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Chapter 686: Shooting Without Shooting
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
As soon as the copper coin fell from the great height and onto the stone slate, it bounced. The moment the coin made a sound and before it hit the ground again, the two guards who served the Crown Prince made their moves…
The person who chose the thirty-picul Horned Python Bow was on Yan Liqiang’s left side. He bent his body to keep himself close to the ground as he slid out. While concealing his body, he drew his bow and shot an arrow at Yan Liqiang.
The other person who chose the thirty-five-picul Horned Python Bow leaped into the air instead and started running against the wall behind him. His body was parallel to the ground and while sprinting, he also shot an arrow at Yan Liqiang.
Although the arrowheads were removed and the end of the arrow shaft was covered by cloth, under the action of a strong bow over this distance of fifty steps, the arrow still had huge kinetic energy. If a person was shot by it, the huge impact was no less than a hard punch from an expert. It was still enough to cause a severe injury on a person’s body.
The two arrows sliced through the air noisily toward Yan Liqiang. The sharp searing noises they made immediately drew the attention of all the onlookers.
The arrows flew at Yan Liqiang from both sides, but he remained standing in silence and didn’t move or even lift his bow. The arrow flew past Yan Liqiang about three steps away from him, while the right arrow also flew past him at a distance of about three steps away. Both missed their targets.
The Crown Prince’s expression changed. The two arrows that his guards released were impeccable in timing and coordination. Had Yan Liqiang moved, he would’ve been very likely to be hit by either one of those arrows. Yet no one expected him to actually remain standing on the same spot after the blindfolded contest began. He stood there, still like a stone statue, and the well-calculated arrows naturally missed their targets.
Was Yan Liqiang just damn lucky or did he actually have a card up his sleeve?
“Oh? That’s all both of you have? I didn’t even move, yet both of you still couldn’t shoot me?” Yan Liqiang’s lips curled into a smile while still blindfolded.
Upon hearing Yan Liqiang’s taunt, the facial expression on the two expert archers contorted. Both of them yelled angrily. The person who chose the thirty-five-picul bow leaped into the air powerfully and shot two arrows toward Yan Liqiang from midair.
The other person who chose the thirty-picul bow stopped sliding across the ground and stood still. He spun a full circle on the spot, drew his bow into a full moon shape and also shot two arrows toward Yan Liqiang.
At that very moment, four arrows came flying toward Yan Liqiang like meteors.
A loud noise was heard. Just when everyone thought the arrows hit Yan Liqiang, the expressions on their faces immediately froze. Yan Liqiang had his slender and fair arm stretched out in front of him, and there were four arrows in his grasp. He never moved since the beginning. The four arrows that seemed to fly with unstoppable force earlier lost their energy and withered like weeds in Yan Liqiang’s hand.
The guards that gathered up around the Crown Prince looked as though their eyes were going to pop out of their sockets. If one could catch an arrow shot by an expert archer with a ten-picul bow over such a short distance with their eyes open, it could already be considered an amazing feat. However, Yan Liqiang actually caught four arrows while blindfolded. This was definitely a challenge on the human limit!
It was important to know that the four arrows were released by two different bows from different distances and angles. This meant that the power, speed, and angle of all the arrows were slightly different from one another. To be able to catch all of them in just a flash showed that Yan Liqiang could accurately determine all these arrows’ aspects with his eyes closed. What kind of judgment and perception did he have? Was he even human?
“What a pity. Too slow…” Yan Liqiang shook his head and put a bit of strength into his hand. The four arrows in his hand immediately snapped. He opened his palm and let the broken arrows fall to the ground.
Up to this point, the two expert archers had demonstrated various skills and performed two rounds of shots beautifully, releasing a total of six arrows. Yet Yan Liqiang never moved from his spot, nor did he lift his bow. He stood in place and didn’t budge even an inch as he effortlessly neutralized the attacks from the two expert archers. Even those who didn’t know much about archery would notice the large disparity between both parties’ strength in this blindfolded contest. It was as different as day and night. Hence, it was meaningless to carry on with the contest as the opponents couldn’t even shoot their target who was standing still…
The expression on the Crown Prince’s face changed a few times in succession. Just when he was about to stop the contest, the two expert archers let out an angry yell in unison. They stood in their places, drew a breath, got into a stance and drew their bow, each sending two more arrows toward Yan Liqiang.
Two of the arrows were aimed lower, three inches below Yan Liqiang’s knees. The other two arrows were aimed higher, at Yan Liqiang’s shoulders. The expert archers refused to believe that Yan Liqiang could continue neutralizing their attacks while remaining in the same spot under such circumstances. They had no qualms in losing the blindfolded contest, but if they couldn’t even make Yan Liqiang move his leg with a bow in their hands, then they would be too ashamed to continue serving the Crown Prince…
Yan Liqiang didn’t move his feet, but the Vibrant Dragon Bow in his hand moved. Yan Liqiang glowed as though he was a whole new person. He drew his bow without an arrow in hand.
“Go…” Yan Liqiang whispered.
A loud explosive noise immediately thundered throughout the Zhaowu Courtyard.
The four arrows flying toward Yan Liqiang instantly shattered in the air as though they had collided with invisible arrows. The blindfolds of Yan Liqiang’s opponents broke open as though they were cut open by a sharp knife. They fell to the ground along with a few strands of the archers’ hair. A two-inch cut appeared right in the middle of their foreheads, slowing growing longer. The skin on their forehead broke open and blood trickled down from the fresh wound, soon covering their faces in blood.
By now, the copper coin that the Crown Prince tossed earlier had just stopped rolling after bouncing twice. Yet, the blindfolded contest was already over…
The two experts that served the Crown Prince were petrified before their bodies started trembling.
“This… He turned air into an arrow. To shoot without shooting…” The expert who picked the thirty-five-picul bow murmured in a daze at first, before shouting again. “That was Shooting Without Shooting! That was Shooting Without Shooting…! So it really exists…!” Although the man was injured, he didn’t seem to be in pain at this moment. He was extremely worked up instead, as though he had just discovered a gold mine. Although the other expert’s face was covered in blood, he was not only excited but was also looking at Yan Liqiang stupidly.
To everyone’s amazement, the two experts exchanged glances with each other, then saluted Yan Liqiang with a special etiquette. They held their bow with one hand behind them, placed the other hand on their chest, then kneeled on one knee before Yan Liqiang and lowered their head. “Junior Tong Sicheng and my brother, Su Tieshan, ignorantly offended Senior by trying to shine brighter than the sun when we merely possessed the light of a firefly. Thank you Senior for sparing our lives and showing us the ultimate skill in the art of archery when we boldly challenged you to this blindfolded contest…!”
It seemed like his trick was successful. Yan Liqiang secretly heaved a sigh of relief. He barely reached the Shoot Without Shooting technique from the Eighth Heavenly Layer in the art of archery. Fifty steps was almost the maximum distance for this technique to be effective. Had they been further away, he wouldn’t be able to succeed in tricking them. Looking at the two men half-kneeling before him, as well as the petrified looks on the Crown Prince’s face and the others, Yan Liqiang was satisfied as he secretly gave himself a 99% score for the performance he put on today!
“One who doesn’t know is not guilty. Both of you did good too. Now get up!” Yan Liqiang was laughing wildly in his heart, but maintained the composure on his face as he waved the matter off.
“Thank you, Senior!” The two expert archers stood up, then stood solemnly at the side while still looking at Yan Liqiang with reverence and enthusiasm. Those who weren’t obsessed with archery would never understand how the two men felt at this moment.
The Crown Prince had arrived next to Yan Liqiang, looking solemn and dignified. He kneeled and bowed with his hands held in front of him so deeply that his forehead nearly touched the ground. “Greetings from Zhaoming, Master! It is indeed a blessing for me to have your guidance in the art of archery, and my father’s grace!” By the time the Crown Prince finished speaking, there was already an attendant cautiously carrying a tray next to him. On the tray was a cup of tea. The Crown Prince got up and picked up the tea cup. He raised the cup over his head and offered it to Yan Liqiang. “Please accept this cup of tea, Master…!”
Yan Liqiang accepted the tea cup from the Crown Prince with a smile, then downed the content in one gulp with pleasure.
“Zhaoming wasn’t aware of your amazing skills earlier. Please forgive my negligence earlier, Master!” The Crown Prince was so friendly and amiable right now that he seemed to be a whole new person.
“You are too polite, Your Highness!” Yan Liqiang didn’t act arrogantly, but remained as humble as he was before. “It’s only a contest for everyone to get to know each other. I think it is very reasonable. There is nothing wrong with that, Your Highness!”
The Crown Prince laughed heartily, then looked around and announced loudly, “From today on, Master is free to come and go as he pleases in the Zhaowu Courtyard! His words are my words. Now, proceed with the greetings…”
All the guards and attendants serving the Crown Prince bowed to Yan Liqiang and greeted him in unison, “Greetings, Master…!”