Life and Death, Love and Hatred, Affection and Feud,
Benevolence and Vendetta.
In the eyes of the people in the Pugilistic Fraternity, these are like sharp blades; their differences separated only by a very thin line.
The night sky was devoid of clouds. Amidst the fog stood a demure, alluring and extremely beautiful young maiden. One hand held her flowing hair and the other hand her soft outer garment. Yet without slowing her pace, she continued on.
Along the treacherous mountain trails, there appeared several people. The young maiden raised her eyebrows and gave a faint laugh, a laugh that seemed to warm the frosty air but filled with poisonous intentions; it was hard to believe that such a laugh would come from this demure beautiful maiden.
As the laughter traveled, those walking on the mountain trails sprang forward. In a blink of the eye, they were already in front of the young woman. The extremely beautiful young woman looked knowingly with her eyes and coldly said, “Come with me!” As she turned her slim body and moved several yards, never once looking back. She leapt several times, and soon she was on top the Southern Peak!
There were five people following her. One of them was a big man in black carrying a sheathed sword that was laughing and saying to an older woman in the group. “What an arrogant little girl. I’m afraid she is three times more obnoxious than you when you were younger!”
The older woman gave a gentle laugh, replying. “Really?”
The big man in black kept laughing and said. “Truly! Whoever marries her, will surely feel more tortured than me, Long Fei!”
The laughter stirred the four corners of the mountains. It was filled with love as the older woman leaned against his chest, his laughter and hers becoming unison.
The lad behind them suddenly gave a shout. “Protégé Master has arrived.” Their laughter ceased. Behind them was an old man dressed in cotton garments with a cloth over his head and walking in broad strides.
Each one of the old man’s steps was a yard apart, and his garments seemed to flutter and float as he moved. Behind him were two men who seemed to be carrying something on their backs although no one could see carefully what the objects were.
The old man asked, “Where is it?”
Another man answered, “Gone up already!”
The old man said sternly. “Follow!” as he took big steps towards the peak. The winds revealed a sword scabbard underneath his cloak.
The older woman said with melancholy, “Today, Father…” Her lips moved halfway, the sentence she was trying to complete was unable to continue.
A thin young man turned back and looked at a young man and a young maiden, pausing awhile before sighing. “Fourth Sister and Fifth Brother, you should remain at the mountain slope. After he finished speaking, he sprang up to join Long Fei and his lady.
The young man and woman both exchanged glances. For a long time, none spoke.
Southern Peak was Mount Hua summit. The beautiful young maiden appeared and said in a low voice. “You have come.” There were four other women behind her.
Below the summit, a voice was heard. “This ten-year promise Long Bushi has not forgotten. Why is the Lady not here to welcome an old friend?”
His voice was not high pitched yet when every word was traversed up, it was heard very clearly in the ears.
The extremely beautiful young maiden gave a cold smirk in response.
The old man asked. “Is this Mount Hua summit? Are you the follower of the Red Phoenix?”
The extremely beautiful young maiden coldly replied “That’s right!”
The old man said solemnly. “Where is Red Phoenix Ye Qiubai?”
The extremely beautiful maiden looked thoughtfully at the old man, sizing him up, and replied, “You are Immortal Divine Dragon Long Bushi?”
The old man looked stunned. Suddenly, he burst into laughter and in a clear voice said, “Marvelous, marvelous! Never did I expect someone in the Pugilistic Fraternity to address me by my title to my face!”
The extremely beautiful young maiden smiled sarcastically and glanced at the sky. “Marvelous, marvelous! Never did I expect someone to use my Protégé Mistress’ title to my face.”
The old man turned to the older woman who was with him and, pointing to the beautiful young maiden and her four followers, asked, “This is Ye Qiubai’s protégé?”
Four pairs of eyes sparkled and flickered over his body, and the green gowned women said in unison together, “That’s right!”
Long Bushi turned back in anger and said, “Your Protégé Mistress and I had an agreement ten years ago to meet here. Why has she not arrived? Why has she sent you here to be rude to your elders!”
The extremely beautiful young maiden coldly replied, “Even if there is an emergency, my Protégé Mistress will still be unable to honor it!”
Long Bushi asked angrily, “How come?”
She replied, “Three months ago, my Protégé Mistress passed away. Before she died, she had ordered me to come in her stead. However, she said nothing about you being any elder of mine!” Her speech was slow and soft, the tone icy cold but with no hint of resentment. It did not seem at all likely that she was delivering her Protégé Mistress’ last will and testament.
Long Bushi was stunned and shook with uncontrollable rage.
The rest of the group was silent as well.
Only Long Fei step forwards and asked in a low tone, “Father, what is it?”
Long Bushi was stunned momentarily. He sighed, “Ye Qiubai is dead!”
His eyes looked up to the heavens, and then he began a stroll down the mountain.
From the coldness in the extremely beautiful young woman’s eyes, there appeared suddenly a strange glow. She gave a sarcastic smile and said, “A pity, a pity. To think that the legendary number one warrior of our Pugilist Fraternity, the Immortal Divine Dragon, is just an ordinary man.”
Long Bushi was frozen on the spot while Long Fei angrily demanded, “What did you say?”
The extremely beautiful young maiden replied just as coldly as before, “What I say is not your business. What conspires here, you have no say whatsoever.”
Long Fei’s eyes were filled with turbulence at her reproach. Then, Long Bushi turned around and demanded, “What did you say?”
The extremely beautiful young maiden replied, “Ten years ago, my Protégé Mistress and you made a life and death agreement. What did it entail?”
Long Bushi’s eyes became withdrawn, and he said gravely, “The winner shall dominate the Pugilist Fraternity; the loser…” he paused with a sigh, “Ye Qiubai has already passed away. Long Bushi now dominates the Pugilistic Fraternity…”
The attractive beauty coldly interrupted, “Although my Protégé Mistress may have become a saint, I’m afraid you may will not dominate the Pugilistic Fraternity for long!”
Long Bushi gravely replied, “Are you thinking of exchanging blows with me?”
The extremely beautiful young maiden smiled coldly, “Although I have this desire, I suspect you do not wish to fight me. Am I correct?”
Long Bushi replied, “ Indeed!”
The extremely beautiful young maiden asked, “For decades, my Protégé Mistress and you have been fighting. How many times were there altogether?”
Long Bushi said, “Many times. Hard to determine how many times I won.”
The extremely beautiful young maiden asked, “Did you beat her by more than one stroke?”
Long Bushi replied, “However, I have never lost before.”
The extremely beautiful young maiden said, “Victory is yet undetermined, but you are already thinking you’ve dominated the Pugilist Fraternity. Does such fortuity exist in this world?”
Long Bushi was taken aback. “Ye Qiubai has passed away. You expect me to fight the dead?”
The extremely beautiful young maiden smiled coldly, “My Protégé Mistress may have died, but she had left behind a swordplay. If you cannot defeat this swordplay, I suggest that you commit suicide on this Mount Hua summit. Furthermore, all protégés from Zhijiao Manor shall henceforth be forbidden to exist in the Pugilistic Fraternity.”
Long Fei suddenly laughed, “What if my father wins? What happens then?”
The extremely beautiful young woman did not even glance at him out, much less a look at him. It was as though his words never reached her ears.
Long Fei roared with laughter, “If my father loses, he has to commit suicide, but if he wins, don’t tell me you are going to ask that Red Phoenix Ye Qiubai to die once again? Moreover, you know that my father will not fight with just anyone that does not have seniority. Ye Qiubai may have left behind a swordplay, but what use is it?”
Unexpectedly, Long Bushi intoned, ”Silence!” He walked up to the extremely beautiful young maiden and asked, “In the past ten years, she created a new swordplay?”
The extremely beautiful young maiden replied, “Indeed!”
His eyes glowing, Long Bushi gave a sigh, “Since this is an extraordinary swordplay yet no extraordinary internal force that enables anyone to use it, how could it possibly defeat me?” He was greatly depressed by the matter and seemed forlorn.
The extremely beautiful young maiden smiled coldly, “What if there was someone with a similar internal force as you who knew the swordplay that my Protégé Mistress left behind? Would it not be the same as fighting my Protégé Mistress?”
Long Bushi looked even more forlorn, “Sixteen years ago, all the best fighters in the Pugilistic Fraternity, except your Protégé Mistress and I, perished on Mount Huang. In this whole wide world, were I to find someone with the same internal force, I would have to wait another three to five years, even ten!”
The extremely beautiful young maiden said, “Although a refined swordplay can replace a lack of internal force, internal force does not have the flexibility of a swordplay, wouldn’t you agree?”
Long Bushi said, “Naturally, you are not wrong!”
The extremely beautiful young maiden continued, “The strokes of a swordplay can advance and be used like a shield. A strong internal force can never replace the ingenuity involved. Do you agree?”
Long Bushi said, “Indeed!”
The extremely beautiful young maiden continued to explain, “But swordplay and internal force are interdependent. Lack one aspect and the person will never become a top pugilist fighter. Although this reasoning is very obvious, ever since the Mount Huang meeting, there has been no one in the Pugilistic Fraternity who can contest with the Phoenix and Dragon. This is because out of the ranks of the new pugilist fighters, even if one had the fortune to recover a once-lost set of martial skills, no one has the necessary internal force to match the Phoenix and Dragon. Do you agree?”
Long Bushi said. “Indeed.”
The extremely beautiful young maiden asked, “Ten years ago, were the internal forces of my Mentor Mistress and your own evenly matched?”
Long Bushi replied, “There were differences, but only in theory; it did not matter!”
The extremely beautiful young maiden asked, “These past ten years, my Protégé Mistress never for one moment forgot about this life and death agreement and trained hard everyday.”
Long Bushi sighed, “As did I!”
The extremely beautiful young maiden said, “So judging from these circumstances, ten years ago, both of your internal forces were almost even. Ten years later, will there be any difference?”
Long Bushi said, “Unless during these ten years, she could obtain a miraculous herb that could aid the growth of the internal force, she could not have beaten me!”
Suddenly he sighed and turned his head, “Fei, do you know that the growth rate of one’s internal force is like a sparrow building its nest? It must be slow and cannot be forced. Taking shortcuts, greedy for faster growth can only strengthen it temporarily and is not stable. It is not recommended because internal power requires up to one hundred years to cultivate. Miraculous herbs that can aid in the growth of internal force are also almost impossible to find. Strangely, so many people in the Pugilist World actually believe in them; this has lead to many tragedies!”
Long Fei nodded in agreement.
The extremely beautiful young maiden said, “Therefore, you are saying the internal powers of my Protégé Mistress and yourself cannot be disputed and that what is contestable is the flexibility and changes in strokes, correct?”
Long Bushi said, “When top fighters are fighting, timing, terrain, the human factor are also important factors!”
The extremely beautiful young maiden asked, “If my Protégé Mistress really created an invincible swordplay, will it be able to defeat you?”
Long Bushi replied, “There is no unbreakable martial arts in this world. If your Protégé Mistress’ swordplay has such power and I’m unable to find a weakness, if such a thing exists that I’m unable to counter, then you win.”
The extremely beautiful young maiden said, “My Protégé Mistress and you have a life and death agreement, and there is as yet no victor. But although my Protégé Mistress passed away, she died with regrets.”
Long Bushi said regretfully, “Do I not feel regret over this matter as well?”
The extremely beautiful young maiden looked at the sky and said, “Before she died, my Protégé Mistress warned me that during these past ten years, you may have also created a form of martial arts to defeat her.”
Long Bushi looked at the sky and laughed, “Ye Qiubai is indeed my bosom friend.” However, his laughter betrayed signs of sadness.
The extremely beautiful young maiden smiled coldly, “However, you don’t have to worry about the skills that you created having no chance to show off their martial prowess. Before my Protégé Mistress passed away, she came up with a solution to determine the winner between the two of you.”
Long Bushi laughter suddenly ceased and his eyes shone, but the extremely beautiful young maiden took no notice and said, “If you would allow me to seal off three accupoints, the ‘Que Peng’ at the back of your head, the ‘Shen Cang’ on your back, and the ‘Yang Guan’ of your lower back, so that your energies cannot flow through these two main energy meridians and thus not eliminating your internal force but diminishing it to seventy percent capability, then my internal force will match yours. I could then use my Protégé Mistress’ swordplay against you, and the fight would seem not different from you fighting my Protégé Mistress directly.”
She went through all the trouble to state this point. Her intentions became very clear, and Long Bushi could not help but feel a chill.
The extremely beautiful young maiden sighed, “This method is what my Protégé Mistress devised before she passed away. If you do not agree, I can do nothing.”
Long Fei face became wrinkled, and he said solemnly, “This matter sounds more like a play-acting. It is certainly impossible. I can’t believe you actually suggest it out.”
Standing far away was Long Fei’s wife, who suddenly dashed towards them and gave a cold laugh, “So that means, if I use my father’s martial art skills to fight with you, it would be the same?”
The extremely beautiful young maiden smiled coldly and turned her head away. Suddenly, she sighed as she looked to the heavens, “Alas my Protégé Mistress, oh my Protégé Mistress, I have already said that he would not agree, but you did not believe. It seems that you are wrong.” She walked to the shade of a tree toward her followers and said coldly, “Let us go, then. Let Zhijiao Manor dominate the Pugilistic Fraternity, does it matter to us?”
Long Bushi thundered, “Hold on!”
The extremely beautiful young maiden laughed coldly, “If you are not willing to keep a promise to the dead, I will not blame you. Just let it seem that no such agreement was made ten years ago between my Protégé Mistress and you.”
Long Bushi roared with laughter at the heavens and said exuberantly. “For decades, I have experienced many near-death experiences but always came back fighting. I have never feared death. Furthermore, I have never backed off from any promise. Although Ye Qiubai is now dead, the agreement remains sacred. Since she has left behind a stratagem to continue our fight, how can I disappoint her?”
Long Fei and his wife were shocked, “Father…” They exclaimed together.
Long Bushi gave another roar and raised his hand to remove the lining from his face. The extremely beautiful maiden’s eyes widened, her heart shaken. She could see his face was scarred. She shivered unconsciously.
Long Bushi laughed and said solemnly, “I have undergone countless fights big or small, ever victorious. Many years ago, I encountered many opponents of superior martial arts caliber and I still managed to wound them with my sword. This is because my heart harbored no guilty conscience or fear. If I had even once broken my word to another, I will not have this heart and would have died a hundred times already!”
“Forty years ago,” he muttered, “Emei Sect’s number one fighter Heartless Sword Gu Xiaotian fashioned this scarred face with a stroke of his, the ‘Heaven Startling Hues’.” Even as he felt the scar, he could still feel the piercing sword blade that tore open his flesh; he could still feel the sensation of pain.
He suddenly laughed loudly and then gave a long sigh as he said aloud to the heavens, “Gu Xiaotian, alas Gu Xiaotian, even though I cannot defend myself against your ‘Heaven Startling Hues’, you cannot escape from my sword either…”
His mind flashed back to his glorious past as he muttered again, “Five Tigers Crushing Through, Returning Dance of the Gentle Wind, Demonic Divine Hook”. This one blade, one sword, one hook; he recalled his many scars and the memories of his youth, when he traveled with his sword across the realm, crossing Bashan, visiting Pengmen and Shaolin, facing terrible blade wounds, swords that pierced so deep his soul stirred, narrowly escaping death and against all odds, surviving. Many times he thwarted certain defeat. The nickname Immortal Divine Dragon was derived from his numerous fights thirty years ago. Thinking back, he gave a sudden smile.
His hand moved down below his long beard to his chin as he felt another scar. That was inflicted by Mount Heaven Triple Divine Sword. This sword wound was the smallest yet the most life-threatening.
“Ninth Wing Flying Eagle Di Mengping, he was indeed a rarity that I have seldom saw in my entire life…”
His hand touched another scar, but this sword scar appeared to be curved and uneven and did not appear to have been inflicted by a single sword but three swords combined as one.
He gave a broad smile. “This is from the renown Triple Flower Swordplay, the ‘one sword piercing three flowers, regardless if you are Immortal or Spirit’ that is so famous across the realm. But the Triple Flower Swordsman nevertheless could not escape my sword!”
He showed more scars. There was one on his left eye, from such an amazingly swift sword stroke that it seemed he was slashed from top to bottom. This scar was the result of the swift and powerful Kunhe Swordplay. It happened during a snowfall, amidst the misty fog atop the Mount Kunlun summit. He shook to the core as he recalled that frightening episode. Each of his memories shook him badly, but still he had survived!
There was also Wudang Equilibrium Swordplay and their Ninth Palace Divine Swordplay, and he pointed to three other scars beneath his clothing.
“Wudang swordsmen, their hearts are more or less kindly: they only attack the body and not the face. Therefore, I did not kill them,” he muttered, “but who would expect that the three elders of the Pugilist Fraternity, who were benevolent and soft-hearted, would also perish at Mount Huang!”
Long Bushi gave a long sigh. The Mount Huang gathering that caused so many of the Pugilistic Fraternity best fighters to sacrifice themselves as they fought each other did not cause him much bodily injury. Why was that?
“It is because I had already had experience with all the known and unknown martial arts of the Martial Fraternity. In this world, there are no more martial arts that can hurt me!”
He looked at the clouds on the distant peaks, and his heart gave way to an unspeakable sense of loneliness. No more victory to be gained, this was sad. No more defeats to be experienced, why sigh? The memories of old were like a fleeting cloud that fluttered past the mountain, gently fluttering through his heart. Just like the cloud would not stay enveloped on top of the mountain, his memories would also not remain forever in his heart…
The extremely beautiful maiden looked coldly yet piercingly at him. It was hard to know whether it was a look of expectancy, a look of respect, or just a normal look.
Suddenly, the Immortal Dragon Long Bushi tore off his outer garments and laughed.
Long Fei’s eyes contracted, “Father, what are you doing?”
Long Bushi laughed exuberantly, “If I do not test Ye Qiubai’s swordplay, she will not die in peace, and I will regret it the rest of my life.”
The extremely beautiful maiden smiled.
Long Fei insisted, “Father, this matter is not fair…”
Long Bushi stop laughing. “What do you know?” He laughed again.
“During my lifetime, my nickname has been the ‘Immortal’. If I may die under the sword of another, it is a joyous thing.”
Long Fei moved back three steps as he watched his father removed his clothing and toss it three yards away.
The extremely beautiful maiden said coldly, “Que Peng, Shen Cang, Yang Guan…”
Long Bushi turned and coldly instructed Long Fei, “Fei my son, do you still remember the He Zui Jin hand accupoint skill?”
Long Fei shuddered and replied, “I…I remember.”
Long Bushi said, “You will use the He Zui Jin accupoint skill to seal my Que Peng, Shen Cang and Yang Guan accupoints.”
Long Fei begged, “Father…Father…”
Long Bushi furrowed his brow and bellowed, “Quickly!”
Long Fei was momentarily stunned but clenched his jaws, and with a broad stride, positioned himself behind his father. He exhibited the He Zui Jin stance and prepared to seal his father’s Que Peng accupoint.
His wife gave a moan, turning her head away. But soon she turned back again, only to see Long Fei still hesitating, his hands shaking. He still could not bear to do it.
Long Bushi turned around and shouted, “Useless…thing!” His voice softened as he uttered “thing”.
Long Fei gave a long sigh and said, “Father, I’ve been thinking: this matter does not seem right…”
Before he could finish, a thin young man came from behind.
Long Fei said, “Fifth Brother, what are you doing here?”
The thin young man said, “Since Big Brother is unable to do it, your Little Brother will assist you. Would that be alright?”
Long Fei’s eyes narrowed, and he cried, “Are you crazy?”
The thin young man remained expressionless. The Immortal Divine Dragon turned and looked at him. He assessed him and sighed, “I always thought you were weak, useless and lacking in courage. But to find that your heart and will are both strong. You’re almost like me when I was young. If today I could…” He sighed several times more and said, “You know He Zui Jin as well, be quick about it.”
Long Bushi retreat three steps, and bowed his head unwilling to look at anyone.
There were three sounds of crackle.
The extremely beautiful young maiden gave a cold giggle.
Long Fei sighed and clear his throat.
Long Fei’s wife muttered to him, “What are you feeling sad for? Father is not going to lose!”
Long Fei lifted his head, as though he wanted to say something, but in the end, he did not say it.
Just then, the extremely beautiful young maiden took a long sword from one of the four women behind her. She extended two fingers and gently struck the tip of the sword blade. A ringing sound echoed throughout the surrounding mountains!
Long Bushi in turn stared at his long sword like a proud mother to her child, gently and lovingly.
Then he turned toward the thin young man, and in a solemn and stern manner, said, “From now on, this Fallen Autumn Leaf shall be yours!”
The Thin young man’s eyes shone as he reached for the sword and scabbard, moving back three steps before kneeling down and respectfully making three bows.
There was a change of expression in Long Fei’s face, but as he opened his mouth to speak, his wife tugged gently at his shirt. They looked at one another and bowed their heads!
Long Bushi sighed and said, “Do not let this sword down, ever!”
The thin young man got up, walked to the box that was covered with a thick cotton cover and lifted it up with his sword sheath. Underneath was a purple coffin!
Long Bushi asked him, “Do you have anything to say?”
The thin young man’s face was expressionless. All of a sudden, he kneeled and bowed respectfully three times to the coffin. Suddenly, he turned his wrists and from his sleeves appeared a shining dagger with a dragon figurine on its hilt. He then proceeded to make a cut on his middle finger and dripped his blood on the top of the purple coffin.
Long Bushi appeared to be very satisfied, and he smiled. “Good! Good!” And then turned towards the rare beauty.
The young rare beauty smiled gently, “You have carted a coffin here because you feared defeat. The Immortal Dragon is indeed the Pugilistic Fraternity’s number one warrior.” She laughed for the first time. Her laugh was like a flowering peony, a blossoming lily…even an experienced poet would have trouble describing it.
The thin young man sheathed his dagger and tucked it inside his waist belt. He stared coldly at the extremely beautiful young maiden. And he walked step by step towards her!
“What are you trying to do?” Long Bushi asked. “This matter no longer concerns you, go back!”
The thin young man did not even blink and, without saying a word, suddenly stretched forth his palms, his left palm towards the rare beauty’s right side and his right palm towards Long Bushi’s left.
It happened so fast and the timing so wondrous that both the rare beauty and Long Bushi were stunned – neither expected him to suddenly attack them!
The young rare beauty smiled coldly. Her left palm came down and there was a “Pa” sound as the thin young man’s right palm came into contact. Long Bushi gave a howling sound, twisted his waist and stretched his left palm—“Pa”! -— and made contact with the thin young man’s left palm!
Four palms impacted on one another and simultaneously produced two sounds.
Long Fei sprang forward in surprise and shock and yelled. “Fifth Brother, have you lost your mind?”
Suddenly, the thin young man withdrew his outstretch palms and gracefully moved back three feet, saying, “Protégé Master, this girl did not lie to you!”
Long Bushi exclaimed, “What you mean is that now her internal power is the same as mine.” Looking at the sky, he laughed and continued, “Excellent, excellent! Today I do indeed have someone with the same internal power as me as my opponent!”
Long Fei was stunned. “You were trying to test her internal power to see if it was the same as our Protégé Master?”
The thin young man replied, “Indeed…”
Long Bushi laughed cheerfully. “If Ping’Er did not have the intention to make the test, how would he have dared to strike me? You are stating the obvious!”
This old man, who was soon going to face a vicious battle, was in a happy and light mood. Was he happy to have finally found a worthy opponent or a worthy disciple?
Long Fei looked guilty and began to slowly retreat backwards, but he shot a glance at Nangong Ping.
Long Fei’s wife gave a gentle smile and said, “Fifth brother may be young, but no one knew of his intelligence and internal power. Indeed, who would have expected it!”
Long Bushi said, “Only time will reveal a person’s heart. A person’s intelligence and personality must also wait until a time of crisis to surface. Only then can you tell!”
He seemed pleased and proud as he looked at Long Fei’s wife, then back at Nangong Ping, who bowed his head now, and finally at the young rare beauty.
The extremely beautiful maiden took her glance away from Nangong Ping before saying coldly, “Since you have made the test, can we fight now?”
Long Bushi answered, “Certainly!” He drew his long sword, which emitted a piercing echo. A sudden breeze rained leaves upon the four waiting women. Although he had but one third of his internal power, his sword still radiated such power as to silence the four women.
The young rare beauty seemed not to notice this stunning display and coldly said, “Since you are ready to fight, please come with me!”
Long Bushi asked in surprise, “We are not fighting here?”
The young rare beauty replied, “That is right. This is not the place to fight.” And she turned away!
Long Bushi cried, “Why not?”
The young rare beauty replied coldly, “Because the swordplay that I will be using cannot be seen by others!”
Long Bushi asked, “Why not?”
The young rare beauty replied, “If I kill you, your disciples will certainly seek me for revenge. Zhijiao Manor is very influential in the Pugilist Fraternity. I am my Protégé Mistress’ only disciple. If they come after me, I certainly cannot defeat them, don’t you agree?”
Long Bushi said, “Naturally, you could not overcome them!”
Long Fei’s wife interrupted. “Do you think with your flimsy martial arts, you can even beat our Protégé Master?”
Long Bushi glanced at both of them and secretly sighed. He said aloud, “That is right. If you are able to kill me, my disciples will for certain seek you for revenge, and you are certainly not their match. So, you are depending on your swordplay for self-preservation!”
The young rare beauty said, “That is right. When my Protégé Mistress taught me this swordplay, not only did she ask me to kill you, she also asked me to kill the others as well. If I let them witness my swordplay, they will study it for loopholes!”
Long Bushi nodded. “Indeed. If I created a swordplay, I would not want too many to witness it either.” Suddenly, he gave a long sigh and looked at the young rare beauty. His voice was heavy as he asked, “Before she died, did your Protégé Mistress really hated me that much?”
The young rare beauty jeered, “If hatred is engraved in the heart, what difference does life or death make?”
Long Bushi felt a chill in his heart and muttered. “If hatred is engraved in the heart, what difference does life or death make…” He shuddered. “Where do we fight? I will follow you!”
The young rare beauty did not say anymore but turned away.
Long Fei yelled. “Wait!”
But the young rare beauty did not slow her footsteps. It was as though she did not hear. There was a breeze, and Nangong Ping was in front of her, blocking her. Her eyebrows furrowed, and she turned to glance coldly at Long Bushi.
Long Bushi sighed. “What are you all trying to do?”
Long Fei’s wife tried to smile as she answered, “Be wary of those that seek to harm. If they have set an ambush over there, Protégé Master, you will be attacked.”
Long Bushi was speechless and lift his head to look at the young rare young beauty, who said, “To go or not to go, it is up to you…”
Long Fei’s wife had a pair of alert eyes. She stole a glance at Long Bushi and saw the mood of his expression; she continued, “This young maiden, we don’t even know your name yet. Please forgive us for our impudence!” Her words and expressions were gentle, and she said them smilingly, so it was hard to rebuke her.
The young rare beauty, although masked in a cold aura, replied briefly, “Ye Man Qing.”
Long Fei’s wife smiled gently. “What a gentle name. My name is Guo Yu Xia. My name is so common but…alas, what can I do about it?”
At the moment, Guo Yuxia tried to draw her into a conversation. Long Bushi grew impatient, but because he doted upon her, he did not say anything. Nangong Ping who was expressionless was however filled with admiration for his sister in law.
She continued, “Maiden Ye, although we have never met before, we have long heard of your Protégé Mistress’ renown. Moreover Maiden Ye, you are so beautiful and adorable, that why I am talking to you and there is no stopping me from listening to you!”
The young rare beauty, Ye Manqing however, gave a “humph” sound.
Guo Yuxia hastened to add, “But Maiden Ye, the condition that you have just mentioned, we don’t think it is appropriate…”
Ye Manqing said coldly, “Why is it not appropriate? This matter does not concern you. Why must you be a busybody?” Her attitude was chilling and her words piercing. She seemed determined to maintain a distance with them.
But Guo Yuxia maintained her posture and smiled. “If Maiden Ye really does not want us to see your Protégé Mistress’ secret swordplay, you should have said so earlier instead of insisting now. It is for this reason that I really cannot comprehend!”
Ye Manqing looked at her for awhile and coldly asked, “Do you really want me to explain?”
Gu Yuxia smiled gently. “I am asking for this reason in hopes that you will tell us, else why would I bother to ask?”
The young rare beauty Ye Manqing pondered as she gazed into the eyes of each person on the mountain and said coldly, “I did not speak of this until now because I was so sure there was none here that can find any weakness in my swordplay!”
Guo Yuxia smiled. “Then why do you say it now?”
Ye Manqing focused on Nangong Ping, seemingly with intent yet seemingly without. “I am now suggesting a different place to duel because I have suddenly discovered that not all the protégé of the Immortal Divine Dragon are fools. One, at least, is intelligent!”
Guo Yuxia expression faltered slightly, but she remained smiling. “Thanks for the praises, Maiden Ye. To have such a good protégé like you, it’s no wonder your Protégé Mistress could die so early and peacefully!” Not only could she insult others without seeming malice, she did it with such an air of sweetness and nonchalance. Even her smiles seemed gentle.
Ye Manqing’s expression changed, she smiled coldly and turned away!
Guo Yuxia smiled to herself and was proud to have outsmarted her with her words. However, the moment was interrupted by Long Bushi, who gave a sigh and said to her, “If only Fei had half your cunning…”
Guo Yuxia bowed her head and smiled. Long Bushi continued, “It’s a pity that you are too smart!” He shouted, “ Maiden Ye, please wait!”
Ye Manqing halt her footsteps once again and, without turning her head, said, “To go or not to go, it is up to you. Why all this talk!”
She had finally managed to convey what her eyes already said.
Long Bushi said. “Ye Qiubai’s protégé disciple will never be a liar!”
Ye Manqing gave a cold laugh but did not turn her head.
Long Bushi said, “I have never known fear. Even if that place is a ambush, what does it matter!”
Ye Manqing suddenly turned her head. Although her facial expression was like an iceberg, it bored a grudging respect.
Long Bushi added, “This sword that is now in my hand has been with me for decades. Although it is not any exceptional or godly weapon, it has felled many great fighters!” His proud face showed a tinge of sadness before smiling. “If I do not return, I wish that maiden will help return and give this sword to my protégé disciple, Nangong Ping!”
This expression of his, none of his protégé disciples had ever seen before.
Long Bushi naturally sensed that they were all looking at him.
Nevertheless, he put up a strong front to hide his sighing heart. “Am I really getting old?…This vast Pugilist Fraternity, maybe it is time for the next generation to demonstrate their worth and feel its glory!” As his heart distracted him, he heard Ye Manqing said, “If I do not return to this place, I wish that you will hand this ‘Mighty Echo of the Dragon’ in my hand to them!” Her white hand pointing toward the four women dressed in green.
Long Bushi said. “I give my word!”
Ye Manqing turned her head and said in a low voice, “Let’s go!” But her eyes were upon Nangong Ping!
Long Bushi replied, “Let’s go!” When he flashed past Nangong Ping, he pat him lightly on his shoulder, seemingly wanting to tell him something, but he did not and could only give a weak smile, and then with a sigh, he disappeared into the fog!
Nangong Ping remained motionless until Long Bushi disappeared from view. He was left staring at the clouds that drifted by. Although his expression was that of a wooden man, his eyes reflected his inner turmoil.
Guo Yuxia muttered, “Fallen Autumn Leaf…Mighty Echo of the Dragon…who would believe Protégé Master and Red Phoenix Ye Qiubai really had…”
Long Fei coughed and said, “Protégé Master’s personal matters are his own affairs. We shouldn’t discuss it!” He took a broad stride towards Nangong Ping but did not say anything for some time. Suddenly, he turned back and sat on a rock ledge, looking longingly at the clouds above in a daze.
Guo Yuxia brushed her hair, eyed Nangong Ping for awhile and suddenly waved her hands and said, “Come here, Fourth Sister.”
The young maiden, who was standing at a far distance, bowed her head and walk forward. Her steps were extremely light, a hint of her martial level. But in between her movements, she seemed to always carry an air of self-consciousness. She looked like she was a maiden that had never stepped out of the house; she was so unlike someone who was from the Pugilist Fraternity, from the renowned Zhijiao Manor! Her pair of white hands constantly shifted beneath her belt with unease. She asked, “You wanted me, Sister in law?”
Guo Yuxia smiled. “Fifth Brother joined our sect the last but has obtained the sword ‘Fallen Autumn Leaf’. Are you happy?”
The shy maiden was feeling embarrassing now. Her pale cheeks were blushing and her head bowed even lower.
Another thin young man, who had remained silent until now, suddenly intoned, “Not only is Fourth Sister happy, I am happy as well!”
Guo Yuxia looked at both of them, all the while smiling. “The two of you are a perfect match. Even your thoughts coincide. No wonder the people in the Pugilistic Fraternity call Shi Chen and Su Su the Two Swords of the Dragon Gate. Unfortunately…” Her voice became low, and her eyes glanced towards Nangong Ping.
Shi Chen followed her glance to Nangong Ping, and his face suddenly turned ashen. His brows betrayed his jealousy, but he answered with a carefree manner, “From now on, with the additional of Fifth Brother, the people in the Pugilistic Fraternity will hail us as the Three Swords of the Dragon Gate!”
Guo Yuxia smiled. “This you may not know. Although Fifth Brother has just joined our sect not too long ago but in Jiangnan, the Nangong Aristocratic Clan whose wealth is known to all, the pugilists in the martial fraternity have already nicknamed Fifth Brother the Wealthy Divine Dragon!”
Shi Chen gave a forced smile, “Sister in law is indeed knowledgeable. As for me, I seldom walk in the Pugilistic Fraternity, so my knowledge is limited. Compared to Sister in law, I’m practically ignorant.”
Long Fei interrupted, “I have heard of the nickname Wealthy Immortal Dragon before, but this nonsense sprouted from the mouths of the Nangong business associates and the armed escorts. So what does it matter?”
Guo Yuxia’s facial expression changed. “Fine, fine. You know. I don’t know!”
Long Fei did not say anything more but one look at his wife countenance silenced him.
All of a sudden, silence became absolute in this place where only the mountain wind blew and tree leaves fluttered through the air. The clouds floated by and then away, like the dangers in the Pugilistic Fraternity.
The four green gowned women with gray hair remained standing under the ancient pine tree. But they stared at the five members of Zhijiao Manor. Their eyes had seen and understood the differences and the conflicts dividing them. And they were obviously very happy to see that!
Long Fei sighed and got up. “Protégé Master…Alas, he has been gone an hour already!”
Guo Yuxia rolled her eyes and said coldly, “You are always so impatient. No wonder Protégé Master refused to give the Fallen Autumn Leaf to you. Look at Fifth Brother, he doesn’t seem a bit worried!”
Long Fei’s expression changed. “We are all brothers. Is there a difference who it is passed to?”
Guo Yuxia smirked, “Naturally, it is all the same!”
Nangong Ping was calm. He smiled gently and walked towards Guo Yuxia. “Sister in law, do you know why I am not worried?” Although he was smiling, but his mannerism was full of convictions and confidence; he radiated an aura of charisma that compelled an answer.
Guo Yuxia laughed aloud. “This…How should I know?”
Long Fei said, “How do you know that Fifth Brother is not worried? No one knows if our Protégé Master will be victorious or not. Everyone is worried for sure!”
Nangong Ping laughed. “Everyone is worried, but I really am not!”
Shi Chen and Long Fei expressions changed. Guo Yuxia laughed while Wang Susu kindled her eyebrows. Nangong Ping continued, “My heart is not troubled. I have utmost confidence that our Protégé Master will definitely not be defeated!”
The four women in green gowns laughed together and turned their heads away, no longer looking at him!
Guo Yuxia laughed again. Long Fei asked, “What makes you so certain that after our Protégé Master has his power reduced, he can win for sure? Moreover, that Ye maiden is acting so strangely!”
Shi Chen countered, “Fifth Brother always has his own unique ways to discern matters. But what he said just now is hard to accept!” He said it in a slow manner as if he was afraid to say something wrong.
Nangong Ping explained, “Earlier when I dealt out a blow. Not only have I ascertained that the Ye maiden did not deceive our Protégé Master, I have also found out that our Protégé Master’s reflexes are better than hers.”
He continued, “At that time, when both my palms struck at the same time, the Ye maiden was standing on my right. Her right hand was holding her sword, but when my right palm went towards her, her body did not move and she immediately used her left palm to parry my right palm!”
He showed his left palm and waved, continuing, “But our Protégé Master was standing on my left side. Although his right hand was holding to his sword, when my palm struck, our Protégé Master naturally would not have used his right hand that was holding his sword to parry mine. So, he turned his body and used his left palm to ward off my attack!”
His voice was calm and his speech clear. When he made his point, the four women in green gowns turned their heads toward him, their faces filled with uncertainty!
Nangong Ping continued, “From the circumstances, when our Protégé Master countered the attack, it was obvious that he made an additional movement. Therefore, when our palms made contact, they should have done so after the Ye maiden’s palm and mine touched, yet from the clapping sound, the actions were simultaneous. Therefore, when counter-attacking, our Protégé Master is faster than the Ye maiden!”
“Although the difference in timing was not great, but when top opponents fight, even the slightest difference can determine who is the victor. Moreover, our Protégé Master has been through many battles, big or small; he is a veteran. His experiences exceed that of the Ye maiden. No matter how one looks at it, there is no reason for Protégé Master to lose!”
Wang Susu suddenly felt more cheerful after hearing Nangong Ping’s explanation. Shi Chen nodded while Guo Yuxia seemed to be lost in thought, speechless.
Long Fei clapped his hands and laughed heartily, “That’s right. That’s right! No matter how one judges it, there is no reason for our Protégé Master to lose.” And he patted Nangong Ping on his shoulder. “Fifth Brother, I must really hand it to you. Now your Big Brother is not anxious anymore!”
The four women also laughed. The one on the extreme left turned to the one that was nearest to her and asked, “Ning Zi, are you anxious?”
Ning Zi shook her head and turned to the woman on her other side and asked, “Yue Zi, are you anxious?”
Yue Zi laughed, “I am not anxious either!”
Ning Zi asked, “Then, He Zi, I suppose, is not anxious as well.”
He Zi nodded her head and laughed. “I am not anxious at all. An Zi, are you anxious?”
The woman to the extreme right, An Zi, laughed. “I too am not anxious, but as to the reason why I am not anxious, I’m not going to tell you!”
The four of them looked at one another and suddenly they burst out in laughter!
Long Fei’s eyebrows puckered, and he hummed loudly, “If you were not women, I’ll teach you all a lesson!”
The women laughed even louder. An Zi said coldly, “If you were not a man, I’ll teach you a lesson!”
Long Fei was taken aback. He was so angry that he turned around and smashed a green colored rock with his palm. There was a thunderous sound as the rock split asunder, its debris flying in all directions. A rock that was so hard yet it was smashed to bits!
An Zi laughed sarcastically. “Very good palm technique, very good palm technique.” Suddenly, she turned her wrist and drew out a long sword from her scabbard!
There was a glint from her sword as she moved toward a rock, her wrist loosening slightly as she thrust the sword seven inches into the rock with the ease of a bamboo plunging into a pool of mud.
Long Fei narrowed his eyebrows, stupefied. He heard An Zi exclaiming, “Oh I see, all the rocks here are soft!”
Guo Yuxia smiled gently. “Very good swordplay, very good swordplay!” And she walked towards An Zi smiling, saying softly. “Big sister, will you let me try as well?”
For a moment, An Zi was stunned by that request but before she could reply, Guo Yuxia suddenly attacked her waist with her five orchid-like fingers. An Zi in a moment shock immediately retreated three feet backwards. Although she had avoided this attack, she did not have time to pull her sword out, leaving it in the rock!
Guo Yuxia smiled. “Thank you very much. After I have tried it, I will return it to you.“ Her voice ever so peaceful, her mood natural. It was as though she had not made that vicious attack earlier!
She pulled the long sword out, examining it carefully. Although her eyes were focussed on the sword, she was actually looking at the rock beneath!
Suddenly, she smiled broadly and thrust the sword halfway into the rock.
The women in green gowns turned pale.
Guo Yuxia gently laughed. “Indeed, the rocks around here are soft!” She withdrew the long sword and surrendered it back its owner.
An Zi was very pale, her heart pounding hard. Speechlessly, she took back the sword and walked back to her friends.
Guo Yuxia laughed again. “You do not have to feel bad. Although just now I thrust the sword deeper than you by one inch, actually my swordplay and internal power may not be many times stronger than you!”
An Zi turned her head, her eyes filled with hatred.
Guo Yuxia laughed gently again. “Don’t hate me and think that after I have bested you, I am laughing at you. This type of sword thrusting requires skill. If one does not have the technique, one’s internal power, no matter how strong, is useless. The trust will be harder and harder. Every inch deeper corresponds to a ten-fold increase in difficulty. It becomes not a matter of how powerful your internal power is or what you are capable of doing. Therefore, when you saw that my sword was able to thrust much deeper than yours, you were shocked and hurt!”
She said it in a manner of a teacher lecturing her student, without any trace of anger or resentment.
An Zi was taken aback. Guo Yuxia continued, “But you did not see the technique that I used. Just now when you thrust your sword, the rock had already cracked. Naturally what I did, was thrusting in the exact spot!”
An Zi lifted her eyes and at the same time, “Ah!” She began to understand.
Guo Yuxia smiled gently. “At this moment, you must be feeling upset that you have conceded too early, am I right?”
An Zi coldly breathed, “Humph.” That was her only reply.
Guo Yuxia said, “But at that short moment’s notice, I was able to map out the small crack upon the rock and also see the deepest portion of the crack. My eyesight is more superior when compared to yours. Do you deny it?”
An Zi eyes once again lowered. Although she did not say anything, her heart already admitted the truth.
Guo Yuxia laughed. “I just plunged the sword carelessly into the rock, but the sword carried my energy and thrust two inches deeper into the rock. Although I have used the same technique, my internal power is obviously greater than yours are. This is an undeniable fact. In swordplay, eyesight, accuracy, internal powerful are the three most important factors in winning. For each factor, you are my inferior. If we were to fight, I have full confidence that I could defeat you in twenty strokes.”
She gently smiled and continued. “If you are dubious, you can challenge me!”
An Zi was left stunned. She sighed and turned her head away. But there was a “Ding” sound from her hands and the powder of a pearl was seen dripping down.
Guo Yuxia laughed softly. It was a proud laugh and was totally different from the gentle laughter earlier.
An Zi slowly clenched her fist. Her face was green and pale as she looked at a passing cloud. Then, her eyes shone. Suddenly, she turned back and said coldly, “That is right. Your martial art skills are indeed much higher than mine. But your Protégé Master…ha, there is no need for all of you to wait for him anymore.”
Nangong Ping, Long Fei, Shi Chen, Guo Yuxia and Wang Susu all turned pale.
Long Fei was in front of her in a flash and asked menacingly, “What did you just say?”
An Zi was about to say something when the other three women shushed her and took her away.
Long Fei angrily said. “If you do not explain the rubbish that you have just said, you will not leave this peak alive!”
Among the women, the youngest was Yue Zi, but she was also the calmest. She pulled An Zi away while turning her head. “What she said is rubbish, so why is there a need for explaining!”
Long Fei was slightly taken aback.
Guo Yuxia laughed gently. “There is indeed no need to explain rubbish but it is punishable, is it not?”
She cast a look at Long Fei, and jumped toward An Zi, attacking them in the fray.
An Zi eyes were bewildered, her face pale. She regretted her rash words. When Guo Yuxia attacked her, she did not dodge. Yue Zi therefore stretched her hand and executed a move ‘Golden Scissors Severing Silk’ and to counter.
Guo Yuxia laughed softly, “All of them still dare to retaliate?” Her right hand continued her attacks upon An Zi’s back while she stretched her two fingers to hit Yue Zi’s Ma Jin accupoints!
This stroke had two purposes: using an attack to neutralize an attack and using an attack as a form of defense. Yue Zi immediately dodged away but An Zi still remained stunned, staring blankly.
Yue Zi was shocked, and her right hand pushed An Zi away several steps.
Suddenly there were two “Qiang” sounds as the reflection of two swords attacked Guo Yuxia from both her left and right. Yue Zi drew her sword as well and by now, An Zi recovered enough to draw her sword too.
Guo Yuxia countenance immediately changed as she tried to dodge the four incoming attacks at the same time!
Long Fei shouted. “Stop it, all of you!”
The shout was loud and explosive. He was obviously becoming very anxious. There were echoes from the mountains: “Stop it…stop it…”
In between the echoes, Guo Yuxia had parried several attacks, and beads of perspiration appeared on her forehead. Long Fei was very pale and shouted. “Never in my life will I fight with women. Why don’t the rest of you lend your Sister in law a helping hand!”
Wang Susu softly muttered an acknowledgement and attack Yue Zi from behind with her hand.
But who could have expected that Yue Zi and He Zi could maneuver so fast that she found herself trapped in the sword formation. And An Zi was thrusting her sword towards her throat!
Shi Chen continued to move forward and said gravely, “Our Protégé Master forbade us from carrying our swords up the mountains. I suppose he did not want us to be involved in any fighting. If our Protégé Master blames us, what shall we do?”
Long Fei was shocked and taken aback. There were flashes of sword rays all over. Guo Yuxia and Wang Susu were trapped in a sword formation that was very fast and formless. Although for the moment, they were undefeated, there was no hope for a victory!
Long Fei asked. “Fifth Brother, what do you suggest we do?”
Nangong Ping bowed his head and looked at his scabbard and said, “I will follow Protégé Brother’s orders.”
But Long Fei appeared to be even more vexed.
But Nangong Ping continued, “If others use a long sword and aimed it at our throats, surely we can fight back?”
Long Fei’s eyes shone. He yelled. “Indeed. If women want to harm me, don’t tell me we cannot fight back? Third Brother, Fifth Brother, go!” And he sprang forward as well.
Suddenly there was a haughty laughter behind them. “Four fighting against two is not good. Five fighting against four doesn’t seem to be any better. Protégé disciples from the Red Phoenix and the Divine Dragon sects like to win by outnumbering opponents!”
Nangong Ping turned and saw that beside the purple coffin, there appeared a tall priest with long white hair from nowhere.
Although this laugher was soft, it caused Guo Yuxia, Wang Susu and the four women to cease their fight!
Long Fei turned and asked, “Who are you?”
The tall priest said coldly, “Who am I? Humph, you don’t even know who I am?” He said as he walked toward the purple coffin. Then, he suddenly brushed aside the big hulk carrying the coffin that stood in his path. But unexpectedly, Nangong Ping sprang forth and was at the coffin before him. The tall hair priest coldly laughed and stopped in his path. He eyed him and said, “What do you want?”
Nangong Ping replied coldly, “What do you want?”
The long hair priest chuckled. “Good, good!” Suddenly he turned away and walked to Long Fei. “Your Protégé Master and Red Phoenix Ye Qiubai had a pact to fight again after ten years. Has it finished yet?”
Long Fei was stunned. “How did you know?”
The long hair priest laughed. “Of your Protégé Master’s matters, is there anything I do not know?” Then he looked around and asked. “Where did the two of them go?”
Long Fei said, “You don’t need to know!”
The long hair priest kept laughing. “Good, good!” and walked towards Shi Chen. “Then who is the loser, who is the victor?”
Shi Chen was filled with suspicious but replied, “Don’t know!”
The long hair priest laughed. “Good, good!”
He moved and reached the four women in a single step and asked. “Did your Mistress win the Immortal Dragon?”
The four women glanced at one another.
Guo Yuxia suddenly laughed softly.
The long hair priest turned and asked. “What are you laughing at?”
Guo Yuxia laughed. “Ye Qiubai finally accomplished something one step ahead of our Protégé Master!”
The long hair priest asked. “What is it?”
Guo Yuxia rolled her eyes and said. “She finally died before our Protégé Master!”
The long hair priest was shaking all over. He was stunned for some time.
Guo Yuxia said. “Indeed!”
The long hair priest sighed heavily. “Twenty years ago, the Heavenly Crow Priest predicted this just before he died!”
Long Fei interrupted. “What do you mean?”
The long hair priest bowed his head and said. “The Dragon shall triumph over the Phoenix…”
An Zi suddenly laughed. “Although Mistress Ye has died, the Immortal Divine Dragon did not triumph!”
The eyes of the long hair priest shone, and his spirits rose again. “The Immortal Divine Dragon did not win? Did the both of them die together?!”
Long Fei angrily said. “Bull…rubbish!”
The long hair priest stared at Long Fei and ground word by word. “Bull what?”
Long Fei replied. “Bullshit!”
The long hair priest gave a loud yell and drew out his sword. But when his long sword was halfway unsheathed, he loosened his hand. “Although you are rude, I can’t be bothered with you!”
Long Fei answered, “Huh… hehe…” And laughed.
An Zi responded coldly, “Some people will not par with their juniors but…the Immortal Divine Dragon is now fighting with Mistress Ye’s protégé disciple!”
The long hair priest asked. “Immortal Dragon will fight with a junior?”
An Zi replied, “Indeed!”
Long Fei intoned cuttingly, “Although our Protégé Master is fighting with Ye Qiubai’s protégé disciple, he had sealed off his two main energy meridians and reduced his internal power by seventy percent. This noble act deserves to be applauded. Where can you find such an act in the world!”
The long hair priest secretly smiled but replied, “He reduced his internal power to fight with someone.…”
Long Fei said, “That’s right. Although our old man reduced his internal power, he is still bound to win!”
The long hair priest asked, “Really?”
Long Fei answered in a loud voice. “Of course…” his voice weakened. “Really!” Actually in his heart, he was not at all sure, and he was anxious.
The priest pondered awhile then looked from Long Fei to Nangong Ping, who was standing besides the purple coffin. “Which one of you is the eldest protégé of the Immortal Divine Dragon?”
Long Fei rebuked him, “Why should you care!”
Suddenly, the priest laughed. “It has to be you!”
Long Fei replied. “So what if I am?”
The priest pointed to Nangong Ping’s empty scabbard. “Since you are Zhijiao Manor eldest protégé, why is that the ‘Autumn Fallen Leaf’ ended up with him?”
Long Fei was taken aback. He took a quick glance at Nangong Ping and turned back his head to say, “Why do you care!” He seemed to lose the luster that he had just displayed.
The priest sarcastically said, “If today, your Protégé Master fails to return, who is going to be in charge of the Zhijiao Manor that is so renowned throughout the Pugilistic Fraternity?”
Long Fei was stunned for a while before he shouted, “Who says my Protégé Master is not going to return! Who can defeat our old man! The Immortal Divine Dragon will never die!”
His voice echoed back. “Immortal Divine Dragon will never die…will never die…” As his echo died down, a piercing laugher shook the surrounding mountains.
It was a chilling laugh that caught the attention of Nangong Ping, Long Fei, Shi Chen, Wang Susu and Guo Yuxia. They turned and saw from the misty fogs, the figure of Ye Manqing appearing like a fairy as she descended upon them. In both her hands were two shining long swords. One of the swords was the ‘Fallen Autumn Leaf’, the sword that never left the Immortal Divine Dragon for a single moment in decades!
Long Fei eyed Ye Manqing and nervously yelled to her, “Where is my Protégé Master? Where is my Protégé Master?”
Ye Manqing coldly replied, “You should have already guessed where is your Protégé Master is by now!”
Long Fei was shaking all over.
Nangong Ping turned paled.
Shi Chen was left stunned and shocked. Wang Susu fainted beside him without him realizing.
Guo Yuxia’s countenance was discolored.
And the four women in green sprang besides Ye Manqing with their swords.
The priest held his sword and muttered. “The Immortal Divine Dragon is finally dead!” And turned back to eye the purple coffin. “The Immortal Divine Dragon is finally dead…” His voice was low, so it was difficult to tell if he was actually happy or sad.
Ye Manqing was looking at them all the while tranquil and calm.
Long Fei suddenly shouted, “You killed my Protégé Master! Give me back my Protégé Master’s life!” And he ran forward in a craze.
Shi Chen and Guo Yuxia sprang forward as well. Nangong Ping was about to do the same but after taking a few glances at the priest, he fell back to the purple coffin in tears!
Long Fei attacked Ye Manqing, one hand directly towards her front, the other at the swords in her hands!
But Ye Manqing coldly laughed and stepped backward while her four followers raised their swords and blocked Long Fei like a mirror reflection.
She clenched both her hands together and took both swords in her right hand. At the same time, her left hand reached into her dress and took out an abject. She exclaimed loudly in a cold voice, “The Heavenly Golden Dragon!” The object was a dagger with a golden dragon on its hilt.
She placed the dagger in front of her and said. “Orders for the Dragons!”
Long Fei clenched his fists. He was too shocked for words, and his heart was struggling with his inner demons.
The priest eyes shone, and he muttered. “The Decree of the Golden Dragon has finally appeared in the Pugilist World…hehe!”
Long Fei took three steps back and then he knelt and bowed down on the ground. He masked a terrible resentment. He was obviously unwilling but was forced to bow!
Ye Manqing laughed coldly, and the four women lowered their swords.
Guo Yuxia walked to Long Fei and said, “The Decree of the Golden Dragon may be with her but…”
Ye Manqing looked at Guo Yuxia coldly and pointed the dagger at her, “You don’t submit?”
Guo Yuxia eyed the dagger, “What if I do, what if I don’t?”
Long Fei’s face was ashen as he looked at his wife from his kneeling position. “My dear, how can you…”
Long Yuxia said aloud, “She has killed our Protégé Master and stolen the Decree of the Golden Dragon from our old man. Why do we have to listen to her orders!”
Shi Chen looked at Wang Susu who had fainted. Suddenly, a shadow sprang in front of him. It was Guo Yuxia. “Third Brother, Fourth Sister, tell me, do we need to listen to her orders?”
Shi Chen seemed to be looking far away but when he looked at the golden dagger, he bowed his head and was speechless.
Guo Yuxia bit her teeth and went beside Nangong Ping, who was besides the coffin. “Fifth Brother, you know how to discern matters. Although the “Decree of the Golden Dragon” is Zhijiao Manor’s prized treasure, but under circumstances, if we listen to her orders, is there any justice at all?”
Nangong Ping remained immobile, staring fiercely at Ye Manqing!
Ye Manqing looked at Guo Yuxia and said acidly, “I have shown the Decree of the Golden Dragon, and you still want to defy orders. Don’t tell me that once the [Immortal Divine Dragon] is dead, all of you decide to defy the blood oaths that you have made when you first became protégé of your Protégé Master?”
Beads of perspiration were beginning to form on Guo Yuxia’s forehead. She was usually very calm and could wriggle from any situations by talking. But now she was scared. It was as though anything that Ye Manqing said would place her in an awkward and difficult position.
Long Fei glanced at his wife, but sighed and said, “The Decree of the Golden Dragon is with you. I have nothing more to say!”
Ye Manqing laughed coldly, “At least you did not forget the teaching of your Protégé Master!”
Long Fei said, “I only acknowledge the Decree, not the person…But you killed my Protégé Master, I…” He never finished his sentence, he was too angry for words.
Nangong Ping said, “The ancients say if a general is on the field, he can choose not to follow orders from his lord. There should be flexibility involved and not because of blind loyalty thereby destroying righteousness.”
Guo Yuxia narrowed her eyebrows and exclaimed. “That is exactly what I am trying to say!”
Long Fei loudly exclaimed, “Indeed! Indeed!”
Ye Manqing had a puzzling look on her eyes as she said, “Do you all know that I want…”
But Nangong Ping interrupted her. His speech was calm and his voice was clear, and it carried an irresistible force that made others listen to him. “Although the Decree of the Golden Dragon has fallen in your hands, I believe that there must be a reason, otherwise, judging from our Protégé Master’s character, he would rather have it destroyed than to have it fallen into the wrong hands. Why don’t you reveal what he wants to say to us!”
Ye Manqing sighed, “It seems that only you understand the Immortal Divine Dragon’s intentions!”
Guo Yuxia said aloud, “Only words but no proof. Why should we believe your words? We don’t even know which is true or false…Third Brother, Fourth Sister, this girl harmed our Protégé Master. If we don’t avenge for our old man, can we still be considered human?”
Shi Chen lifted his head and clenched his fists.
Ye Manqing laughed coldly, “Only words but no proof…” She held the dagger between her teeth as she took a letter from her dress and threw it in front of Long Fei.
Guo Yuxia said. “Let me see!”
Just as she about to pick the letter up, she felt numbness spreading below her waist.
Ye Manqing had hit her on her “Cang Xue” accupoint with the dagger hilt. “What are you doing?”
Guo Yuxia said, “Don’t you tell me as my Protégé Master’s disciple, I cannot even read his last will and testament?” Although her speech was defiant, she dared not move.
Ye Manqing said, “You will first move back seven steps!”
Guo Yuxia angrily replied, “Who are you to order me around!” But before she could finish, she felt a painful sensation in her right lower. Unconsciously, she moved back and altogether, she had move back seven steps!