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Chapter 3

Nangong Ping was now very anxious. He had used all the internal power of his body just to tail the priest. Although the priest was carrying a coffin, he showed no sign of slowing down!

Nangong Ping knew that it was some time before he could even catch up with him. He really could not fathom why this priest would want to risk for a coffin and why his own Protégé Master would want him to use his life to protect a coffin!

Old tales of pugilist secrets began to stir his thoughts. Was it because the coffin hid several secrets. And one of the secrets was the whereabouts of a massive treasure, or a super sharp godly weapon, or a book on martial skills foremost secrets?

Those thoughts began to flash in his mind till the priest began to slow down. And he suddenly turned back to take a look only to see no one was following him. He could not guess why his fellow disciples did not come to lend him a helping hand. Could something have happened to them?

But at this moment, he could not afford to think about it first, and lifted his vital energy within him, as he tried to narrow the distance between the priest and himself.

Suddenly a dark shadow moved towards his shoulder. He sensed something behind him and hit back but carelessly dropped his scabbard down the steep cliffs below. It was a dead bird! Musing to himself as he thought. “The world is so big yet a small bird will fall into his hands, it may be fate.” And he picked the dead bird and hid it in his clothing. Now he was just two meters away from the priest.

The priest was carting the coffin with his right hand in front and his left hand at the back. Although he had very strong internal power but he was carrying such a heavy coffin and to and forth on this treacherous mountains. It came to no surprise that his strength had faltered by now! A voice shouted behind him. “Stop!” He turned his head and saw a beaming reflection of a long sword that was less than one meter behind him!

Suddenly an air of malevolent air was seen from the eyes of the priest and with a shout, he hurled the coffin upon Nangong Ping’s head!

This coffin was originally very heavy and the priest imbued it with his internal force, when it came down upon Nangong Ping, the force was more than a ton!

Nangong Ping was moving very fast and when it came crashing down, he could not stop and slashed against the coffin with seven hits of his sword. Each hit seemingly reduced the amount of force. This counterattack used technique to overcome the strong. This was a form of superior form of internal swordplay that replied heavily upon technique till his sword now carried the weight of the coffin.

But the priest continued to press the coffin upon Nangong Ping. Although now the force had become balanced but in their hearts, both knew they could not afford to be careless as one false move and mistake would send them plunging down the steep cliffs.

Both of them remained like statues unmoving. Nangong Ping did not dare to pierce his sword into the coffin lest it will send the coffin toppled over to him as he held off the weight of the coffin with his sword now. Now he could felt his icy cold sword slowly turning warmer!

His eyes had by now become dazed as he had already expended all his vital energies!

The priest smiled from the corner of his mouth and shouted. “Why don’t you go down!”

Nangong Ping lifted his chest and shouted. “I afraid not!”

Both of them when they spoke did not dare to use the strength from their abdomen but only from their throat. Although they were shouting but it was fuzzy and unclear.

The priest coldly said, “Afraid not…hehe. I afraid it is not far!”

Nangong Ping clenched his teeth and refusing to say more!

The priest coldly said, “You are still young and if you died, then there be no one to collect your corpse. I feel so pitiful for you!”

Nangong Ping replied word by word. “I afraid the one that is going to die is going to be you!” But in his heart he sighed. “Alas, I don’t even have anyone to collect my corpse…” He wished now when he had turned his head and saw his fellow disciples right at the back “Why did they not come?” He thought.

His glances incidentally saw the long sword that his benefactor teacher had left behind for him and a feeling of loneliness overwhelmed him!

“Why did they not come, unless…” He thought. Suddenly he felt the weight of the coffin getting heavily and heavily. His heart jumped and he quickly focused his thoughts again. “This priest is trying to disturb my thoughts with doubts, how can I be allowed myself to be tricked by him!”

His thoughts refocused and under the shadow of the coffin, he could see the priest sweating now. He suddenly had a thought. “This priest is trying to use words to distract me because his strength is reaching his limits as well! If I will just endure a little longer, surely I can change defeat to victory!”

When experts fought, not only was internal power a must, perseverance, patience also came into the factors. Victory and defeat, life and death were always at a moment notice. Whoever could endure till the last instant would have the final victory. Whoever lost their morale first, naturally would be bound to lose!

Nangong Ping calmed himself down, said. “You have mustered all your strength, yet you trying to hoodwink me, do you think I do not know!”

The priest had by now turned green, and his hands on the coffin started to weaken. Nangong Ping inhaled a deep breath, jacked up his long sword and said. “Maybe your internal power is greater than me but you have carried such a heavy object for a great many distances. The internal power that you have expended far exceeded that of mine. Now you are near your limits!”

The priest pale hands had by now become red from white. And from red to purple now.

Nangong Ping secretly felt relief inside him. And continued. “If you and me continued further, although I may be in danger but you may be unable to escape death.”

He purposely emphasized the word “Death” by dragging his speech. “Just because of a non living thing, useless coffin, you lose your life. It is definitely not worth the effort. Your martial art skills are not weak and your experiences I suppose are not easy to attain. For the sake that we are pugilists, if you would let go, I will not pursue and let you go!”

Although what he said were for the sake of weakening the morale of the priest and to boasted his own morale at the same time. But some of it, really came from the bottom of his heart.

Unexpectedly, when he finished. The priest suddenly coldly laughed and said, “You want me to die alone, I afraid it isn’t that simple!” And he used his last ditch effort to hold the coffin with both his hands.
Nangong Ping was disappointed with his response.

Suddenly the priest kicked him with his right leg. Most of his strength had been concentrated on both his hands, this kick was not powerful. But the kick was directed towards Nangong Ping “Shu Qi” accupoint. (In between the leg)

If Nangong Ping avoided this kick and moved, he would have been crushed by the coffin. If he did not avoid it, how could he have endured it?

In his anger, he made a yell and parried the kick with his left hand. Lucky the timing of his left hand was perfect or he would have been crushed.

But the priest withdrawn his right leg, and kicked again, this time using his left leg.

Nangong Ping parried it in time with his hand again but his head had a frightening thought. The priest obviously wished to die together with him.

Then the priest kicked again with his right leg, all the while Nangong Ping’s right hand was holding his long sword, and his left hand had to hold the coffin and to parry at the same time!

Altogether, the priest had kicked three times. And his right wrist could not hold the coffin anymore and his left hand was unable to cope with the lightning pace kicks anymore!

Should he let go of the sword in his hand and suddenly jump backwards, possibly he could still escape with his life. But under this life and death situation, he remembered his Protégé Master last will. “Therefore I have decided to give “Fallen Autumn Leaf” that is constantly by my side for decades, and the task to guard the heavenly coffin to Ping’Er till the coffin is destroyed and the person dead…”
He secretly sighed. For he no longer could think of anything that made that coffin so special. But he rather died than betrayed his Protégé Master last will and also he refused to live with the memories of humiliating defeat.

“Till the coffin is destroyed and the person dead…sacrifice himself…” He once again secretly sighed and muttered. “Is it worth it…” By now, he focused on holding the coffin and ignored the kicks of the priest. He had now put his life above self.

The priest turned pale and laughed hilariously. “Good, good. Let the three of us die together.”

Nangong Ping was taken aback. “Three people! Where is there three people?”

The priest looked at the coffin. “This is the third person!” and kicked Nangong Ping on his chest!

Nangong Ping sighed. “Never mind!” He had by now prepared to sacrifice himself with the priest together with the coffin!

Unexpectedly, something near miraculous happened…

When he said “Never mind.” The long sword that was in his hand felt light. It was because the purple coffin had suddenly become as light as a feather.

When the coffin became light, the situation changed. The priest could feel that the coffin had a strange force that was pulling in all his internal force from his hands. Although he had all his internal power concentrated on the coffin, he felt no weight or gravity from the coffin. He was too shocked that he had leap back three feet!

Nangong Ping was taken aback too and he too leapt back three feet!
The two of them retreated backward at the same time.

The priest although he was green from exhaustion but he stared unblinkingly and clenched his fists. His eyes were like fire staring at the purple coffin. But both his legs were shaking!

Nangong Ping held his sword with his right hand, and he clenched his left fist. He was shocked but at the same time was relief but he was looking at the purple coffin too!

The purple coffin was still floating in mid-air even after the two of them had retreated backward. They watched it as it floated gently on the ground. It was as though there was a invisible man that was holding the coffin and guiding it to the ground. When that heavy coffin came to the ground, it was without a sound!

Nangong Ping felt a chill arising from his toes and overwhelming his entire body. He came from a noble family and had a reputable teacher. What he had seen and heard naturally was not less but he had never saw such a weird thing that happened today. If it were not for the fact that it was still daylight, he would have thought he was dreaming!

The priest was now frightened beyond words but his stares were still upon the purple coffin.

Nangong Ping was rooted to the ground. He took a deep breath and slowly walked to the coffin.

Suddenly the priest made a dry laugh. “Good…Good, so you really…did not…die!” His voice was filled with terror, fright, consolation and relief! All those different feelings when it was mixed in a single sentence caused that sentence to be exalted in a strange manner, yet filled with a mysterious feeling of terror!

Suddenly the priest flew in front of the coffin, raised both his hands to attack the ordinary purple coffin!

Nangong Ping was shocked yet he did not have anytime to think. He shouted. “What are you doing?” As he raised his long sword and purge forward as well.

As he was young, his strength recovered very fast. That made up his lack of internal power. At that moment when he attacked with his sword, it carried all the essence of his best martial arts.

The priest felt a chilling feeling entered into his bones and a flash of light flew towards him. With a look, he could tell that the swordplay had no weakness and opening for him to exploit. If he did not withdraw both his hands, he would have invite disaster upon his life.

Nangong Ping shouted. “Retreat back!”

The priest responded by moving back seven feet while Nangong Ping was standing in front of the coffin.

The priest stared at Nangong Ping’s long sword before both their eyes locked on one another and they stood unmoving on the spot.

After awhile, the priest let go a sigh and said. “You and I have no feuds, why did you want to treat me like that!” And sighed even heavily.

Nangong Ping was surprised, as he did not expect the priest to ask something like that.

The priest continued. “You and I don’t even know one another, let alone any feuds? You and I have no feuds, why then you go through all that troubles just to stop me!”

The priest continued. “If you will hand this coffin over to me, from this day on, you will be my benefactor. As long as I am alive, I will repay your kindness!

Nangong Ping looked at him for awhile before he laughed coldly. “Is it because you fail to take by force, you are trying a soft approach by begging me?”

The priest lifted his chest and said loudly. “I don’t beg from anyone in my entire life!”

Nangong Ping said. “Even if you have begged me, I will not let you approach the coffin a single step!”

The priest sighed. “Why bother…why bother…” Suddenly he sprang forwards like a bow and attacked with both his legs. Altogether he made four strokes toward Nangong Ping’s head, throat, waist and lower body, the four main vulnerable point!

Nangong Ping smiled, unmoving and swung his right hand with his long sword and cut from up to down, forming what was like a mirror wall.

Although this stroke looked simple and easy, it was actually a superior attack stroke that also defends at the same time! Unbreakable and at the same time incomparable excellent!

One must know that the Immortal Dragon had undergone many big and small battles, life and death situations. Needless to say about his internal power but if one was to compare his experience on fighting, it was already incomparable in the entire Pugilistic Fraternity. Later when he retired to Zhijiao Manor, he collected the knowledge of his fighting experiences and the martial art skills that he had seen and created a set of ordinary, yet extraordinary swordplay. That was because according to his wealthy experience, he knew that flowery swordplay although can confuse opponents but once it is set against a top exponent, it become useless!

Therefore the swordplay he created may look ordinary by appearances and look easy, but it was to let the guard of the opponent down and when he discovered it, it would already be too late!

Nangong Ping might look hapless but in his heart, he was already on guard. He knew the priest if he failed on soft approach might try to use the hard approach. Therefore he had already secretly infused his inner energy upon the sword. When he swung the sword, it fended off the four deadly attacks of the priest!

The priest stood unmoving on the same spot, appearing to be considering. Then he attacked again with both his hands. Left hand upon Nangong Ping’s chest “Jiang Tai”, right hand on his artery channels.

But Nangong Ping retaliated by jolting his sword and pierced the priest on two main accupoints on his shoulder. The priest flew backwards and then moves back another seven steps.

“Good sword! Very good swordplay!” The priest said.

Nangong Ping lowered his sword and said. “If the sword is not good, it is still the same!”

The Priest coldly said. “If the sword is not good, I have already broke through your sword shield and pierce through your chest!”

Nangong Ping remained calm. “If the sword is not good, just now when my sword have hit your accupoints, although your right hand have blocked the length of my sword but how do you know that I am not hiding any more powerful strokes as reserve!”

The priest coldly said. “You can try again!”

Nangong Ping remained calm, refusing to be angered. “Though I am fighting you now, I shouldn’t have used such a good sword and moreover shouldn’t have use weapon against your bared fists.” He laughed awhile before continued. “But when I am following my benefactor teacher to protect the coffin. If you still insist on pestering me, I will even use secret projectiles!”

The priest narrowed his eyebrows. In between his eyebrows, he was disappointed. He had used hard approach, soft approach and taunting tactics but he still failed to impress upon this young man’s iron steel heart!

He no longer had any idea how he was going to shake his steel like willpower. He knew that his internal power was unable to defeat him at this moment. And he felt a terror that arose from his disappointment that was spreading upon him.

Nangong Ping stared at him as though he had already see through the priest what he had been thinking in his heart.

Suddenly the priest asked. “Your Protégé Master asked you to protect this coffin with your life, do you know the reason why?”

Nangong Ping replied. “Don’t know!”

The priest asked again. “Is it worth it?”

Nangong Ping said. “Don’t know!”

The priest said. “While you and I are standing here unmoving, my internal power is slowly by slowly recovering. When my internal power is fully recovered, you will not be my match. By then you will have lose your life for nothing.”

Nangong Ping smiled. “Really?”

The priest replied with a straight face. “Of course.”

Nangong Ping laughed. “If it is true, then why should you be telling me? When your internal power is fully recovered and then killed me, isn’t it better?”

The priest furrowed his eyebrows and shouted. “I have the heart to treasure talents but never expect you to be so unappreciated!”

Nangong Ping said, “I appreciate it.”

The priest turned pale. “You really don’t believe that I really recover my internal power?”

Nangong Ping said, “To believe or not to believe, it is the same!”

The priest asked. “Can you explain it?”

Nangong Ping continued. “I have already placed my life and death secondary. Even though you can recover your internal power and want to kill me, I will still not leave the coffin a single step.”

Nangong Ping smiled. “My martial art skills are enough to preserve my life but unable to get rid of you!”

The priest coldly hummed and said, “You are very frank!”

Nangong Ping said in a grave voice. “You and I harbored no hatred. If you did not try to steal the coffin but continue to stand right there, even though I have the ability to win you but I am unable to kill you!”

The priest shut his eyes for a moment before opening his eyes again. With a heavy sigh he said, “I really cannot understand why you have to go through all that troubles just to protect this coffin!”

Nangong coldly said. “I really cannot understand why you have to go through all the troubles just to steal this coffin too!”

The priest clenched his fists, bit his teeth and stared at Nangong Ping.

Nangong Ping remained nonchalance and calm, and looked back at him!

After awhile, the priest sighed again. “Do you really want me to tell you the real reason before you will give up?

Nangong Ping said, “Even if you have tell me the real reason, I still will not give up!”

The priest looked into the skies and said. “There are some people in the entire life, who in their daily lives and in all matters try to do good, did not dare even to do a single wrong thing. But once they did something wrong once, they immediately become a great sinner. There are some people who are villainous but in a coincidence did a good deed and immediately people forgive all their past doings…”

Suddenly the priest laughed loudly. “Do you think that Heaven is fair?”

Nangong Ping was stunned for words. Why did this mysterious priest at this time, say something totally irrelevant to the situation here?

Then the priest pointed at Nangong Ping in an anguish manner and said. “You spend so much efforts to protect this coffin, do you know who is now lying inside the coffin?”

Earlier from the ordinary coffin, a miracle happened. Nangong Ping had already guessed that the coffin contained a secret, and slowly he had also guessed that there might be a person hidden inside the coffin!

But what made him unable to believe was, his Protégé Master had always been aboveboard and honorable. How could he have any secrets that could not be revealed to anyone, especially one that he wanted to hide throughout his entire life!

Nangong Ping muttered. “Hidden inside the coffin…is really a person?”

The priest continued. “People in the Pugilistic Fraternity are carrying tales of the number one warrior ‘Immortal Divine Dragon’ carrying a coffin because he is expecting a defeat. And it would later become the praise of everyone to remembrance. Now that the Immortal Divine Dragon had died, this legend will be remembered for hundreds of generations. But…” He suddenly laughed aloud. “But the truth is, in the entire Pugilistic Fraternity, who really knows the truth of what actually happening!”

Nangong Ping asked, “What truth?” as he could sense the priest bitterness in his laughter.

The priest laughed for awhile, then shouted. “You really think that the Immortal Divine Dragon carries a coffin in this journey, is really because he seeks defeat and death? The reason why he did it is because the coffin contains a person!

Nangong Ping paled and asked. “What type of person?”

The priest asked. “What person…” laughed even more crazed. “A woman! A despicable, a whore by nature but also an extremely rare beauty who resembled a fairy!”

Nangong Ping was taken aback. He angrily retorted. “What did you say?”

The priest laughed. “I say, your Protégé Master the ‘Immortal Divine Dragon’ Long Bushi may be the number one warrior but the reason he is carting a coffin and expecting a defeat is all a tall tale. He only did that for a woman that is an evil whore!” His laugher getting louder and louder and the mountains echoed back. “He only did that for a woman that is an evil whore…”

Nangong Ping loudly said. “In your speech, if you continue to insult my Protégé Master one more word…”

The priest interrupted. “Insult him…humph, humph. What I say just now, every single word is the truth. If you do not believe, why don’t you open the coffin lid and have a look? Thereafter you will know, who is the person hidden in the coffin!”

Nangong Ping asked, “Who is it?”

The priest said. “Even though you may be young but you should have heard of…” His speech became muted before he could finally say it out. “…The name of Peacock Concubine Mei Yin Xue!”

A breeze blew and Nangong Ping shivered. The priest continued. “What is the world most poisonous creature, who else but the Peacock Concubine…”

Nangong Ping asked in a serious tone. “Is the Peacock Concubine and Cold Blood Concubine the same person?”

But the priest laughed again, not even looking at him and said. “A hundred birds flock towards the Phoenix, the Peacock alone display her magnitude…”

Nangong Ping was frustrated as he angrily said. “Just now what I ask you, did you not hear?”

The priest continued to recite. “The snowy ground display its magnitude; the Peacock Concubine blood has turned cold. Everyone knows that the Concubine blood is cold. The Divine Dragon in his rage descended down to the mortal world. The nine mountains of Mount Hua erupted into a terrible battle, only the reflection of swords and not the persons are seen; no one knows who are the victors.” When he recited up to this point, his speech became sharper and anguish.

Nangong Ping held his long sword tightly as he listened intensely.

The priest continued. “The Divine Dragon have Immortal as its namesake, ever victorious, the Peacock finds its magnitude unable to display, Divine Dragon with just a sword act as its echoes, thereafter the Pugilistic Fraternity is rid of a great poison, and exalt the victor as Immortal Divine Dragon!”

Nangong asked. “It seems that the ‘Peacock Concubine’ is the same as the “Cold Blood Concubine”?”

The priest stared at Nangong Ping and coldly said. “That is right. Mei Yinxue and Mei Leixue (Cold Blood) is the same person.” Suddenly he laughed. “Yinxue! Leixue, hehe. Excellent name, what an excellent name, excellent nickname, what an excellent nickname, I, Gong… really should have exposed the truth for the whore!”

Nangong Pong suddenly asked. “Gong what?”

The priest immediately turned paled and said, “It has nothing to do with you!”

Nangong Ping sarcastic laughed. “Since you are hiding something and unwilling to reveal your surname. I will not ask you again! But I want you to repeat what you just say again”

The priest asked. “What do you mean?”

Nangong Ping remained calm and said, “Inside the purple coffin, there is a living person and it is the Peacock Concubine Mei Yinxue, is that what you just have said from your mouth?”

The priest replied. “That is right! So?”

Suddenly Nangong Ping laughed, his wrist moved and his sword reflected the light and said. “Since you know, then why did you insist on saying those lies that insulted my Benevolent Master? Long time ago, the Peacock Concubine Mei Yinxue roamed the Fraternity fearlessly in a rampage, using her martial art skills, intelligence and beauty to cause countless people in Pugilistic Fraternity to lose their reputations. She had also caused countless number of families to break apart but there were also countless number of people that were captivated by her beauty and kowtow under her skirt.”

The Priest coldly laughed. “It seems that you do know her past!”
Nangong Ping stared at him. “Although the Pugilistic Fraternity harbored hatred towards her but at the same time were captivated by her beauty and frightened by her martial art skills. However none dare to confront her. My Benevolent Master in his rage decided to meddle in this matter. In the nine peaks of Mount Hua, after three days of terrifying battle, he finally emerged victorious with his superior swordplay. At that time the pugilists that were waiting under the nine peaks of Mount Hua when they saw him coming down from the mountain, all broke into thunderous applause. That thunderous applause was said to be heard even from ten miles away!”

Nangong Ping was filled with respect for his Protégé Master. He sighed. “It a pity at that time, I have not yet become the disciple of my Protégé Master yet. I feel so regretful that I was unable to participate in that glorious event!”

His eyes shone and he said in a clear voice. “But this matter in the Pugilistic Fraternity, is known to all. Although Benevolent Master did not mention it to me but I have heard it from the mouths of others. And these people who have told me what they know are impressed with the heroism of Benevolent Master. And now you are saying, “Peacock Concubine” is still alive and is now lying inside the coffin. What evil intentions are you harboring? If you do not tell me, don’t blame me for killing you with my sword.”

The priest suddenly laughed. “What a dashing hero, whom everyone respects…Long Bushi, Long Bushi although you had died you should feel a sense of guilty conscious!”

Nangong Ping angrily retorted. “What did you say?” And he pointed his long sword towards the priest’s chest.

Although by now, Nangong Ping’s long sword was within three feet of the priest’s chest, he shown no sign of retreat. The priest said. “You are so impressed with your Protégé Master, even though I may say a million times, you still will not believe me!”

Nangong Ping said without hesitation. “Indeed!”

The priest said, “But in just a moment work, I can persuade you to be disappointed with your Protégé Master!’

Nangong Ping said aloud. “You keep talking rubbish, it really let me…”

The priest interrupted. “Although you may not believe me, but why did you not open the coffin to take a look? Just to make sure that hidden within is indeed Mei Yinxue that all in the Pugilistic Fraternity was the whore that was nicked the ‘Cold Blood Concubine’? His pitch got higher and higher as he spoke. As he finished, he was already breathless.

Deep inside Nangong Ping’s heart, he thought. “Will a person that is so confidence tell a lie?” Another thought dawned upon him. “If he is not telling any lies, then were it not mean that Protégé Master really hid the Peacock Concubine inside the coffin and deceive the whole world? Protégé Master had been a hero all his life so how could he have done such a thing?”

In his thoughts, he blamed himself for not trusting his Protégé Master yet at the same time he was feeling confused and contradicting.

The priest sighed. “If you can open the coffin and let me take a look. If inside the coffin is not the ‘Cold Blood Concubine’, I will immediately commit suicide with a sword. Not only will I die wholeheartedly, I will also definitely not blame you!”

Nangong Ping furrowed his eyebrows in thoughts. His face was filled with bewilderment and contradiction. If he opened the coffin, would it not mean that he had already disbelieved his Protégé Master whom he had greatly respected? But if he did not open the coffin, it would not dispel the doubts in his mind!

The priest eyed him with suspicious. But upon seeing the looks of bewilderment on his face, he suddenly laughed coldly. “If you do not open the coffin, then it means that you do not fully believed in the character of your Protégé Master!”

Nangong Ping angrily said, “Shut up!”

The priest acted as though he did not hear. “If the coffin is really emptied and since your Protégé Master did not forbid you to open the coffin so even if you have opened the coffin to peek inside, what does it really matter!”

Nangong Ping sighed in his heart. “If the coffin really have no one inside, do you really mean to…”

The priest interrupted. “I will immediately commit suicide in front of you…”

Nangong Ping exclaimed in a grave voice. “A gentleman word of honor!”

The priest continued. “Is as white as a white dye!”

The priest took one step forward and looked at the coffin and said coldly. “Will you be the one that open it or me?”

Nangong Ping stared at the coffin and thought. “If the coffin really has a person inside, surely our conversations will be overheard. Therefore, there is no reason why there is no sign of any movements!”

He calmed himself down with words and said aloud. “It is the possession of my late Benevolent Master. How can I allow you to defile it? Naturally it is for me to open.”

Nangong Ping rolled his eyes and saw the priest looking nervously but his eyes were filled with self-confidence and looking unblinking at the purple coffin.

The priest said impatiently. “No need for words, please open the coffin fast.” Every word of his speech seemed to indicate that inside the coffin, was the legendary ‘Cold Blood Concubine’ that had passed away.

Nangong Ping felt his self-confidence shaken by the priest even though he just self-assured himself. He wanted to keep his long sword into his scabbard but he realized he lost it earlier.

The priest coldly said upon seeing Nangong Ping hesitating. “Why don’t you pass your long sword to me…”

Nangong Ping paled upon hearing this but the priest continued. “So you can have an easier time opening the coffin and it much more convenience for me to suicide.”

Nangong Ping coldly hummed and did not look at the priest anymore. His right hand still holding the long sword and his left hand grappling the lid of the coffin as he lifted the coffin opened while he thought. “The priest is full of self-confidence. Don’t tell me inside the coffin, really is that Peacock Concubine?”

The priest clenched his fists tightly and muttered. “Mei Yinxue, Mei Yinxue. Today I finally have the opportunity to chance upon you…”

Suddenly Nangong Ping became stunned, relaxed his hold and said. “This coffin has already been nailed. No one else can open it!”

The priest coldly said. “If the coffin is empty, why is it nailed?”
Nangong Ping was taken aback by the question, only to see the priest moving towards the coffin. “What are you trying to do?” Before he had finished, he saw the priest extending his left hand towards the coffin. Suddenly Nangong Ping shouted. “Stop!” as he waved his sword in a flash and stabbed towards the priest.

If he did not stop, he would be dead. Therefore the priest withdrawn and said angrily. “Stabbing behind, is it honorable?”

Nangong Ping coldly laughed and lowered his long sword. “ My Benevolent Master divine coffin is not for your hands to defile!”

The priest turned paled, tried to control his anger and stared fiercely at Nangong Ping before turning back. He then spat his saliva on the ground and cold said without turning his head. “The front of the coffin have two dragon figurines. The pearls between them are the buttons to open the coffin!”

Although Nangong Ping was filled with suspicious, he did what is told. He walked to the front of the coffin indeed saw two dragon figurines.

In between the figurines indeed was a dragon pearl. Although this coffin was made of expensive purple wood under the sun and wind, it appeared to be ancient. Only this dragon pearl is sparkly and shiny.

Obviously had been handled many times!

Nangong Ping sighed and realized that his observations were indeed inferior to the priest. He extended his left hand and gently pressed on the pearl twice!

There was a creaking sound. The priest said. “Try to lift it!”

Nangong Ping started to lift the coffin up. Immediately the priest turned his head.

For a moment, both of them felt their hearts pacing fast and at the same time, their hands were both shaking and broke into cold sweat!

Suddenly Nangong Ping yelled as he pushed the coffin up and half opened the coffin. And both rushed to look inside the coffin.

The priest broke into a cold sweat as he turned paled. And muttered. “This…this…she…she…” His voice became broken and unable to continue.

The coffin was emptied and where was the person?

Nangong Ping glances became icy and clenched tightly his sword.

Suddenly he shouted. “You are a deceiver and a heretic!” as he flicked his sword and stabbed at the priest!

The priest looked lost so when this stab occurred, he did not dodge it as if he did not see it but his mouth muttered something. “The coffin must…” Those were the three words he had just said before Nangong Ping stabbed him on his left chest as blood spurred out. In that instant, his priest garment became dyed with blood.

The priest bit his teeth, held the sword and pulled it out before collapsing on the ground. His eyes discolored as he stared at Nangong Ping and exclaimed. “You…You will one day…will…will regret it…”

Nangong Ping turned paled and his whole body became numbed. He finally relaxed his sword and looking lost.

Finally when his mind had relaxed, he felt like throwing the long sword from his hands to the bottomless ravine below. Still stunned, he kept muttering. “I finally killed a man…I finally killed a man…a man!”

That was the first time he had ever killed some one and he finally experienced the feeling of killing. The feeling was so unbearable!

Then he walked away in a daze. He did not know how long he had walked before he suddenly muttered. “I should at least bury his body…”

Suddenly he did a mad run back to the coffin but although the bloodstain on the ground remained, the mysterious and pitiful priest was no where to be found.

Now he was really confused. Even more confusing was that he still could not tell what secret the ordinary purple coffin was hiding? Or how many secrets it containing?

He sat down under a tree with his hands folded. Eventually the fallen leaves calmed his spirits.

He tried to understand the happenings and forgot to puzzle over why his fellow protégés did not follow him. And extended his hand into his body and took out a yellow silk handkerchief along with some feathers attracted to it.

Although he was upset but he smiled now thinking of the stupid bird as he saw the feathers. He took out the bird as well and opened the handkerchief to read at his Protégé Master’s last will. “I have killed countless people, among all those that I have killed, they are all deserving, therefore in all my life I have never a feeling of guilt…”

Nangong Ping sighed. And beginning to feel the taste of ‘guilt’. He sighed heavily and muttered to himself. “Although this word sounds ordinary but it requires a lot of willpower, enduring much pain to achieve. But what about me!…”

He began to think about the priest. “I have harmed that person, will my heart not feel guilty?” He also recalled what the priest had said but thought. “Protégé Master in all his life, has never feel any guilt, so how would he have done what the priest had said!”

Therefore his faith was restored and he laughed. And continued to read. “Although no feeling of guilt but there is something, I suppose can be considered guilty of…”

Nangong Ping turned paled and continued to read. “Ten years ago, there appeared a person who caused me to hate intensely. As this person had harmed one of my friends, therefore I played the role of knight-errant and swore to kill that person by my sword. But afterwards, I realized it was the wrongdoing of my friend. And that evil despicable person was in fact innocent. So I…”

The words below were dyed by blood and no longer visible!

Just when Nangong Ping had read the most important part it was missing! Suddenly he had an uneasy thought. “Don’t tell me these blood traces are left behind by my Protégé Master!”

He stood up and felt very upset. Suddenly his eyes caught the sight of the blood soaked dead bird!

For a moment, he did not know whether to laugh or to cry. And sat down on the ground. Sighing, he read past the blood traces. “Therefore I will hand this person to you and hope that you will take good care of her…”

Nangong Ping puzzled. “Her…? Her…Who is she?” and continued to read. “As it is too hurried, I have no time to explain to you but I hope that one day you will know the truth. As I cannot hope to repay you is the greatest regret in my life. I hope that you will sustain from rumors and evil, be strong and strive upwards so as not to disappoint the expectations that I have of you!”

“Too hurried…” Nangong Ping muttered. “Is it because…is my Protégé Master is really dead?…” As his warm tears began to shed.

“One day you will know the truth…” But when would that day be? “That I cannot hope to repay you is the greatest regret in my life…” He wipe his tears and cried aloud. “Protégé Master, you have always treated me with great kindness. And I have always been grateful to you. Don’t you know Protégé Master?”

Then he aimlessly dug a hole in the mud with his hands and buried the dead bird. He said to the grave. “We are drawn by fate more or less. Or else why the world is so big and you happened to fall into my hand? This grave is able to shelter you from the wind and rain…”

Nangong Ping sighed deeply before he remembered there was still the dead priest. From now on, he will be exposed in the wilderness and to the mercy of the elements, he felt upset and clenched his sword even more tightly.

Suddenly he felt so exhausted and tired. He had been fighting with the priest all morning and the fight had drained all his inner energy in his body! A biological effect acted by nature began to take over him and he slowly began to relax as he slipped into a sleep. Time passed…

Towards the evening time, when the sun was setting, suddenly there was a creaking sound that came from the purple coffin from the woods. The coffin lid began to open…

Under this peaceful mountain, although the sound was very light, it suddenly awakened Nangong Ping from his sleep. He opened his eye and saw a shadowy figurine from the empty coffin, there was a pair of white and beautiful jaded hands, pushing open the coffin lid!

What came afterwards was a long flowing black hair, followed by a pale face.

Although the setting sun cast a red glow all over the place, it failed to lit that white and pale face up. Although Nangong Ping was daring, he felt a shiver down his spine as he tried to say aloud. “Who…Who are…You?” Although he tried to muster as much courage as possible, his mouth was trembling.

The rare beauty that was in the coffin had by now began to stand slowly up. Her weak vulnerable body yet so beautiful and moving, was dressed in a pure white long robe that was identical to her face.

Under the mountain wind as her white robe flurried and danced, her body seemingly could be swept away by the wind anytime, but her pair of shining bright eyes looked as steady as the mountain under Nangong Ping’s foot!

She floated lightly down the ground from the coffin and moved one step by one step towards Nangong Ping. There was not a single expression on her face much less a smile and there was no trace of any color on her face as well. Even her small lips were white too. Under this lonely and desolate place, no one would think she come from the mortal realm but from the spirit realm!

Nangong Ping tightened both his fists as he felt his palms breaking into cold sweat. Mustering his breath from his abdomen, he exclaimed aloud. “Who are you?” And he tried to stand up from the ground.

The least expecting thing happened, the beautiful woman from the coffin suddenly laughed softly and gently said. “What are you afraid of? Do you think that I am a…” as she laughed softly again.
Her voice was like the March breeze that was so gentle and intoxicating. Her gentle laughter could even melt the most steel-hearted man and moved him. The cold and chilling feeling that she carried when she walked out of the coffin, at that moment, completely disappeared with that soft and gentle laugh.

Nangong Ping felt his eyes staring at her, her laugh, was even more moving than Ye Manqing’s smiles. Ye Manqing soft laughter may be compared to the blossoming lilies and the full boom of the peonies. But that was only the eyes, eyebrows, lips and face that was laughing but that beautiful woman from the coffin, she seemed to be laughing from her whole body, her whole heart and even her soul as well was enveloped in her smiles and laughter.

But once her laughing ceased, Nangong Ping felt her whole body once again radiated a chilling aura. He could not think of a reason why such an ordinary coffin, would walk out such an extraordinary person.
He finally straightened his body and stood firmly on the ground and was now facing her face to face. And he could see clearly her features now. Therefore he once again regained his self-confidence that seemed to be second nature to him. He asked again in a low voice. “Who are you?” His voice was now firm and steady.

She rolled her watery eyes and eyed him for an instant. All of a sudden, she burst into a laugh and gently said. “Although you are young but in some areas definitely set you apart from others. No wonder Long…Grandpa Long is willing to place me in your care!”

Nangong Ping was taken aback as he thought. “Place her in my care…” He immediately flashed back to the words on the yellow handkerchief. “…Therefore I will hand this person to you and hope that you will take good care of her…”

Earlier when he asked her “Who are you?” At that moment, the answer was at hand. “She” was the extremely beautiful maiden that was now standing in front of him, the face that was so pale and white, long robe that was so pure and white and whose skin was so white as well.

There were other questions too but he had no other clues to link to it. He sighed. He had discovered that although the heaven and earth was so vast but many things were indeed so coincident. The dead bird dyed the most important portion of the letter. Was it because Heaven deliberately wished to play a prank on him?

The beautiful maiden who was dressed in white robe carried a tinge of smiles in her eyes as she sat down besides him and gently looked up the skies, muttered. “Time fly very fast, yet another day is about to pass…Alas. Actually, a human with a hundred year life span is like a flicker of a finger…Alas. Since ancient times to present, who can retain youth that is like slippery water?”

In her speech, it seemed that it was filled with self-anguish and self-worth. It seemed most unlikely that it will come from the mouth of such an well-endowed and extremely beautiful young girl. It seemed more likely to come from someone that was past her prime, mourning for her lost youth and that life was short!

Nangong Ping turned to look at her only to see between her eyebrows hid many bitterness that displayed her feeling. It seemed that it came from the bottom of her heart. Bewildered, he asked. “Maiden…Lady…”

The beautiful woman suddenly laughed for an instant and eyed him. “You don’t even know if I am a Maiden or Lady. That is indeed very strange!”

Nangong Ping stammered awhile before replying. “I and…you have never met before…”

The beautiful woman asked. “Since Grandpa Long had asked you to take care of me, did he not mention about me?”

Nangong Ping became vexed. In his thoughts were the words on the yellow silk handkerchief that was dyed by the blood of the dead bird…

“Ten years ago, there appeared in the Pugilistic Fraternity a person…”

He suddenly remembered.

He thought. “Is she really the one that the priest had said, ‘Cold Blood Concubine’? But that Peacock Concubine had found fame ten years ago and till now will be at least thirty plus of age! But she…” And looked at the beautiful young maiden who was also looking at him. No matter how he looked, at most she was only just past twenty-year old.

He tried to avert his eyes from her only to hear her laughed gently. “Why did you not answer me?” As she reached to comb her long black hair that was touching her waist. And asked again. “In your thoughts, you must be thinking of something. Are you trying to guess my age?”

Nangong Ping face reddened immediately and bowed his head but said. “That is right. I am thinking about your age now!”

The beautiful woman melancholy sighed and said. “My age, is not worth guessing!”

Nangong Ping was taken aback only to hear her continuing. “When I have reached such an age, I am unwilling to let others speak of my age!”

Nangong Ping was surprised and thought. “This girl is so young, why did she sound so old?” So he unconsciously exclaimed. “You are still in the prime of your youth, why did…” Before he could finish, the beautiful maiden sprang up and touched her face and asked. “Prime of my youth?…” She sounded just as surprised.

Nangong Ping said. “Twenty years old, is indeed a person most, most beautiful period. You are already so discouraged. Do you have some difficulty in your heart that you need to resolve?”

As he had been looking down so he did not see the beautiful maiden expression changing with every muttering of his words.

Nangong Ping continued to say. “My Protégé Master has ordered me to take care of maiden, therefore I hope you will tell me the sadness that is plaguing you in your heart. So I can help to resolve it for you as well.” Although he could not understand why his Protégé Master had asked him to take care of a young girl. But since his Protégé Master had already given out the orders, even though he might have to undergo the tribulations of fire, he would not go against his orders! That why he would say such tender words to a young girl whom he had never met!

The beautiful maiden asked in a low voice. “Is it true?…” Suddenly she turned and ran away.

Nangong Ping was stunned and shouted behind her. “Where are you going?”

The beautiful maiden did not even turn her head and did not seem to have heard his shouts. He could only to see her moving fast as though she was flying, her long robes fluttering and her long hair behind her. It was such an enchanting sight and in a twinkle of an eye, she had disappeared into the nearby woods. Her swiftness movement skill was shocking, enchanting and totally incomparable!

Nangong Ping was totally taken by surprised and without thinking, immediately ran after her. He even forgot about the coffin. And he was shouting to be heard. “Benevolent Master has already given you to my care, if there is anything…” But the beautiful maiden was nowhere to be seen. Now he could only take in his breath and looked everywhere for her. He blamed himself in his thoughts. “If she goes missing, I will have let my Protégé Master down!”

In that empty vastness of the soon approaching darkness. To find a lonely young woman in those lonely mountain ranges was as difficult as searching for a needle in the ocean.

Nangong Ping could only looked around frantic with his eyes and running all over. He did not even know the name of the beautiful young maiden so he was unable to call out her name. He picked out the sound of a stream from the wind. Feeling thirsty, he slowed down his pace and run towards the sound of the water.

Under the starlight and moonlight, he made his way across the woods. Reaching the streams, he took two mouthful of the cold and icy mineral water. Suddenly he heard a joyous laughter coming upstream, it was the sound of a woman!

His spirit picked up and after three or five turning, he finally saw a white dress figure in front. She seemed to be looking at the running stream but also seemed to be looking at herself from the reflections of the water. Without any hesitation, he moved towards the white figure that still remained unmoving. He could hear her giggling from time to time in a joyous laugh and repeating. “Is it for real? Or is it a dream?…” Till Nangong Ping approached her, she still remained idiocy looking intensely at the stream.

Nangong Ping never expected that the mysterious maiden had suddenly ran away earlier just to come here to look at the running streams.

Therefore he just stood besides her. But after a while he could not resist to take a look. From the reflections of the silvery water, he could see her extraordinary beauty and she carried smiles all over. Coupling with her beautiful laughter, Nangong Ping looked in awe.

Although the reflections in the streams sometimes broke into two, the beautiful maiden did not seem to notice. It seemed that she was so focused on the reflections in the water, that she did not seem to notice any other thing.

She kept using her beautiful hand to touch her face and she was heard muttering. “This is really true, I am really still so young…” Suddenly she laughed hilariously and said. “I wonder if it is a blessing or a misfortune that unwillingly, I have obtained what every women in the world have dreamed, the art of everlasting youth.” She got up, tidied her long robes and her long hair, then she began to dance madly under the moonlight.

“From now on, no one will recognize me. And no one will ever guess that I am the Peacock Concubine…”

Nangong Ping was taken aback and shouted. “What, you are really Mei Yinxue!”

She ceased her dancing and looked icy at Nangong Ping and said. “That is right!”

Nangong Ping was shocked for words. After awhile, he sighed and said. “Unexpectedly, what the priest says are true! I…I…really deserve to die!” At that moment, he felt so vexed and regretted hurting the priest with his long sword! Therefore, the feeling of guilt became ten times even more heavily.

The beautiful maiden from the coffin, “Peacock Concubine” Mei Yinxue cold and expressionless pale face began to smile. She walked to Nangong Ping and extended her soft white hand on his shoulder, and gently said, “You seem to have heard of my name?”

Nangong Ping looked bewildered and promptly answered. “Yes, I have heard of your name!”

Mei Yinxue asked. “Therefore, you should know what type of person I am?”

Nangong Ping replied. “Yes, I have also know what type of person you are!”

Mei Yinxue laughed gently awhile. And the silken hand that was on Nangong Ping’s shoulder began to turn steel green beneath. But her mouth was still ever so gently and filled with smiles. “Therefore, what are you planning to do with me?”

Nangong Ping took a deep breath before replying. “Since my Protégé Master has ordered me to take care of you, I will take care of you. Any persons, no matter who, that try to harm you will be the enemy of Nangong Ping!”

Mei Yinxue asked. “Really! Why?”

Nangong Ping did not even hesitated and said in a clear voice. “That is because I trust my Benevolent Master and he will never do any wrongdoing in all matters!” But he added with his thoughts. “Even if he is wrong, I will never betray his last will!”

Mei Yinxue seemed to be speechless. Suddenly she melancholy sighed. “Grandpa Long is really so nice to me!”

Her steel green palm slowly began to turn white underneath and slipped down from Nangong Ping’s back shoulder. He would never expect that in just a few moments of words, he had already come to brush with death!
He had occasionally glanced at her but end up saying nothing. He had since regained his usual calmness though.

Mei Yinxue rolled her eyes and asked softly. “You must have a lot of things that is troubling you in your heart and unable to understand but wishes to ask me, right?”

Nangong Ping nodded his head. Mei Yinxue continued. “But you have too many questions so you find it hard to start asking, right?”

Nangong Ping nodded again. Mei Yinxue asked. “But I have something to ask of you too, will you first answer me first?”

Nangong Ping said, “If it is something I know!”

Mei Yinxue softly laughed. “Naturally you will know!” Once her laugh ceased, she asked solemnly. “Your Protégé Master must have trusted you a lot, therefore he will place the purple coffin in your care and let you protect me. But, how is that you do not know the story of your Protégé Master and me?”

Nangong Ping replied. “Heh…” He reached for the yellow silken handkerchief and told her. “You take a look yourself!”

Mei Yinxue furrowed her eyebrows and reached out for the handkerchief and looked at it carefully. Suddenly she broke into a smile, softly said. “Whose blood trace is this?”

Nangong Ping answered. “Dead bird!”

Mei Yinxue was puzzled. “What dead bird?”

Nangong Ping appeared vexed and said. “You asked too many questions…”

Suddenly he sighed and changed his tone. “I pick up a dead bird by accident!”

Mei Yinxue softly laughed. “Oh really, at first I thought it come from your Protégé Master!”

Nangong Ping calm face became angry and snatched back the yellow silken handkerchief. And said sternly to her. “I have something to ask you too. The way my Protégé Master had treated you, is full of righteousness. Even before he dies, he did not forget about your safety. And asked me to take care of you. What about you? Even when you know the demise of my Protégé Master, you did not even feel sad. You…You are really…” He clenched his fists and there was a cracking sound and shut up.

Mei Yinxue looked at him from up to down. Suddenly she laughed hilariously. “Sadness, what is call sadness. In my entire life, I have never for once because of anyone, anything and felt sadness. You really want me to act sad to deceive you?”

Nangong Ping stared at her, his eyes looking sharply at her and he was angry with her. He felt like killing her on the spot with his hand. He raised his hands but after a while, he slowly relaxed. Because he suddenly remembered her name -“Cold Blood Concubine”!

“Cold Blood Concubine…Mei Yinxue…” Nangong Ping sighed. “She does not even know what is sadness. No wonder everyone in Pugilistic Fraternity nicknamed her as Cold Blood!” And moved back three steps as he shivered at the thought that he was going to put up with such an extremely beautiful yet cold blood woman!

But Mei Yinxue followed him and moved forward another step and coldly said. “But you must know, even if I am a sentimental person, I will not feel sad for your Protégé Master…”

Nangong Ping angrily said, “You are so heartless, my Protégé Master does not need you to feel sad for him!”

But Mei Yinxue ignored him and continued. “Not only will I not feel sad for your Protégé Master. When he died, I should be very happy!”

Even though she said it in a heartless way, she seemed to carry a tinge of sadness!

Nangong Ping angrily retorted. “If it is not for the fact that Benevolent Master has asked me to take care of you. Just by these few statements, I will have…”

Mei Yinxue sharpened her look and coldly said. “Do you know the reason why your Protégé Master is treating me so well?”

Nangong Ping sarcastically laughed. “What a pity that Benevolent Master trusted the wrong person. If he had reared a cat or a dog…Humph! Humph! Some people are not even worthy compared to cat and dog!”

Mei Yinxue stares had become icy cold and like a pair of swords that wanted to pierce through Nangong Ping’s heart.

And Nangong Ping held his fists and he stared at her as well with burning eyes. It was as though he wanted to burn her cold blood that ran in her beautiful and alluring body.

Both of them kept staring for awhile till Mei Yinxue suddenly laughed. “Do you know that your Protégé Master is treating me this way, is because he wanted to cleanse his sins, repay me. But even then he still cannot make up for me therefore he wants his disciple to continue to cleanse his unfinished sins and to repay his unfinished debt.”

Nangong Ping was taken aback. And laughed. “Cleanse his sins! Repay debts! What sin needs to be cleansed? Will my Protégé Master really…” Suddenly he halted as he remembered the words on the yellow silken handkerchief. “…This matter is actually my wrong…”

He thought.“Will my Protégé Master really do something that wronged her?”

Mei Yinxue coldly said. “Why don’t you say anything more?”

Nangong Ping sighed.

Mei Yinxue laughed coldly. “Why don’t you say something more? Is it because you already realized that your Protégé Master had committed a great wrong?”

Nangong Ping bowed his head and looked up again, said sternly. “Any person that say disrespectfully about my Benevolent Master, is my swore enemy!”

Mei Yinxue added. “What if I am the one saying it, what will happen?”

Nangong Ping coldly, “Hehe,” a few times.

Mei Yinxue said. “Not only in front of you, even if in front of the Immortal Divine Dragon, I will still say the same words. Because I have the right!”

Nangong Ping unable to endure any longer shouted. “What right do you have? Although my Protégé Master has ordered me to look after you but you have no right to mutter all these words!”

Mei Yinxue coldly said, “I have the right!”

Nangong Ping shouted. “You try to say it once more again!” And clenched his fists and moved one step towards Mei Yinxue and both are them were within one feet of one another!

Mei Yinxue eyed him with suspicious and coldly exclaimed. “I have the right, because I have been innocently been destroyed of my reputation and my body was hurt! I have the right because the martial art skills that I had painfully trained were destroyed in his hand! I have the right because of his stupidity and stubbornness, I have wasted my youth, wasted the most beautiful of my ten most precious years. Day in and night out, for every single moment, I have to lie inside the coffin that can’t even see the sun, lived a life that are thousands and tens of thousands times worse than that of a prisoner!” She said it with more and more emotions until her cold and icy voice became marred with a tearing high pitch!

Nangong Ping felt chilled the more he heard. His straighten back began to bend unconsciously.

Once she finished, she suddenly gripped Nangong Ping’s hand and turned to run.

Nangong Ping martial art skills were not weak. His specialty was on swiftness movement skills. But the grip had a very strong attraction on his hand and he found himself forcing to fly along with her. It was faster than many times than his very own speed!

He tried to muster his inner energy and shouted. “Where are you going!” As he tried to shake her off from her grip.

But he saw her slowly slowed down and they had reached the abandoned coffin. She moved to the purple coffin and forcefully opened up the coffin lid. And said loudly. “This, This coffin that is right here, I have spent ten years inside. Except for the time at night when your Protégé Master took me out to settle some necessities of daily life, I have no other chance for movement!”

She stumbled in her voice but did not allow Nangong Ping to interrupt, continued. “Why don’t you close your eyes and think what sort of life that is. I only want you to stay inside the coffin for ten days, I afraid you will not be able to endure it. Imagine ten years…ten years…”

Nangong Ping stared at the coffin, stunned and muttered in a low voice. “Ten years…ten years…” And a cold shiver ran through his spine!
She took a deep breath and melancholy sighed. “Every single moment in the coffin I have something to look for, that is to wish for the freedom at night. Although during those times, your Protégé Master only allowed me to be in that room without any lights and windows. Although it is only for awhile but I am very satisfied!”

Nangong Ping was moved and he thought. “No wonder my Protégé Master always stays in the most out of reach chamber in the Manor! No wonders he disallowed any lighting and the room have no windows! No wonder he carted the coffin every night to the chamber and placed it near the bed…” He sighed, unable to think further anymore!

Mei Yinxue looked at the coffin in remembrance of the times she spent in the darkness, her pain and sadness.

She sighed and said. “Luckily I have a little hope everyday. Or else I am willing to die even if there are thousands of blades facing me than the painful condemnation of hopelessness. But…This hope and waiting, is also so painful to wait for. One day, your Protégé Master unintentionally opened the door of the room. It was the full moon that night and it was so bright. That time, I was so happy and thrilled but under the moonlight when I saw your Protégé Master aging face, I feel upset as well. Time passed and I thought I have grown old as well.”

Her voice changed to bitterness yet so gentle as though she was now a clever and romantic poet.

Nangong Ping forgot her heartlessness and eccentric because he had now come to sympathize with her. He sighed and said to her. “The past is done. What past is over, you do not have to …”

Mei Yinxue interrupted. “The Past…” Suddenly she laughed. “The Immortal Divine Dragon had died and I have miraculously retained my youth. And I no longer have to be like a dead person and lay in that coffin because no one in the world knows my real identity…Except for you!”

When she said. “Except for you!” Her stares suddenly became different and icy-cold and looked upon Nangong Ping.

This beautiful maiden had a complicated emotion and ever changing. No one would have guessed from her words and actions, what she was going to do. In that instant, her change was indeed very terrifying.

Nangong Ping was taken aback but sternly said. “You have miraculously retained your youth. Moreover you have regained your freedom. Therefore at this moment, you should feel grateful and you shouldn’t feel hatred. Although I…”

Mei Yinxue laughed coldly. “What should I be grateful to?”

Nangong Ping sternly said. “At least you should be grateful to Heaven!”

Mei Yinxue said, “Heaven…Humph, humph!” Long robes flurried as she turned away and did not even turn to eye Nangong Ping!

But Nangong Ping was left stunned viewing her back view and her flurrying long robes!

Although she seemed to walk very slowly but in an instant she had walked out of the surrounding woods. Although Nangong Ping was stunned, he was also thinking. Because when people started to think over a difficult question, their eyes would also appear to be stunned and emptied.

Just as her pure white figure was about to vanish in the darkness. Nangong Ping suddenly dashed towards her and said. “Maiden Mei, where are you going?”

Mei Yinxue stopped in her tracks and turned around. She eyed him coldly for a second before she coldly replied. “Do you know that although the world has many stupid people but there is none as stupid as you!”

Nangong Ping was taken aback and became paled. “True, true…” He bit his teeth and did not say more.

Mei Yinxue cold expressionless face became warm and gentle but her mouth was still icy-cold as she said. “If you are not stupid, just now when I say those three words “Except for you!” you should have turned and run!”

Nangong Ping tried to laugh. “Since I am that stupid, even though you have been benevolent not to kill me, I still will come after you!”

Mei Yinxue said. “That is so right. You really is stupid to the extreme!” Her gentle eyes slowly carried a tinge of smiles. But because Nangong Ping was looking down, he did not see!

When Mei Yinxue finished speaking, Nangong Ping immediately said. “Benevolent Master has already placed you into my care. If you have walked away just like this, how am I able to answer to him?”

Mei Yinxue said, “Answer to what? Anyway the ‘Immortal Divine Dragon’ is dead already!”

Nangong Ping became solemn and said. “No matter if he really passed away…” he sighed because he was unable to endure the grief in his heart. “I wouldn’t have gone against his last Order”

Mei Yinxue asked. “Then how are you going to take care of me?”
Nangong Ping moved his lips but unable to say anything.

Mei Yinxue extended her hands to comb her strands of long hair behind that floated in front of her front and coldly said. “Since you are not going off and want to take care of me for life. Then are you following me from now on?”

Nangong Ping said, “Benevolent Master’s order is indeed written in this way!”

Mei Yinxue gently laughed and said. “Really?”

Although Nangong Ping could hear her enchanting laughter, he did not lifted his head to look at her and with all his sincerely said. “Benevolent Master before he went off has already ordered me not to move away from the coffin a single step. His intentions are clearly stated to order me to protect you at all times!”

Although he had said so but in his heart, he was puzzled. “Her martial art skills are so much higher than me. Why did my Protégé Master wants me to protect her? Her martial art skill is so high, she could break the coffin anytime and escape. Why did she not do so?”

Although he tried to think of a few thousands and hundreds of reasons but none of it made any sense. Only to hear her laughed again and said, “Since that is the case, you will follow me then. Wherever I go, you will follow!” Before she had finished, she had already started to walk in front. After she took two steps, she turned her head and said. “Come on!”

Nangong Ping felt his heart pounding but did not know what the feeling was. He thought. “Do I really have to follow her wherever she wants to go?” He coughed out twice before saying. “For the sake of Protégé Master last wishes, even when you walk to the ends of the earth, I will surely follow you as well.”

Mei Yinxue gently smiled. “To the ends of the earth…” She continued to walk again. Although Nangong Ping found himself blushing, he had no choice but to follow.

In the hearts of those two persons, no one could guess what they were thinking now. The relationships between the two of them were very extraordinary. No one could place a word to it. Mei Yinxue in front and Nangong Ping walked behind. She kept brushing and tidying her long black hair as though she had many things in her heart.

**********************************************************************

In the darkness of the night, in the mountain woods, there appeared a man masked in black over all. He was carrying another man who appeared to be badly wounded.

In the darkness, it not possible to see his face or the man he was carrying. But he could be heard asking the wounded man gently. “Are you feeling better now?”

The wounded man whom he was carrying nodded his head and said. “Much better. If it were not for you, I…” From his speech, he was obviously trying to mask his pain.

The man in black interrupted him. “I really cannot send you down Mount Hua. And you are badly wounded and cannot remain in these desolate mountains. But if you can endure your pain and don’t make a single sound and take the medicine I placed inside your robe from time to time, in a few days you will recover. After that surely you will be at the foot of the mountain and can seize the opportunity to escape!”
The wounded man bit his teeth and said. “Your benevolent acts and kindness, I…”

The man in black interrupted. “There is no need for words. They will not check the coffin again. Mei Yinxue definitely will not step into the coffin again. As long as you can endure the periodic fits and pains, you will safety reach the foot of the mountain. When he finished, he opened the coffin lid and gently placed him inside. “My medicinal pills not only heal wounds but also starve off hungry as well. You can set aside your worries.”

The wounded man inside the coffin asked. “Benefactor brother, will you please tell me your name.…”

The man in black waved his hands and said. “Regarding my name, you will know in the future!” and closed the lid of the coffin. He looked around and with a sudden movement, flashed away in an instant towards Cang Long Ling! (A place name)

**********************************************************************

At that moment Mei Yinxue and Nangong Ping were strolling under the starlight…

Mei Yinxue walked for quite a while with her head downcast before she suddenly said. “You come from the righteous “Zhijiao Manor” which is famed for its strict rules. Only you alone traveled along with me, are you not afraid of the rumors from the people in the Pugilistic Fraternity?” She did not turn her head so her expressions were unknown!

Nangong Ping replied. “As long as I have nothing to hide and it is Benevolent Master order. What some petty people like to say mean nothing to me. Moreover…” But he suddenly swallowed and did not say more.

Mei Yinxue continued for him. “Moreover my age at least is ten years older than you. There is not any suspicious to hide!”

Nangong Ping halted in his steps and looked down.

Mei Yinxue suddenly turned around and said. “Is that what you trying to say?”

Nangong Ping was speechless for awhile before he said. “Indeed correct!” But he did not look at her.

Mei Yinxue continued. “Since that is indeed correct, I have one condition for you to agree!”

Nangong Ping asked. “Condition? …”

Mei Yinxue explained. “No matter in whose presence, you are not allowed to reveal my real identity and name!”

Nangong Ping asked. “Why?”

Mei Yinxue coldly laughed. “If my name got leaked out, everyone in the Pugilistic Fraternity will know that I am not dead. Even your Protégé Master cannot protect me then, moreover you!”

Nangong Ping hummed aloud and secretly thought. “She must have a lot of enemies. If they all know she has yet to die, all will come to seek revenge on her.” And his ears began to pick the piercing sound of the priest. “…Whore, despicable, everyone have called her a whore…” When he came to think of that, there arose an unspeakable feeling inside him. “Since she is such a woman, how can I keep her secret…” But he changed his mind again. “But my Protégé Master is willing to do it and ordered me to do so as well. How can I go against his orders!” In that instant, he was filled with dilemma.

Mei Yinxue asked. “You have agreed?”

He took a deep breath and said. “Agree!”

Mei Yinxue asked. “No matter who it is?”

Nangong Ping replied. “No matter who it is!”

Mei Yinxue took two looks at him from up to down before breaking into a soft laugh. “Although you have agreed in your mouth but in your heart you are not willing, am I right?”

Nangong Ping lifted his head and looked at Mei Yinxue who looked so beautiful that was out of the world in this darkness, she was simply like a fairy! He sighed in his heart. “Why has she has to be an evil despicable woman and a whore!”

Mei Yinxue asked. “Am I right?” And walked over to him.

Nangong Ping once again looked down again and said. “What I say from my mouth is actually what I feel in my heart!” When he finished, he felt a sweet fragrance scent. He did not need to lift his head to know that Mei Yinxue had walked besides him!

Only to hear her laughed softly. “Since you have agreed to my condition, I know that you will forever not change. But I have to tell you this, my moods are eccentric. There will be at times when you are unable to endure. When that time come, what will you do?”

Nangong Ping said. “As long as you do not harm anyone, the rest I can endure!” Suddenly he realized that not only could he fulfill his Benevolent Master orders to take care of her, he could also prevent her from harming others!

Was it the reason why his Protégé Master had asked him to take care of her? If he could cause a person that was so ill repute to change her ways, what did it matter if he were to endure all the insults!

Therefore he lifted his head and looked at her.

Mei Yinxue gently smiled. “Now it is very late, we shouldn’t stay overnight in this desolate mountains!”

Nangong Ping replied. “Of course we have to go down the mountain!”

Mei Yinxue laughed softly. “Go!”

She suddenly became as light as her moods and seemed to dance across the starlight. It seemed that the breeze would carry her off anytime to the land of dreams.

Nangong Ping had hesitated for awhile and when he tried to catch up with her, he found himself unable to catch up with her speed. After some time, he said. “Maiden Mei, please hold!”

Mei Yinxue turned back and asked. “What is the matter?”

Finally he caught up with her and said. “I cannot go down the mountain yet!”

Mei Yinxue expressions changed. “Just now what you have just said. Have you forgotten? Did you not say where ever I go, you will follow!”

Nangong Ping said. “I just hope that maiden will wait me awhile. Because I still have some unfinished matters…”

Suddenly Mei Yinxue laughed. “Do you want to retrieve that coffin?”

Nangong Ping said. “Indeed! Not only that, I still have some fellow clan protégé brothers and sisters that remain on the top of the mountain. I don’t know if they have gone down the mountain or not. I should at least wait for them!”

Mei Yinxue asked. “If your fellow clan protégé brothers and sisters were to if see me standing besides you, what will they be thinking?”

Nangong Ping was taken aback. And was speechless.

Mei Yinxue continued. “If they really want to find you, earlier they should have followed you. I afraid they have now gone down the mountain!”

Nangong Ping took a deep breath. He did not know why the strong bonds between his clan protégés and him had weakened so much.

Mei Yinxue said. “As for that coffin, it is useless now. Whether to bring it down the mountain is no longer of any importance. Why must we suffer in these desolate mountains? It is better that we go down as soon as possible and find a nice and quiet place. I can also tell you whatever parts of the story which you are not cleared upon and tell you from head to tail.”

Nangong Ping sighed once more, lifted his head and said. “No matter what. That coffin belongs to Benevolent Master and I must bring it down the mountains!…” He cleared his voice and continued. “As for my fellow clan protégé brothers and sisters, no matter what happens to them, I must wait for them for a while, as a token of my appreciation!”

Mei Yinxue said. “What I say, you did not even listen?” She looked lovingly at Nangong Ping as though she wanted to use her lovely eyes to melt Nangong Ping’s steel-hearted heart.

Once again, they stared at one another to determine who was the strong and who was the weak.

 

Ch3 End

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