Tom and Adam dismounted from their horses, ready to go over to the two Red Skinned Boars on foot. A couple of the others dismounted too. They would follow behind, but, not get involved unless ordered too. Several however, including Marcus, would stay behind with the horses.
Tom removed his shield from his arm and put it on the wagon. There were some situations where it would be useful but he knew that this was not one of them. After all, the boar he would be facing was already stronger than him by a fair amount and its preferred method of attack involved charging at its enemies. That being the case, the shield would be fairly useless. It would just get in his way and make him less agile.
“So, do you have a plan worked out for how to tackle it?” Adam asked, wanting to know how Tom was planning to approach this challenge and take down the boar.
“I have a few ideas” replied Tom as they started to make their way over towards the two boars.
The Red Skinned Boar wasn’t the most violent of qi beasts and wouldn’t take the initiative to go and attack others. However, this was only so long as others didn’t get too close to it, making it feel threatened. The rest of the time though, they tended to mind their own business.
This was why, although Tom, Adam and those following behind them weren’t being particularly loud as they made their way over to the Red Skinned Boars, they made no attempts to hide their approach. They knew that while they were still far away from the boars, the boars would notice them but not take any particular actions and when they drew nearer, the boars would start to get defensive and aggressive.
This was actually good for them. They wanted the boars to see them coming, thus inciting them to attack because even if they wanted to sneak up on them, it would be difficult and such an action was much more likely to spook the boars and cause them to flee instead of responding with aggression.
As Tom and Adam walked closer and closer to the boars, with a couple of the guards spread out further behind them, the two boars finally began to get disgruntled by the people approaching so close to them. They both got noticeably riled up as they turned to face Tom and Adam and then started snorting, rapidly and loudly blowing air out of their noses and stomping their feet. Eventually, not being able to hold it any longer with people getting so close to them, both of the boars started to charge towards Tom and Adam.
“Alright, I’ll quickly take care of the larger one” said Adam.
As he finished speaking, Adam began to quickly run forward at a speed that Tom was incapable of. This was because he was operating the personal movement art of the Cardinal clan, Red Light Running.
Although Red Light Running wasn’t a peak level movement art and there were many in the kingdom that were able to match it or were better than it, it was still a rather good movement art. With the Cardinal clan’s over 1,000 year history and constant striving to improve themselves, it had still been improved and refined until it had been transformed from just a low level technique at its first inception, into an above average one; making it into one of the better techniques in the kingdom.
As Adam ran forward and also slightly to the side, in order to draw the bigger of the two Red Skinned Boars, which was running in front of its companion, away from the other boar and the space in which Tom and the smaller boar would undoubtedly fight in, Tom could see a few, very faint, red lines of qi coming from Adam and ever so slightly trailing behind him.
Not all movement arts produced an external glow or emission of qi, however, this one did. The very reason it was named Red Light Running was because it would produce these faint emissions of red qi. It didn’t actually produce that much, far less than many other movement arts that were used in the kingdom and across the world, however, it was still there.
Despite what Tom saw in the brief moment that Adam was using the skill, there were actually members of the clan that had personally refined this technique in ways that produced no external emissions of qi and also members that had personally refined it in ways that increased the external emissions, making them much more apparent. Nevertheless, Adam was just using the base technique and that was what Tom saw.
Adam came to a stop shortly after he ran forward. They weren’t that far from the Red Skinned Boars anyway and just now, Adam had run forward while the larger of the two boars was charging towards him. Obviously, the distance was being closed quite quickly and they were about to meet in around about the middle, though because Adam had run a couple of meters to the side as well, he had created a little bit of extra space between him and the larger boar against Tom and the smaller boar.
Adam turned around to look at Tom behind him, nonchalant about the charging boar behind him, as he started accumulating qi at his fist and spoke to Tom.
“Tom, have a look at this. This is what you’ll be able to do when you break through into qi expansion” he explained, grabbing his cousin’s attention.
Adam then proceeded to spin back around to face the large boar and not a moment too soon, as it had reached just a meter away. As he span back around, he had raised his fist and Tom could see a red qi light shining on the front of it.
Currently, Adam was employing the 2nd stage of the Cardinal clan’s personal fist art martial skill, Crimson Fury Fists. This involved the concentration of his qi on the front of his fist and greatly increased the power of his attack. What’s more, unlike Red Light Running which could only be classified as above average, Crimson Fury Fists was legitimately a high level martial skill and Adam had achieved a mid-level of mastery over its 2nd stage.
This meant that although Adam was only at the 4th level of qi expansion, his attack was power was actually rather high and other cultivators in the mid-levels of qi expansion that practiced weak defensive skills or had a low degree of mastery in them, would find it hard to defend against his attacks, if not having their defence completely crumble under them.
Although Adam had achieved a mid-level of mastery over the skill, which was respectable for someone of his age, especially since many cultivators aren’t particularly adept in their control and manipulation of qi, never advancing much higher than this themselves, and was definitely above average as a cultivator and in combat, he himself wasn’t satisfied with it.
Crimson Fury Fists was the primary technique that he trained in and unfortunately for him, he couldn’t practice it properly while he was still in the early levels of qi expansion, due to having a low amount of qi. It was to the extent that he could only launch the 2nd stage of the skill twice, before depleting his qi to the point he couldn’t use it again in a short time, and he couldn’t even begin to operate the 3rd stage of the skill, much less the 4th and final stage.
Obviously, this meant that he wasn’t able to practice it much, as he didn’t have much qi to work with in the first place and would then have to cultivate again to restore his depleted qi before he could continue again, making it more difficult to make progress with it. Despite this, he had still managed to achieve a mid-degree of mastery over it while still at the 3rd level of qi expansion.
Ever since he had broken through to the 4th level of qi expansion, his store of qi had significantly improved and he had been devoting a lot of his time to improving his mastery over his martial skills, especially the Crimson Fury Fists. However, he had of course only broken through to the 4th level of qi expansion recently and so, although he had been making some progress, for the time being, he was still stuck at only a mid-degree of mastery over this particular martial skill.
Nevertheless, even if he had only achieved a low degree of mastery over it, or even just basic mastery, which was one lower than a low degree of mastery and considered the bottom level that someone could achieve while still actually conducting the martial skill, that would still be enough for what he was about to do. Heck, even if he just employed the 1st stage of the Crimson Fury Fists, which was noticeably less powerful that the 2nd stage, it would still be more than enough.
That was why when Adam turned around and slammed his fist down on the head of the charging Red Skinned Boar, he essentially obliterated the top of its head, blood, brain and bone flying out as the front of the boar’s body slammed into the ground and it then its hind end flipped over itself in the air and came crashing down again with a loud thud on the ground.