Chapter 10: Aspire Invocations Intricate Recite
When Yi Ping opened his eyes with a sudden jerk, he had just broken into a cold sweat! He seemed to have fallen into a deep slumber and had a nightmare. This nightmare was always the same, haunting him constantly. He could not forget how his mother Shui Yichi had died yet he must live in constant denial.
He dreaded to lie but he had lied to Shui Yixian. Even though he was honest about his mother maiden name to Shui Yixian, he had lied to her that she had passed away shortly after giving birth to him. It was because he still had to search for the people that had harmed his parents.
Even though he was a five year old boy back then, he could remember his father name was Yi Tianxing and his mother maiden name was Shui Yichi. His father had a sworn brother and it was this sworn brother that had betrayed his father and harmed his mother.
He did not know that his mother was from the Eternal Ice Palace therefore when Shui Yixian questioned him about it, he told her a half-truth. That was before he knew that his mother was actually her older protégé sister.
No wonder he found himself drawn irresistible to Shui Yixian, she indeed had many similarities to his mother…
Before he could confess to her on the truth, Shui Yixian had passed away…
Yi Ping thought, “Am I destined to lead a lonesome life?”
An alluring voice was heard calling out to him, “You have awakened? I have thought that you have died. Your pulses are so weak. I…I am so sorry…”
He had not heard her apologies for he was still in a daze. When he saw it was Ji Lingfeng, he stared at her and turned as white as sheet. He was instantly panicky and got the fright of his life as he tried to flee from her!
Seeing her again was worse than the terrible nightmare that he just had!
Ji Lingfeng called her to him, bemused by his actions. “Why are so afraid of me? Do you really think I will eat you up? What am I? A demoness? Have you forgotten that it is you that want to pay that old freak a visit in the first place?”
After Yi Ping had heard her, he began to turn back. He asked hesitating, “Are we really reaching?” He was really afraid of her.
Ji Lingfeng laughed softly, “Of course, it is just down this path. Quickly, follow me!”
Yi Ping sighed and walked staggeringly behind her, “If I know that this trip will be so difficult and nearly cost me my life, I would never agree to come. Even before I can find the martial master, I would probably die in her hands first…”
This time, Ji Lingfeng was just taking a gentle stroll. When she saw that he was struggling to even walk, she immediately took him by his arm to support him.
All of a sudden, Yi Ping felt she was not that bad after all.
They were now walking very close. Both Yi Ping and Ji Lingfeng averted their eyes and were awkward.
There was a few times that Ji Lingfeng or Yi Ping wanted to say something but they could not find the courage to say a word. It was as though they were afraid of disturbing the tranquil air between them.
Soon after, Yi Ping saw a small broken down hut. He was astonished that someone had actually built a dwelling here in this desolate forested valley.
Ji Lingfeng smiled, “We are here! Go on and go in.” The way she had said it, was like it was none of her concern and that she was only a speculator waiting to see what would going to happen next.
But before Yi Ping could walk into the hut, a voice was heard saying, “Young lass, you are back so fast? You didn’t forget me? I catch the sniff of the fragrant of the Bamboo Leaves Wine. Excellent! But you seem to have brought someone here. I don’t like strangers. You can ask him to leave!”
Ji Lingfeng laughed gently, “I am not the one that bring you the Bamboo Leaves Wine. This young man did. If you don’t want to see him, he can simply leave.”
An old man with a cane opened the door of the hut. He had a cane with him and he seemed to have difficulty in walking.
The old man growled and said, “Lass, why did you bring him here for?”
Ji Lingfeng replied, “He would like to learn superior martial arts from you.”
The old man looked at Yi Ping from head to toe as he said, “He looks like he is almost dead and he still wants to learn martial arts from me? Anyway, I won’t accept any disciples. He can leave immediately. I don’t have the habit of coaching strangers anything.”
Ji Lingfeng said, “Oh? Did you not teach me the Asper Horizon Hands just a few days ago? Am I not a stranger?”
The old man said, “I also have another habit. When I take something from a stranger, I will never owe them anything. You are just lucky that I have a craving for good wines that day.”
Ji Lingfeng said coolly, “Do you know that in order to find you, he has run throughout the night, searching hills by hills for you? Does this not prove his sincerity and willingness to shoulder hardship?”
Yi Ping was touched that she had actually stepped in to persuade the old man for him. He knew that he was asking for the impossible and that this would likely be a futile trip. He was just trying his luck.
In the fraternity, the martial masters would never reveal their martial secrets easily. Even if they would want to find a successor, it was likely to be someone that they had raised since young. That was so in order to reduce the odds of their skills from falling into the wrong hands.
Yi Ping was expecting a reclusive martial hermit and the sight of this old man disappointed him. But nevertheless, he truly believed that this old man was the one that could help him in improving his martial advancement.
So he respectfully said, “Old Senior. I, Yi Ping, pay my respects to you. I have the wish to meet a worthy master…”
The old man muttered, “Yi…” All of a sudden, his expressions changed. “What is your name again?”
Yi Ping replied weakly “Yi Ping.”
The old man stumbled backward. He looked at Yi Ping carefully and when he saw the White Phoenix Emerald precious sword, he trembled. How this young man got hold of the White Phoenix Emerald precious sword that was once used by Shui Yichi? He remembered very vividly that this sword had been passed to Shui Yixian…
He asked, “Who your mother?”
Yi Ping was puzzled that this old man had suddenly asked of his mother. He asked, “Why did you ask me that?”
The old man gripped his shoulders and asked again, “Your mother, where is she?”
Yi Ping could feel the strong grip of the old man that was upon him. He could not breathe and his face had turned purple. But he refused to say anything. It was because this old man might well be the very enemy that he had been searching for!
Ji Lingfeng was panicky as she attacked the old man with her palms. She said aloud, “Old freak, what you think you are doing?”
In three successive attacks, she had forced the old man to release his grips off Yi Ping as he took a few steps backward.
In her panicky state, she had just used the ‘Moonlight Cut’ stroke of the Sacred Heart Skill. The Sacred Heart Skill were her real skills. Unless she had no other choice, she did not want to use it. She tried to hit the old freak on his shoulder and face at the same time, followed by another attack but he had evaded it all!
Yi Ping fell onto his knees weakly.
Ji Lingfeng was besides Yi Ping in an instant as she voiced her concern for him, “Are you alright? If he did not want to teach you anything, I will teach you!”
Yi Ping was too weak even to reply her. His vision had gone blurry. He felt really unlucky today. Three times in a single day, he had almost died. The first time was by Gu Tianle, the second time it was by Maiden Ji and the third time was by this crippled old man.
The old man said sternly to Ji Lingfeng, “Surrender him to me or else I will be ugly. I don’t want to lay my hands on you.”
Ji Lingfeng replied coolly, “Funny! You did not want him as your protégé disciple, so why are you asking for him now?
The old man said, “Now I have changed my mind and decided to make him my martial protégé!”
Ji Lingfeng stepped in front of the fallen Yi Ping regally as she displayed a defensive posture as she answered icily, “What if I am not willing to allow this to happen?”
The old man raised his cane and said, “Then I will surely teach you a lesson that you will never be able to forget.”
Ji Lingfeng said coldly, “A martial master like you will raise your hands on an unarmed junior and a weaker sex? It is indeed very laudable. Why don’t you tell me your name so that I can tell everyone in the fraternity what you have done?”
The old man said, “In a real fight, there are no senior or junior, nor men or women and only fighters. Only survival matters. Moreover I have been a hermit for so long. What do I care for the honor of the martial fraternity?”
Ji Lingfeng hummed coldly as she prepared her forthcoming strikes. This old man was a crippled and had difficulty walking. Even though he was an experienced opponent, she might not lose to him with her superior swiftness skill and with some luck.
The old man added, “And you are definitely not unarmed. From your top to bottom, there are at least three hundred secret projectiles that you can use. Others may be fooled by your deceptive outlook but not me.”
Ji Lingfeng was stunned that he could see through her. This would make her surprise attacks difficult. Was he simply guessing? Therefore she replied calmly, “You think too much. I have no secret projectiles.”
The old man said coolly, “Is that so? What about the dozens of needles in your straw hat? What about the crystal wrist beads in your wrists? What about the poisonous polish in your smallest finger nail on your left? What about the three hairpins on your head and the dozens of secret projectiles underneath your outer garment?
Ji Lingfeng could not hide her startled expression as she took a step backward. This old man had extremely sharp eyes.
The old man said, “If I still fail to see that you are from the Holy Hex Sect after using the Sacred Heart Skill, then I am surely blind. The Holy Hex Sect is famed for its poisonous secret projectiles and techniques, especially the ‘Consecrated Meteor Shower’ technique and the Meteor Rain needles.”
Yi Ping was startled that Ji Lingfeng had so many weapons on her. He disapproved of using secret projectiles, seeing it as an underhand means in a fair fight.
No wonder she was intentional hiding her martial origins. It was because the Holy Hex Sect was an unorthodox heretic sect and in recent years was at odds with the general orthodox fraternity!
In his dizzying state, he muttered, “How vicious!”
Ji Lingfeng lifted her right foot backward and kicked Yi Ping. She exclaimed in displeasure, “Shut up. My secret projectiles may well save your life.”
Even though the kick was not hard, in Yi Ping current condition, it was more than enough to knock him out cold. Yi Ping was heard muttering before he was knocked out, “Why… did… you… kick… me… for…”
Ji Lingfeng said coolly, “Serves you right! Whose side do you think you are on?!”
The old man said angrily, “Why did you hit him for?”
Ji Lingfeng said, “Because he is rude!”
The old man said angrily, “You don’t have the right!”
Ji Lingfeng said coldly, “Hmph, does it matter? If I don’t have the right, you have the right?”
The old man said angrily, “I have the right. I am his father!”
Ji Lingfeng said coldly, “If you are his father, I am his mother then!” Then she lifted her right foot again and kicked Yi Ping, not once but twice. “See!”
All of a sudden, the old man attacked her with his cane furiously, forcing her to somersault backward as she did not want to use her bare hands against his cane.
Just as she was about to attack him with her Meteor Rain Needles, the old man was already besides Yi Ping, shaking him and examining his pulse, “The Icy Heavenly Tears energy pulses! Yichi must have imparted to him the Icy Heavenly Tears! He is really my son!”
The old man was wailing, “Son, who cause you to be in this dire straits? Who is that heartless fellow?!”
Ji Lingfeng gasped in shock, “You are really his father?”
The old man said, “I am! Tell me, who is the heartless fellow that had injured him and caused him to be in such a bad shape?”
Ji Lingfeng said sheepishly, “Err…it is Jue Yuan. We are no match for his Triple Merciless Palms and were pursued by him throughout the night.”
The old man sighed, “More than twenty years ago, I have actually spared his life. I should have ended his life long ago. His Triple Merciless Palms is indeed extraordinary and could be ranked among the top skills in the fraternity.”
But he was secretly thinking, “You really think I am an old fool. At first, you say you searching hills by hills for me and now, you saying you are being pursued.”
Ji Lingfeng tried to distract him, “Is Yi Ping going to be alright?”
The old man said solemnly, “Come with me! If he dies, I am going to hold you accountable too.” The old man carried Yi Ping on his back and had walked into the hut.
Ji Lingfeng protested, “What has it got to do with me?”
The old man turned and said sternly, “Because you just claim to be his mother and has given him three kicks!”
Ji Lingfeng sighed deeply as she said, “Those kicks are not even real kicks at all…” But because she was concerned for Yi Ping, she followed the old man into the hut.
When Yi Ping opened his eyes again, he saw the old man smiling at him. “Son, are you alright?”
Yi Ping was startled and quickly looked at his surroundings. He was in a small room with this old man. He also saw Ji Lingfeng.
Ji Lingfeng was sitting on a chair, looking serenely as she looked back at him. She was even smiling at him.
‘Are you alright?” she said with genuine concern.
But when he saw her smiles, he was terrified. It was because he remembered the torturous runs with her and the kick that he had received from her…
Yi Ping had plenty of courage. He was not afraid of death and pain. In fact, fear was always the last thing in his mind and he had almost got himself killed many times in the past.
But when he saw her, he was truly terrified of her. It was because Maiden Ji was at times warm and at times cold towards him. He did not know when she would suddenly be cold again.
Even though her kick was not hard, it was so suddenly that he was startled and he could still remember it vividly. Stunned by her sudden kick, he was knocked out cold.
Yi Ping thought, “They are supposed to be fighting with one another. Why are they now together in the same room? Are they putting on an act or has Maiden Ji sold me out to this old man? She is after all, from an unorthodox clan and is capable of anything. Alas heavens, I am so pitiful…”
The old man was shaking him and shouting excitedly, “Son, I am your father Yi Tianxing! Your mother is Shui Yichi! Son, I have thought you had died many years ago. Heavens have eyes!”
When Ji Lingfeng heard his name, her smiles had sudden vanished. It was because her father, Ji Yunzhong the previous protégé master of the Holy Hex Sect had died because of Yi Tianxing. In that moment, her facial expressions underwent a tremendous change…
Even though Yi Tianxing was a late comer to the martial fraternity and disappeared just as quickly, he had gained fame as one of the top swordsmen in the fraternity with his Horizon Swordplay as well as his numerous chivalrous acts.
Yi Ping was stunned as he stammered, “You know my mother…You…are really my father?”
Yi Tianxing nodded sadly, “Son, where is your mother? Is she still well?”
Yi Ping shook his head sadly, “Mum passed on when I was five…”
Even though Yi Tianxing had expected the worst, he was still emotional. He said, “Son, it must be hard on you all these years.”
Yi Ping asked, “Father, where have you been all these years? If you are with us, maybe mum would still be alive today.”
Yi Tianxing sighed deeply, “It is a very long story. Let me start from the beginning first.”
He said, “Twenty-five years ago, with just an iron sword with me, I went up the Heavenly Mountains to challenge the Eternal Ice Palace. It was there that I first met your mother, Shui Yichi. At that time, she was the Emerald Mistress of the Eternal Ice Palace. We fought over a three days period.”
He paused for a while as he recalled the past, “On the first day, we fought with our martial power and were evenly matched. On the second day, it was a contest on who had the superior swordplay. Again, we were evenly matched. On the third day, we decided to contest which of us had the superior willpower, the one that moves first on the icy peak of the Heavenly Mountains would be the loser!”
Ji Lingfeng interrupted, “Then you must be the one who had lost! She could probably meditate for days without moving, even in the snow.”
Yi Tianxing laughed, “You are wrong! The contest was in fact over in less than a day!”
Ji Lingfeng gasped, “That is impossible. The mediation technique of the Eternal Ice Palace is well known and I don’t think Shui Yichi would be afraid of the cold.”
Yi Tianxing laughed, “That was true but after the contest went on for six hours, Yichi, she opened her eyes as she thought I was dead. So I won.”
Ji Lingfeng was astonished.
He added, “It turned out that she was not concentrating on her mediation but was worried that I got frostbite. Truthfully, I was freezing and my limbs had already turned purple. I was already injured by her Icicle Fingers on the first day and did not realize the severity of my injuries. However I was stubborn and refused to say a word. She saved my life and brought me back to the Eternal Ice Palace to recuperate.”
Yi Tianxing laughed merrily, “I may have won the contest but I lost my heart to her. We would have retired peacefully and freed from the affairs of the martial fraternity.”
Yi Tianxing said, “Son, do you know why your name is Ping?”
Yi Ping was startled, “You know my name even before I was born?”
Yi Tianxing nodded slowly as his eyes were brimming with tears, “We have already decided to name you Ping no matter if you are a girl or boy. It was because we want you to lead an ordinary life unlike us…”
His eyes seemed to be in a far off place.
He finally spoke again after a few moments of silence, “At that time, Yichi knew her days were probably numbered and she wanted to lead an ordinary life with me and our unborn child. So we decide to name you as Ping, which mean ordinary and peaceful.”
Yi Ping was startled, “My mum was ill?”
Yi Tianxing shook his head, “Not at all. Her health was fine. It just that those high level practitioners of the Eternal Ice Palace knew the end of their days through the Divine Calamity, just like practitioners of our Divine Horizon Hands knew ours too. That was the reason why she forced herself to train so hard in order to avert the Divine Calamity.”
Ji Lingfeng curiosity was aroused. It was the first time she had heard of such a thing as the ‘Divine Calamity’. What was that?
Yi Ping too asked, “What is the Divine Calamity about?”
Yi Tianxing seemed to be reluctant to discuss it as he changed the topic, “I used to have a very good sworn brother. He was the first person that I have met when I left the mountains…”
Yi Ping was silent. He only knows that much for his mother used to murmur to him that his father had been betrayed by his best sworn brother. “What is his name?”
Yi Tianxing looked at Yi Ping’s eyes and asked, “You knew?”
Yi Ping nodded bitterly, “Mum only tells me this much but she had never told me his name!”
Yi Tianxing sighed deeply, “That is because this sworn brother of mine, Gongsun Bai, has great influential in the fraternity. He has many powerful friends and many exponents under his wing. Your mother did not want you to waste your life.”
Both Ji Lingfeng and Yi Ping were stunned to hear that his sworn brother was Gongsun Bai. Gongsun Bai was from one of the major martial clans in the martial fraternity, the Gongsun Clan and it was also one of the four major aristocracy martial clans in the martial fraternity.
Yi Ping said, “Gongsun Bai is the father of Gongsun Jing. I have met Gongsun Jing and he is as crafty as his father! Father, I swear that I will avenge you!”
Yi Tianxing shook his head, “I am afraid that Gongsun Bai may now be too formidable. It is best that you avoid the Gongsun family.”
Yi Tianxing sighed, “I never expected Gongsun Bai to turn upon me. Of all my friends, he is the only one that I could trust the most for he was a benevolent man and held in high regard in the martial fraternity. Also he was from a respectable and rich clan but alas he…”
He added, “One day, Gongsun Bai tricked me by telling me that the Three Evils of the West were back in the fraternity and that only I could stop them. Wanting to prevent a catastrophe from happening to the martial fraternity, I left Yichi who was heavy with child and rushed with Gongsun Bai to stop the Three Evils of the West. I promised her I will be back in no time…”
“I trusted him because he was my sworn brother but he laid a trap for me and ambushed me. I fell down into this valley, breaking my back and legs. For a long time, I could not move. Maybe I was lucky. The mud that was in this valley seemed to have a healing properties and my broken back slowly recovered. Till now, I have not fully recovered and my movements are severely limited.”
He sighed, “As soon as I could move again, I went back to the village to look for your mother but I could not find anyone. No one stays there anymore. Disappointed and aimless, I came back to this valley as my back was aching badly. Only the mud here can ease my pain.”
Yi Ping said, “The village was destroyed by a flood many years ago and since then everyone had evacuated. Moreover, Gongsun Bai had gone after my mum; she had since fled the village even before that great flood.”
There was a moment of silence. That was because no one could imagine what exactly happened and what ordeal Shui Yichi was forced to go through during that dark period. Gongsun Bai was a wolf in disguise and there was no better way to harm someone other than pretending to be a friend.
Ji Lingfeng asked, “What was his reason for betraying you?”
Yi Tianxing was quiet for some time before he slowly said, “He told me he was envy of me. He wishes to take Yichi as his wife and to take possession of her martial secrets. Therefore he tried to kill me so that he could get close to my wife.”
All of a sudden, Ji Lingfeng said coldly, “Great Hero Yi, do you know who I am?”
Yi Tianxing laughed aloud, “How would I not know? You are from the Holy Hex Sect and must be related to Ji Yunzhong.”
Yi Tianxing said, “I knew when you first come into this valley with. Even though you did not make a sound but I recognized the Fairy Breezes weightlessness skill of the Holy Hex Sect. You may not see me but I had already seen you from afar!”
Ji Lingfeng was startled, “You knew back then?”
She said coldly, “You know who I am from the first day and you even taught me the Asper Horizon Hand?”
Yi Tianxing laughed, “Who you are is another matter. I only want to drink the wine that you had on you then.”
He added, “Moreover, even though I have taught you the Asper Horizon Hand, I didn’t really expect you to be able to use it so soon. When you are able to use the Asper Horizon Hand, you will have to visit me again with more wines.”
Ji Lingfeng said coldly, “Why? Do you think I really want to learn more of your martial skills?”
Yi Tianxing laughed, “Oh no. That is because if you have used the Asper Horizon Hand a few more times, your vital energies will be erratic. And the only one that could help you is me! The Asper Horizon Hand is not suitable to be used by anyone. Without my Aspire Invocations Intricate Recite to control the vital force of your Asper Horizon Hand, it will only harm the body. If you don’t believe, you can feel free to press against the accupoint that was five fingers below your heart.”
Ji Lingfeng did as she was told and could feel a pressing pain! She said coldly, “I thought you are a pugilistic hero and yet you use this despicable means to harm me!”
Yi Ping said, “Maiden, I think this may be a misunderstanding. Please calm down. My father is not an evil man.”
Yi Tianxing said, “I only want you to pay me a few more visits and get me some good wines to ease my boredom. I can lift your alleviations and impart to you the basic intricate formula of the Aspire Invocations. After all, I won’t really harm you.”
Yi Ping knew nothing about the risks of internal martial intricate formulas. He exclaimed happily for her, “Maiden, congratulations! My father is going to teach you the Aspire Invocations. He is not going to harm you.”
Ji Lingfeng smiled bitterly. It was not a joyous thing that she got to learn the Asper Invocations Intricate Recite. It was because imparting to her the Asper Invocations Intricate Recite could actually harm her more.
All internal martial intricate formulas had an unbroken rule, the practitioners must master it and able to utilize it in the shortest time as possible to the best of their understandings. That was why the same intricate formula could end up differently and affected the purity of the resultant vital internal energy for different practitioners.
Even though internal martial intricate formulas were able to realize the martial advancements of the practitioners, it was not to be recklessly learnt.
If the practitioner advanced too fast without first fully grasping the essence of the intricate formula of the previous level, they would suffer in consequent levels and also affected the purity of the internal energy. If the practitioner got struck for too long in the lower levels of the intricate formula, it would affect their future martial progression and the strength of their internal energy.
Therefore, many practitioners of the martial clans would spend years building up their martial foundation and their martial understandings, even taking years to ponder and research a particular internal martial intricate formula!
But of course, once they lay their hands on a precious internal martial intricate formula, they might not be able to resist the temptations. The martial masters of the major martial clans in the martial fraternity knew the risk of the internal martial intricate formula. That was why they only imparting it to suitable protégés or even only the next leadership candidate.
This led to envy and many pugilists would ignore the risks for practicing the internal martial intricate formula as everyone wanted to be more powerful than their rivals, believing that they were the ones who had the intellect and the talent for the skill.
And as the time passed by, due to the numerous conflicts in the fraternity, many internal martial intricate formulas were lost; it became a covetous thing for the pugilists to lay their hands upon. Even the previous warning of old was lost on most pugilists in their pursuit for more powerful skills.
If Ji Lingfeng got struck with the Asper Invocations or if it was in conflict with her existing internal martial formula the Holy Amalgamate Intricate Recite, the backlash would be terrible.
She had to find a way to merge the Holy Amalgamate and the Aspire Invocations first. It would possible take many weeks and even years for her to safely even start practicing on the Aspire Invocations.
Once she had begun on the Asper Invocations Intricate Recite, she could not turn back anymore. And this old freak could only teach her the basic intricate formula of the Aspire Invocations as a solution to her internal injury. Without looking and knowing what contained in the later stages of the Asper Invocations, it would be a dangerous practice.
Therefore, she would never have believed that this old freak was not trying to harm her.
Perhaps Yi Tianxing had seen what was bothering her. He laughed, “Don’t you worry so much.”
If she was not worried, that was impossible. She nearly fainted by those dreadful thoughts and afraid that she might lose or cause her martial power to deteriorate!
All of a sudden, Ji Lingfeng said coldly, “Since you already know that I am related to Ji Yunzhong then do you know that you are the one that caused him his death? How vicious are you. Now you are trying to harm me!”
Yi Tianxing was startled, “Your father is no longer in this world? Young lass, surely there must be some misunderstandings? I didn’t kill your father.”
Ji Lingfeng began to tremble as she said, “He was killed by Gu Tianle twenty years ago and because of this victory, the pugilists in the fraternity gave him the title of Warrior-God. That was what everyone had thought. The real cause of his death was his injuries that you have caused him twenty-five years ago from which he had never recovered.”
Yi Tianxing asked, “So you wish to avenge your father?”
Yi Ping was shocked at the revelation that her father was indirectly killed by his father.
He remembered that his mother had indirectly died when she was trying his life. The real perpetrator was Gongsun Bai who had caused her to sustain severe injuries previously. That was why he had secretly sworn to find the real perpetrator behind the disappearance of his father and the indirect death of his mother…