider going against me”, Xie Yi humpfed.

Yao Ming breathed in and out heavily. He looked worse for the wear than Xie Yi, who had been fighting longer now.

But then he smiled.

Xie Yi flinched and jumped back out of instinct, his eyes flickering to the ground.

The lightning struck.

It was dangerously close to Yao Ming - half a suicide mission. That meant that Yao Ming might have something that would put up enough defence to make him believe he’d survive it.

Xie Yi felt the lighting strike his skin, running through his insides angrily.

He controlled it as much as possible as he went on a distance.

Although he felt wobbly and uncomfortable, he stood straight.

Maybe due to that or maybe due to his own exhaustion, Yao Ming did not try to continue fighting. He could not endlessly take pills.

Yao Ming turned tail and ran, his sword still drawn and hands around the pellets in case Xie Yi tried to follow.

The cultivator didn’t; he stared after the shadow and focused on making sure that he was truly leaving.

Xie Yi relaxed when Yao Ming finally vanished. He kept his vigilance up for a while, then straightened and let his back crack.

He had only gotten the very end of the lightning, not too bad.

The ground around this area was a complete mess with uprooted trees, broken stones and branches everywhere.

Xie Yi tilted his head. He was quite exhausted and he could feel where his skin was damaged by the Fog and lightening. Not exactly a comfortable feeling.

“Phew. That was harder than exp-... urk!”

Xie Yi slammed his hand against his mouth. A wave of nausea came over him, worse than anything he had ever felt before. His stomach cramped up.

Startled, Xie Yi went down on his knees. He coughed, blood seeping through his fingers.

In that instant, his only thought was that he had to get back to the sect somehow. Alarm bells were ringing in his head. His skin and lungs were burning, his insides felt like they were tearing.

The lightheadedness of dying began to take over his mind.

Xie Yi wheezed with wide eyes.

This was bad. Really bad. He was unwilling to let things go like this.

He felt the silver bracelet around his wrist light up softly.

His eyesight was beginning to blur, but he gritted his teeth and turned his face towards the sky.

“Shi Yue!”, he bellowed, his ears beginning to beep and block out all sound.

As he toppled over, he still wondered how his body had suddenly gotten into this state and whether Shi Yue would find him in time…

Intermission out in half an hour! It's a cliffhanger.