Doctor Mo looked slightly astounded at his left hand, then returned his gaze to Han Li. He said disdainfully, ”Interesting. It seems like you really didn’t idle around for a year, even unexpectedly training in such a strange skill. But you did really think that you could become my opponent by relying on a few jack-of-all-trades skills?”
“It seems I have not fought for a long period of time. Personally taking part to exercise my limbs is not a bad idea. I will let you make the first move!”
Han Li did not pay attention to Doctor Mo’s insult. He had already decided to gain the initiative by striking first. As the saying goes, be the first to act and take any opportunities.
The short sword in Han Li’s left hand was brought towards the front of his body, attracting Doctor Mo’s gaze. But from his inner right cuff, he quietly slipped down a white paper bag, dropping it into the center of his right hand. After that, he lifted his hand to scatter a wide stretch of fine white powder from the white paper bag. In the blink of an eye, it turned into a thick white smoke that enveloped Han Li entirely, making his figure appear unclear and indistinct. Moreover, the white smoke quickly diffused throughout the entire house and made the whole room into a vast expanse of whiteness. Even if one were to hold his or her hand out, he or she wouldn’t be able to see even his or her fingers. Han Li had strangely disappeared amidst the smoke.
Doctor Mo wrinkled his brows. Han Li’s move was beyond his expectations, but in his heart, he disregarded it. Because of his experience against this kind of third-rate trick, he had many ways to counter it. It was only because he was afraid that the smoke would prove to be troublesome that he held his breath. With his deep profound skill, not breathing for forty-five to seventy-five minutes was no problem at all.
“Hmph! What insignificant talent! And you still dare to show off in front of me!” Doctor Mo snorted coldly. Suddenly, his right hand slapped an empty spot within the smoke. The smoke stirred as if it were being hit by a large club, and it immediately surged upwards, revealing a large distinct hole.
Though he could not see Han Li’s silhouette, Doctor Mo did not stop. Striking everywhere from all sides, he released more than ten strikes in a row, making the smoke in the house completely disperse out from the front door. The room returned back to normal, apart from the missing Han Li.
“Strange. This brat truly has some ability. Even when I am in front of him, he can make himself disappear as if he had ceased to exist.” Doctor Mo was astonished, but he did not panic in the slightest. He had kept a constant watch of the door and its vicinity. Even if a flea flew past, it would not escape his detection.
He carefully ran his eyes across the entire house. The surrounding bookshelves, a desk and a chair were untouched; everything appeared to be the same. There was nothing out of the ordinary. Thus, how could such a big fellow like Han Li disappear completely in a small place like this?
Doctor Mo’s expression changed. There were slight misgivings in his heart, but he boldly coughed a few times. He then unsteadily walked to the place where Han Li disappeared from, wanting to take a closer look at what actually happened.
When he was a few feet away from the area where Han Li disappeared, he stopped and squinted both eyes. He faintly felt a discernible killing intent direct at him from nearby, getting ready to make a move.
Doctor Mo’s eyes radiated energy that was used to carefully sweep the room. But even so, he was unable to discover anything abnormal. He began to worry that there was no one nearby; could it be that Han Li decided to go up to heaven or down to hell?
“To go up to heaven or down to hell,” Doctor Mo was completely lost in his thoughts and was thinking as if he had realized something critical. While he was pondering over it, there was a sudden “dang” sound above his head.
“Not good!” Doctor Mo suddenly realized that Han Li had concealed himself in the beam of the roof. He was unable to look up in time. With a shout, Doctor Mo raised his hand upwards and struck his palm severely to stun his opponent in one move.
Following the powerful strike, an explosion rumbled out, but the only sound that that was audible was sharp and clear “dang”.
Doctor Mo was somewhat puzzled and hurriedly lifted his head to inspect the beam. He couldn’t help but to stare foolishly at the empty space above, where not even a ghost of a reflection could be seen. There was only a small black metal bell hanging from the beam of the roof, jingling incessantly in the wake of his strike. This was the source of the “dang” sound. Not even Han Li’s shadow was there!
During the time in which Doctor Mo was looking upwards, a wisp of cold light, with the abruptness of a thunderbolt, pierced violently towards Doctor Mo’s lower abdomen from under his foot. Its speed was incredibly fast, comparable to lightning or raging fire. He was able to detect it only when it was about to touch Doctor Mo’s garments.
Doctor Mo turned pale with fright. In a great rush, he reacted instinctively and twisted his body. His whole body seemed as if it did not have a spine as he bent backwards, his body bending into the shape of an arch. This dangerous short sword blow just barely scratched his belly, making a small cut. It nearly slashed open his chest and eviscerated him.
(TL: the original Chinese says that he formed an iron bridge. Imagine him forming a bridge with his body by bending backward into an inverted U)
After experiencing that attack, Doctor Mo did not dare to relax. As if the sole of his feet had contained springs, he jumped backwards several meters without changing his posture. Only after retreating did he dare to rise and look alarmingly yet furiously at the direction where the short sword’s flashing light had emerged from…
Only to see that the ground where Doctor Mo had stood just moments ago began to slowly swell. Unexpectedly, the swell became bigger and taller until Han Li finally emerged. He had used a combination of Soft Bones Art, Breath Control Art, and False Hiding Technique.
At that moment, Han Li’s clothes were the same color as the yellow ground. His left hand carried the same short sword that had nearly hit Doctor Mo, and his eyes expressed an annoyed look. It seemed Han Li felt that it was a pity that he missed his target just now.
Startled by the previous slash, his heart was beating madly from fear of that short sword. He was not an inexperienced recruit who had never faced danger, but even so, there were only a handful of instances during which he faced a near death experience. What made this experience even more frightening was that it was caused by Han Li, whom Doctor Mo had always looked down upon with disdain.
He took a deep breath, his expression finally becoming serene, and said in a dry and rough voice, “It seems that I have underestimated you, my dear young disciple. Your display of skill was not bad. You are truly worthy of me taking you seriously.”
After saying this sentence, Doctor Mo slowly raised both hands to his eye level and gazed tenderly at his hands without saying a single word. His gaze was similar to passionately looking at a lover, forgetting completely about Han Li.
Han Li raised both his eyebrows and sneered. He grasped his short sword tightly in one hand and slowly approached Doctor Mo in small, measured steps.