Chapter 18: Xiao Youxue
The Celestial Fairy looked intently at Xiao Shuai.
She had first taken a liking to him in the past for he was courageous, humorous and full of wiles. He had even warn her to be careful of the Penetrating Hands and similar types of martial arts should she encountered it in the future.
But the more she had spent time with him, the more she realized that he was just a selfish person and there were many things that he had intentional concealed.
In the end, everyone was like a tool to him to be made use of.
That was when she began to distance herself from him and became closer to Han Shaodong…
She asked softly, “Why is that when you have mentioned your daughter, you have such a murderous intent in your eyes? It seems that you want her dead more than I.”
Xiao Shuai smiled bitterly, “That is because she dared to hinder my martial progression and dare to break the rules of the Virtuous Palace or else I would have mastered the Virtuous Divine Force by now. I can’t allow you to kill her before I do. I will drink her blood and eat her heart when I find her.”
The Celestial Fairy said coldly, “You are not a good father…”
She began to turn back as she said softly, “Yu’Er and Mei’Er, let’s us go. He is not worth our time to bother with.”
Xiao Shuai called out, “Xian’Er, don’t go. You have not told me why you want my daughter dead? I am sure with your state of divinity, you will not go around the fraternity just to find a single person even if she had slight you…”
The Celestial Fairy said softly as she disappeared into the darkness with her protégés, “It is because she wants to kill someone dear to my heart…”
Xiao Shuai stood on the same spot for a long time. When he had heard what she had said, his heart became very heavy.
Ding Yunzi called out gently to him, “Master? Are you alright?”
Xiao Shuai clenched his fists as he muttered, “Then I will have to kill that person first…Xian’Er, why can’t you understand my difficulties?”
Ding Yunzi asked demurely, “Master, are we letting them off just like that?”
Xiao Shuai stared at Ding Yunzi, “Then you are expecting me to kill her?”
Ding Yunzi kept quiet.
When Ji Lingfeng had escaped from the Gongsun Manor, she had picked an unlikely route to escape her pursuers. If she had gone in the direction of Xiao Shuai, perhaps she could have chance upon Xiao Shuai and the Celestial Fairy…
Ji Lingfeng put her hand over her chest as she coughed out blood! She dropped Yi Ping and immediately collapsed besides a shady tree.
She hoped that her attack would be fatal to Gu Tianle so that she could avenge for her father.
Her breathing was now weak and her vital energies erratic. She was now at a risk of losing her life unless she could restore her vital energy flow; earlier in the grand hall of the Gongsun Manor, she did not pause to restore her vital breath and to circular the flow of her vital energies to restore its balance after using the Asper Horizon Hand despite her internal injuries.
Instead, she had further stressed her erratic vital energies by forcefully using all her remaining vital energies as she grabbed Yi Ping to escape the Gongsun Manor.
She was even more worried about Yi Ping than herself.
Disregarding her own safety, she placed her left hand on Yi Ping’s back and begun to transfer her own vital energies into him while mediating the Divine Revelation at the same time to restore her own vital energy flow.
She was worried for Yi Ping. That was because he had been unconscious for some time and even if he could regain his consciousness, he would be paralyzed for life…
That was why she was not wasting any more precious time.
But as her own vital energy flow had not yet been restored, her efforts took a great toil on her body and she began to feel giddy after some time!
She gritted her teeth and thought, “I mustn’t fall asleep… If I fall asleep now, both of us will die here.” No matter what happens, she was determined not to lose Yi Ping even at her own expenses!
Even though her resolute was great but her body could not cope and she was now in a half daze state…
All of a sudden, she sniffed a strong fragrant scent from behind her. A beautiful slender hand was on Yi Ping’s back as well as her back!
She opened her eyes and saw a lady in a straw veiled hat that was besides her!
The lady in the veiled straw hat said calmly, “Don’t you worry; I will do my best to save him. You should try to recuperate for yourself first.”
The voice of the lady in the veiled straw hat was young but Ji Lingfeng could feel a soothing transference of vital energy that halts the reversal of her blood flow. This mysterious young lady internal strength was not weak!
She quickly seized the opportunity to lift a vital breath with the Divine Revelation Skill from the energy infusion and began to circulate it throughout her vitality channels, restoring the broken vital energy flow.
After a long while, her breathing had become normal and the feeling of death had departed! She thought, “Lucky!”
She opened her eyes and looked at the mysterious lady in the veiled straw hat. She was still transferring her internal strength into Yi Ping and treating his internal injuries. It was a monument task because Yi Ping had completely lost conscious and the internal injuries sustained by Yi Ping were not light!
Moreover he was also suffering from external wounds and was still bleeding profusely…
Ji Lingfeng had sustained severe internal injuries herself. Even though she had restored her vital energy flow, her martial power would be drastically reduced and it would be a full three months of intensive mediation cultivation before she could fully recovered!
One could imagine how many folds Yi Ping internal injuries had been! He had exerted himself much more severely than anyone could have imagined. It was a miracle that he did not die on the spot!
Who was this mysterious lady? Ji Lingfeng sighed in her heart. She thought that she had finally found the man that she could love and find happiness in. But this was one too many for her young tender heart to take.
A martial practitioner would never give or expended their vital energy strength needlessly, which was also called internal strength to another. It was because vital energy strength once expended was difficult to recuperate back.
Not only would it put the practitioner in danger if interrupted, they would also expose themselves in danger while recuperating. At the same time, while waiting for the lost vital energies to recover, the practitioner could not practice any internal martial arts or else they would only endanger their own lives, hence slowing down their martial progression!
But this mysterious lady was readied to expend her vital energies for Yi Ping. If she was not somewhat related to him or love him enough to make the sacrifice, she would not risk it. Moreover Yi Ping was dying and her efforts would likely to be futile.
She clutched her heart in sorrow as she thought of this. Earlier, she had pushed herself to her very limits and even if she had failed, she would die together with him. But now, watching Yi Ping dying besides her and with another lady was heart-wrenching for her!
After a long time, the mysterious lady said. “I manage to protect his heart. He will live for now but his internal injuries are simply too heavy. I will try to restore his broken vital channels but if that fail, he would be paralyzed for life.”
At this, Ji Lingfeng could not resist asking, “Who are you? Why are you sacrificing so much just for him? Do you have any relations with him?” These were the questions that she been asking herself and now, she could not resist asking anymore.
The mysterious lady sighed and said melancholy, “Who I am? I am just a nameless nobody to him.”
Ji Lingfeng said, “At least you should have a name…”
The mysterious lady said with a great sorrow, “Xiao Youxue is my name…it is a cursed name.”
Ji Lingfeng made a quick guess, “You like him but there is a feud between the two of you?”
Xiao Youxue nodded gently.
Ji Lingfeng sighed, “Can it be resolved?”
Xiao Youxue shook her head, “It is impossible. This is a blood feud.”
Ji Lingfeng said, “Yi Ping has a magnanimous heart and is kind. Surely nothing is impossible to resolve.”
Xiao Youxue replied coolly, “Will you forgive the killer of your wife? And still likes her?”
Ji Lingfeng gasped. The yellow dressed maiden that Yi Ping had mentioned to her before was her! She was the one that Yi Ping had been searching for. She was also the one that had fought with her brother two years ago!
This revelation shocked her. She had thought that both of them had a blood feud and that both of them would be at odds with each other!
She had never expected that this maiden would also be in love with him…
Ji Lingfeng asked, “Did he know?”
Xiao Youxue shook her head and said, “He don’t even know my name and who I am. He only knows that I am the one that he is looking for to avenge his late wife.”
Ji Lingfeng said, “You can hide it from him. Perhaps the both of you can be together…”
Xiao Youxue said, “I will never be able to live with that feeling of guilt in my heart. Moreover…”
She paused for a while before looking intently at her, “I can tell that you like him a lot. And maybe both of you are a couple already.”
Ji Lingfeng said, “Don’t misunderstand! We are not.”
Xiao Youxue said, “Is that so? That you are willing to sacrifice yourself for him and you don’t like him? I don’t believe.”
Ji Lingfeng was silence.
Xiao Youxue added, “Even though we are strangers, I have been completely honest with you.”
Ji Lingfeng melancholy said, “Indeed you have. I am sorry…but we are indeed not a couple and not in any relation. He doesn’t like me at all.”
Xiao Youxue said, “Surely he is blind!”
Ji Lingfeng smiled and said, “Yes he is blind!”
But her mood turned somber and she said, “I am from a heretic sect and we are simply from two opposite worlds. There will soon be a battle for supremacy between the orthodox fraternity and the unorthodox fraternity. I don’t even know if I can live through this.”
Xiao Youxue nodded as she added, “There may be still a way for the two of you to be together. If both of you are willing to quit the martial fraternity, then you can be together.”
Ji Lingfeng added, “That is not possible for me. I can never leave my brother in this moment of crisis. There will be a lot of bloodshed and no matter where I go after that, the exponents of the fraternity will follow me.”
She smiled and added, “Moreover, like you say. He is blind and he does not like me.”
Xiao Youxue was silence. She had seen them in the streets earlier and they were talking like old friends. When she had overheard that they were going to the Honor Manor to settle a score against Gongsun Bai, she had immediately feared for Yi Ping.
Therefore, she took a personal gambit to lure Xiao Shuai and Ding Yunzi who was hot on her heels to the Honor Manor…
All of a sudden, Xiao Youxue said. “I realize that you seem to recover rather quickly. You take only three hours to balance your vital energy flow and I am expecting something like twelve hours or more.”
Ji Lingfeng said, “That is why I am able to chat with you!”
Xiao Youxue suddenly turned somber and said, “I hope that you keep our conversation to yourself and not to divulge anything to him. I don’t want him to know anything.”
Ji Lingfeng said, “I promise you but you must not tell him what I told you too.”
Xiao Youxue asked, “Not to tell him what?”
Ji Lingfeng thought she was clever but this maiden was even cleverer. This was the first time that she had been outmaneuvered for words!
She sighed and said unwillingly, “Hmph, you really mustn’t tell him that I like him!”
Xiao Youxue chuckled softly, “I promise you then!”
Ji Lingfeng sighed again, “Or else I need to dig myself a hole in the ground and covered my face with dirt!”
All of a sudden Xiao Youxue said, “Weird. Yi Ping seems to have two vital energies in his body. The first one was broken but there is another weaker vital energy that is more intact.”
Ji Lingfeng asked hurriedly, “That means he has a hope?”
Xiao Youxue nodded, “I have never seen or heard anything like this. But yes, there is a hope!”
Ji Lingfeng could discreetly see Xiao Youxue tears dripping onto her dress even though she was veiled.
Xiao Youxue said, “The weaker vital energy must be the ‘Icy Heavenly Tears Intricate Energy’. It has taken less considerably damage and if I can get it to back to its proper meridian channels…”
Ji Lingfeng heart sunk. She interrupted sadly, “The ‘Icy Heavenly Tears Intricate Energy’ is different from normal intricate energy. Only the practitioners of the Eternal Ice Palace practiced the ‘Icy Heavenly Tears Intricate Energy’. Only a practitioner of the ‘Icy Heavenly Tears intricate Energy’ can channel to another person with the ‘Icy Heavenly Tears Intricate Energy’.”
Xiao Youxue said, “I just happen to practice the ‘Icy Heavenly Tears Intricate Energy’.”
Ji Lingfeng asked startled, “You know the Icy Heavenly Tears!?”
Xiao Youxue said, “That is a long story. My grandmother was the direct protégé of the Protégé Mistress of the Eternal Ice Palace in the past.” That was all that she could say for now. That was the start of her tragedy and her family tragedy.
All of a sudden, she gasped again, “What is it? His vital signs seem to be returning so soon! This is indeed extraordinary!”
Ji Lingfeng asked, “What happens?”
Xiao Youxue said, “As soon as I linked the ‘Icy Heavenly Tears Intricate Energy’, his scattered vital energies seem to increase again. It is as though, it is regenerating on its own accord! But where does the source of the vital energy come from?”
Ji Lingfeng said excitedly, “Could it be that, he has accidentally cleared his Conception Vessel and the Governing Vessel?”
Xiao Youxue was startled. He had cleared his Conception Vessel and the Governing Vessel at such a young age?
Xiao Youxue took out her pouch and took a small golden pill and popped it into Yi Ping mouth as she once again exercised her internal energy into his body.
Ji Lingfeng said, “That golden pill is the great rejuvenation golden pill?”
Xiao Youxue said, “That’s right. That is the last one I have. It has the ability to speed healing and added to the martial power growth of the practitioner.”
Ji Lingfeng was flabbergasted. The ‘Great Rejuvenation Golden Pills’ were one of the seven treasures of the martial fraternity. Legends said that three hundred years ago, the Sage King, the top exponent of the entire fraternity only made eight such ‘Great Rejuvenation Golden Pills’ towards the end of his life. That was because these eight golden pills required him to sacrifice his entire vital energy into making it!
The whereabouts of the ‘Great Rejuvenate Golden Pills’ remained a beautiful legend.
How did Ji Lingfeng know about it?
That was because when she was only seven year old, she suffered from an illness that almost took her life. Her brother, who was twenty years her senior scouted the entire fraternity for the ‘Great Rejuvenate Golden Pill’ to save her. The difficulties and sacrifices that he had to pay to obtain it were never mentioned to her but she knew. How could she not know? Her brother had undergone a huge change after that.
That was why she could not abandon her brother even if the entire orthodox martial fraternity decided to battle against him.
When Xiao Youxue popped the last of the ‘Great Rejuvenation Golden Pill’ to Yi Ping, her eyes had immediately turned watery. It was not because she could not bear to give it to him but it reminded her of her mother’s death.
When her mother had failed to merge the Icy Heavenly Tears Intricate Energy together with the Virtuous Divine Force Intricate Energy and was dying, her father Xiao Shuai refused to give her the ‘Great Rejuvenation Golden Pills’ as a remedy.
He simply said in a cold and calculating manner to everyone in the Virtuous Palace, “This is just a gambit. Whether the ‘Great Rejuvenation Golden Pill’ will save her or not is not known and we be wasting a precious golden pill. You have no idea how hard it is for me to obtain these ‘Great Rejuvenation Golden Pills’. I have already told her of the risks of practicing the Virtuous Divine Force too early but she simply refused to listen.”
At that time, Xiao Youxue was only thirteen and she was heart-broken by her father cold calculating attitude.
She could never understand how her father would be so heartless.
Xiao Shuai had obtained it in an underground palace ruins and had almost lost his life for it. When he had formed the secret celestial group, no one else seemed to know how valuable these golden pills were.
He would need as many of those golden pills when he started to practice the Virtuous Divine Force very soon. The Virtuous Divine Force was the most epitome secret martial skill of the Virtuous Palace. In order to practice it, the practitioner’s internal strength would need to be as pure and as strong as possible. If the practitioner have less than sixty years of martial power, it was dangerous to even begin it.
That was why the secret skills of the Virtuous Palace focused on secret techniques rather than martial power. It was because they simply could not afford to sustain any injuries as internal injuries would affect their future martial progression by many more years!
The protégés of the Virtuous Palace would seek to end a fight as soon as possible with the least effort and lured their opponents into a false state of security, so that they would strike with complete surprise.
Their Flying Sword Technique was just a decoy for them to approach their opponents and lure them into a false sense of security. Thereafter, they would kill their opponents with the Penetrating Hands, their Flying Scabbard Technique or with their invisible sword!
This invisible sword was actually a foldable blade that all protégés of the Virtuous Palace had around their waist and disguised as a belt!
If their opponents had completely thought that they were weaponless after they had hurled their swords, then they would be making a huge and fatal mistake!
Even though she was his daughter but he had never imparted to her the Flying Sword Techniques. Instead he had imparted to her only the Penetrating Hands.
The Flying Sword Technique was one of the first martial skills that all protégés of the Virtuous Palace should start with. She had never understood why her very own father had forbid her and even forbid others to teach her this secret technique.
She had two older step-brothers who are more than twenty years older than her, Xiao Da the eldest and Xiao Yao who was very distant from her. She supposed to have another older half-sister that she had never seen but who had married off before she was born.
On the other hand, she was very close to Ding Yunzi who was like a close sister to her and Xiao Fei who was her cousin.
Before her mother had passed away, she had secretly instructed her, “Be careful of Ding Yunzi. I always feel that she has an ulterior motive. This is the Golden Impervious Body Divine Skill that I have secretly copied from the martial vault of the Virtuous Palace. You are to practice it as a preventive measure against Yunzi. You mustn’t let others know you are in possession of this skill so that they will not be on their guard against it.”
Xiao Youxue said, “I have heard from father that if we do not reach the advance stage of the Virtuous Divine Force, it is futile to even practice the Golden Impervious Body Divine Skill.”
Her mother nodded, “It is true. That is why you have to steal the golden pills from him. That may accelerate your internal strength for you to begin practicing the Icy Heavenly Tears Skill first. Whether you have the martial willpower and the acumen to comprehend the Golden Impervious Body Divine Skill, it is up to providence…Don’t forget to get even against the Eternal Ice Palace…”
Xiao Youxue was afraid, “The Icy Heavenly Tears Skill that we got is incomplete and is only for the first five stages…mother I have no confidence at all…”
Her mother said, “You got to use your wits. The Icy Heavenly Tears Skill at its highest level has a fatal weakness and Shui Yixian will lose her martial power once every thirty-six years. That will be the best time to you to settle our family scores with her.”
Her mother smiled bitterly at her on her dying breath. Even though she had never seen Shui Yixian before and had only heard of her name from her mother, her hatred for her was absolute! It was because whenever her husband was drunk, he would mutter her name!
She had a strong suspicious that the ‘Yixian and Xian’Er that her husband Xiao Shuai was calling out for was in fact Shui Yixian. When she had questioned him about her, he refused to say anything. Therefore she had also deliberately withhold her suspicious to herself and refused to give Xiao Shuai a glimmer of hope.
That was why she wanted this Shui Yixian to disappear from the face of the earth as well. This Shui Yixian had caused her mother Shui Yisi to be driven out of the Eternal Ice Palace in disgrace and now she had also taken her husband’s heart from her.
When the opportunity had arisen three years ago, Xiao Youxue had secretly stolen Xiao Shuai’s golden pills when he was in a martial retreat; he was in the crucial stage of reaching the advance level of the Virtuous Divine Force. Without the golden pills, he had to wait another twenty years for the breakthrough.
She had simply walked into his secret chamber while he was in deep mediation and stolen the golden pills right in front of him!
In order to do that, every night for three years, she trained her lightness skill until she could walk in absolute quietness and in time to come, that became her feat!
She had never forgiven her father for indirectly causing her mother’s death therefore she had pretended to be docile and stolen all his ‘Great Rejuvenation Golden Pills’, leaving none for him in his crucial martial level stage.
When he had found out about the theft of his golden pills, he had flown into a maddening rage and had ordered all the protégés of the Virtuous Palace to find her.
She had consumed two of the three golden pills in the past three years. The first time was immediately after she had stolen the golden pill to increase her martial strength and the second time when she was in the final stage of the Golden Impervious Body Divine Skill.
It had been three years since she had left the Virtuous Palace.
During the first year, she was lucky to meet Xiao Fei, her cousin who warned her to be extra careful for her father had mobilized all the clan elders, including her half-brothers to hunt her down.
After that, she was always moving from place to place as she devised a stratagem against Shui Yixian at the same time. She was the one that spread rumor of her death and of the fabulous martial treasures of the Eternal Ice Palace to entice the greedy pugilists.
Why was that when she had killed Shui Yixian, she had not felt happy at all but filled with sorrowful regrets?