At first, Qianye would make occasional mistakes, sometimes even splitting the object into two. East Peak was simply too heavy and excessively sharp. It could easily crush the black wood without any extra force. But soon, his mistakes grew less and less frequent. Just the night before, that mysterious existence could still sense some minute deviations of the sword tip. Tonight, however, the blade was already moving with the utmost perfection.
At this point, the mysterious being in the sea realized that Qianye’s heart had calmed down entirely. A true confrontation was about to come.
As dawn arrived, Qianye glanced at the vase in his hand with great satisfaction. His recent practice of carving before the ocean was, in truth, a process of training his sword technique and intent. At least in terms of sword technique, Qianye felt that he had no more room for improvement. He took the vase into the house and placed it on a rack. Afterward, he went to the ice-room and hauled two frozen beasts carca.s.ses onto the truck. Seeing that there was a lot of empty s.p.a.ce left, he pondered for a while, and then put the two beast-tusk sculptures he had carved into a case and tossed them into the truck.
These two sculptures were just random stuff Qianye had made because he had nothing better to do, and there were minor defects on both of them. The s.p.a.ce inside the house was limited, so he couldn’t arrange too many of his handicrafts there.
The car rocked and swayed for a good two hours before reaching the small town. This pace was slower than Qianye moving all the goods by himself, but this kind of leisurely travel was refres.h.i.+ng to him and allowed his tense nerves to relax.
The atmosphere in town was somewhat different. The townspeople were sweeping the streets and clearing out the rubbish.
Qianye called out to one of them and asked, “What’s going on?”
“They said there’s a big character coming down from above. We need to clean the place up, lest that person gets upset.”
“Oh, I see. What kind of character?”
That person shrugged. “How should I know? In any case, I heard he’s pretty important.”
In the neutral lands, these so-called important characters usually referred to people with great combat strength. In this lawless land, the powerful characters were the ones who could decide the life and death of the weaker ones.
Realizing that he wasn’t going to get much out of these people, Qianye put this matter to the back of his mind and proceeded with trading his goods for fuel and components. He then loaded his haul onto the antique vehicle and drove back to his home.
One day pa.s.sed by in peace—Zhuji and Nighteye went to bed early after dinner while the old man continued working on his lathe. This kind of quiet life suited him very well and filled him with new inspiration. According to him, Qianye would be able to use a type of extremely powerful bullet very soon.
Qianye secretly dismissed the claims and was more satisfied that the old man had something to strive toward. As for origin bullets, nothing could be as powerful as the Shot of Inception. Yet, the old man was determined to make it, so Qianye would support him as much as he could.
Night arrived and it was once again entirely silent. Qianye picked up a piece of wood and walked out into the courtyard. This time, he didn’t stop in front of the gates but went all the way to the seaside.
The ocean at night was deep, distant, and the surging tides filled the air with a stifling sensation—who knew what secrets were hidden underneath the boundless depths of its waters?
Qianye had no idea why he had come to the seaside. It was almost as though something there was calling out to him, but with how strong he was at the moment, few existences could subconsciously affect him like this.
Qianye investigated the place thoroughly, but that feeling from just now had vanished. He paid no more attention to it and simply sat down on one of the rocks to do his carving.
The surging waves roared under the night sky, cras.h.i.+ng repeatedly onto the shoal rocks and spraying white foam into the air. Qianye had long since gotten used to the sound of cras.h.i.+ng tides. Not to mention the waves, he wouldn’t be affected even if someone were shouting in his ears.
Qianye cut open the wooden pillar and split it into several segments. Then, he picked a random piece and began carving upon it, leaving the rest sitting on one side.
It seemed like the night would pa.s.s by peacefully, just like before.
All of a sudden, a big wave crashed onto the beach with a resounding roar. Startled, Qianye felt his blade deviate ever so slightly, chipping off half the fledgling sculpture and ruining it entirely.
Qianye broke into a frown—after some thought, he put down the ruined work and proceeded to carve another piece.
The tides grew louder and louder, almost as though the Eastern Sea was restless and agitated. Another crack was heard as East Peak lost control and split the wood into two.
Qianye pondered for a moment before making a third attempt. Before long, East Peak sank down unexpectedly and chipped off a big piece of the wood.
His eyes immediately turned blue. This time, he clearly saw a wisp of void origin power appear out of nowhere and push East Peak away from its intended trajectory. No matter how slow Qianye was, there was no way he wouldn’t know something was off about these repeated failures. He shot a glance at the ocean and had a vague feeling that this was a kind of confrontation.
Qianye picked up a piece of wood and kept on carving. As expected, a wisp of void origin power appeared before long and began to affect East Peak’s movements. With how proficient he was in sword techniques, dealing with this intrusive force became easier now that he could see it. He was able to cancel out the draw of the void origin power with just a bit of force from his wrist. East Peak thus steadily shaved out a flat wooden board and went on with its carving.
The mysterious existence in the sea seemed dissatisfied with the outcome. Soon, yet another wisp of origin power appeared beside Qianye in an attempt to tug at his sword. This, he duly crushed with the blade, yet a third materialized all of a sudden. The East Peak began to drift upward and caused a big piece off of the wood to break off.
Qianye’s brows rose slightly. He discarded the ruined material and began anew with another segment. This time, the mysterious existence was no longer polite—one strand of void origin power appeared after the other, moving unpredictably and at varying speeds. Now that Qianye was guarded, his wrist shook repeatedly as he dissolved the invasive energy in quick succession.
However, at this moment, a wisp of void origin power appeared behind him and triggered a resonance with East Peak. The resultant vibration caused the carving in Qianye’s hand to explode and shatter—he had lost again.
This time, Qianye wasn’t in a rush to play. He meditated for a moment on how the origin power had resonated with East Peak before picking up his next piece.
The night pa.s.sed by exceptionally fast, and soon, it was dawn. The great ocean gradually became calm and the mysterious existence had left quietly. At this point, there was a pile of wasted lumber at Qianye’s feet. He had gone back home several times during the night to replenish the stock. From this, one could see just how many times he was defeated.
By midnight, Qianye had already pushed his sword techniques to the extreme. It could be said that his every move was wondrous and blended perfectly with nature itself. Yet, there was no end to the wisps of void origin power—they would often appear at the same time, working synergistically in a complicated pattern that was almost impossible to grasp. At that point, it was no longer a situation where one could rely solely on sword arts.
Despite knowing that this mysterious ent.i.ty was trying to overwhelm him with force, Qianye pretended not to notice and simply refused to activate his origin power and blood energy. He relied solely on his physical strength and exquisite sword techniques to deal with the incoming disruption. At this moment, his skills had already reached their zenith, and it was no longer easy to make any progress. This remote contest with the mysterious ocean existence, however, was a great chance for him to sharpen himself. Qianye thus devoted his entire heart into wrestling with this mysterious character.
Only when the ent.i.ty departed at dawn did Qianye realize that the time he could hold out against the onslaught had grown much longer compared to midnight. Although the improvement was only by a few seconds, it was still indicative of solid progress.
He wasn’t quite sure about the mysterious being’s intentions, but his benefits were very real. Shooting a glance at the color of the sky, Qianye picked up all the ruined pieces of wood and returned to the courtyard. These damaged carvings couldn’t be wasted because they would make for high-quality firewood.
At night the following day, Qianye once again felt the mysterious calling after Nighteye and Zhuji had gone to bed. As such, he picked up East Peak and headed to the sea with the lumber in tow.
The first round was no different from last night—Qianye gave it everything he had but was still defeated, and the wooden sculpture in his hand turned to sawdust. Not discouraged in the slightest, he was just about to begin the second bout when he glanced back, feeling that something was wrong.
The nocturnal scenery seemed no different from the norm, but Qianye’s powerful vision caught sight of the forest moving, its borders extending forward for over ten meters before coming to a stop. Some of the trees were really moving, while others were sprouting up from the ground. With how fast the Black Grove could grow, these saplings would probably reach full development in one day.
A theory appeared in Qianye’s heart—the Black Grove’s expansion was because he had lost the round just now.
This idea emerged out of nowhere, almost as though it was the only thing right and proper. Despite having no way to prove this, his instincts told him that it was the truth.
When he glanced back at the ocean, Qianye had grown much more serious. It would seem that this mysterious existence wasn’t satisfied with a simple contest and wanted to raise the stakes. If Qianye were to lose, the courtyard he had built would soon be devoured by the Black Grove.
Although he could stop the Black Grove by chopping down its trees, Qianye knew that the existence in the sea would interfere personally if he were to do that. It could already do whatever it wanted just by utilizing void origin power. Qianye understood that this was a terrifying existence at least at the level of a duke.
Hence, he made up his mind and picked up yet another piece of wood, paying great attention to it this time around. Things were indeed different under pressure. Qianye held out for the longest time during this bout and managed to finish most of the carving before he was defeated.
Perhaps out of respect and recognition, the forest only advanced a little bit this time.
At this rate, though, the Black Grove would occupy half of the empty land in one night, and in three, Qianye would have to move to the other side of the river—the only other option being the sea. It was already quite clear that neither the Eastern Sea nor the Black Grove was habitable.
Qianye once again faced the ocean and picked up yet another piece of wood. As East Peak made its first carving, the faint sound of ocean tides echoed around Qianye, almost overpowering the roar of the Eastern Sea itself.
Several wisps of origin power appeared in succession, but all of them were crushed immediately before they could affect East Peak.
At this point, one could say that Qianye had gone all out and activated the domain powers of his Oceanic Vortex.