Martial Arts Master Chapter 47
The central ring referee's announcement came as if from the clouds.
"Match Five. Ye Youting won!"
"Match Four and Five are over..." Lou Cheng opened up his eyes, revealing a deep pool inside his eyes. He strode towards the central ring leisurely and climbed that familiar yet strange flight of stone stairs.
How much I once envied those leading fighters of the Martial Arts Club for taking this journey to glory. Finally, it's my turn.
"One, two, three..." He counted his steps walking up the stairs and then stood to the right side of the referee.
He could feel hundreds of eyes gazing at him and hear thinly scattered cheers and claps. It was nothing like the sea of supporters and their thundering passion for Lin Que and Chen Changhua in Songcheng University Martial Arts Stadium, but it was completely for him!
At his eye level stood Wu Shitong, the home practicing disciple of Daxing Temple, in a red and yellow martial arts suit with lotus embroidered at the cuffs. Robust and normal sized, his thin teenager beard above his lips gave away his infantility.
"A 17-year-old young boy..." This thought instantly melted Lou Cheng's last bit of fear for Wu Shitong.
His eyes moved up and saw a bold line of words on the big screen where their fight would be displayed.
"Daxing Temple Disciple vs. Mysterious Master!"
"Buddhist Zen Kung Fu vs. Lost Knowledge of the Ice Sect!"
Old Zheng and several other spectators who had watched Lou Cheng's matches in the past few days adjusted their position in the auditorium. The words shown on the big screen kindled their expectation and enthusiasm.
Martial arts, the ultimate of the physical body, ignited the desire and worship for the strong left from the primitive society.
"Has any of you watched the Daxing Temple disciple's fight? What's his specialty?" Old Zheng asked unconsciously.
On the first day, he watched the recommended match of Wu Shitong's but nothing was exciting enough for him to remember except his rigid palm style that left no chance for his opponent.
Old Zheng's friends shared a few glances while shaking their head blankly. "We were at work last few days. We wouldn't have taken our holiday now if not for your strong recommendation."
Old Zheng didn't respond. For some reason, his heart missed a beat and concerns for Lou Cheng started to develop.
Staring at the big screen, Liu Yinglong asked quietly as if speaking to himself, "Any of you watched Wu Shitong's match before?"
"I watched one. He performed Grand Stele Breaking Hand and Grand Stele Casting Hand. Pretty impressive!" recalled Qin Zhilin.
"He seems to follow the tough demon suppressing path..." Liu Yinglong nodded slightly, turning his eyes back to the ring with no more words and waiting for this fight between a dragon and a tiger to begin.
On a nearby stand, a young man with very short hair seemed surprised by what he saw on the big screen.
"Master, that's the student staying in the same hotel with us. He is here for the tournament."
He wore a dark cyan martial arts suit with mountain patterns at his cuffs and collar.
An elderly man with very big earlobes laughed. "I'm old and dull now. Judge no one by appearances. He must be good fighting all the way to Round Four."
The short-haired young man held his own hands tightly and his face appeared pale with an iron gray shade. "He knows the lost knowledge of the Ice Sect."
"No wonder..." The elderly man came to the realization. "Junior Ye, watch carefully. You might meet him one day in the ring. You are of Professional Ninth Pin already but don't underestimate an outstanding martial artist of the amateur level."
"Yes!" The short-haired young man nodded solemnly and said in an oppressive tone, "Master, I will make it to the top four! For my father's illness, you have helped me too much."
The elderly man smiled. "A teacher for a day is a father for a lifetime. It's not just for the disciple, also for the master. Speak no more. Do your best. Your two junior sisters are waiting for a big celebration meal with you."
"Yes!" The short-haired young man clenched his fists tighter unconsciously and turned to the ring.
Those bold characters drew most spectators' attention to the central ring. For a second, Lou Cheng felt he was exposed under the spotlight.
It brings pressure as well as pleasure!
At this time, Wu Shitong began to talk with a gentle smile.
"I've watched your previous match highlights. Your 24 Blizzard Strikes was just so-so."
Lou Cheng encountered his very first talk-time provocation. Anger swelled his bosom. "Just so-so? Enough to kick your ass!"
With his spirit and qi focused on Condensation Stance in a half meditation state, he quickly returned to calm and reminded himself not to get affected by words, not to let emotion take control and not to make unnecessary mistakes in the match.
In a martial arts fight, emotion and spirit were just as important. Confrontation on the spiritual level was an inevitable thing to enter the higher league!
Calm and serene, Lou Cheng appeared undisturbed and replied with a slight smile, "I've watched many matches these days and have a vague image of yours. As a home practicing disciple of Daxing Temple, better be humble and merciful for the sake of your Zen style kung fu."
He told a white lie to pretend he had some understanding of Wu Shitong's martial arts skills.
Wu Shitong stood in shock with a trace of panic on his face but soon he resumed calmness and the unease vanished completely.
"Buddha also has the fire. Besides mercy there is Vajrapani suppressing demons."
This was the most basic confrontation of hearts, happening in our daily life.
Wu Shitong also quitted talking and started to adjust his breathing. Heaviness and pressure built up in the rest of the three minutes.
The referee raised his hand up in the air. He took a glance at each of them and suddenly waved his hand down.
Lou Cheng advanced in Snake Steps, shifting his weight as he quickly approaching Wu Shitong.
The audience gave a round of applause for the first attack of the match.
Wu Shitong's face slightly turned grave as he felt unsure about Lou Cheng's true target. He lowered his weight and got in a defensive position.
Lou Cheng suddenly shifted his weight and turned to the right side of Wu Shitong to slap rapidly with his left hand, generating a chill but no sound in the air.
In his mind was a cold scene prior to a massive snowfall.
The second group of 24 Blizzard Strikes, Biting Chill!
In the face of this extraordinarily fast palm, Wu Shitong remained calm. He raised his elbow to receive this slap.
Lou Cheng's slap was withdrawn right after their skin touched and his veiled flow of strength was cut. He absorbed some energy from Wu Shitong to pull himself back to the front of his opponent.
Wu Shitong threw a crispy whip kick to his right but missed Lou Cheng by a split second.
Lou Cheng seized this opportunity to launch another fast slap with concealed strength at Wu Shitong's neck.
Keeping a reasonable amount of energy inside his body in case of the opponent's sudden strikes, his attack was more like a test.
Lou Cheng's right hand arrived when Wu Shitong just took his leg back from the whip kick. He took a deep breath and pushed out his hands with no time to accumulate energy. The push carried enough strength to break a stele. Lou Cheng could feel the great might and the tiny changes in Wu Shitong's muscles reflected in the lake of his heart as soon as their hands touched.
Lou Cheng adjusted his body and moved his weight to quickly absorb some energy from the opponent and spring to the side. He then started to attack with both of his palms, forming a soft yet dense web of strikes with some low kicks. His moves got faster and faster, intenser and intenser, putting Wu Shitong out of breath.
Lou Cheng was still holding some energy inside his body to cope with unexpected changes.
Gradually, he gained a preliminary judgment on Wu Witong's martial arts style. "He's very likely specialized in tough palm work. With advantages from both Grand Stele Breaking Hand and Grand Stele Casting Hand, his one hit on my upper body or my head would be enough to end this match."
Obviously, Wu Shitong's footwork was also of the tough and rigid style, bad at flexibility and guerrilla hit. Lou Cheng's Biting Chill offenses perfectly restrained him.
"The fight would become a lot nastier if it was against Liu Yinglong and his arm boxing..." The thought was quickly replaced by the scene of a Brutal Blizzard in Lou Cheng's mind, infusing fierceness and craziness into the Biting Chill. The mirror-like cold lake in his heart kept on listening to every little change of the opponent's body and absorbing his energy to launch heavier punches and faster kicks. His disadvantage in strength was soon wiped out, leaving Wu Shitong no energy to counterattack like a lone man crumbling and falling in the Arctic.
Another burst of cheers and applause on the stands for Lou Cheng's storm of strikes.
Again and again Wu Shitong attempted to pull himself out of this predicament by some explosive moves from Grand Stele Breaking Hand or Grand Stele Casting Hand but Lou Cheng, learnd from the fierce fight with Invincible Punch yesterday, played offensive firmly, using lightning and fire stance to push the Mega Avalanche and meeting strength with strength without slowing down his brutal, wild attacks.
Liu Yinglong frowned and spoke to Qin Zhilin quietly, "Wu Shitong is not as strong as I thought he would be. Is he actually only at the level of Amateur Second Pin?"
"I think it's the restraint between their styles. Those two palm sets are not for fun." Qin Zhilin reflected on this.
Suddenly Lou Cheng shook his right hand, throwing a punch like a spear at Wu Shitong's left arm with a crispy sound.
Wu Shitong's left arm was pushed away by the mighty punch, leaving a big opening on his chest.
Lou Cheng pushed his advantage and absorbed more energy to throw out his left fist like a water dragon at Wu Shitong's chest.
Wu Shitong's chest took a hit but Lou Cheng didn't feel any blood or flesh. His body was like a hard log, giving out an odd sound.
Lou Cheng's face changed and attempted to jump away but his wrist was grabbed by a hand with a faint layer of golden glow.
Golden Bell Cover!
Wu Shitong's fundamental skill is Golden Bell Cover!
He provoked during the talk time, played offensive during the fight and used Grand Stele Breaking Hand and Grand Stele Casting Hand during extreme crises to tell a damn near true story. A story about a home practicing disciple of Daxing Temple who is good at palm work!
It has gradually worn out my patience and caution, luring me into an all-out mad offense to suppress the opponent.
But everything turned upside down at the end of the story.
Lou Cheng saw Wu Shitong's smile with corners of his mouth upward and his infantility gone completely. He was questioning silently, "You have watched my fights. So what? None of them reached my Golden Bell Cover!"
His right hand firmly held on to Lou Cheng's left wrist.
PS: A question suddenly came to me as I finished this chapter. Do all fake monks specialized in Golden Bell Cover love to tell stories?