Chapter 38: The Honor Manor and the Virtuous Palace
The forest was at the foot of the grandeur Tranquil Mountains.
But Nangong Le was in no mood to enjoy the scenery.
The normally serene forest was filled with the cries of the wounded and an overwhelming malevolent air was everywhere. Dozens of dead and wounded fighters were everywhere!
At this moment, his friends were all in mortal danger and he could only grit his teeth with his Exuberant Divine Skill as he watched them battled and fell!
He had just been wounded by Zuo Tianyi.
As for Gongsun Jing, he was mortally wounded by Zuo Tianyi and he was battling for his life besides him!
Nangong Le had thought that by bringing his friends to the Tranquil Clan, they would be safe. But a remnant of the Honor Manor, consisting of some of the most powerful fighters in the fraternity was actually lying in wait and stormed the Tranquil Mountains!
Even his friend, Priest Ling Kongquan had just been injured by the Heartless Scholar and was closing his eyes in mediation as he tried to recuperate from his internal injuries!
And now Qiu Wufeng was fighting for his very life against the Lu Baiyun the Heartless Scholar!
Nangong Le said hastily to Priest Ling Kongquan, “Brother Kongquan, I have dragged you and your protégés into this. I’m sorry…”
Priest Ling Kongquan laughed with his eyes closed, “The protégés of the Tranquil Clan are all from an orthodox clan and are all not afraid of death…”
Priest Bai Chongzhen, the protégé leader of the Traverse Clan coughed out blood as he added, “The protégés of the Traverse Clan are not afraid of death too!”
At this, all the protégés of the Traverse Clan were shouting, “The protégés of the Traverse Clan are not afraid of death!”
The Traverse Clan was one of the seven major orthodox clans in the martial fraternity and was situated in the Western Fraternity. When they had received word that the Honor Manor was mounting an invasion to the Western Fraternity, they refused to rally the orthodox fighters.
This action upset the Honor Manor and the Traverse Clan was one of the first clans to be attacked by the powerful Honor Manor and was accused of betraying the righteous martial code of the alliance!
Priest Bai Chongzhen then fled with dozens of his surviving protégés to the Tranquil Clan where they had regrouped.
For a time, the Tranquil and the Traverse Clan had held the Honor Manor back until the fighters from the Virtuous Clan began to join in the assault.
Priest Bai Chongzhen looked sadly at the dozens of protégés from the two clans that had been slain by the Honor Manor as well as the numerous volunteer heroes from the Western Fraternity that had volunteered to fight for their cause.
He muttered sadly, “I have no wine to toast to the fallen heroes.”
They were now being surrounded and outnumbered by hundreds of fighters from the Honor Manor. Most of their fighters on their side were wounded or too weak to fight.
The injured and the weak were now forced to watch the ongoing battle as it turned into a several groups of personalize duels!
It was as though an invisible line had been drawn between the combatants and the injured!
Zuo Tianyi who had just fatally stabbed Nangong Le with his long sword was smirking, “Nangong Le, you are not dead yet! Do you dare to fight me again, or do any of you dare to fight with me?”
Nangong Le laughed weakly, “If you want to get me, come over here first! Or else wait for me to take a short breath first and then I will challenge you!”
To Nangong Le and Zuo Tianyi surprise, Gongsun Jing had opened his eyes as he shouted hatefully to Zuo Tianyi, “You vile beast. I will kill you…”
Zuo Tianyi hummed coldly as he cast his eyes at the fights.
Qiu Wufeng was fighting like a berserker against the Heartless Scholar who seemed to be toying with him. The Heartless Scholar was Qiu Wufeng’s former mentor, turned enemy who had slain most of his clan and had framed him!
Ji Lingfeng was fighting with Jue Yuan the Merciless Monk.
She was having a hard time against Jue Yuan! It was only her extraordinary swiftness that had prevented Jue Yuan from hitting her but the constant movements had taken a toll on her already faltering strength even as she exchanged blows with Jue Yuan!
Jue Yuan laughed, “Do you still have the strength to use the Aspire Divine Hands? I was caution the last time. But now I know that you are the Holy Maiden of the Holy Hex Sect and could only practice the Holy Amalgamate Skill, I am not afraid of your Aspire Divine Hands anymore. Compared to that foolish young man Yi Ping, your martial power isn’t strong enough! Why don’t you give up and marry me?”
Ji Lingfeng hummed coldly, “A monk can get married? Shameless!”
Jue Yuan had restrained from using his strength and his deadly stances. It was because part of the condition for the Virtuous Palace to join forces with the Honor Manor was that they had wanted the Holy Maiden Ji Lingfeng alive.
Priest Liu Qingcheng, the protégé master of the Tranquil Clan was fighting with Xiao Fei.
He too, was having a hard time and was fighting for his life. No matter how fast he had switched his stances and strokes, it could not stop Xiao Fei at all.
Xiao Fei had expected to defeat Priest Liu Qingcheng with little efforts but it was proving to take a longer time that he had anticipated. But he was in no hurry. He could tell that Priest Liu Qingcheng was sweating heavily with his physical and mental fortitude being drained away with every stroke that he had made. So he was in no hurry.
The reason why Priest Liu Qingcheng had fared better than what Xiao Fei had expected was that he had advanced in his Dual Inertness Intricacy and being bolstered by the Tranquil Spirits. Moreover his two protégé disciples Yu’Er and Mei’Er were still fighting and no matter what happened, he refused to be defeated first due to face saving measures.
Because of that simple reason, he had fought nonstop for two hours that caused even Xiao Fei’s martial strength to falter!
Xiao Fei was now sweating heavily as he said coldly, “You are a worthy opponent and better than a lot of fighters that I have encountered. I am careless.”
However, the reason why Xiao Fei and Xiao Da were staying their hands and refused to display their secret techniques were because there were too many people here and Lie Qing was observing them!
Even if they had to use their secret techniques, it would be against the maiden with the crimson eyes who was watching intently at their every fighting strokes and stances!
They were aware of it and part of their attention was also on her.
If their opponent would kill even Xiao Yuanjia, then he or she had to be a super exponent and they were not taking any risks.
The twin sisters of the Eternal Ice Palace, Yu’Er the Jade Sword and Mei’Er the Beautiful Sword were fighting against Xiao Da.
Xiao Da was an extremely formidable foe.
That had caught Yu’Er and Mei’Er by surprise as he could break their Divine Emerald Skill!
Xiao Da was looking at them lustfully and he could barely contain his inner lust as he thought, “There are four great beauties here. Father wants the Holy Maiden, alas while the maiden with the crimson eyes who is also the most desirable is our mortal foe. I guess I have to make do with these two maidens then.”
It actually would not take much time for Xiao Da to defeat the twin sisters but he had taken much longer than he had expected because they seemed to be able to predict his moves and the cold energies of their swordplay were able to negate his malevolent despair.
Moreover, most of his techniques and strokes were meant for killing. Staying his hand was a much more difficult thing than he had expected.
There were a few times that he had the opportunity to deal them a heavy blow but he had stayed his hand. It was because he was afraid of Xiao Shuai, his father. Xiao Shuai had warned everyone that was in the Virtuous Palace not to harm any of the female protégés from the Eternal Ice Palace or else they would be faced with the harshest of the clan punishments.
And Xiao Shuai was someone who had shown no mercy even to his own kin, including his brothers.
Xiao Da laughed as he flashed his sword from left to right, “Why don’t the two of you be my concubines?”
Yu’Er and Mei’Er exclaimed indignantly at the same time, “Dream on!”
There were dozens of pugilists from both sides that were also watching the duels keenly and were awestruck by their extraordinary martial display as they held their breath.
In time to come, Qiu Wufeng would be renowned for his courage and had the fraternity name of the Courageous Windless Swordsman.
Yuan Shao was looking patiently at the fights. It was because victory was inevitable and he was looking intently at a young beautiful maiden on the other side who was stroking her long hair slowly as though she was just a speculator. This enchanting maiden gave him a disturbed feeling, primary because of her red crimson eyes.
Because she did not make her move yet, he had bid his time as well. It was because the other maiden with silvery white hair that he had fought against with many days ago had crimson eyes too and she was an extremely dangerous exponent. Therefore he waited for her to make her first move so that he could gauge her strength.
She was also extremely enchanting and beholden to look at, causing many of the hearts of the fighters to be consumed by lust for her, weakening their resolute.
Yuan Shao thought, “Is she also waiting for me to make my first move and attack me with a surprise attack?”
When he had recalled the terrifying swiftness movement of the young maiden with silver hair, he knew that this amount of distance would not defer his opponent from making an attack in any direction.
Zuo Tianyi had finished his duel and had quietly walked towards him. There were no more fighters from the other side that dared to challenge him anymore.
Zuo Tianyi said, “Master Yuan Shao, it seems like Xiao Da needs some help. Maybe I should help him…”
Yuan Shao stared at him, saying coldly. “With me around, you don’t have to be so concerned. If you are to hurt any of the protégés from the Eternal Ice Palace, don’t blame me for being merciless even if you have the protection of the Honor Manor.”
Zuo Tianyi smiled bitterly, “I dare not!”
Yuan Shao asked, “Who is that maiden with red eyes and a black sword on the other side?”
Zuo Tianyi said, “She is Lie Qing.”
Yuan Shao said, “Which protégé clan is she from?”
Zuo Tianyi said, “She claims to be from the New Virtuous Palace. Where she is from previously, I really do not know.”
Yuan Shao was startled, “She is from the New Virtuous Palace?”
He quickly regained his composure and asked, “How is her martial level?”
Zuo Tianyi replied coolly, “She is good with the sword but she can’t fight now.”
Yuan Shao asked, “Why is that so?”
Zuo Tianyi said, “She doesn’t have internal strength now, having lost it in a recent fight.”
Yuan Shao asked, “Really?!”
Zuo Tianyi smiled, “There is no reason for me to lie to you. We are on the same side now. Even the weakest of the Honor Manor can take her down anytime.”
Yuan Shao was alarmed as he cursed venomously!
It was because they had all fallen for her bluff stratagem. The reason why they had hesitated was because of they were caution of the Red Eye Clan!
Yuan Shao immediately raised his cane and had dashed towards Lie Qing!
Lie Qing immediately turned ashen as she cursed Zuo Tianyi silently.
She had used up half of her Invincible Divine Force in an attempt to save Xiao Youxue. It was because Xiao Youxue and Yi Ping were her benefactors. She had unwittingly caused Xiao Youxue to be grievously injured and it was the least that she could do. Of course, most would not even consider giving up their intricate energy for anyone but Lie Qing would do it for Xiao Youxue!
By half of her Invincible Divine Force, it had actually meant all of her internal strength. It was because the other half of her Invincible Divine Force was her inherent life force and could not be given away.
She quietly said to herself, “Lie Qing, you are only living on borrow time. You should be glad instead that to be alive again for these past several months. Yi Ping, Youxue…I am so glad to know you…both of you may not be alive anymore so what there for me to live for now?”
As Yuan Shao dashed across with startling speed, Yu’Er and Mei’Er saw him and tried to intercept him as they raised their long precious swords against him.
Yuan Shao simply raised his fingers as he avoided the furies of their cold beaming swords, striking both Yu’Er and Mei’Er as their Divine Emerald Skills were penetrated by his Soul Stealer Fingers!
Both Yu’Er and Mei’Er crumbled onto the ground in an instant with shrieked cries!
Even as Yuan Shao had struck down the twin sisters, Ji Lingfeng had flew towards him and raised her entire martial power, unleashing the explosive shrieking might of the Aspire Horizon Hand at him!
Yuan Shao immediately switched his Soul Stealer Finger towards the almighty force of the Aspire Horizon Hand as his fingers struck her palm with a thunderous impact!
Ji Lingfeng was sent flying backward as she coughed out blood!
The martial power of Yuan Shao’s Divine Virtuous Force and his Soul Stealer Finger was startling!
All of a sudden, a young man in white dashed past and caught hold of Ji Lingfeng in mid-air!
It was Yi Ping!
Ji Lingfeng smiled tearfully as she muttered weakly, “Yi Ping, is that really you? You are still alive?”
Yi Ping nodded, “Lingfeng, it is really me. I am here!”
Just as Yuan Shao had almost flown to Lie Qing, he had suddenly backed off!
It was because an extraordinary beautiful maiden in red dress had suddenly intercepted him in mid-air with her long black scythe!
It was Lele!
Nangong Le and Qiu Wufeng shouted excitedly, “Yi Ping!”
They had also saw a beautiful maiden with extraordinary splendor that they could not recognized but the fact that she could cause Yuan Shao to back off gave them some hope!
Ding Yun had come to the aid of Priest Liu Qingcheng as she caused Xiao Fei to back off at the same time too!
Xiao Fei said coolly, “Yunzi, why are you on their side? Have you forgotten what awaits traitors?”
Ding Yun replied coldly, “Ding Yunzi is dead. From now on, I am Ding Yun.”
Lie Qing covered her mouth in utter disbelief as she burst into tears when she saw Yi Ping!
Yi Ping had quietly helped Yu’Er and Mei’Er up. It was as though Xiao Da was not there.
Xiao Da had hesitated because this young man had a frightening aura and he did not want to take any unnecessary risks.
Yi Ping was trembling even as he checked Yu’Er and Mei’Er for internal injuries.
Yu’Er said weakly, “Master, I’m alright. Don’t worry about me. You…are still alive…I am so glad…”
Mei’Er was more emotional as she cried in Yi Ping embrace.
Yi Ping shouted angrily, “Yuan Shao!”
This shout startled everyone by its sheer explosive power and caused everyone except those with strong internal strength to take a few steps backward, causing many of the fighters to cup their ears with their hands!
Yi Ping clenched his fists tightly as he stared angrily at Yuan Shao!
He tried to suppress his bursting rage but when he saw the sorry state that his companions had been and how close they were to death, he had totally lost his cool.
It was because Yi Ping had now returned to a distant past when his mother, Shui Yichi was dying in front of his eyes. At that time, he was just only five but he blamed himself for being so weak. All of a sudden, he could see the dainty sight of his beloved mother moving into his vision, as she displayed one extraordinary stance after the other!
Xiao Da, Xiao Fei, Jue Yuan and Zuo Tianyi had immediately regrouped behind Yuan Shao.
Nangong Le, Lie Qing, Ding Yun, Lele, Yu’Er, Mei’Er, Qiu Wufeng, Ji Lingfeng and Priest Liu Qingcheng had also gathered behind Yi Ping as they supported one another as they all shouting excitedly, “Yi Ping…Yi Ping!”
Lie Qing had quietly walked besides Yi Ping and held his arm as she said gently, “You are here at last…”
Lie Qing touch was electrifying and Yi Ping returned to his senses. He looked at Lie Qing, Ding Yun, Lele, Yu’Er, Mei’Er and Ji Lingfeng as he muttered gently, “Everyone…”
It was the first time that Lele had seen Lie Qing but she had recognized her. Her looks and her crimson eyes were obvious. She wanted to say something to her but Lie Qing seemed to be totally oblivion to anyone except for Yi Ping.
The rest of the fighters that were on the side of the Tranquil Clan were aroused by Yi Ping. It was as though his presence alone could move their fighting spirits by unseen hands and many who had fallen or too weak to move had also got up on their feet, including Priest Bai Chongzhen and even Gongsun Jing!
Even though most of them were now too weak to fight except for Ding Yun and Lele, Yi Ping was like a giant spiritual pillar that was supporting them as they stood defiantly against their foes!
The powerful martial shout displayed by Yi Ping and his righteous air had even caused the fighters on the side of the Honor Manor to be hesitant, affecting their resolute.
Moreover, Yi Ping was being recognized as the young fighter that had dared to challenge Zuo Tianyi, Jue Yuan and Gu Tianle back at the Honor Manor!
There were muttering among the fighters that were on the side of the Honor Manor as they asked, “Is he the one that fight against Master Gu Tianle in the Honor Manor?”
Yuan Shao had never seen someone who could ignite the fighting spirits of the fallen in such a manner. But he was not worried as he had recognized the three newly arrivals. Just not too long ago, he had just defeated them. He was only curious how did their external injuries healed this fast?
Ding Yun he could understand because the Divine Virtuous Force had a healing effect. But as for the young man Yi Ping and the young maiden in red dress? All in all, he had remembered stabbing Yi Ping more than thirty times!
Did Ding Yun secretly taught them the Divine Virtuous Force?
Yuan Shao could only say coldly, “Good! You are all here. It will save us much trouble from eliminating you elsewhere.”
Xiao Da laughed aloud, “I have thought who it is. It is just a young man, a young maiden and Yunzi. Yunzi, have you forgotten all about me already?”
Ding Yun’s expressions were cold and did not reply. But her fingers were subtly trembling and she was filled with dread and hatred for Xiao Da!
Yuan Shao pointed at Yi Ping as he asked aloud, “He is Yi Ping? And who is this maiden here?”
He was pointing at the young and beautiful maiden in red dress.
It was only then, everyone except Yi Ping and Ding Yun had realized no one knew know who this enchanting maiden was, even though she was too attractive to go unnoticed!
Only Ji Lingfeng had recognized her even though she had never seen the Celestial Envoy without her terrifying mask!
Her red dress, her long black scythe and distinctly mannerism had told her it was the Celestial Envoy but she had thought that the Celestial Envoy was an old woman because of her silvery white hair…
But the fact that she could beat off Yuan Shao, had already raised several eyebrows.
Even Lie Qing was now looking at her and was startled to see that she had the same crimson red eyes as her!
Even Xiao Da and Xiao Fei were intrigued by her. Because she was able to cause Yuan Shao to back off with a single stroke, her martial prowess was not to be underestimated!
Xiao Da was looking lustfully at her and was smiling.
Moreover, they were reminded of the legends of the Red Eye Clan that their elders had always told them to remember. And today, there were two of them!
Lele swung her heavy long black scythe with one hand and thrust it into the ground quietly as she sighed softly, “Who I am?”
It was only then almost everyone who was watching her was caught off-guard by her martial display!
It was because for her to wield the seemingly long black metal scythe weightlessness was a display of her martial prowess upon itself. For her to thrust the blade of the scythe totally into the ground was a seemingly impossible feat!
It was a feat that even Yi Ping and Yuan Shao could not accomplish despite their martial strength!
Yuan Shao was slightly taken aback as was everyone. Her scythe just seemed to go through the ground seemingly like it was tofu. One must know that that the ground was covered only with a thin layer of soil, beneath it was just hardened earth and was filled with rocky debris. Moreover the blade of her scythe was curved, making it even harder.
Yuan Shao, Xiao Da, Xiao Fei, Zuo Tianyi, Jue Yuan and Lu Baiyun immediately knew that her internal strength was at the peak and extremely potent.
They just could not figure out how she was able to do it despite her young age for internal strength unlike martial power, could only be cultivate slowly.
Take Yi Ping for example, his internal strength could be cultivated through the Divine Revelation, an intricate formula to circulate intricate energy but his powerful martial power had come from the Aspire Invocation which enhanced his martial strength.
Internal strength and martial strength was therefore related, it was not the same. How strong one’s martial strength may be dependable on the practitioner’s internal strength foundation but it was also somewhat related to the strength of the martial skill too.
Yi Ping’s Divine Horizon Hands, the Aspire Horizon Hand required decades of internal strength foundation before he could use this powerful stance. The martial power of the Aspire Horizon Hand had come from the Aspire Invocation which drew its strength from the intricate energies of the practitioner.
Practitioners like Lele and Shui Yixian may seemingly lacked martial strength in their attacks and appeared weaker but that was an illusion. It was because they were the practitioners of the internal martial arts while Yi Ping focused on his martial strength.
Practitioner like Yuan Shao was versatile fighter, switching between martial strength to use sword techniques and internal strength to use the Soul Stealer Fingers while Zuo Tianyi’s infinity swordplay at the higher levels actually required a combination of both, especially at the sword energy staging.
While everyone was still taken aback, Yuan Shao, Xiao Da and Xiao Fei had immediately eyed her fingernails, her hair decorations, her long sleeves, her dress, her sword scabbard and her footwear. There was not a single area that they had spared!
It was not because they were lustful but because they were looking for concealed weapons and secret projectiles!
They had observed that she had short fingernails and that would mean that she could be expert in unarmed combat as well!
While Lu Baiyun, Zuo Tianyi, Jue Yuan and many of her opponents were also looking at her, they were quickly mesmerized by her eyes and had forgotten that she was actually their foe!
In no time, Zuo Tianyi, Lu Baiyun and Jue Yuan were filled with lust, just as they were filled with lust for Lie Qing.
Lele exhaled softly, “Who I am? I am the Celestial Envoy.”
She purposely waited for her words to be sunk in as she added, “The Celestial Envoy is naturally from the Celestial Palace. I am the Joyful Goddess. Since you are all in my presence, hurry and bow before me with your full condolences!”
At the mention of the Celestial Palace, dozens of fighters from both sides were suddenly paralyzed with fear!
Even though few people in the fraternity could ascertain that the Celestial Palace was even real but there were many dreadful rumors about the Celestial Palace!
No one had ever lived to return from the Celestial Mountains!
Even though the Honor Manor and the Virtuous Palace knew that they were going to attack the Celestial Palace, most had thought that it was just an excuse for a punitive attack to against the unorthodox clans of the Western Fraternity.
It was the fearful invisible hand of the Celestial Palace in the Western Fraternity that had prevented the different orthodox and unorthodox clans in that fraternity to fight openly with one another. That was also the reason why most of the unorthodox clans had also originated from the Western Fraternity!
Even Yuan Shao’s face had a twitch at the mere mention of the Celestial Palace!
Just as Lele was secretly feeling gleefully at the startled shock and the uneasiness of her opponents, Yi Ping had stepped forward and said. “She is Lele and she is no Goddess.”
This startled Lele and she was secretly scolding him in her heart despite her high state of divinity!
It was because in the fraternity, the pugilists rarely revealed their real names and only use their fraternity names. But Yi Ping obviously did not know that. Maidens like Lele, Ji Lingfeng, Lie Qing, Shui Yixian and Xiao Youxue were willing to tell him their real name only because they had liked him!
Lele had painfully orchestrated an awe striking scene to win the psychology battle so that they could gain an upper hand or at least break even over their deadly foes. It was because there were only three of them who could fight while their enemies numbered in the dozens!
Ji Lingfeng sighed softly. She had almost gave Yi Ping a kick as she sighed silently, “You stupid pig!”
The only person on Yi Ping’s side that did not care was Lie Qing as she had already surrendered to her fate and was grateful for the borrowed time. There was only a devoted affection in her eyes for Yi Ping…
Even before Lele could recover from her initial shock, Yi Ping said. “You can all come at me at the same time!”
She nearly fainted from shock, as almost everyone else was also shocked by his bold declaration, including their opponents!