Connoisseur from across the four nations journeyed across the wrathful desert of Ba Sing Se in hopes of experiencing the legendary tea shop founded by former General Iroh of the Fire Nation Royal family. Even on this chilly morning the Jasmine Dragon had an exceptional amount of traffic consisting of citizens from across the nation. There were scholars who spent the previous night examining historical text and minor politicians preparing to serve their people. And among this random mixture was others who enjoyed the simplicity of regular labor. It was a peaceful amalgamation of people, almost dreamlike to those who experienced the conflicts outside the impenetrable walls. But that was the magic of this small tea shop founded by a man whose heart had transcended humanity. However, while there were honest customers wishing to start their day with a delicious cup of jasmine tea, members of the underworld watched over the unsuspecting with the eyes of a predator.
"Tapioca." Wei Meng ordered as he placed three copper pieces on the counter. He kept his eyes averted from the tea maker who seemed rather confused. Was it his swords? Or perhaps the red cloth tied around his right arm? Either way, Wei Meng was prepared to leave the Jasmine Dragon after a few seconds of silence when the tea maker finally broke the thick tension.
"Tapioca?" The tea maker asked.
"Is there a problem?"
"No, not at all." The tea maker smiled, which made the effects of aging rather prominent to Wei Meng. "It's just that there are not too many customers who truly enjoy Tapioca. In fact, our Jasmine tea was recently featured in the official Ba Sing Se tour guide." He spoke while fixing the tapioca tea. "Besides, Tapioca is an acquired taste you much gain through age. Anyway, Here you are. Please enjoy and let me know if you're hungry! We have a few early bird specials."
"Thank you." Wei Meng bowed slightly after taking the small cup of tea and sitting near a window where he watched the city awaken. The morning sun warmed the streets so that children could begin their morning commute to school. But while others smiled at the innocence of childhood and purity of their smiles, Wei Meng snarled. Instead of enjoyment, he sipped his tea slowly and watched the happy children with a green eye. "The future politicians and scholars." Wei Meng thought. "Immune to the darkness of this world, destined for a life filled with happiness, love and accomplishments. But for what? They'll be dead in a few decades and forgotten after a couple centuries." Wei Meng took another sip and sighed. His own family appeared in the tea's reflective surface. Smiling. Surrounded by wealth, health and people who truly care. "So why did I run away..." Wei Meng stroked the cloth tied around his left arm lightly, attempting to draw out the answer hidden within. Soon his heart started to race and he had to look away from the open window and drown out the surrounding sounds of the normal life. "Those are some beautiful swords, might I find out where ya got them from?" A sudden voice emerged from behind Wei Meng. "Name's Yunchuan of the Fire Tortoises." Yunchuan took a seat across from Wei Meng and met his gaze; two suns clashed against an emerald sea, as calm as the clouds floating above.
"They were a present from my Shifu."
"Ah, an apprentice of Wulin?" Yunchuan stroked his cheek with excitement. "Excellent. From what school do you belong to?"
Wei Meng sipped his tea and turned his attention to the window. That question was one without an answer, for where did he belong? Hell, should the Honey Badgers ever double cross him he would lack an ounce of restraint as he brought retribution. Wei Meng found the idea of criminals and heartless monsters showing fealty hilarious. Criminals were no different from lords and ladies except they honored power over inherited privilege; blood only came into the question when it spilled onto the earth. And so, Wei Meng continued sipping his tea, ignoring the question he found rather foolish.
"I remember when I was your age. We respected our elders and bowed our heads to those stronger than us." Yunchuan barked. "The world of Rivers and Lakes has changed over the past decade. Any child who finds a sword can claim that they're a master." Only then had Wei Meng actually noticed the vast difference in age between the two. "What if I feel like you don't deserve such beautifully crafted swords?"
"Even if you could take them away from me, these swords represent an ideal that you'll never come close to grasping." Wei Meng responded, voice lacking the slightest hint of emotion. However, he remained prepared to grasp both the Yin and Yang blade in case Yunchuan decided to reach for his large Zanbato. "Which would make them useless to a brute such as yourself."
"Tough words, considering you're surrounded by my men at this very moment." Yunchuan laughed. "How quick do you think it'll take them to rip you apart?"
Wei Meng silently cursed himself for lowering his guard earlier, for he had been so caught in his own thoughts that he was only now noticing the groups of men wearing crimson cloths who sat at different tables yet remained diligent of their boss. However Wei Meng appeared nonchalant, smirking Yunchuan before sipping his tea. "The sun shines early in the world of Rivers and Lakes...I guess there's truly no rest for the wicked."
Yunchuan reached for the hilt of his sword which rested on his lap, yet Wei Meng quickly stopped him with a sharp gaze.
"This is a historical landmark. Violence here would only lead to both our downfalls. I'll entertain your thirst for battle," But as he spoke, Wei Meng could feel his own heart racing in excitement for the child of black and white yearned for the sweet sensation of an approaching death. "only if you entertain my weakness for debate."
Yunchuan seemed to contemplate the situation for a few seconds before releasing his hilt. He noted the various patrons who would definitely lead to more issues for the Fire Tortoises; especially considering the delicate relationship between the Fire Nation and Earth Kingdom. So he could only nod and agree to the terms. "Fine. Once your tea is finish, I shall follow you to where our duel will take place." He took a deep breath and watched Wei Meng sip his tea once more as he sat back in his seat.
"Do you know of the Taiji?" Wei Meng questioned, gazing impassively outside the window despite challenging the fiery warrior before him.
"Of course. It is the creation of yin and yang, where for every aspect, there is an opposite. For every existence, an antithesis. However these contradictions are also connected and give rise to one another. And within each aspect is an opposite of the other. Man and Woman come together to create a generation of humans whereas one without the other would only bring extinction. The highest stalk of grain drop seeds into the ground to create a new harvest. It is the infinite and boundless, all that man can never hope to understand or even comprehend." Yunchuan answered smugly. "Child, I've been reading the heavens long before you could understand man."
"So if that's the case, where did it all begin"
"Huh?!" Yunchuan asked, completely flabbergasted. "That's a stupid question. Nothing. There was nothing before."
"Nothingness..." Wei Meng repeated. "Some refer to the Wuji as a state of absolute nothingness, which would make your statement correct. But I've heard it was a time where there was no separation or opposition. Only a complete oneness, absolute peace. Me, you, her, the animals, water, fire, all one existence yet void. A single consciousness or lack of thereof." Wei Meng took another sip of tea. "The creation of this universe was Taiji achieving motion, thus driving the separation of Wuji, stillness, into two primary forces, Yin and Yang. In the process, creating the four images leading to the eight trigrams; essentially ending with the dictation of fate. It is a ball that was pushed off atop a massive mountain before man was nothing more than a thought, which gathered dirt as it continued onwards. But if this realm moves in cycles, if man gives way to woman, light to day, motion to stillness; does that mean we are destined to return to Wuji?"
Yunchuan was left breathless at the question. He only could keep his eyes locked on Wei Meng who seemed tormented by these thoughts.
"One day, the Taiji will revert to its original form and unify the differing forces, amalgamating the four images and the eight trigrams alongside everything created by the separation."
"So the end of the world?"
"The end of the universe."
Yunchuan took a deep breath and looked out the window to where Wei Meng's eyes rested; a tree blowing lazily in the wind. However, he quickly returned to the emerald eye'd swordsman sitting before him. "Or perhaps the birth of a new one."
"Eventually. However, these phases take time and must reach a full measure before they transition. We humans like to scale down transitioning periods to levels we're able to comprehend. But if the creation and progress of this universe is any sign..." Wei Meng's voice trailed off. "I always wonder what it's like. Was it only one personality? Or did we have separate thoughts. Did we possess a void conscious as a whole or perhaps existed in an absolute stillness? Did we acknowledge our existence or simply await for Taiji to achieve motion once more. These are the thoughts that keep me awake at night, and the reason why life is meaningless. Our death becomes the nutrients for the ecosystem, allowing life to flourish onwards with our sacrifice. Yet if we are the collective material of a previous incarnate, then does that mean we'll have to suffer through this once more? It is all through the Taiji that this vast world is able to progress forward...However I ask is there a way to break free of this fate? " He sighed, slowly turning his eyes to meet Yunchuan. "The idea that sometime in the distant future, I'll have to share an existence with someone as ugly as you scares me more than anything else." The tense moment was shattered by Wei Meng placing the empty cup of tea on the table. He stood up and started towards the door, followed by a snarling Yunchuan and a group of Fire Tortoises.
Spectators watched the traveling bunch leave the Jasmine Dragon, scared to interfere with the business of the underworld. The tea maker watched Wei Meng whose eyes, once empty, was filled with a sort of excitement as he left the establishment. Although Wei Meng was relatively new to Ba Sing Se, he understood the basic layout of the large city and possessed enough connections through the Honey Badgers to find a place where the ensuing battle would go undisturbed. Some would call him crazy for attempting to take on the five warriors who followed him closely, but he knew he had them cornered. "An arrogant swordsman will only find himself dead." Wei Meng thought to himself, looking slightly at Yunchuan. "Still, that sword of his looks deadly."
"Where are we heading?" Yunchuan asked.
"An empty courtyard just up this street. The owners moved out of Ba Sing Se awhile ago, it's outside of Honey Badger territory which means no one will disturb us." Wei Meng answered quietly.
"Ah an honorable swordsman. Almost sad today will be your last."
The Battle Ensues
The courtyard was rather modest compared to other upper class citizens of Ba Sing Se. However, its foliage proved helpful in hiding the six men with weapons attached to their person. Although the wind brew strongly, the afternoon sun kept the earth warm and the animals lively. And in the distance, the normal life of Ba Sing Se could be heard clearly ignorant of the dealings of the underworld. Wei Meng stood before Yunchuan and his four followers without exhibiting an ounce of emotion. Despite the racing sensation he felt and sudden joy of the upcoming battle, Wei Meng attempted to seize the reign of his emotions. Remain calm and prepared for any potential traps. After minutes of silence, he drew Hebai Wuchang; holding the yang blade with his right and his yin blade in his left. Yunchuan answered by drawing the ember blade he carried, a large, crimson horse-cleaving sword with a black handled that required two hands to wield. But the fiery swordsman was able to hold it with relative ease.
"Before I end your life, give me a name to pass onto the Honey Badgers." Yunchuan barked.
"Duya of the Nineteen Styles of Jade Maiden Sword." Wei Meng replied, giving him the infamous code name he used under the Honey Badgers. Duya, an omen of death, but a bird of intelligence and wisdom. A harbinger of evils and a creature of playfulness; it was a code that stuck with Wei Meng after he found his own little Raven to take care of.
"Jade Maiden Sword?" Yunchuan repeated. "I figured you'd belong to some nameless sect. The fact you wield such beautiful swords is an insult to true swordsman like myself."
"The only reason it's nameless is because I assure that my enemies can never speak again." Wei Meng challenged Yunchuan. He quickly got into proper stance, aiming the tip of the yang blade at his opponent's chest with his arm pointed outwards at a nearly perfect angle from his hip; creating an illusion that his sword and arm was one unified limb. Meanwhile, the yin blade remained inches behind the yang, in a position meant for a swift strike. His right foot pointed at his opponent with a slightly bent leg which was perpendicular to his hind leg; also kept in a slight angle yet pointed outwards to his left flank. Wei Meng appeared in a state of complete tranquility despite being completely surrounded. They had sworn on the world of Rivers and Lakes to withhold honor. Criminals with honor? The Jade Maiden swordsman knew such an idea was foolish but could read Yunchuan. His arrogance would assure that there would be no interruption or else he would lose the right to claim an actual victory. Cheating only meant that he acknowledged Wei Meng's superiority. "Out of respect, I'll let you go first old man."
"Brave talk for a punk," Yunchuan said as he grabbed the hilt of his monstrous sword and unsheathed it with a deep heave. The massive sword glistened beautifully in the Earth Kingdom's sun. "but you'll be begging me for lessons when I'm through with you!" Yunchuan darted towards his prey with a mighty roar and swung the sword overhead before rapidly bringing it downward with enough force to send a slight breeze past Wei Meng; who, in essence of the inherited art, awaited patiently for the strike to approach before sliding gently across the grass with a backwards step and thus out of its path by no more than an inch. Yunchuan grunted angrily as he used his leg to halt the momentum and transitioned into a thrust at his opponent's chest.
"He has a wider measure than me." Wei Meng contemplated while remaining stern and externally undisturbed, only awaiting for the following strike, a thrust, to approach before maneuvering accordingly. For he knew that his opponent outranked him in both durability in strength, Wei Meng focused on the aspects he excelled at. So instead of pursuing the failed strike with an immediate counter or blocking the upcoming attempt with his own swords, the Jade Maiden swordsman patiently awaited for the thrust to approach; enough that Yunchuan eyes widened in excitement, his enemy had dodged the initial strike but was left wide open. Unfortunately he had overlooked the silver sword that was deliberately maneuvered beneath his approaching weapon, giving the illusion of vulnerability, and slammed against the flat of his blade. Ultimately, redirecting the thrust so it flew parallel to the outside of Wei Meng's right arm without actual contact. Their clashing metal created the shiver-inducing scraping that Wei Meng found ecstatic as he took the chance to retort with a swift slash towards Yunchuan's throat from his ebony sword; an out-of-reach attack that had been timed so that his enemy would fall into the oncoming sword due to his own momentum.
"Shit!" Although Yunchuan dug his heels into the earth to stop himself, he felt the ebony blade lightly kiss his warm flesh; but the steel was nowhere near as cold as the glare in his cold emerald eyes. While battle was one of the only instances where Wei Meng felt excitement and liveliness, he seemed rather aggravated by the performance of Yunchuan; who growled while striding desperately away from Wei Meng. Both returned to his previous stance.
"Sloppiness will only make it easier for me to remove your head." Wei Meng taunted. He returned to his initial stance and took another deep breath, analyzing the distance from the enemy's weapon to his person. "He has a longer reach but higher energy expenditure." Wei Meng thought to himself. Yunchuan disregarded the snide remarks and charged at the dual wielding swordsman, keeping the distance between the tip of his sword and the enemy void. Yes, Wei Meng knew that his opponent's monstrous reach forced him to rely on a retaliative approach. But it seemed that Yunchuan realized his plan and adjusted accordingly by focusing on cutting motions. The result being a wild barrage of vertical and horizontal strikes, Ultimately denying Wei Meng the chance of closing the sacred gap he had created between the two. In response, he could only stride swiftly from side to side or perform acrobatic rolls to avoid the horse-cleaving sword. He knew that attempting to halt the onslaught would only result in failure, so he had to simply practice patience.
"The secret of earthbending is neutral jing." Those words, spoken by his master, replayed every time his hands wrapped around the grip of his swords. "The idea of waiting for the opponent to strike, thus revealing a vulnerability for which you exploit." What was once a simple lesson had transformed into a mantra that haunted him endlessly. Even now, Master Huashan's voice repeated itself as Wei Meng watched Yunchuan hack mercilessly. In response the Jade Maiden swordsman continued stepping or tumbling out of danger. But the surrounding Fire Tortoises were mesmerized by the footwork Wei Meng displayed; he almost appeared to be dancing to an unheard beat. Yes, the young swordsman heard it despite the squashy grass and soft earth beneath their feet. He heard and felt the rhythm, the music created by the offense of his opponent. Now was the moment for him to strike. Yunchuan alternated his strike, swinging horizontally towards the young swordsman's waist, which he dodged by squatting beneath the blade before launching back onto his feet in a swift motion. However, Yunchuan suspected it and brought the sword in reverse, forcing Jade Maiden swordsman to leap from danger.
"Sloppiness will only make it easier for me to cleave you in half!" Yunchuan roared arrogantly. The lone swordsman stood up and smiled towards his opponent. "What's so funny?"
"Nothing...I'm just finally able to enjoy this match." Wei Meng resumed stance and started to circle Yunchuan. The recent near death experience forced his senses to awaken, causing the acrobatic swordsman to feel the moisture in the breeze and warmth of the earth beneath his two feet.
"But you should only practice neutral jing when earthbending, Wei Meng." Huashan's raspy voice returned. "In swordsmanship, there are times where you must create an opening; that is you must force your opponent to reveal a vulnerability in themselves for you to take advantage of."
The two swordsman, both in their initial stances, circled one another; seemingly attempting to discover a weakness n the other's form. But Wei Meng had already deciphered his opponent's vulnerability and was actually envisioning the response to each action. He needed to seize the timing before striking without allowing Yunchuan a chance of reading him.
"You managed to survive longer than I expected. Though the only thing your school seems to be good for is running away." Yunchuan said, slightly looking upwards before circling once more. "Allow me to show you why they call me, the Earth Shatterer." He started to swing his legs wildly, digging the sword slightly into the ground and using it as a stand for his sporadic movement. Intense heat waves followed his heels before expanding outwards. Soon each kick was trailed by a colorful stream of red and orange that disappeared seconds after being expelled as a flash of beauty that would normally entice Wei Meng.
The young swordsman was unable to approach the spinning firebender for the flames, although short-living, retained a considerable amount of heat. So he watched as the movements increased in speed until both shot out a rather large arc of fire. Wei Meng shielded himself from the flames but lost track of his opponent. Only a sudden shadow drew his attention upwards until they were hit with an explosion of light. The self-titled Earth Shatterer leapt high into the air and into the center of a bright sun, creating a fiery shell behind him.
"That bastard!" Wei Meng cursed, squinting his eyes as the sun's bright rays blinded him. A silhouette had appeared in front of the sun, almost like a fiery shell.
"The Flaming Shell Technique, our most prized possession. It uses firebending to distract the opponent and suddenly propel the user into the air for a final strike when they shield themselves from the oncoming flames. It's infinitely deadlier during a sunny day like this." A spectator commented to another. "To think boss would go that far for this brat."
Yunchuan descended towards his opponent with a powerful bellow, gripping the rather large sword tightly above his head before swinging it downwards; using gravity to increase the overall force of the earth-shattering strike. The blazing sun behind him made it impossible for Wei Meng to properly defend against the strike. Victory. His sword completed the crescent arc and broke the earth beneath it. However, Wei Meng stood up after throwing himself out of the oncoming path of danger.
"He dodged it?!" The Fire Tortoises exclaimed in shock.
"No one has ever dodged that before kid." Yunchuan exclaimed, pulling his horse-cleaving sword from the earth."
Wei Meng kept an emotionless stare but knew that he had narrowly escaped death once more. If not for some last second earthbending to propel himself out of harms way, he would have surely lost the duel or suffered a wound that would have made victory extremely difficult. But he knew he those poisonous thoughts were useless. before him stood someone infinitely more experience. Simple tactics that work on others his age appeared transparent. Yet, how could he have gotten that first strike?
"Why so quiet punk?" Yunchuan goaded. "Have you realized the uselessness of your Jade Maiden Sword? You might as well hand over the swords already."
Wei Meng stood quiet, focused and prepared to defend himself despite being out of guard of his opponent. He was always prepared to defend himself, for that was a core concept of the Nineteen Styles. Even if the enemy was a country away, one's guard shall remain as if they shared a bed. His eyes widened in a sudden revelation. The reason why he had caused damage before yet had such a difficult time. Wei Meng stared at the horse-cleaving sword and then back at his own swords. He linked it to the distance between the two and calculated the various lengths. It became clear as day.
The epiphany almost brought tears to his eyes, for it was also accompanied by a memory of warmth, safety and happiness. A time where life had been simple and the reasoning pure. "How could I forget." Wei Meng asked himself, staring at the ebony blade. "The one lesson I hated the most."
"What are you mumbling? Are you giving up?!" Yunchuan screamed in hilarity. "Hand them over."
"You're not getting my swords." Wei Meng replied annoyed. "I'm only thinking about how foolish I've been."
A Powerful Lesson
"Come!" Huashan ordered. He held a single sword, dulled for practice, against the yin and yang blades he crafted generations before. "Come at me with everything, and I shall defeat you without a single stroke of my blade."
"A-are you sure?" Wei Meng asked.
"Are you insisting you can hurt me?" Huashan laughed at the very idea of the young swordsman, barely reaching his waist in height, being able to actually harm him. "I admire your courage. But there's nothing you can do that hasn't been done to me already. Besides win."
Wei Meng took a deep breath and charged at Huashan, practicing the movements practiced a hundred times over. The yang blade took the role of offense; he extended his right arm out in four different angles in order to strike Huashan. But the master danced elegantly, using his own blade to easily parry the oncoming strikes. Yet he took a step back with each strike that his student responded with by stepping forward. Parry. Retreat. Advance. Parry. Retreat. Advance. The tempo had changed and Wei Meng subconsciously fell victim to the rhythm. However something else occurred within the young swordsman who seemed to be pushing Master Huashan back. A demon awoke, one that plagued man since their creation and lead to the downfall of kings.
He started to think higher of himself than he actually was. Wei Meng walked among the clouds but saw the stars before him. Victory. Victory. All he could think as Huashan continued stepping backwards. Perhaps if he knew humbleness, he would notice the tranquil visage of Huashan. Or the peaceful breaths entering and exiting his body as he continued to go on the defensive. Had he knew humbleness, Wei Meng would have noticed the newly appearing openings after each strike. Or perhaps how after each parry, his next strike seemed to follow at a quicker pace.
Soon the two had reached a nearby tree where they continued exchanging blows. "He's cornered." Wei Meng thought to himself. "He's cornered. He's cornered." The thought of defeating his master seemed to overwhelm his consciousness. He started to behave more sporadically. Without anywhere to go, his master would be forced to create an opening. Without an option, victory had already been set. The heavens smiled upon the young swordsman and granted him something he has deserved for thousands of lives before.
But he still failed to notice the tranquility of Master Haushan who kicked the tree with substantial force. The traveling wave of energy shaking the branches and leaves, causing an apple to unhinge itself and fall on top of Wei Meng who lost focus and attempted to retreat from the sudden attack. However, he managed to trip over himself and fall face first. Huashan laughed and sat beneath the tree.
"Master, you weren't supposed to strike me." Wei Meng complained.
"I did not." Master Huashan took a bite of the apple. "The tree did. Nature will always favor the master over the student."
"But I was so close..."
"Nowhere near." Master Huashan took another bite before noticing the sadness on his student's face. "You were overcome with the demon of every man. A demon so fierce it has brought down kings and removed gods. The demon of arrogance and the seductress known as the illusion of safety. You are never truly safe nor is victory ever actually guaranteed. Even if you defeat the last warrior of your quest, his son shall train and become stronger so he can defeat you. And if you manage to win, then his daughter will follow in suit. You eventually destroy their family, then the world knows you as a master and wishes to challenge you for that title." Master Huashan sighed deeply, almost lost... "That, my young one, is the life of Rivers and Lakes."
"Then I shall defeat the world!" Wei Meng exclaimed. His voice warmed the chilling sensation emanating from Huashan as he rubbed his student's hair. "So you only challenged me to work on my awareness of these demons and seduc-sedu--"
'Yes." He interrupted. "I do not wish to scare you. But if you are serious about walking this path, you must know that you become a marked man the second you draw your swords outside. Evil never sleeps. You'll forever have to fight for your own peace, and avoid certain attachments in fear of dragging your loved one's to your suffering. The demons I mentioned have caused the suffering of many innocent people who only suffer because of the foolish."
"How can I avoid those demons?"
"Just remember; No matter how far the enemy is, you must never lower your guard. And regardless of how defenseless they appear, you must regard your enemy as if they're holding the largest sword." Master Huashan took another bite of his apple and looked out to the distant mountains. He eventually turned his attention back to his yin and yang blades and smiled. "Only when the enemy is dead are you safe; and even then there are tales of men coming back to life for vengeance. The heavens are hundreds of miles above and filled with emptiness...yet a bolt of lightning can strike at any minute."
"But if these demons are in everyone, could I learn to control them?"
"Yes. And when you do, no one will be able to stop Nineteen Styles of Jade Maiden Sword. Not even myself."
The Battle Ends: Remember the Name
Wei Meng tightened his grip on both blades and looked towards Yunchuan. His emerald eyes were filled with a fire they lacked minutes before and were complimented by a determined smirk. He got into initial stance once more and awaited for the chance to act. He knew what had to be done to end this battle.
"Fine, I've given you enough chance to hand them over. Time I take them off of your corpse!" Yunchuan screamed as he ran towards Wei Meng who, shockingly, remained firmed in his position. His stance was staunch and unyielding, a mountain in the midst of a tornado unmoved by the commands of the heavens and oceans. This newly acquired power frightened the spectators but excited their boss, who took it as a sign of resignation.
Wei Meng suddenly flicked both wrist forward, sending his swords twirling towards Yunchuan in a spiraling disc.
"Ha! Your last resort? Victory is mine!" Yunchuan deflected both the yin and yang blades using his own sword before pressing onwards. "Without your swords, you're nothing more than a target awaiting to be struck!" He roared, a demon seemingly overcoming his person. Filling his veins, he felt a certain comfort in knowing that his opponent no longer possessed weapons. Wei Meng read his enemies aura; an enemy who thought that without a means of defense, the young apprentice of the nameless school would fall and those beautiful swords would belong to him.
However, Wei Meng started to move sporadically, thrusting his arms forward and bringing them back. His open palm almost guiding an invisible force in an arc, striking with power and then retreating softly. Striking forward, then retreating. His feet remained firm, stance strong, and body unyielding. Even as the approaching blade whistled in the air and the enemies voice roared in power and false satisfaction. He continued his movement. Pulsing outwards and inwards, awaiting for the opportunity to pursue itself.
"It's over!" Yunchuan raised his hand and brought the sword towards the young swordsman's stomach; who completed the final motion of rapidly pulling his arms, which had been pushed outwards, inwards to his core. Yunchuan suddenly stopped when the tip of the sword was inches from Wei Meng who could only smile as it dug into the earth after falling. Spectators gasped in a strange mixture of shock and awe, unable to gather what had just occurred. The handles of the yin and yang blades protruded from the back of Yanchuan and their tips digging deep into his abdomen. "W-w-what how?"
"You allowed the demon to take you over." Wei Meng answered while retrieving the yin and yang blades from Yunchuan's back as he fell forward.
"You're a metalbender."
"Of course. But that technique is both obvious and novice. Hell, I've yet to even come up with a name for it." Wei Meng smiled as he admired his swords.
"I still don't understand."
"You're arrogant. Earlier when I scraped your neck, you let your guard down enough after thinking that I'd really left myself open. You thought I'd accidentally avoided one strike without accounting for a following attack, your thrust, when instead I was actually counting on it." Wei Meng sheathed his blades and smirked. "You improved your defense tremendously after realizing my strength in distance analysis. Afterwards, you realized I relied heavily on countering so you started preparing secondary attacks. But you lacked control of your emotions. When I appeared defenseless, you claimed victory without truly assessing the situation."
"Besides, what idiot willingly throws his swords without some sort of backup?" Wei Meng sighed. "I spared your life today because you gave me some entertainment, and I doubt your buddies would allow me to leave unscathed with you dead. But cross me again, and I'll make sure you'll never bend again." His threat was without emotion as he started off towards the path off the property yet stopped halfway. "Oh yeah, tell everyone you know about the day the mighty Yanchuan lost to Nineteen Styles of Jade Maiden Sword!"