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The Feng Clan's Spear Art and the Gale Footwork were made for cultivators, so they naturally showed their might better when Shen was moving qi through his body according to their instructions. Uk'Gaar was still faster and stronger than Shen, but the latter's martial arts had more than offset the battle in his favor.

That lasted until the orc grabbed his weapon.

When he clenched his hands on the handle and raised the saber, the very air seemed to be crushing Shen. It felt like breathing was harder and moving took extra effort. The world was pulling him down harder, as if trying to make him stay still.

Shen recognized it: a domain.

Uk'Gaar had claimed to have insights into a Path before, and his aura proved it. When someone had walked a Path far enough, they harmonized with the surroundings and could even take a measure of control over it. His father was in the Ethereal Harmonization realm, which was where a cultivator focused on that.

Uk'Gaar was nowhere as strong as Shen's father, but he had the insights of someone who was. His domain was too weak because the orc himself was weak, but it still gave him an advantage over Shen. His moves would get slightly slowed down, while his enemy would have no such trouble and was now using a weapon.

"I bet you haven't died until now," Uk'Gaar said. "I can't risk giving you the bonus reward." He stepped ahead. "Die."

He swung his saber horizontally while stepping ahead, and the weapon moved fast. Shen used the Gale Footwork as hard as he could to dodge it, but the domain made him a little too slow. The blade still cut his chest from shoulder to shoulder a couple of inches deep.

 

Health: 43 / 100 | -50

 

It hurt terribly, and the damage he received was absurd. Such a simple attack should not be enough to take out half his health points! No use complaining about it though. He needed a plan.

Uk'Gaar was intent on not giving him any space though. He stepped closer while swing his saber again. Shen stepped back again, but this time, he also used a new move: the Tipping Point.

Now that he had suffered under the domain, he knew exactly how slow it made him, and he succeeded in his move.

The very tip of his spear hit the incoming saber. The blade cut into the spearhead's metal, but it was still forced to change directions just enough that Shen dodged it. That left Uk'Gaar with an opening that Shen grasped at once. He thrust the spear straight at the orc's remaining eye.

 

Restricted Orc Warrior (F) — 148 / 200 | -20

 

The metal bit deeply, and Uk'Gaar reacted by roaring again.

 

Health: 41 / 100 | -2

 

Shen was staggered once more, but since he had already experienced it once, he managed to step back while dazed, and heard the air moving as the saber missed his head by a hair's breadth.

He kept moving back as far as he could. Not long after, the muscles in his arms simply burst open.

He barely held on to his spear.

The Tipping Point required way too much qi to move in a very aggressive manner through his arms. He was already at his limits due to using his qi in his entire body to be stronger, and the extra push caused him to harm himself.

Moving his arms now felt terribly painful, but Shen had a big smile on his face.

His enemy had been blinded.

Victory was only a matter of time.

At least, that should be the case, but Uk'Gaar was having none of that. He rushed at Shen full speed ahead, once more using his strange movement technique that made him move more than he physically should. Midway through, he started rotating his entire body while the saber was kept extended.

Shen had never seen such a strange skill, but didn't let himself be distracted. He moved back once again, and Uk'Gaar didn't reach him. Yet, it was obvious the orc could detect him somehow, and he almost facepalmed himself.

The domain.

A domain's name came from the area around the user becoming under their control. That was the goal of the technique. The orc was way far from that point, but even a weak domain let someone feel whatever was inside with a certain ease.

Still, Shen didn't despair. He stopped imbuing his body with qi and just made his best to run away from the orc. He would still use qi on his legs when needed, but every time Uk'Gaar approached, Shen ran.

An Ethereal Harmonization cultivator's domain was the stuff of nightmares. However, his opponent was nowhere close to that stage. Keeping the domain going had to have a significant cost, and Shen only needed to survive until then.

Uk'Gaar became even more enraged as he tried to get close to Shen but failed. That only made the boy reassured in his choice of letting his opponent exhaust himself.

And as expected, after almost five minutes of playing a game of cat and mouse, the orc's domain faded away.

What followed was just sad to see. Uk'Gaar would swing his saber around wildly, and Shen, without even using his qi, would avoid the attacks and thrust his spear against the enemy time and time again.

It took some time, but eventually, the orc's skin was even redder from all the injuries and blood running down. Shen thrust, his spear hit the back of Uk'Gaar's knees for the twentieth time, and something finally gave out.

The huge being fell to his knees.

 

Restricted Orc Warrior (F) — 2 / 200 | -1

 

Shen walked around him until he was standing in front of it. The orc was so big that even on his knees, he was around Shen's height.

"Any last words?" Shen asked.

"A shallow victory," Uk'Gaar said aggressively, but there was a deep tiredness to his voice that made it almost sad. "You wouldn't have won against my true body."

"I would not," the boy conceded. "You talked about the bonus reward before. What is it?"

Instead of replying with words, the orc just threw his huge saber on the ground in front of him. It fell with a loud sound.

"So?" Shen asked. "The reward?"

"Don't mock me!" the orc yelled. "I gave it to you. Take it and be done with it."

"That's it? A saber? Nothing else?" Shen asked to make sure.

"Nothing else?" Uk'Gaar asked mockingly. "Nothing else!" He laughed. "As reported, human greed is endless indeed. For a G-rank being to receive an F weapon and ask for more!"

"I'm not interested in sabers," Shen said. "I walk the Path of the spear. Can I trade the saber for a spear?" The orc just snickered and didn't reply. "Why didn't you want to give it to me?"

He did answer that. "This is the only thing I have other than my blood that belonged to my true body. If I lose it, the Guardian System won't give me another, and without it, I'm not strong enough. I'll just be killed and someone else's Incarnation will take my place. This is my end."

Shen didn't care about his enemy's ultimate demise at all. Everyone had a pitiful story to tell. He did care about getting properly reward for his trouble though.

Thing is, he really didn't care about the saber, no matter how good it might be. He was weak and inexperienced, and if he tried to master two weapons at the same time, he would just end mastering none instead.

But didn't he have an alternative right here?

The system had said it itself: he could fight Uk'Gaar one hundred times before he lost the 500 bonus AP from killing it solo. He had only won by depriving the orc from his sight and waiting for it to waste all his energy. The warrior also wasn't as smart as his true body should be, because he had just kept his domain running until he ran dry, but he was still too strong for Shen to fight head on and win.

Or, in other words, Uk'Gaar was the perfect whetstone for Shen's techniques.

More than perfect, really. Like the orc himself had said, it was an honor to stand in front of strong beings, and there was much to learn from fighting them. Cultivators paid high prices to spar for even a few moments against experienced and mighty fighters, and he could do it for hours.

This was an opportunity unlike any other he had received until now.

The big question was whether he should believe the orc. Was there another, better reward waiting for him? Ultimately, that didn't really matter. He would rather take what he knew he could right now than risk getting something worse later.

So he ran. He ran as far away as he could. He ran for over ten minutes until he couldn't even see Uk'Gaar in the distance. Then he sat down and cultivated.

He had one hundred attempts to beat the orc in a fair fight, which meant one hundred opportunities to fight a stronger opponent than him. One hundred opportunities to improve. One hundred chances to grow beyond his current limits.

He guessed that's the kind of abuse the system message had talked about.

Moreover, if he ever made Uk'Gaar incapable of fighting again, he could also use the opportunity to cultivate more. Better yet, he might even convince the orc to let him cultivate before each battle.

When he reached his cultivation limit, he wondered whether to kill himself or wait until he could cultivate again. In the end, he decided to just take the first option. This was just the first stage of the tutorial, which was supposed to make him strong. Wasting too much time here to cultivate would be just boring.

He placed the spear tip over his chest and pulled. It pierced his heart, and the critical hit killed him instantly. Light enveloped his body.

An instant later, he was standing in front of a visibly confused and fully healed Uk'Gaar.

"Uk'Gaar," Shen said. "Could you give me a couple hours to cultivate before we fight?"

The sitting orc shook his head. "The rules forbid it."

Shen grabbed his spear. "Then we fight."

 


 

Health Regen| 1.9→ 2/h

Stamina Regen| 0.59 → 0.6/min

 

Shen hadn't had the chance to cultivate too many times. Uk'Gaar had killed him almost eighty times, so he couldn't cultivate then. He had won almost twenty times, most of those in the last thirty attempts, but in ten of those the orc had forced Shen to keep fighting to the end. Shen could only let himself get killed before he killed the orc by accident. In the end, he had only cultivated about ten times.

Still, that had been good enough. This was the second to last of the one hundred chances he got to kill Uk'Gaar and keep his bonus, and he had just completed the Marrow Revitalization step. His marrows couldn't be improved further in the Foundation Establishment realm.

The orc warrior was too far for him to see, but he was in an ever worse state than he had been at the end of their first fight. It would be easy to go there and kill him now, but Shen decided against it.

He wanted to have a proper last fight against the orc, even if it might cause him to lose the bonus AP.

It just felt right that way.

So he killed himself, and when he was once again facing the orc, he clasped his hands and bowed slightly. "Thank you for your guidance. Our training ends here."

They had talked little in their bouts, but they had still gotten something akin to respect for each other. Uk'Gaar stood from his throne and, for the first time, nodded his head in something akin to a bow. "I won't go easy on you." His speech, though still aggressive, also had a slight politeness to it.

"I know," Shen said, then attacked.

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A note from Autonomous Pen

We'll conclude this encounter tomorrow!

This is a special case. Future important fights might be long enough to split into two or more chapters, but they won't have a "pause" like this. It just felt like such a waste to not abuse the system! This was also the perfect opportunity to show Shen's agency and adaptability despite being defined by his culture and upbringing in many aspects.

 


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About the author

Autonomous Pen

Bio: A pen with a mind of its own.
It struggles to find whether it achieved sapience by a gift of a higher power or through evolution.
Writing gives it purpose.

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Comments(33)
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Monus ago

Ahh the wait has been long for this chapter... I think... Maybe

Felt long definitely

Thanks either way

Lil_crafter ago

Thanks for the chapter! Cant wait to see this fight!

Monus ago

One thing that is kind of bothering me.

Couldn't have have gained a lot more points by helping everyone with their boss fights?

Or are all of them still loosing

    Autonomous Pen ago

    I'll reveal that in the following two chapters!

      Sammot ago

      Well I feel like all shens fights with the boss lasts longer than the others cause its actually a match where they both have to try their hardest to the end while all the others probably die every 10 to 30 seconds cause they can't do anything to the boss. Dont forget shen also cultivated 10 times. I feel like everyone else has lost 100 times by now and got kicked out or already gotten help from someone else. Or they're still struggling but if they have gone longer without reaching their 100 limit than shen who was purposefully extending his time then they could probably beat the boss themselves. So I don't think shen will have a chance to help anymore.

      DropOnAMountainPond ago

      As long as that means Mark has lost 100x and is out, then I'm happy. Haha.

Anki Is My Bae ago

Edit suggestions:

Shen could only let himself get killed before he killed the orc by accident.

PyreFiend99 ago

Cultivators are all about defying the heavens. The Alliance imposing restrictions just shows that they are another "heaven" in need of some defying.

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