The great Mencius used to say, "I am skillful in nourishing my spirit of Haoran."
Thus, the key to the Sword Sutra of Haoran was the word "nourishing".
Lin Tatian had nourished the Blade Qi for over a decade; he was able to command the blade with his Qi and force Chen Fan to use the Grand Qin Na Hand. Lin Shuming had harnessed the Blade Qi much longer than Lin Tatian, and therefore, he was much more powerful.
In the last sixty years, his mind, body, and soul were occupied by only one thing—cultivation.
Lin Shuming had cultivated in seclusion for sixty years, during which time, he had devoted every single second on achieving the status of Earth Deity.
However, the task was much harder than he had imagined.
Even with Lin Shuming's extraordinary talent, he could only achieve enlightenment but failed to bring his physical condition to the same level. The fault was not entirely on him since there was simply not enough Spirit Qi on Earth to support his cultivation.
However, he had never given up on his cultivation. Instead, he doubled down on nourishing the Blade Qi. As time passed, the Blade Qi started to gain solidity in the real world and took the form of shiny crystals. Should Lin Shuming be on another planet, he could have marched right into the state of Connate Spirit if not Golden Core.
Countless tiny Blade Aura with the width of a hair spilled out from Lin Shuming's nose, eyes, and ears. Under everyone's shocked eyes, the intense light slowly spread all over his body, until his skin was suffused with a creamy white glow. A glow from inside of Lin Shuming stretched his skin, rending his internal organs into pieces and shattering his bones.
The audiences were speechless.
"He really lived up to his reputation as the most powerful Sword Master in China. He had nourished this Qi Blade for sixty years, hoping to use it on Ye Qincang, but it was used on Chen Beixuan instead. "
Li Changsheng heaved a sigh.
"Lin Shuming has concentrated sixty years of his hard work on this one blow. Using the power of a Mortal Deity as a catalyst, he could unleash explosive energy on par with an Earth Level Deity," Yao Daoyi said with a heavy expression. However, his voice was filled with admiration for Lin Shuming.
Azure Dragon was taken aback by the development. He exclaimed in his mind, "I wonder if General Ye could handle this attack."
Meanwhile, the North Qiong Sect members watched the battle with great trepidation. They worried about Chen Fan's life despite their unswerving confidence in his abilities.
Although Lin Shuming commanded the Essence Qi in nature earlier, the energy was spread over a large area. The effect of the art was similar to that of a Fuel Air Explosive. Despite its large area of effect, it couldn't harm Chen Fan. In contrast, a large caliber armor-piercing bullet could cause much greater damage to Chen Fan.
Lin Shuming had packed all of the energy he had harnessed over the last sixty years in this one attack. It would be able to crack open mountains and was even deadlier than missiles.
"Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!"
Chen Fan cheered for his opponent as his battle will surged.
He curled a finger and then flicked it out.
"Pixiu, Rosemallow, and Asura !"
Three small swords appeared in front of Chen Fan. They were created by the Exalted Cultivator using the most exotic metals he could find on Earth, and each of them carried a memorable story with it.
Chen Fan flicked his fingers again.
"Red Skirt, White Drake, Black Tortoise!
"Yellow Peony, Azure Snake, and Violet Clouds!"
The three sets of flying swords formed a triangular formation right before Chen Fan's chest. Chen Fan's expression grew heavier as he flicked his finger one last time.
With a loud clang, a golden ray of light shot out from the Blade Strengthening Gourd. It soared up and around until it reached the back of the other nine swords. Inside the ray of light was a small sword with tiny inscriptions on it that read: Essense Restoring.
This was Chen Fan's famous sword of Essense Restoring.
The energy of the Essence Restoring Sword breathed new life into the other nine blades, and all ten swords were connected by a humming current of energy. Then, a ray of golden light shot out from the tip of the Essence Restoring Sword, and it spread across space and covered the other nine blades, painting them gold.
"Sword Formation, arise!"
Chen Fan closed his fingers.
Suddenly, the ten blades lined up in a horizontal line that divided the sea and the sky. It was as if a golden thread separated the Earth from heaven.
"This Sword Array is called Autumn's Deluge of Ten Lands. It will crush your Sword Art," Chen Fan said in a deep voice.
"We will see!"
The moment Lin Shuming finished his sentence, his body had completely succumbed to Blade Qi. Energy gushed out from his body and shot up with a great degree of ferociousness. It dispersed the rain and the dark clouds, revealing the cold moonlight.
In that moment of great enlightenment, Lin Shuming committed his corporeal body to the power of his attack. The Blade Qi surged up, turned around, and then plunged into Chen Fan.
The pale blade aura was over thirty meters in length and looked like a thread that connected the Moon with the stars. It swooped down with unstoppable force.
Even the audiences who stood a few thousand meters away were assaulted by the belligerent energy coming off from the Blade Qi. Many Grandmasters were so overwhelmed by the incredible sight that they broke down into tears.
"I would give up anything to see such a splendid display of power!"
The development even shocked the Immortal State Warriors as they fixed their gazes on the attacker.
Some members of the North Qiong Sect prayed for the safety of their sect master in desperation.
Chen Fan waved a hand.
The three-meter long golden thread suddenly darted out toward the incoming Blade Qi.
Chen Fan's blades were a hundred times smaller than Lin Shuming's Blade Qi.
In most people's eyes, the exchange of blows looked like a small motorcycle crashing into a semi-truck. However, to everyone's surprise, the smaller golden energy easily sliced open the large white Blade Qi and created a ten-meter long crack before it finally slowed down.
Chen Fan's Sword Aura was cast using Immortal Sword Arts that were much more powerful than any arts on Earth. Even the Exalted Cultivator would be impressed by Chen Fan's art.
One of the nine tiny swords reached its limit and was knocked to the side.
Then the second, third, fourth… After a while, all nine swords were knocked off course, leaving the Sword of Essense Restoring alone fighting against the white Blade Qi.
By then, the thirty-meter long Blade Qi had only one meter left, but the Sword of Essense Restoring was still going strong. It was apparent that the Sword of Essense Restoring was going to shatter the last fragment of the Blade Qi and end the fight.
However, the situation quickly pulled the rug from under everyone.
The remaining Blade Aura somehow lost its solidity and flowed like water until it reached the hilt of the Sword of Essense Restoring. From there, the energy gained a solid form once again. Someone had even noticed a human figure inside the glowing Blade Aura.
"Commanding Sword using Primordial Essence! That's the real power of Brother Lin's Sword Art!" Li Changsheng shouted.
Physical strength alone was not enough to rival the power of an Earth Level Deity. As a Mortal Deity, Lin Shuming could only match an Earth Level Deity's power by committing his mortal coil and Divine Soul to the attack.
Lin Shuming had hidden most of the energy in the last section of the Blade Qi. The first twenty-nine meters of the Blade Qi was simply a ruse, and the coup de grace was concealed in the final meter.
Meanwhile, Lin Shuming had already lashed out at the Sword of Essense Restoring with the newly-formed Blade Aura. The Sword of Essense Restoring turned around, but it was already too late to shore up any defense.
Facing this world-shattering attack, Chen Fan's expression was heavy. He slowly spread out the glowing Arcane Energy Bulwark until it reached ten meters in width. When the deadly white Blade Aura clashed with the Arcane Energy Bulwark, it easily sliced open the azure energy screen and closed into Chen Fan with lightning speed. In the blink of an eye, the white energy was only a meter away from Chen Fan.
Countless protective spells were triggered, but none could slow down the Blade Aura.
Finally, the Blade Aura that was infused with Lin Shuming's Primordial Essence finally reached Chen Fan.
Chen Fan could even see Lin Shuming's haughty expression inside the flash of blinding white light.
Everyone watched as the white energy and the azure energy clashed into each other. The impact made an ear-deafening din that sounded as if the sky were falling around the audiences' ears. The impact also created a bright light, where the intensity multiplied by the second. The sound and the light assaulted the senses of the audiences, turning them blind and deaf.
Then came the shockwave. A violent pulse of energy erupted from the point of impact, forcing the sea surface to cave in as it passed. When it finally made it to the land, it ravaged the shoreline by uprooting trees and tossing giant boulders around. Many Grandmasters were forced to retreat to safety, leaving only the Immortal State Warriors standing amid the violence.
Most people believed that Lin Shuming could at least injure Chen Beixuan if not outright killing him. After all, he had been cultivating in seclusion for sixty years and had reached the level of Mortal Deity.
Even the Immortal State Warriors had placed their bets on Lin Shuming.
So powerful was Lin Shuming's last attack that he could demolish an aircraft carrier. Not even the combined might of all Immortal State Warriors among the audiences could ward off this attack.
"What is that?"
Suddenly, Watanabe's face turned pale.
His expression of shock and horror was quickly shared by Yao Daoyi, Li Changsheng, and Azure Dragon.
"What the heck?"
Everyone squinted their eyes, trying to make sense of what they saw.
Once the dust settled and the intense light finally diminished, they saw a truly unimaginable sight.
A young man wearing a suit of flaming armor stood at the center of the battlefield. He folded his hands, holding a wisp of light in between his palms. The white light wiggled and tried to break free but to no avail. It was so close to landing a blow on the young man, yet he was so far away.
"I am defeated. Langya, I am sorry."
Inside the white light was Lin Shuming's face with a disheartened expression.
Suddenly, the white glow exploded into countless tiny light fragments, which quickly disappeared into thin air, leaving the young man standing proudly by himself with a flaming suit of armor.
A deadly silence suddenly fell over the battlefield.
November 3rd, 2011…
Chen Beixuan had defeated Sword Immortal Lin Shuming without a scratch.
The world grew silent with shock and disbelief.