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Chapter 9

Outside the ancient city of Xian, although there were a few moments of shouting that was carried over by the wind but it could not break the boundless tranquil.

This tranquil, was especially dovey and was appreciated in the eyes of Nangong Ping and Mei Yinxue who had escaped in the confusion.

Now, Nangong Ping was lying comfortably under the bright starry hosts, peacefully enjoying this much appreciated tranquil. The images of blades and swords, life and death, the fire and the falling floor earlier…seemed so far away under the tranquil starry hosts.

After awhile, Mei Yinxue melancholy sighed deeply and asked. “Do you know what place is this?”

Nangong Ping slowly shook his head. “I do not know!”

Mei Yinxue said. “This is the palace ruin of the First Emperor of China.”

Once again she sighed. “Extending eight hundred miles, its majestic was unrivalled. But now what are left of it, was these broken rubbles. Qin Shihuang conquered all the lands and become king of all kings but now where is he?”

She seemed to refresh many of her past memories. Therefore in this tranquil darkness, she unwittingly began to sigh!

Nangong Ping smiled. But suddenly he heard her singing. “The river of the Da Jiang (River Changjiang), the waves rocked, the thousands of ancient people…” This is the poem of the great Scholar Su. Naturally Nangong Ping who was taught literature, knew of it. So when he heard this song of hers, his heart suddenly became even sadder!

“Hero!” He muttered. “What is a hero? Where should a hero be?”

Mei Yinxue ceased her singing and said. “Jinx. Beauty…” She remembered how Wei Qi had scolded her. “Is a woman who is born beautiful, an unforgivable sin?…Alas!”

Therefore very naturally, ‘Hero’ and ‘Beauty’ since ancient times had been linked so she thought of it.

She turned her head and looked at the Nangong Ping who was not aware that she was looking. She remembered his iron guts and righteous heart and her eyes suddenly shone. But she softly said instead. “Do you know that just now you should not have done what you have done. You are still young, don’t you treasure your own life at all?”

Nangong Ping secretly sighed and slowly sat up. “My life!” He said in a low voice. “Naturally I treasure it but I always feel that in this world, there are many things that are more valuable than life…All the ancient heroes, they had now turned to dry bones but until now, they are still living in the hearts of the people! Maybe they are very lonely in life but when they are dead, they will never be lonely again…”

His voice stumbled and very naturally he thought of ‘Beauty’.

Therefore he said. “This is just like beauties who lead a tragic life but when they are dead, they will always be remembered in people’s hearts! Xi Si, Zhao Jun…Heroes! Jing Ke…Alas. Why were they all so lonely and so tragic?”

He was looking very far away at the trees in the distant and his heart was thinking of all the past heroes. He did not know that a pair of beautiful captivating eyes was now looking at him in silence.

Mei Yinxue looked carefully at him, looked at his eyebrows, his mouth and lips, and the lines on his face. At first glance, everyone would think that this young man appeared soft and weak – almost like a young woman.

But after further observations, this type of soft and weak feeling vanished, replaced by a limitless mental strength, extraordinary courage and a strength that was flowed from within that knew no fathom.

Especially his pair of eyes, so deep and intelligence and handsome. Although his eyes looked gentle but when it became enraged, it would become sparks that touched the hearts of everyone.

She looked quietly at this young man who was younger than her and suddenly she felt an uneasy feeling overwhelming her. She melancholy sighed, turned her head over and a frosty expression surfaced on her face as she coldly said. “You probably did not expect that the responsibility given to you by your Protégé Master will be so painstaking and heavy right.”

Nangong Ping was startled from his enthrallment and immediately returned to his old self.

Mei Yinxue coldly added. “You must be feeling right now in your heart, that because of me, you almost lost your life. It is indeed not worthwhile, right?”

Although Nangong Ping was very intelligent, but in this world, no matter how smart a person was, he was still unable to second-guess the changes in a girl’s heart. He felt it was strange that earlier the gentle and demure girl would become suddenly so frosty.

Mei Yinxue did not turned her head. She seemed most unwilling and did not dare to look into his bright eyes.

“But,” She coldly added. “Even if you really died, you should not blame me. It is the pitiful acts of always trying to be a hero that caused you to die. You have a hundred chances to leave but you did not. Who will think that you are a hero? Even if you are a hero but how much does it worth?”

Not only were her words frosty but sharp as well. It seemed that she purposely did that to hurt Nangong Ping just like the way she hurt herself.

Nangong Ping was stunned and looked at her. Anger from his heart slowly boiled within him and he thought. “Why are you not understandable at all? All these, I did it all for you…”

Suddenly another thought shook him as he suddenly remembered that just now during the fire and the dangerous floors, she had protected him and the anxiety shown by her, the warm feeling of her besides him protecting him.

He also remembered just when he had almost fell, she had dashed to him, her startled and concern look as she pulled him up when he had no more strength. And how she took him out of the Xian City during the confusion.

In that instant, everything flashed in his heart. He unwitting sighed and slowly said. “Then what about you? Just now why did you not leave? You have more than ten times better chances than I to escape. Why did you choose to accompany me?

Mei Yinxue trembled. It was like someone whipping her as it touched deeply into her innermost feelings.

She wanted to say something but a strange and weird feeling caused her to become speechless.

Nangong Ping looked at her and saw her back trembling…

A drop of clear and cold tear dropped on her hand. She was startled in her mind. “I have cried!” She thought and immediately used her hands to wipe away her tears but her tears were uncontrollable. This ‘Cold Blood’ maiden although she tried her best to control her feeling but the sorrow in her most innermost place caused her unable to control her tears.

She did not dare to turn her head even more. “You don’t have to care for me.” She said aloud. “From now on, I will not dare to impose upon you to protect me…” Now even her voice trembled. “Even though your Protégé Master had order you to do so but…You have already did your best and is already more than enough…is…enough…”

Suddenly even before she could finish, she had sobbed aloud and uncontrollable on the grasslands.

Nangong Ping sighed and even his eyes were beginning to be swollen.
Everyone would have his or her moments of sadness. But only those that were cold hearted, their tears were the most precious. That was because unless it was extremely sorrowful, their tears would not flow.

“Maiden…Mei!” He sighed and solemnly said. “Do you know that my actions are not wholly because of Protégé Master…Alas! Even if Protégé Master did not give me his orders, if I see a girl who is being humiliated and unable to explain the black. I will also do the same thing. I did not think of being a hero. I only want to do what I feel right. You…you…you should have know my intention…Don’t you know?”

Words that were sincere caused Mei Yinxue to descend into a deeper pit of grief. And she cried out even more sorrowful.

 

Ch9 End

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Chapter 8

Manshan Two Brothers countenance looked as dark as the darkness. They had secretly followed Nangong Ping till he had completed the funeral process and entered Xian City. Now they had followed their carriage to a villa.

Chang Sun Kong stood far away under an opposite house and said in a low voice. “Since this girl is not Mei Yinxue, why did he ask us brothers to follow them?”

Chang Sun Dan considered for awhile and said. “He is a dragon among men. Surely he have his purposes when he wanted us to do so. Now I may not know but in future, we will know. Second Brother, you and me possesses an extraordinary martial skills but whatever fame we have is but a fleeting moment. So what is the use? If you and me want to gain fame in the Central Plains, we have to depend on him!”

Chang Sun Kong sighed and suddenly from the door opposite, a man walking in strides approached them and extended out a invitation and handed it to Chang Sun Dan. He simply extended his hands but did not say anything.

Manshan Two brothers were startled and opened up the invitation and on it was written. “Zhijiao Manor disciple Nangong Ping lacking proper knowledge of the Pugilist respectfully invite Manshan Two Brothers.”

Chang Sun two brothers looked at one another and were startled. And at this time, Nangong Ping who had changed his robe was now standing at the door opposite and extended his hands.

Although the two brothers had much experience in Pugilist but at this moment, they did not know what to do, as they remained startled.
Chang Sun Dan extended both his hands and said in a clear voice. “We appreciate your kind intentions. We pay a visit some other time!”

And they turned and left at the same time without turning their heads.
After Nangong Ping had watched them leaving, the smile on his face vanished and he sighed and walked heavily into the door. As the skies had darkened, light from the bronze lamps soon lighted the courtyard.

Although he possessed martial skills and millions of taels of wealth, he was now carrying a problem that neither martial skills nor wealth could solve.

He muttered. “If only I could split into three then all my problems would be solved but…Alas!” As he did not know how to split into three therefore his frustrations and misfortune did not go away.

Mei Yinxue was sitting in a comfortable manner and relaxing under the exquisite purple lamp. The soft light of the bronze lamp shone on her like a dream. On top of the stone table, was a basket of erotic fruits like banana, litchi, grape, lemon…all these erotic fruits from the Southern Seas that even a very wealthy family had rarely seen, did not even hold her attention. She just looked lazily at the bronze lamp that was hanging on the wall and lost in thoughts.

Nangong Ping heavy treading did not disturb her trance like thoughts. She did not even turned and looked at him. Her pale white face under the light of the lamp was like a beautiful piece of jade.

After awhile, Mei Yinxue finally softly sighed. “Did they go?”

Nangong Ping said. “Yes…The two of them had been secretly following us. I wonder what they are up to. Did they manage to recognize you after all?”

Mei Yinxue causally laughed. “Why are you worrying for?”

Nangong Ping asked. “Why should I worry?”

Mei Yinxue melancholy said. “You are thinking that if others will to recognize me, then it will place you in a disadvantage position. When that time comes…You will not bother with me anymore because I am a person abandoned by the Pugilistic Fraternity. If you were to aid me, then won’t you too become a traitor to the Pugilistic Fraternity? The most, most upright disciple of the Divine Dragon will never dare to become a traitor. Even the Immortal Dragon did not dare to, don’t you agree?”

Nangong Ping remained as composed as before. There was not a tingle of expression on his face.

Mei Yinxue added. “The Justice of the Pugilist is but a prestige right enjoy by a few people. If there are ten heroes of Pugilist that say you are an evil person, then you are destined to be one. That is because no matter what you will try to do, you will always be in the wrong. Even the most, most upright of the Divine Dragon will never dare to say a word of fairness under the banner of the Justice of the Pugilistic Fraternity. Because even if it is said out, others may not believe…Hello, do you agree?”

There was a tingle in the eyes of Nangong Ping but till, he kept quiet.

Mei Yinxue suddenly softly laughed. “But you can place your heart to rest. Now in the Pugilist, except for you and me, there is no one else that knows that I am…” She did not say it out.

Suddenly there was laughter coming from outside the window as it said. “Peacock Concubine, this time you are wrong!”

Nangong Ping underwent a great change in his countenance as he said in a low voice. “Who?” As he saw a man entering by the window who smiled and said. “Due to unforeseeable circumstances, I am forced to enter through the city to avoid the ears of men. Please forgive me!”

The man was actually ‘Fragrance of a Thousand Miles’ Ren Fengping!

Nangong Ping was startled as he fell backward three steps.

A strange expression floated on Mei Yinxue pale face as she got up and said. “What are you saying? Please say it again alright?” Her voice was so gentle and tranquil like a teacher taking to her students to repeat their answers.

Ren Fengping was slightly startled and did not know whether this woman was actually composed or unconcerned. But his thoughts betrayed him as it was shown on his face. So he tried to shift this frustrating query by saying. “The Nangong Aristocracy Family is really wealthy throughout the world! Who will expect that in faraway Xian, you have such a beautiful villa.”

Nangong Ping smiled and extended his hands as an appreciation of thanks. By now he had recovered his composure.

When Ren Fengping had sat down, Mei Yinxue softly laughed. “What I asked earlier, did you not heard?”

Ren Fengping smiled and said. “The Peacock Concubine is renowned throughout the realm. Maiden Mei words, how can I afford to miss out…”

Mei Yinxue looked solemn and coldly said. “Maybe you have heard too much of a gossip…” As she moved forth and one of her jade hands waved in the front of Ren Fengping.

Although Ren Fengping remained motionless and smiling, he was looking at Mei Yinxue’s hand. It was as though he did not know that once Mei Yinxue lowered her hand, he would immediately hover around death’s door.

Nangong Ping looked on knowingly and he stepped to the front of Mei Yinxue. Only when Mei Yinxue gently put down her hand did he take a deep breath in his heart and thought. “This man either he possesses supreme martial skill or that he has a superb intellect…”

His thoughts were interrupted by Ren Fengping big laughter. “Impressive! Impressive! The Peacock Concubine is indeed a phoenix among women…”
He ceased his laughter and said solemnly, “Maiden Mei, if your hand was to pat down, then you don’t deserve to be a phoenix.”

Mei Yinxue coldly said, “You have not make yourself clear, naturally I will not harm you…”

Ren Fengping suddenly laughed and said, “After I make myself clear, I don’t think Maiden will think of harming me.”

Mei Yinxue coldly said, “Those that know too much, will usually hover around death’s door.”

Ren Fengping exclaimed, “Do I really know too much?”

Mei Yinxue said, “Indeed!” As she did not take her glance from Ren Fengping. Although she could not guess his intention but she could not take him lightly. For a person that could treat lightly her hand that could end his life anytime, his action and words were not to be taken lightly.

Ren Fengping ceased his laughter and added, “If I had known too much, then in the Xian City, those people that know too much numbered at least a thousand!”

Mei Yinxue countenance changed as she interrupted, “How do you explain it?”

Ren Fengping explained, “Maiden Mei knows the arts of youth and can remain ageless. Therefore no one else in the world will ever know Maiden Mei that look like twenty years of old will be the Peacock Concubine. But…who will expect that Nangong brother will leave a survivor and he has ran to ‘Flying Rings’ Wei Qi…”

He pointed at the dark skies outside the window and said aloud. “Nangong brother, Maiden Mei, did you not notice that the skies of Xian City is now filled with the malevolent air of sword energy!”

Nangong Ping muttered, “Survivor…”

Mei Yinxue solemnly said, “That…That Ye Liuge (Gentleman Swordsman) did not die?”

Ren Fengping sighed and nodded, “Although he is heavily injured, he has yet to die…”

Nangong Ping was left stunned for awhile before muttering. “He has yet to die?” Although he sounded startled, he was actually also relieved.

Therefore when Ren Fengping looked at him, he found that Nangong Ping did not behave within his expectations when he heard the news.

“Although Ye Liuge is wounded, he did not die. Li Tian Ming has come down from Mt. Zhongnan. Li Tianming is the Chief of the Zhongnan Sect and Wei Qi is the Seventh of the Zhongnan disciples. And at this moment of time, Wei Qi has mustered all the pugilists in the city to search for the two of you. Although I am hapless to aid you but I could not watch on helplessly therefore I rush here…Nangong Master, the enemy is strong and you weak and you are greatly outnumbered. Moreover your protégé brother and protégé Sister in law seem to some biased views currently, therefore I suggest…”

Nangong Ping added, “Do you mean to say that we should seek cover for awhile?”

Before Ren Fengping could say anything, Mei Yinxue interrupted, “Wrong!”

She was smiling but no one knew why.

Ren Fengping replied, “I do have such an intention. Why did maiden say it is wrong?”

Mei Yinxue explained, “If I were you, I would advise him to stop meddling on this matter. Because anyone that is involved with the Cold Blood Concubine Mei Yinxue, will not have a good ending.”

She said in jeer, “Is that what you want to say to him in your heart?” She did not wait for Ren Fengping to open his mouth and turned to Nangong Ping and said, “If I were you, I would immediately go far, far away. Even run to that ‘Flying Rings’ Wei Qi and to tell him straight in the face that Mei Yinxue and you have nothing to do with one another…”

She suddenly stumped in her voice and then laughed hilariously, “Mei Yinxue haiz, Mei Yinxue…You are really a most misfortune and dumb person. You obviously know that the people in the Pugilistic Fraternity will never let spare you because you do not stand for heroism and righteousness. Because of your pitiful yet spiteful temper…but at least you should feel very proud. Because of a lonely girl like you, those righteous and heroic pugilists actually mobilize the entire city to deal with you!”

Nangong Ping kept quiet and he retained his composure while Ren Fengping looked on strangely at the out of norm rare beauty who had by now ceased her hilarious laughs and was now sitting on the chair. Her eyes now looked sharp, firm and cold. It seemed that she had thrown away all her feelings with that laugh. And now her blood really became icy cold.

Ren Fengping secretly thought. “This man and woman is not a couple, they are not even friends. I wonder what are their relationship with one another.”

He turned his attention to Nangong Ping and asked, “This matter must not be delayed anymore. I wonder what you planning to do?”

Nangong Ping smiled and said, “Your kind intention, I appreciate it…”

Feng Fengping said, “The odds are many, it is better if you flee.”

“The odds are many…” Nangong Ping solemnly said, “Zhongnan Sect is an orthodox clan. Surely they will listen to explanations and not use the odds right?”

Ren Fengping thought, “The Cold Blood Concubine has such a bad reputation that there is no need for any explanations…” But he said instead, “This…”

Mei Yinxue suddenly laughed coldly and added, “You may look smart but actually you are very stupid. Those self-righteous people have long hated me to the core. Will they even give me a chance to explain?”

Ren Fengping thought, “Indeed she has excellent foreknowledge…” And he looked at Nangong Ping and thought it weird that although he looked calm from outside, but he was stubborn within. How could he tolerate her at all?

Suddenly there was a knock as Wei Chuan En entered. He felt strange to see that there was another person in the room. But because he was experienced in dealing with surprises, in that instant, his surprise faded away. He lowered his head and said, “Your humble servant did not dare to disturb Master but…”

A sorry smile was seen as he added, “The servants underneath Master and some merchants from Xian City when they heard that Master have come, all wanted to come and pay a visit. And they are holding a feast at Eternal Restaurant for Master and Maiden Mei. I wonder if Master will honor a visit.”

Nangong Ping looked solemn and glanced at Mei Yinxue who raised her eyebrow slightly as he looked at her. Although she did not say it out, her disapproval was spelt out quite obvious.

But Nangong Ping asked solemnly, “Is it now?”

Wei Chuan En replied, “If it is convenient for Master…”

Nangong Ping said, “Let’s go!”

Wei Chuan En looked very happy as he said, “Your humble servant will lead the way!” He left the room joyfully for his Master had actually shown him such a great honor.

Ren Fengping was stunned. At this moment of time, the entire city of pugilists were now combing for Nangong Ping and the ‘Cold Blood Concubine.’ He really could not believe that Nangong Ping would agree to such a request.

He thought, “If he is not exceptional brave, then he must be a hopeless fool…”

Nangong Ping smiled and seemingly saw through his heart, “Hero Ren, will you like to join us too for a couple of drinks?”

Ren Fengping shook his hands and said, “It’s alright with me.” He could not resist sighing and added, “I really cannot understand your intentions…”

Nangong Ping added. “My Benevolent Master often taught me, when things happen, why avoid it? Face it boldly!” He smiled. “The disciples of the Divine Dragon will never back down from anything!”

Ren Fengping quietly said, “Maybe you are right.”

Nangong Ping said, “As for the kind intention shown by you, I am very grateful. If we have a chance to meet some other time, I will make merry with you.”

Ren Fengping said, “Ever since I entered the Pass, my only achievement is to know a heroic young man like you. Please take care after we part.” As he extended his hands and left through the window!

Nangong Ping watched him as he disappeared and commented. “This person is really a good man!”

Mei Yinxue coldly laughed and said in jest, “Really?” And walked to the door but she suddenly turned her head and laughed. “I am feeling strange. Why did you want to go deliver yourself to…”

Nangong Ping said, “If you don’t wish to go…”

Mei Yinxue said. “Since you already decided. Neither did I attach any importance to life and death in my heart. Alas!…Frankly speaking, with regards to life, I am really very tired.” She lifted her hand to comb her hair back and slowly walked out.

Nangong Ping was startled and heard a soft sigh coming from outside of the door. “If I were them, I would never give you the chance to explain either.”

But the steps that followed Nangong Ping out of the door was strangely steady amidst the sorrowful sighing.

Suddenly there was a great commotion as the pugilists saw a nonchalance young man in cotton robe and an extremely beautiful and demeanor woman.

“Nangong Ping!”

“The Cold Blood Concubine!”

The pugilists that littered the streets echoed the names of these two people in their eyes.

Nangong Ping was smiling as he followed Wei Chuan En. He was exceptional calm and that alone captivated the hearts of all the pugilists!

Hundreds of eyes looked on as they followed his steady footsteps.

Suddenly a thin young swordsman drawn his sword and it emitted a chilling cold sword energy. But Nangong Ping did not even look at him.

The pugilists that were around therefore did not make their move. The thin young swordsman looked around and froze in his tracks.

Mei Yinxue beautiful eyes rolled as her long hair flurried. She was carrying a captivating and sweet smile on her face and docile walked besides Nangong Ping.

An unknown number of people were looking at her. As she looked at the pugilists with her beautiful eyes, many of them immediately lowered their heads and started to tidy their clothing.

Those who were pessimists secretly thought. “Is it because my clothing is untidy? Is it because I look funny? Why did she smile at me?”

Those who were egoistic secretly thought. “Alas, she is smiling at me. Is it because she takes a liking for me?”

The pugilists that crowded in the streets were all thinking that Mei Yinxue’s smiles were all directing on them.

When Mei Yinxue saw their expressions, the captivating smile that was on her face grew even more charming!

The lighting and decorations in the Eternal Restaurant had been specifically prepared for the young master of the Nangong Aristocracy Family.

Now Nangong Ping and Mei Yinxue had reached the wine restaurant and were walking up the stairs. Although the boss of wine restaurant was trying his best to restrain himself but his glance was unable to remove from Mei Yinxue.

The tables had been laid on the second floor of the restaurant and seated besides it, were the richest men in Xian City. In normal days, the attitudes of those men were usually haughty but today, they were all humbly waiting. Because the one soon to come, was the wealthiest of the wealthy, the Prince of the Golden Kingdom!

All the wealthy merchants immediately stood up but lowered their heads at the same time as though the dazzling golden light of this Prince would blind their eyes!

Nangong Ping smiled and extended his hands to everyone. They lifted up their heads and could not help feeling startled and stunned. But what caused them to be caused were the straightforward mannerism of Nangong Ping and the unparalleled charm of Mei Yinxue.

At the same time, the crowd that was down the streets was in a state of pandemonium. “Nangong Ping and Mei Yinxue have gone up to the Eternal Restaurant”. This message started to spread till it reached the ears of Priest Tian Ming and Wei Qi.

Thereafter shoves of pugilists headed toward the Eternal Restaurant in excitement and nervousness!

Coming from the top of the Eternal Restaurant were music, laughers, toasts…as it made its way down by the wind.

The Chief of Zhongnan, Priest Tian Ming walked hastily to the Eternal Restaurant with ‘Flying Rings’ Wei Qi.

Priest Tian Ming asked, “This Nangong Ping is said to be the son of a very wealthy family…”

Wei Qi replied, “Indeed.”

Li Tian Ming said in jest. “If he think he wants to move our hearts through wealth, then he is not far from death. How can we let such a rogue mingle in Pugilist?”

Wei Qi said, “Although he is young but his wealth equaled a kingdom and is the protégé of the Immortal Divine Dragon. He has everything and should have behaved. Who will expect that although he is handsome, he is so lecherous. It really cause others to sigh for him.”

Li Tian Ming exclaimed, “This Nangong Ping shall pay for his evil deeds with his life. Even his clan disciples look down upon him and refuse to be involved with him!”

Wei Qi sighed, “But no matter what. Today our target is Mei Yinxue. As for Nangong Ping, we should at least reserve some respect to the Immortal Divine Dragon.”

Li Tianming scoffed, “This has to depend what is the relationship between Mei Yinxue and him!”

By now they had reached the Eternal Restaurant. Li Tianming waved with his hands as a signal for the pugilists to surround this wine restaurant.

This was to cut off the retreat route of Nangong Ping and Mei Yinxue. This act had alarmed the people of Xian City and countless number of speculators had also crowded round the big street. It caused the curious constables to stall in the attempt to investigate the riot.

This riot had never happened before…

Everyone from young maidens, married women with babies to the bedridden old men were asking, “What is the matter?”

Those that were working stopped their work, those that were scholars put down their books, those that were eating stop their meals, and the gamblers stopped gambling and hurried to the street to ask, “What is the matter?”

Some thought that there was a mass robbery for many of the wealthier men were at the Eternal Restaurant. Therefore there was even more panic among the rich.

Some thought that there was an upcoming bloodshed by the pugilists for they recognized Master Wei Qi and immediately barred their doors and windows.

The anxious constables were shouting in the crowd and holding iron chains in their hands!

The frightened married women were in the crowd shouting for their sons and daughters who was lost.

The ancient city of Xian was now in a state of a commotion and confusion.

And the people that were affected by the riots would never expect that it all happened because of one woman, a very beautiful maiden – the ‘Cold Blood Concubine’!

But above the wine restaurant, under the majesty light of the lamps, Mei Yinxue was nonchalant and at ease.

She was even sitting quietly besides Nangong Ping, with a coy look and was smiling.

But the riots on the streets had started to cause these wealthy merchants to feel startled as they secretly thought, “What is going on?”

But because none of them dared to be disrespectful to Nangong Ping, therefore none of them walked to the window and took a peek.

Suddenly there was a great shout from below and like a wind, from the surrounding windows, scores of men appeared like a ghost in the darkness and their icy cold stares were upon Mei Yinxue and Nangong Ping.

“Who are they?”

“What is the matter?”

Nangong Ping sighed as he got up and he slowly walked to the stairs. He was like a host that was waiting for late guest.

Ascending from the stairs were Li Tianming and Wei Qi. Their expressions were like bronze as they made their way up the stairs.

Nangong Ping smiled and said. “Please forgive me for the lack of welcome for the two Seniors.”

‘Jaded Hand of the Positive Nirvana’ Li Tianming stared fiercely for awhile before he walked slowly towards Mei Yinxue, who was trying to contain her laughter.

He sat down and took a cup of wine from the table and drink from it. The people all around were looking in tension at his very move. And the air around suddenly became insufferable.

He did not even look at Mei Yinxue who seated just opposite him and looked at his snow-white hand and solemnly said, “The night is very late now. I sure the guests have their fill of the food and wine. It is time to go back!”

There was a commotion as the guests ran down like prisoners forgetting their usual etiquette.

But there was a very brave bank boss who said, “What is going on with you people. For no reason you come here to create trouble. Is there no regard for law and order? Although his words were brave but he was stumbling with fright.

Li Tianming coldly laughed and did not even turned his head, “If you don’t wish to leave, you can choose to stay here!”

The bank boss looked around. By now, the rest of the guests had mostly dispersed and he looked at the cold stares around him. He felt a cold shiver down his spine. He hurried extended his hands to Nangong Ping and left in a hurry.

Wei Qi coldly laughed as he walked toward Li Tianming side and sat down.

Nangong Ping walked towards Mei Yinxue and said to the visitors. “The dishes are still hot and the wine still warm. Respected Seniors, let’s drink together?” He said it in a calm manner.

But Wei Qi smashed the tables with his hands.

There was a change in Nangong Ping’s countenance and he said solemnly, “If Seniors wish to drink, I will glad to comply. But if Seniors do not wish to have the intention to drink, then I afraid I have to leave.”

Li Tianming coldly said, “If you want to go down, please free to.”

Mei Yinxue softly laughed as she slowly stood up, “Then let us go.”

Wei Qi shouted, “You cannot go!”

Mei Yinxue raised one of her eyebrows as she asked flabbergasted, “Why is that I cannot go? Does Master Wei Qi wishes for me to stay behind to accompany you, to drink?”

Li Tianming coldly said, “Maiden you have been overbearing in the Pugilistic Fraternity for nearly thirty years and there are countless number of people harmed by you. Now you should have lived long enough.”

Mei Yinxue charmingly said, “Priest your hair is white and you have not live enough. If you continue to live…Ha, I afraid others will soon call you an old imp.”

Wei Qi was enraged while Li Tianming did not appear to be moved. He waved a hand to calm Wei Qi rage and coldly said, “If today, Maiden you die, I will conduct a rite for you to pacify your soul. So that those malicious ghosts that you have innocently harmed will not extract revenge upon your soul.”

Mei Yinxue softly said, “Haiz! You have to kill me today?”

Li Tianming coldly said, “I dare not. I only hope Maiden will decide use a sword to end your life yourself.”

Mei Yinxue asked, “End myself with a sword?” She looked very surprised. “Why?”

Li Tianming said, “I don’t wish to talk with you but because a priest is merciful that why I am doing so now. If you still want to talk in circles, I’ll be forced to kill!”

Mei Yinxue said, “Then you have better start doing so or else I will reveal your secret!” She was still smiling while Priest Tianming underwent a great change in his countenance.

Wei Qi said, “I have already said we shouldn’t talk too much with her.” As he brandished out a Phoenix and Dragon Ring.

Nangong Ping suddenly said, “Wait!”

Wei Qi said, “Do you wish to accompany her to die?” As he sent tables flying all over.

Nangong Ping parried the tables away to the walls behind his back as he said, “The two of you come in such a haste only to kill. It is so ridiculous!”

The surrounding pugilists were surprised to find them so composed and unwittingly sighed. The pugilists below were also in a state of surprise to find it quite quiet above.

Nangong Ping took a glance around and said in a clear voice. “Today you come with many, using bullying tactic and attempting to kill us in the confusion. Then in the future, would not others in the Pugilist demand a justice as well? If you really want to take our lives today, at least you should make accountable to all the people in the Pugilistic Fraternity for whatever reasons, must we die!” His voice was clear and loud and echoed to all sides.

Priest Tianming said in jest, “From your speech, it seem that you want to say it to the pugilists around?”

Nangong Ping said, “Indeed. Unless the Pugilist today have no justice and righteousness to speak of. Even if you are the Alliance Chief of the Pugilistic Fraternity, you still cannot treat human life so lightly!”
The fellowship of the pugilists had all come in a state of incitement but after listening to Nangong Ping who was filled with righteousness in his words, everyone from some degree or another was secretly moved. Some even quietly jumped down from the window!

Li Tianming looked around and his countenance changed.

Mei Yinxue smiled captivatingly, “You must be feeling regretful in your heart that you shouldn’t have talked to me that much. And should have just killed me!”

Although her voice was soft but every single word of hers spread far and wide.

Wei Qi laughed aloud hilariously, “If you were someone else, I afraid you will raise suspicious upon the words of my brother and I. But you are Cold Blood Concubine so even if you say a thousand words, it is useless. No matter how beautiful you can say, I, Wei Qi must rid the Pugilist of this jinx.”

He turned towards Nangong Ping and said, “Since you know that she is the “Cold Blood Concubine’, why then did you want to intercede for her? Just this point alone, you deserve to die. But for the sake of your Protégé Master…go, go, leave now.”

Li Tianming said, “The way you are covering for her. Does it mean that you and her have something that is under wraps?”

Nangong Ping was now furious. At first he had thought that this Chief of Zhongnan and ‘Flying Rings’ Wei Qi were righteous people. But after witnessing the scene, he was now enlightened.

The pugilists, who were still around after listening to their explanations, now thought. “That is right. If it is others, there is still some room for negotiations. But the ill name of this ‘Cold Blood Concubine’ has long been known. Therefore she deserve to die long ago. The way this young man tries to protect her, very possibly he is not a good man either.”

Actually none of them had really seen Mei Yinxue before but people were like that. The little sympathies that they had for Nangong Ping had largely vanished. One must know the feeling of the crowd since ancient times operated in an illogical manner. Even if a person could be very understanding but when throw in the midst of the crowd, they would feel unable to flex their own free will but to follow the crowd.

Nangong Ping sighed and knew that he could not control the situation today unlike his earlier expectations. He turned and glanced at Mei Yinxue only to hear her still maintaining her smile. She seemed truly had placed life and death aside.

The pugilists were all shouting. “What is the use of saying so much? Kill them both.”

Li Tianming coldly laughed, “You want the justice of the Pugilistic Fraternity, now you can have it!”

Wei Qi shouted as he swung his weapons right up and left up. His appearance was imposing and this stance ‘Upright Display’ cheered for his extraordinary display of martial skills.

Mei Yinxue kept her composure and slowly said, “You want to challenge me alone?”

Wei Qi was stunned in his mind as he suddenly remembered that the ‘Cold Blood Concubine’ possessed very frightening martial skills. And he stood on the same spot seemingly stunned and did not even take a step forward!

Nangong Ping laughed. “Haha. The people from Pugilist are mostly blind fellows…”

Even before he had finished, angry shouts came from all sides as this sentence of his really aroused the anger of all.

Mei Yinxue softly said, “Follow me as I charge out.” Her face was still composed as she had made some tactical thoughts earlier and knew that although their opponents were many but was inevitable to have some confusion. She knew that with her martial skills, surely she should be able to make a blood path out.

But who would expect that Nangong Ping would stand firmly on the same spot and shouted loudly. “Shut up!” This shout was indeed earth shattering. Everyone was startled and ceased their movements.

Nangong Ping looked at Li Tianming and shouted aloud. “No matter what the head or tail, first I, Nangong Ping will like to ask this esteemed Senior of the Pugilist, in what year what day Mei Yinxue committed the crime that sentenced her to death?”

Li Tianming did not expect that at this moment of time, he would ask such a question, therefore he was stunned.

Nangong Ping stood upright and shouted. “If you are unable to answer, then what right do you have to represent the entire Pugilist Fraternity? What right do you have to talk about the Justice of the Pugilist Fraternity? If you and her have some deep vendetta, as the Chief of a Clan, you can only settle it on your own with her. Even if you want to slice her to hundred of thousands of pieces, I, Nangong Ping will not care. But if you want to abuse your power to settle a personal grudge, use the name of the justice of the Pugilistic Fraternity, borrow the use of unproven rumors, use flowery words to confuse and incite hundreds of drunken pugilist friends and call it ‘Justice’! And act so righteously to remove a menace from the Pugilistic Fraternity. I, Nangong Ping am unable to tolerate such hypocrites. Even if you have thousands of words as excuses, thousands and hundreds of men behind you as shields, I, Nangong Ping will not back off!”

Every word coming out from Nangong Ping was filled with righteousness and was earth shattering.

Wei Qi expression changed and the pugilists that was around felt impulsive. Only ‘Jaded Hand of the Positive Nirvana’ was calm. After Nangong Ping had finished, he coldly said. “So it seems that you are challenging me?”

Nangong Ping replied loud and clear. “Indeed!”

A young man freshly initiated from his Clan would dare to challenge the head of a big sword sect; it was really an earthshaking matter in the Pugilistic Fraternity. The pugilists all around broke into a commotion.

Many pugilists that remained below tried to squeeze up while the common people were feeling startled. The government constables did not know why suddenly there were so many pugilists. Even though they had some connection with Master Wei Qi but it was something that they could not afford to be held accountable so they reported it to higher up authority.

Li Tianming swept his eyes around and noticed that many of his helpers had become speculators. He started to regret in his heart. He did not know that many people could hinder things. Moreover these pugilists came from all over the place, were hard to control and like scattered sand. He raised his robe and said. “Since you are so arrogant, don’t blame me for teaching you a lesson.”

Nangong Ping laughed coldly awhile.

Wei Qi was startled and immediately took a few steps behind.

Mei Yinxue exclaimed. “Interesting, interesting. If this place is not big enough, let me push those tables to the side.” From her speech, it seemed that it was a challenge by others and none of her business.

Nangong Ping knew that she was like that and did not feel strange in his heart. But all others were secretly startled and thought. “She is indeed without doubt the ‘Cold Blood Concubine’!”

But there were some love simply love to see troubles, and actually started to pull the tables and stairs to one side.

Nangong Ping and Li Tianming both stood upright and looked at one another. Naturally Li Tianming was composed and calm, as he was sure that this young man was not his match.

As for Nangong Ping, although he had an iron gut but he could not help but feel nervous. After all it was the first time he had to fight a strong opponent and could not afford to be careless. So he first tried to calm himself down by planning for the first few strokes, he had to be extra caution, and use defense as an opportunity to attack.

Li Tianming who was a veteran of countless fights knew instantly what his intentions were from his eyes so he was even more assured. He solemnly said. “Brother Qi, do not let that witch go.”

Wei Qi made a sound as reply while Mei Yinxue laughed. “Such an interesting show, how will I bear to leave?”

Nangong Ping pretended not to hear.

Li Tianming hummed and said. “Ready!”

As he treasured his status, so he was not willing to attack first.

But Nangong Ping had already decided to use ‘Still to counter Action’, using ‘Defense as Attack’. Therefore he did not move at all.

Wei Qi said in a low voice. “Fourth Brother, there is no need to be courtesy to this pugilist rogue.”

Li Tianming replied. “Indeed!” He extended a hand and pat toward Nangong Ping’s shoulder!

This stroke when it was launched, the left hand was by the side of the body. It left the entire body unguarded and there was plenty of opportunity for an attacker to exploit. And the direction of the right hand was not the vulnerable point of Nangong Ping. Although he attacked first, he was actually giving way to him.

The speculators around were all good fighters in the Pugilist. So how could they not tell therefore there were shouts of approval.

Nangong Ping was slightly startled and he did not expect the Chief of Zhongnan would deploy such a stroke.

As he was inexperienced and he did not seek to win in his heart. Therefore when he saw Li Tianming attacked him with his hand, he did not seize the opportunity to counter attack. Instead he moved back lightning fast three steps backward.

Li Tianming smiled and he attacked using the same stroke again, also with his left hand by the side. Nangong Ping once again retreated as the pugilists shouted.

Before the shouts of applause were over, Li Tianming attacked again with the same stroke.

Nangong Ping was feeling angry at heart. But just when he was about to retaliate, he found out that it was actually directly at his head so he took another two steps back.

Nangong Ping secretly sighed. The second shouts of applause from the pugilists had not yet ended when a third wave was heard. Nangong Ping did not have the opportunity to attack and Li Tianming had garnered three rounds of loud applause.

Some even muttered in low voices. “Such lowly standard, to think he dare to challenge ‘Jaded Hand of the Positive Nirvana’. This is indeed laudable!”

After the three strokes, Li Tianming was feeling high in spirit. So he get real. Now his right hand attacked Nangong Ping’s left neck while his left hand extended five fingers to grip Nangong Ping’s three major accupoints on his waist.

Nangong Ping managed to retain his calm. He moved his legs and avoided the attacks and his right hand extended lightning fast to attack Li Tianming on his diaphragm major accupoint.

Li Tianming was secretly startled as he dodged and withdrawn his attacks. But his palm force startled Nangong Ping as well.

Li Tianming used the ‘The Golden Scissors’ stance but Nangong Ping had suddenly kicked and he immediately leapt back three steps. By now his haughtiness had largely faded. He had the first opportunity to attack and within his stances, was hidden some other stances as well so he was not worried.

And the pugilists all thought that Nangong Ping would be fell very soon.
Although Nangong Ping was very young, he was not cowed or confused.

This kick in term of placement and timing were perfect.

Therefore some pugilist started to whisper in low voices. “The disciple of the Divine Dragon is really an extraordinary fighter.”

Now tens of strokes had passed. As Nangong Ping had a barrier in his heart, he could not utilize his full potential. Therefore once again, Li Tianming gained the upper hand. And the crowds were chanting the name of ‘Jaded Hand of the Positive Nirvana’.

Li Tianming fully displayed the ‘Proud Wind of the Spring Swordplay’ as he converted it to the style of his palm attacks and his hands became like that of a sharp sword!

Wei Qi slowly relaxed and his solemn face replaced by a smile. He took a glance at Mei Yinxue who was still smiling and in her eyes she seemed to be sure that Nangong Ping would win.

Although Li Tianming attacks got fiercer and more and more powerful but Nangong Ping remained undefeated. Although everyone was cheering for Li Tianming but in their hearts, they were extremely startled that this fresh protégé from his Clan would stay undefeated for so long under the hands of the ‘Jaded Hand of the Positive Nirvana’.

More than tens of strokes had passed, Nangong Ping gained his confidence and calmed himself down and knew that he could win.
One must know that the martial skills of the Divine Dragon derived from interchanging between Void and Flexibility. And attacking with a fierce but surprise element was the attack forte of the Divine Dragon Skills.

Although Nangong Ping was using defend as a forte and he seemed to be using all his strength but in fact he only used five folds of his strength.

Li Tianming suddenly deployed a stroke ‘Flower Drifting Style’ and attacked Nangong Ping on both his sides!

Suddenly Li Tianming was stunned when Nangong Ping shouted suddenly as he was being attacked from up to down, left and right at the same time. No matter how he tried to dodge it, he would be hit from one side!

The pugilists were startled as Wei Qi was heard exclaiming. “The ‘Heavenly Dragon Sixteen Stances’!”

In his entire life, he most admired the Immortal Divine Dragon but in his most innermost heart, he had a personal wish to fight with the Immortal Divine Dragon. Now that he had saw this beautiful, graceful and incomparable stance, his heart was downcast. He did not know that lately the Immortal Divine Dragon had developed a Seventeenth Stance to the stances of the Heavenly Dragon Skill.

In this whole wide world, in terms of flexibility of movement skills, there may be many types but only ‘Genesis Thirteen Strokes’, ‘Mount Tian Seven Formless Hand’, ‘Eight Palm of Kunlun Divine Dragon’ were extraordinary in the sense that those skills allowed them to attack after they soared.

But only this ‘Zhijiao Manor’ unique skill derived from the ‘Heavenly Dragon Sixteen Stances’ called the ‘Cloud Breaker Four Strokes’ which was derived from the last stroke, could attack while the body was soaring.

Therefore this stroke that Nangong Ping used was the ‘Cloud Breaker Four Strokes’. The first stroke that was named ‘Ninth Heaven’, that attacked with both hands and legs after he had sealed off the retreat path of Li Tianming and interchanged it with a stroke from ‘Heavenly Dragon Claw’.

Next he attacked with ten fingers as he descended like through the cloud!
But the ‘Jaded Hand of the Positive Nirvana’ being the Chief of a Sect, his martial skills naturally could not be underestimated as he used a stance ‘Hand Reversal’ as he caught hold of Nangong Ping’s fingers.

His internal power, his timing and the placement startled everyone as the sound of twenty fingers locked and crackled.

The shout of the pugilists was it cheering or was it because they were startled?

Nangong Ping paled as he and Li Tianming rolled on the ground, both refusing to let go of their fingers, as they fought with their concentration, internal strength and even staked their lives upon it.

This heart stopping challenge silenced everyone. Those below were puzzled by the sudden silence.

And beads of perspiration were seen on them. Although Nangong Ping had many excellent martial skills but in terms of internal strength, he was not on par with the tens of training that Li Tianming had. Therefore Nangong Ping strength was failing fast.

Wei Qi slowly broke into a happy look while Mei Yinxue face slowly became solemn.

The dead silence was no more as cries were heard below. Everyone was startled as they felt hot and even the speculators perspired.

Nangong Ping and Li Tianming sweat even more.

And then there was shouts coming from below. “A fire broke out, a fire broke out…”

A pandemonium broke out and the pugilists were no longer interested to stay on and look. Many jumped down. And the number of speculators was like ants on a hot stove, scattering in all directions.

Although there were some that were trying to put out the fire but the fire was very strange. It was a burning fierce type and looked like it would swallow the whole wine tavern in a great instant.

But Nangong Ping, Li Tianming was still locking their hands in a life and death fight. None of them dare to move even half a step.

‘Flying Rings’ Wei Qi who was sweating with beads of perspiration, his eyes stressing and his Twin Rings made a noise and when he was about to leap, his vision blurred and suddenly Mei Yinxue was standing coldly in front of him.

In his rage, he shouted and his right hand attack with the Golden Dragon Ring and aimed on Mei Yinxue’s face. While on his left hand, the Golden Phoenix Ring and threw towards Nangong Ping.

Nangong Ping by now had exerted all his strength. Not to mention this powerful sneak attack, even a ten-year-old child who threw a stone, he would not be able to take it. Now he could only await death with his eyes opened.

But Mei Yinxue only coldly laughed awhile as she blended backward suddenly (Her waist seemed soft and without bone) and gently extended her hand as her beautiful fingers hit the golden ring. With a flicker of her fingernails, she sent the Golden Ring flying towards Li Tianming.

As Nangong Ping was startled, in a lapse of concentration he allowed his opponent to gain momentum strength. Now he was about to lose all his strength and was about to fall when Li Tianming appeared to be very startled all of a sudden.

Seizing his lapse in joy, Nangong Ping immediately regained some momentum strength and retaliated.

Mei Yinxue softly laughed and said. “This is called reaping your own…” But before she could finish, the Ring flew back to the back of Mei Yinxue’s waist.

Mei Yinxue smiled and said. “Excellent, you actually attached a chain to the Ring!” In the pace of her words and smile, her beautiful hand caught hold of that flying Ring as easy as catching things with a big sack.

One must know that she had been in the coffin for ten years to train her martial skills. In her later years, she managed to redevelop her martial skill to a higher height. Her eyes and ears by now were unparalleled in the world. Even it was a flying needle that was behind her back; she could still catch it.

‘Flying Rings’ Wei Qi was startled as he moved backward and used all his might to pull back this Golden Ring. His chain was made of white gold, although it was very thin and soft but it was very firm and blades and swords would even find it hard to be severed.

But Mei Yinxue was still smiling as she waved her right hand and simply cut the chain!

Wei Qi found himself losing courage. Although he had regained his composure but unwittingly he took two steps backward.

By now the raging fire had reached the second floor and the window frames were all destroyed by the fire. The fury fire caused Nangong Ping, Li Tianming and Wei Qi to be drenched with sweat from their entire body.

By now Mei Yinxue too started to profuse with her sweet sweat as well.
Some of the burning ceiling had dropped off and a plank dropped by Mei Yinxue’s side. She swung her leg and just avoided a kick from Wei Qi, and she picked out the burning plank with her leg and sent it flying toward him.

With a shout, Wei Qi left hand hit the burning plank very hard and sent it flying out of the burning restaurant. He seemed to have forgot that he still had a Golden Ring on his wrist. As his hand was extended, the chain moved and hit himself at the back of his head.

Although the chain was thin, it was made of white gold and when he added his internal force on it, it was not to be taken slightly. Therefore he was now bleeding on the top of his back head. Wei Qi cried out as he tried to untangle from the gold chain.

Mei Yinxue laughed. “What an excellent stroke. Is it call the ‘The Dog whipping itself with its Tail’?”

Although she was laughing and talking but she had moved to the side of Li Tianming.

When Nangong Ping saw that she had not left during this torturous standoff, somehow he felt consoled. Then he saw her about to place her beautiful hand on Li Tianming, he suddenly shouted (But his shout was soft as he had almost exerted all his strength), and pushed with all his might and pushed Li Tianming five feet away. And the two of them landed with a loud stump on the ground.

Mei Yinxue was startled and was besides him in an instant while Wei Qi rushed to the side of Li Tianming and looked at the two of them. Although the both of them were breathless and looked spent but there was no sign of any internal injuries.

But they remained staring at one another and both were startled.

It because that under this painstaking fight, it became a mental contest as both of them were startled constantly by outside factors. Although their hands were clenched tightly together but it was without vital energies.

Nangong Ping being a hero with an iron gut did not wish for a third party to hurt his opponent and when he saw Mei Yinxue was about to pat her hand down, he pushed Li Tianming away at the risk of hurting himself.

After he pushed, he discovered that the both of them had long expended their vital energies and was unable to hurt one another, therefore he was startled.

There was a big shout below. “Master Wei Qi, Priest Tianming…” As four priests with swords emerged from the burning flames to the second floor.

Mei Yinxue was startled and softly said. “Let’s go!”

Li Tianming took a deep breath and after seeing that his helpers had come, his spirit was stirred. He shouted. “Nangong Ping, before a winner is determined, the one that leave is not a man!”

Nangong Ping was aroused as he broke away from Mei Yinxue’s wrist as he tried to stand.

Li Tianming had by now charged toward him, raised his fists and attacked him on his chest. Although this old man hair was white with experience but at the moment of time, his eyes were blur, his hair was messy, his mental was weakened and really could not compared to a young pugilist.

Nangong Ping felt a stirring of warm blood rushing forth his head as he was incited by his nature. His body turned, avoided this fist and retaliated with both his hands.

Those four priests had by now surrounded them. They were actually the four protectors of the Zhongnan Sect. Not only were they nimble, they were also very experienced with their swords.

Wei Qi shouted aloud. “Leave the man, capture the girl first.”

And four reflections from their swords flashed like lightning and aimed upon Mei Yinxue.

Although Mei Yinxue was in a very dangerous predication, she had not lost her captivating smile yet. Her eyes rolled and glanced lightly at each of the four gray robe priest.

These four men were priests and their willpower as steady as the mountain. But they had never saw such an extremely beautiful woman before, never saw such a sweet and beautiful smile. Therefore they were stumbled in their mind and their four swords were slowly lowered.

Mei Yinxue swung her thin waist, as her hands shot up and in that instant, there were three loud sounds and three pairs of sword was broken by the Golden Ring in her right hand!

The fourth priest could only see a golden whirl in his eyes as he felt his wrist twisted and moved and the sword that was in his hand was on Mei Yinxue’s left hand!

Mei Yinxue with her long hair flurrying and sent the Golden Ring flying toward Wei Qi, who had been sneaking upon Nangong Ping’s back.

With both hands together, the long sword that was in her left hand was now on her right as she slashed at a priest.

The priest unable to back off in time was seen screaming and his face was covered with blood. The second priest able to back off in time was startled as his headgear was sliced. The third priest was badly frightened.

There was more as Mei Yinxue left hand seemingly moved without a hint of a sound and action as the broken sword from the third priest dropped to the ground. He clasped his right hand with his left in pain as he backed off three steps and was stunned for awhile as he did not know how Mei Yinxue executed that stroke.

The forth priest saw her smiling charmingly and in an instant totally defeated his three disciple brothers. He lost his courage to fight, turned around and run.

Mei Yinxue laughed. “Don’t go, alright?” Her voice was so gentle and poetic similar to a young woman asking her husband to stay. But before the fourth priest could raise his leg to run, the side of his body was slashed two times!

Wei Qi was just about to plunge upon Nangong Ping when he heard the sound of the flying Golden Ring that was resounding aloud and was even fiercer than his by a third.

He did not dare to risk so he turned around and decided to use the Golden Ring on his right hand to parry and used his left hand to receive it. But when both Rings impacted on one another, the Ring that Mei Yinxue threw, seemed to have a life of its own and possessed wings and flew to his back.

At this time, a burning log suddenly dropped from the ceiling and Wei Qi faced an attack to his back and front. He extended his hands and charged to the front.

There was a ‘Dang’ sound as Mei Yinxue’s Golden Ring dropped to the ground. He steadied his footing, body but was startled suddenly to see Mei Yinxue giggling in front of him!

Nangong Ping bit his teeth and used the ‘Horizon Five Strokes’ from the ‘Heavenly Dragon Seventeen Stances’. From the entire stance of Heavenly Dragon, from the first to the seventeen, only the Horizon Five Strokes do not depend on the art of ‘Flexibility’.

From the Five Strokes, there could be twenty-one changes, with attack and defensive moves. It could be said to be most extraordinary but at this moment of time, he had suffered tremendous loss of his strength so even if he could hit Li Tianming, he might not be able to hurt him!

Li Tianming was even more solemn than he was earlier on and he was no longer holding the superior ground as he became tired and many of his attacks slowed down. When Nangong Ping attacked him with a ‘Heavenly Dragon Slashing’ with his hand, he stepped back to avoid being hit but there was a loud sound as his foot broke through the floor.

He cried out, startled as he crashed through the ground, his hands managed to grasp the floor before he completed fell. But now he was completely exhausted. Where could he find the strength to pull his way back?

But without a thought, Nangong Ping gripped Li Tianming by his wrist but he was spent of all his strength and even though he tried to use all his strength, he was unable to pull Li Tianming up.

There was a ‘dang’ sound as Nangong Ping too lost his foot into the wooden floor. If he would to move back now, Li Tianming would surely fall into the burning fire below. If he did not, he too would be fallen into the burning fire.

Li Tianming was shaking all over and his clothing had caught fire.

Nangong Ping looked at this opponent who was trying to kill him just a moment ago. But the righteousness in his heart refused to let go and he gripped even more tightly, refusing to let go. A burning plank fell and as he could not avoid it. But luckily it landed three inches away from him. If it landed on his head, he would die instantly.

Li Tianming looked on with his eyes widened and sighed. He could help but was touched by the righteousness of this young man. Therefore he croaked. “Hurry and run…hurry and run…Don’t bother about me…”

Nangong Ping bit his teeth as his right hand gripped Li Tianming’s wrist while his left hand gripped the plank of the wood floor. Now blood and sweat dripped from his head as it dripped onto Li Tianming’s body.

Mei Yinxue coldly laughed. “Ten years ago, is it really my wrong?”

She dashingly avoided Wei Qi attacks and slashed across at Wei Qi ‘Jiang Qi’ accupoint position.

Wei Qi shouted. “No matter who is in the wrong, you are the root of all disasters. If it is not for you, where will all these things happen?”

Mei Yinxue appeared to be stunned. She thought. “If it is not for me, where will all these things happen…Is it really my wrong? But when did I ever been in the wrong!”

Wei Qi continued to shout. “Jinx! Jinx! Today I will let you die in my hands!”

The four gray robe priest by now had recovered their composure and was now attacking at the same time.

Mei Yinxue extended her long sword, and the sword light beamed forth like snow and sent the priests forcefully to the side. Her eyes rolled and suddenly she moaned and moved lightning speed toward Li Tianming and Nangong Ping.

Wei Qi was stunned and immediately turned his glance. He saw Nangong Ping and Li Tianming in a dangerous predicament. So he sent the Golden Ring in his right hand flying towards Nangong Ping but when it was near Nangong Ping, the Ring lost its strength. One must know that he had trained for years with the pair of Golden Rings and he could control it freely.

Nangong Ping rolled his eyes and his left hand gripped the Golden Ring and Wei Qi started to pull as he shouted. Slowly, Li Tianming was pulled up. By now Mei Yinxue too had reached and she used her soft internal strength to pulled them both out of the predicament.

The four gray robe priest once attack plunged forward but Li Tianming rolled his eyes and said in a low voice. “Hold it.” He looked idiocy at Nangong Ping for awhile before he sighed and lowered his head.

Nangong Ping, who was still breathless, said. “The victor is still undetermined, you can still continue on!”

Lu Tianming lowered his head and trembled. “I…I have lost!”

When he had said those three words, it seemed that it took away all his strength. Nangong Ping was stunned and did not expect this haughty priest would admit he had lost. At that instant, Li Tianming being the proud Chief of a Sect became a lonely, ordinary old man!

‘Flying Rings’ Wei Qi looked at his Protégé brother and said in a low voice. “Protégé Brother…”

Li Tianming did not turn his head but said in a trembling voice. “Let us go now!” Before he could finish, he collapsed. The wounds on his body cannot be compared to the wounds in his heart!

Wei Qi carried him up and altogether with the four gray robe priests as they made their way out. There was a thunderous sound as the wine tavern collapsed in half.

Nangong Ping was stunned for awhile before sighing and said. “Jaded Hand of the Positive Nirvana’, is indeed a hero!”

Mei Yinxue softly laughed. “What about you?” The two of them locked eyes with one another, there were silence and forgot even the burning fire on their clothing.

The soldiers from the government had now arrived…

 

Ch8 End

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Chapter 6

No one can catch the passing of time and no one can retain time either. But I could tell you this, even before this fog had rose, the night was already very late. Under the starry nights at the Mount Hua mountain range, under the flurrying of the leaves…

Nangong Ping and Mei Yinxue continued to stare at one another. After what seems to be a long time, none of them even flinched.

Between the two of them, no one really knows who was the victor.

Finally, Mei Yinxue motionless body began to move. She gently brushed her fluttering long hair to a side and said. “Do you really want to wait for them?”

Nangong Ping without any hesitation replied loud and clear. “Naturally!”

He did not know that when a woman was arranging her hair, her heart was feeling confused too. He only knew that it was what he should do, therefore he replied without hesitation.

Mei Yinxue melancholy sighed. “As you wish!” And danced away with the fluttering of her dresses. But suddenly she turned back her head and stoically added a few words. “But only this once!”

Under the starry nights, Mei Yinxue sat onto a tree branch while Nangong stood motionless besides the coffin…His heart was in a state of confusion!

Then he walked to and stopped in front of Mei Yinxue. “Let me ask you…”This four words when he first said it out, was loud and clear but the next few lines, he could not continued.

Mei Yinxue rolled her eyes and asked. “What do you want to ask?”

Nangong Ping was startled but he added. “When I first opened that coffin, why was it empty?”

Mei Yinxue gently laughed. “This coffin have another compartment beneath, cant you tell?”

Nangong Ping made a sound of acknowledgement and about to leave when Mei Yinxue tried to contain her laughter and said. “I afraid that what you want to ask me, is not this right!”

Nangong Ping was started and turned back. Both their eyes locking before Nangong Ping lowered his head and said. “That is right!”

Mei Yinxue asked. “Then what is your original question?”

Nangong Ping replied. “But now, I don’t feel like asking anymore!” And walked away.

Mei Yinxue was startled as well. Suddenly she melancholy sighed and said. “Earlier, if I did not borrow the reflection of the Moon to graze at the running stream, I would really think I am old now!”

Nangong Ping turned his head and asked. “What are you saying?”

Mei Yinxue brushed her long hair to the sides of both her shoulders. Under the moonlight, her pale and pure glamorous face indeed displayed her peerless beauty.

Under the background of the tree and the starlight, her eyelids and her beautiful eyes that seemingly reached out to the hearts of others looked at Nangong Ping but although he had turned his head but he was not looking at her. Therefore she unwittingly softly sighed a few times and said. “Ever since I started to roam the Pugilist realm when I was fourteen, anyone that have seen me, no one have treated me the same way as you have treated me…”

Nangong Ping coldly hummed, and reached to feel the patterns of the purple coffin. If he had but opened the coffin lid now, there would be fewer stories to tell in Pugilist. But he was only gently feeling the designs of the coffin and had no intention to open it.

“I have seen many extraordinary young men,” Mei Yinxue was still brushing her long hair that was like the cloud, “I have also seen a lot of extraordinary established heroes. Till now, I still remember very clearly the pitiful and laughable eyes that they have when they looked upon me…”

There was a tinge of reflection in Nangong Ping’s eyes and he shot it towards her as he coldly said. “It is best that you keep all these proud histories of yours in your heart.”

Mei Yinxue said. “Erm…Umm umm?…“ She smiled. “If you don’t want to listen to me, you can walk far away!”

Nangong Ping in a show of frustration slammed his hand onto the coffin and sent the coffin vibrating for awhile. There seemed to be a sound coming from within the coffin but because he was feeling vexed, he did not heard.

“Everywhere I go, I was flattered. Everywhere was those pitiful and laughable faces…” At last she said. “After ten years had seemingly passed. During those ten years, indeed there were many egoistic and stupid men that would bleed for me, involved in duels just for me. It was all because I had looked at him once or I had once smiled at him. Therefore in Pugilist, there were people that started to scold me, scolding me that my blood was cold. But…They did it out of their own free will, how could they blame onto me? Hello…Do you agree?”

Nangong Ping just hummed.

Mei Yinxue gave a captivating laugh. The more frustrated Nangong Ping became, the happier she felt.

“Ten years ago, I finally met a very special man.” She softly sighed and added. “When others looked at me lustfully, he did not. When others stick to me like flies, he did not. When others are either scolding me, or boringly flattering me, he only talked to me when it is appropriate. You could even say he was beginning to understand me. Moreover he is dash and charming, had an extraordinary manners, excellent in martial arts, came from a prominent Clan and added to that he was also capable in chess, music, calligraphy, painting as well as in dance and song. Sometimes he could even recite a few poems. His repute in the Pugilistic Fraternity was prominent too, often mediating and resolving the disputes of others, as well as doing righteousness things. Therefore slowly, I befriended him!”

What she had said, were all praises for that man. It sent Nangong Ping’s heart pacing as he thought. “Such an extraordinary man, if I have the chance to know him, I will surely befriend him as well.”
Therefore he unwittingly interrupted. “Who is this man, is his heroic presence still in the Pugilistic Fraternity?”

Mei Yinxue said, “You do know this man.” As she gave a most loving and captivating laugh at him. “But a pity he would never appear in the mortal realm ever again…”

Nangong Ping sighed with regret in his heart only to hear Mei Yinxue ceased her smiles and coldly added. “Because this man had already died under your sword!”

Nangong Ping was stunned as though some one had struck him hard onto his chest. He asked. “What did you…you say?”

Mei Yinxue appeared not to hear him and went on saying. “Although he may look like a good man from the outside. But in fact, hum hum! One day during a big snowstorm, I alongside with him and also another friend of his, also a prominent figure in the Pugilistic Fraternity was using his place for drinking wine and the enjoyment of the snow. But when I drank halfway, I began to feel that something was not quite right with the taste of the wine. So were their expressions. Therefore I pretended to be drunk, only to heard his friend patting him and said. ‘Fallen, fallen.’ And added. ‘After you have ridden this base mare, do not forget my contributions!’ I had heard it very carefully therefore I temporary remained immobilized and checked out what they were trying to up to!”

This story obviously had caught the attention of Nangong Ping for he was no longer interrupting her.

Mei Yinxue continued. “This man with a beastly heart could even laughed and carried me onto the bed. Just when he was about to undress me, I simply could not tolerate any longer and jumped out of the bed and struck him directly at the front with a palm. This hypocrite although he was bad but his martial arts were not weak. But he ran out of the room through a window. Truth to tell, at that time I had already drank quite a few of the drugged wine so I felt very tired. Therefore that one attack did not seem to injure him but I was unable to chase after him! After awhile,” She looked at her hands, her glances filled with anguish and malicious, and said. “I forced the drug out with my inner strength but I could not contain the vehement in my heart so I ran out and stabbed that despicable friend of his with seven strokes, every sword landed on his vulnerable points!”

Nangong Ping felt a chill in his head as he commented. “How vicious!”

Mei Yinxue coldly laughed awhile before saying. “If I have been less experience in Pugilist, I would have let them violate my body. Then who in Pugilist would believe my words, I afraid they would only think I am the one seducing them. Once it happened who would be the one that was ‘how vicious’?”

Nangong Ping was startled and lowered his head, speechless. But in his heart, he was secretly sighing.

“The next morning, I announced to the whole world, if I ever seen that man face again, I would gouge out his eyes, cut off his ears, and sliced him piece by piece until he slowly died. The people in Pugilist did not know the reason and spread all kinds of rumors…” She laughed but it seemed like intense mourning. “Naturally, these rumors were created to hurt me!”

For no reason, Nangong Ping felt vexed and he angrily said. “Who is this man?”

Mei Yinxue coldly laughed. “He was naturally a very prominent and famous in Pugilist. Every one nicked him as Gentleman Swordsman…” She muttered it off with two sounds of laughter.

Nangong had a sudden inspiration in his head and he queried. “He…he…ain’t…”

Mei Yinxue coldly said. “Indeed he is that Red Phoenix Ye Qiubai cousin!”

Nangong Ping stumbled and sat onto the coffin in shock!

Mei Yinxue said. “I did not participate in Ye Qiubai’s Phoenix Banquet gathering and I shamefully sent out a similar invitation, everyone in Pugilist already saw it as being unprincipled and unrighteous. Now I want to kill Red Phoenix Ye Qiubai cousin, it became a pandemonium. Not to mention others, the Immortal Divine Dragon would be the first one that would not allowed it to happen. People in Pugilist tended to ingratiate themselves on others, to fawn or to follow a trend easily, who would care to separate the black from the white? Of course, they would all believe in the upright hero of that Gentleman Swordsman and who would believe the words of a woman heretic, a demoness? Moreover I had already killed the only witness. Therefore the Immortal Divine Dragon issued the Divine Dragon Challenge to me and asked me to go to the nine peaks of Mount Hua to pay for my life!”

Her speech was turning more aroused and high pitch while Nangong Ping head bowed even lower. Only to hear her added. “Therefore I go. At that time, I was only twenty plus, and feeling high spirited, lofty and sure of the invincibility of my martial skills. Even if it were Pugilist number one warrior Immortal Divine Dragon, in my eyes he meant nothing. When I reached Mount Hua, I suggested four types of challenge to Long Bushi. He did not even think twice and immediately agreed. You must know that at that time, my martial skills had not met any match yet. Even a top exponent like Gentleman Swordsman who saw me, had to turn his back against the wind and ran. When the Immortal Divine Dragon agreed so fast to my method of challenge, I felt so delightful within my heart.”

“But who would expect,” She softly sighed and continued. “The first contest on swiftness skill, I lost and I lost very badly. Therefore for the second contest, I thought very carefully and challenged him on the softer aspects of martial skills. As he was tall and powerful, I thought that it could not be his strength but…I lost again! Therefore when the third round of challenge on secret projectiles, I had grew impatience and while he was unprepared, I secretly launched the attacks on him but who would know that his whole body seemed to have eyes and back stabbing proved to be futile too!”

From the praises of the enemy, really was the most precious gift ever.

Nangong Ping secretly sighed and thought. “Protégé Master’s reputation in life is not in vain!”

“When the forth round on swordplay began, the Immortal Divine Dragon was by now in a rage and told me he would definitely not let me off for I had secretly attacked him! Therefore he trusted the words of that Gentleman Swordsman even more and thought that I was but a woman who was not only a whore and evil as well!”

Nangong Ping flashed back to the words of the priest that scolded her exactly the same, and also remembered…

Mei Yinxue sighed and said. “Even though that was the case, he still accede three strokes to me and let me had the first opportunity to attack. After I had attacked, he retaliated and in just seven strokes…” She looked up to the sky and continued. “In just seven strokes, he had loosened the sword in my hand and forced me under a ancient pine tree. He pierced me squarely in my front…I could only seen a flash of light darting in my eyes. Therefore I closed my eyes so that I would peacefully await death!”

She closed her eyes and sighed softly. “But I waited for quite some time and could only sense the reeking sound of the wind passing through but there was no other activities. I opened my eyes and saw that the sword of the Immortal Divine Dragon had pierced through the Pine tree behind me much like going through tofu and not a single sound was made.”

She opened her eyes and rolled her eyes, added. “That time I was so startled and heard Immortal Divine Dragon exclaiming to me solemnly, ‘I use a sword to defeat you, the people in Pugilist will definitely say I bully you and you may be a sore loser!’ He clapped his hands and took five steps back and added. ‘If you with a sword can win my bare hands by half a stroke, I will let you go down the peak alive!”

That time concerned my life and death so I cast aside everything. Even before he had finished speaking, I had thrown myself forward. As I was fighting for my life, so all my stances were close melee. Because I knew the depth of his martial skills therefore I would only hope to die along with him, there was not a hope of even winning him. You must know, I was not trying to purposely trying to deny anything but because I was in an inferior position against the strong. I could only use this method.”

Nangong Ping could not nod nor could he shook his head and could only listened in silence as she continued. “But after twenty strokes had passed, my breathing was no longer in a continuous flow. At the same time, he used a common stance in the Pugilist that was often seen, ‘Cloud Dragon extending its Claw’ and attacked me in the front. I saw that the left side of his lower body had a big gap, therefore I was delighted in my heart and immediately dodged my body using a feint movement, attacked with a stroke nicked ‘Peacock Picking Feather’ and thrust a sword to his left body.”

And she demonstrated the Peacock Picking Feather stance with her hand gestures. Nangong Ping secretly praised it in his heart, for this stroke of hers looked nimble, and the placement mystified, although it looked ordinary but in fact was an extraordinary superior stroke.

She added. “This one stroke from the Peacock Picking Feather is the most vicious among the one thousand seven hundred and forty two stances of my Peacock Swordplay. This sword does not seek self-preservation but only to wound the enemy. From that one stroke, several strokes can be evolved from it as well, one of them is a stroke that seeks to die together along with him. But when I had thrust out my sword, my vision became blur and he clapped his hands together and caught hold of my sword and attacked above my waist. I could only feel a burning sensation arising above my waist and it enveloped my entire body. A most uncomfortable feeling started to overwhelm me and my whole body seemed like floating and flying, then…I crumbled onto the ground without any strength!”

Nangong Ping felt a chill in his head and thought. “Protégé Master must have hated her intensely at that time therefore he would use ‘The Seven Diaspora of the Divine Dragon’ to disperse all her internal force in her body.”

Mei Yinxue sighed sorrowfully and said. “What so mystified about that one stroke, I thought for over ten years in the coffin and is still unable to penetrate through how it works. At that time, I could only feel that stroke, he could steal my sword, wound me and was so natural, that irresistible but at the same time I could not find anything extraordinary about it. It is precisely that I cannot find anything special about it that I did not know where should I resist it…haiz! I can only say this stroke is simply too unexplainable, totally cannot be described.”

Nangong Ping secretly smiled and pondered. “This one stroke contained the epitome of Protégé Master martial art essences. Using the intricate part of ‘Void’, ‘Flexibility’, of course you are unable to discover it!”

‘Stick’, ‘Fit’, ‘Compel’, ‘Slice’, ‘Incite’, ‘Pierce’, ‘Contain’…etc, were although inseparatable from martial arts but they were after all the lower level of the arts only. ‘Void’, ‘Flexibility’ was the superior level of the epitome of martial arts. To be able to use them together and on a single stroke and caused others to feel so unfathomable and unable to describe it was akin to the Buddhist saying. ‘Everything is formless.’

Mei Yinxue once again sighed to herself and said. “The cultivation that I had, the sweat and blood that I had expended, the painstaking training that I had to build up my martial art, at that instant, was destroyed lightly by him. At that time, my heart was really feeling startled, angry, frightened, scared and at the same time sorrowful and upset. It really felt ten times more painful than just killing me with just a sword.

Therefore I cried and scolded aloud the Immortal Divine Dragon as vicious and hurtfully told him what had happened. I scolded aloud. “Is it really my wrong? What right do you have, that you can treat me like this, you hold yourself as self-righteous so why did you not investigate the matter, why did you have to cover such a shameful despicable fellow and bully a woman like me!”

Her countenance slowly shown signs of her anguish and resentment as she remembered the sorrowful past and the hurtful incident.

The more Nangong Ping listened to her, the more he sighed in his heart and the more deeply he sympathized with her.

Mei Yinxue added. “After immortal Divine Dragon listened to me, he turned pale and after awhile he asked. “Why did you not say earlier!?” His voice was shaking and he clenched his fists and he was feeling very angry with himself, and regretted for what he had done.But…What the point of regretting…” She tried to suppress her shaking and incite voice and lowered her head for a long time.

Nangong Ping looked at her beautiful fingernails, her long flowing black hair and thought. “The good and evil of the pugilists, who could really discern?”

“At that time, Immortal Divine Dragon took out a miraculous medicinal pill for treating internal injuries and ask me to take it.” Mei Yinxue finally broke her silence and added. “But I rejected him. What was the use if I could temporary starve off death? I had made countless enemies for the past ten years and if they knew that my internal force had been dispersed, my martial art skill lost, they would surely seek me for vengeance!

But Immortal Divine Dragon was indeed an upright and heroic man. He went even that far to beg me, if I had died, he would feel regretful forever. He wanted to seek forgiveness for his sins and to compensate and finish off this wrong, wanted to protect me for life and to seek that despicable Gentleman Swordsman out, to avenge me!”

She slowly recovered her composure and added. “He did not wait me to say anything but helped me to swallow that medicine pill and used his internal power and treated my injuries on the mountain. Although he and me only duel for just one day but he only came down from the mountain only on the third day. The other pugilists upon seeing him looking paled and tired, thought it was because he had dueled me for three days and applauded for him!…Alas! Who really knew the real contents.”

Nangong Ping secretly sighed and thought. “When Protégé Master heard those cries of applaud, he must be feeling extremely upset!”

“Just before he went down the mountain, he sealed off my accupoints and carried me to a quiet and secret place inside a cave.” Mei Yinxue added. “On the following night, he was once again on the mountain with two very tall and strong men carrying a coffin. He placed me inside the coffin. The reasons given were to hide me from everyone’s knowledge but of course the most important…” She suddenly laughed and added. “Maybe it was to hide it from Red Phoenix Ye Qiubai!”

Nangong Ping was startled and asked. “What do you mean?”

Mei Yinxue extended her hand to comb her long hair and suddenly giggled. “Do you not know yet!” She giggled and said. “Red Phoenix Ye Qiubai is a demeanor beauty, her martial arts are extremely high as well, moreover she knew how to maintain her countenance, that time although she was fifty but looked only like thirty. Therefore everyone in Pugilist nicked her as the Ageless Phoenix and a fitting match for the Immortal Divine Dragon. She is good in everything but…” Her laugh was filled with teasing and mocking.

Nangong Ping paled and asked. “But what?”

“But she was too fond of acting with jealousy!” She could not resist anymore and made several squeamish laughs. “As a junior, naturally you will not know all these!”

Nangong Ping tried to stand upright but suddenly Mei Yinxue ceased her light laughter and in a blink of an eye became very serious.

Her expressions could swing from one end to the other, always so sudden, no one could know what she really felt.

“But…” She respectfully and solemnly added. “During those stuffy nights, in that dark room, I heard from the mouth of Immortal Divine Dragon, many things that concerned Ye Qiubai…” Her voice gradually became slow, finally she sighed deeply and said. “Just think over it, if it is not for the fact that Ye Qiubai has a strange temper, she should have married the Immortal Divine Dragon. One is the number one warrior in Pugilist, the another is an all talent heroine. They could just link their swords like their hearts and traverse merrily throughout the entire Pugilistic Real. What a most enviable life; but that did not happened and instead they spend their entire lives in loneliness… loneliness…loneliness…” She lowered her head and her long flowing black hair followed suit to land and covered her face, hiding her feeling as well!

Nangong Ping was stunned for a while and a feeling of unspeakable regret too floated in his heart.

“Loneliness…loneliness…” During this instant, he finally understood the loneliness of many people…The loneliness of the Cold Blood Maiden that people in the Pugilistic Fraternity had nicked her; And the loneliness of the Phoenix Ye Qiubai who was above all. Most of all, the one he had respected the most; the number top swordsman of the Pugilistic Fraternity; the Immortal Divine Dragon too had his loneliness.

Nangong Ping finally began to understand why his Protégé Master benevolent face would always carry such a solemn expression and why so it was always lacking in joy and laughter…This was the secret of the top prominent swordsman, the number one warrior. Naturally he would not mention all these things in the presence of his disciples. But during that cold chilling night in the darkness and facing a woman that was even more loneliness than him; even though he may have the heart of steel, he would still unwittingly let go of some of the secrets in his heart…

Although he had regarded winning and defeat lightly, did not take life and death into heart. He scorned even fame and wealth but he was still unable to escape from the darkest recess of his heart. He could not shake off the shadow that Red Phoenix Ye Qiubai had cast upon him; those feelings and affections that he had secretly concealed within him. He might have unlimited courage to face everything with his sharp long sword and roam carefree in the world but…he was unable to cut the binding cords that he had felt within.

This was the secret of the righteous hero, it was also the brilliant talented man weakness. It was also the humanity of the legend of the hero in the Pugilistic Fraternity but because of his shining and sparking position and repute had blinded everyone, no one took notice.

In this world, no one could ever be able to sympathize with the loneliness in his life, nor felt pity for his unluckiness in his romance. That was because what others felt towards his feeling would only be respect, envy, jealousy and hatred.

This was the sorrow part of being a hero. From the ancient past to the present, the sorrow of a hero would be the least noticeable!

Finally Nangong Ping could not resist anymore and let go of a deep sigh. He looked around and his heart almost jumped. For all around him, it was filled with a silver light, and caused the galaxy to turn into a transparent crystal. And the Mei Yinxue in this crystal, had been turned into a figure of a goddess.

After quite some time, Mei Yinxue finally lifted her head and to finish what she left hanging.

“Ever since that day, I had no chance whatever so to view the day and the sun. It just a pity that night I did not know that I would be separated from the stars, moon and the loftiness for so long a time. If not I would surely mused over them a little longer…”

Her cold and calm words were suddenly filled with warm feelings. “Ten years…” She said. “Long Bushi did not fulfilled his promise. He did not right my wrong, did not avenge me but…I do know the reason why…”

She suddenly stopped and looked at the fluttering light and shadows of the woods and did not say a word more.

This sudden silence seemed like a thousand tons hammer that suddenly crashed onto Nangong Ping’s heart. That was because he knew that, her silence represented her anguish, disappointment and pain. It also covered her sympathize, understanding and forgiveness.

For the sake of Ye Qiubai, because that Gentleman Swordsman was the cousin of Ye Qiubai, his Protégé Master could not bear to capture that Gentleman Swordsman. Therefore naturally he could not right Mei Yinxue’s wrong. And that the ‘Cold Blood’ Mei Yinxue did not force his Protégé Master to do so; This naturally spoke volumes of her sympathy and understanding for him…

He knew deeply in his heart; In that dark little room, his Protégé Master had felt just as terrible and painful as hers. Because at this moment, he too was feeling awfully painful for he was unable to say neither a single word of console nor a single word of asking her to forgive him.

She looked forlornly at the starlight while he looked forlornly on the soft grass on the ground. After another long period of silence, Mei Yinxue sparkly eyes was suddenly drawn towards him. He slowly lifted his head and discovered that from the side her soft and beautiful lip, there was a tingle of smile which he was unable to comprehend just like the far reaches of the starlight that mystified him.

She looked at him intensely and suddenly carried smiles and said. “But do you know…do you know?” She repeated.

Nangong Ping could not resist and asked. “What do I know?”

Mei Yinxue was still looking at him intensely and said. “What your Protégé Master failed to do for me, you have done for me. I personally heard him and you talking and I had heard his dying cry after you wounded him with your sword!”

Nangong Ping felt his ears drumming loudly as his body staggered backward. “That…That priest…is Gentleman Swordsman?”

There was a deep resentment in Mei Yinxue as she coldly laughed. “He has already become a priest? Good, good!” Her voice became as sharp as the whip that was lashing in mid air. “Although I do not know why he became a priest but his voice…his voice even if I die, I will never forget!”

Although Nangong Ping face was calmed, he was unable to suppress his startled feelings. He did not know whether to feel proud or apologetic. The renowned swordsman of Pugilist had actually died under his sword! But nevertheless, the feeling of guilt and apologetic that he had felt for the priest had more or less faded.

Only to hear Mei Yinxue continued to say. “That is the conflict your Protégé Master and me have and should be what you wanted to ask earlier but did not. You have avenged for me therefore I want to tell you this. That man did not died unjustly at all. All these years…while I was lying inside the coffin, I have no other wishes other than to hope that I can speedily regain my internal power, using all means to regain my internal power and to seek him for vengeance. Therefore earlier when I heard his horrible cry, although I feel happy but I can’t help feeling disappointed. And feels anguish too. I even think of after I walked out of the coffin, I will kill the person that help me killed that man!”

Nangong Ping felt a fear in his heart and saw the edge of Mei Yinxue’s mouth seemingly carried a tinge of laugh.

“But, somehow…” She calmly smiled and said. “Maybe it because my state of divinity has changed over the years. Now not only will I not kill you, I seem to feel like thanking you. That because you cause my hands to avoid the chance to be tainted with bloodshed. And a person whose hands avoid needless bloodshed, no matter what, is a most excellent good thing that can happen.”

This woman whose everyone had called ‘Cold blood’ would say such a word at this time, surprised Nangong Ping. He thought of saying an appropriate word at this time but after some pondering, he could only say. “After Protégé Master dispersed your internal power, now that your internal strength has been recovered, this is indeed a weird thing.”

Mei Yinxue mysteriously smiled awhile and softly said. “Is this such a weird thing?” She did not continued and Nangong Ping could not guess the hidden meaning in her words.

What he said earlier was just a random utterance. But now he really felt strange about it. He suddenly remembered her words. ‘…speedily regain my internal power, using all means to regain my internal power…’ Unconsciously, he shook in his heart and thought. “When she regained her internal power, did she uses some unorthodox methods?”

He could not resist the temptation to ask her but Mei Yinxue interrupted his thoughts.

“It is really so strange. Now that I have regained my internal strength but I feel that it is useless. Now I am neither debts to repay nor vendetta to be done. Alas! This is really much better than a stomach full of hatred.”

Earlier, she was suddenly aroused with emotions, suddenly resentment, suddenly excited, suddenly malicious, now she quieted down to sigh softly onto the top of a tree. She was arranging her hair and at the same time, softly singing. ‘Roll and roll, roll till Grandma bridge, Grandma calls me a good baby…little baby, go to sleep, mommy sit by the rolling cradle, roll and roll…’

Her voice was so sweet and gentle, and her countenance so peaceful and serene. It seemed that she had returned to a very far dream like state where at that time she was still little. Surely she had a very gentle mother and she would sing this ordinary, sweet and this familiar yet warming child ballad that everyone knew in their hearts.

When Nangong Ping heard this gentle singing and looked at her serene face, his heart could not help but felt pity and regrets. Ever since she started to roam the Pugilist at fifteen, she must have for a long time did not refresh this song. That was why she sung it in remnants, even mixed two different child ballads into a single ballad. But in the ears of Nangong Ping, this fragmented singing was exceptional sweet and intimate. He wished she could always maintain this state of divinity and wished that it would happen for him as well. That was because he too had returned to a distant dream. If mortals would always maintain this baby state of divinity, then bloodshed and ugly things would occur much lesser.

Nangong Ping had been weary, now felt a warm fatigue slowly overcoming him as he listened to her singing. Unconsciously, he slowly enclosure his eye lids…the singing seemed to be more and more distant away…

Suddenly there was a sarcastic laughter that sounded in his ears! He opened his eyes and in the midst of the fog, from the woods, appeared a shadowy figure of a person. Mei Yinxue ceased her singing while Nangong Ping shouted. “Who?”

There was a flash and a young man in gray appeared in front of him!

In that instant, the two of them stood still facing one another and at the same time look over one another. In Nangong Ping’s eyes, this young man who suddenly appeared supposed to look joyous and handsome but his face nevertheless carried a taint of stubbornness and disdaining cold laugh that seemed to direct at Nangong Ping!

Nangong Ping lifted the tip of his sword and asked in surprise. “Who may you be? Why did you come?

The young man in gray kept staring at Nangong Ping. “Marvelous, marvelous!” He suddenly laughed coldly and said. “Your Protégé Master most exalted disciple in the apple of his eye, your older protégé brother spoke of a most exalted fellow disciple brother, while his Protégé Master whereabouts is still unknown, actually have the mood to sit here and listen to a girl singing. Marvelous indeed, marvelous indeed!”

Nangong Ping solemnly said. “This have nothing to do with you!”

Young man in gray laughed. “You still behave so arrogant, why don’t you admit your wrong?”

Nangong Ping said. “This depends on who you are? And what is your intention?” His countenance was calmed and his speech was neither weak nor forceful. He simply stated matter of fact. He did no wish to reveal too much to someone who he not sure whether if he was a friend or foe. It was actually the same like he would not hide anything from his friends!

The young man in gray browsed his view and saw Mei Yinxue who remained motionless on top of a tree and suddenly laughed aloud. “You want to know who I am? And what is my intention…” He laughed aloud again. “But first you have to admit your wrong!”

Nangong Ping coldly hummed and said. “If you have come to provoke, free please to drawn the soft blade hidden in-between your waist. There is no need to go around in circles.”

Mei Yinxue softly laughed awhile, seemingly approving and praising of his action.

That young man in gray halted his laughing and he seemed to be startled. He seemed to feel strange that Nangong Ping under his taunting could still be in such a calm composure. He also seemed to feel strange that an inexperience young man like him would have such a sharp observation and eyes and could see that he had hidden a rarely seen soft weapon inside his clothes!

Now he felt disadvantage and this was something out of his expectations. Now he wished he could immediately dealt him a fierce retaliation!

He recovered his thoughts and coldly laughed. “If I am not here to provoke, you…” Before he could finish, he had another thought. Would he not give him another chance to laugh at himself? So he kept quiet suddenly. But out of his expectation, Nangong Ping did not laughed and continued to look calmly at him, seemingly guessed what he had been thinking in his heart.

Nangong Ping interrupted his thoughts, “If you do not have the intention…”

The young man in gray interrupted him and said, “Just treat that I have the intention to provoke you. That will do!” As his body turned and when he once again faced Nangong Ping, he had with him a soft silver spear in his hand!

Nangong Ping’s long sword was still by his waist. Although his heart was not calm, he was paying a great attention to this long sword. That was because he did not wish that after losing the scabbard, he would lose the precious sword that his Protégé Master had given him!

He just smiled and said. “If you have the intention to provoke, then I have no choice but to retrospect a few strokes with you!” He turned his wrist and gently drawn out his sword. He did not show off his swordmanship nor did he likewise followed the usual swordsmen style of displaying how fast they could draw their sword in a feat to measure the brilliant of their swordplay!

He was calm and steady, did not have Shi Chen rashness and jealousy, nor did he have Shi Chen proneness to fall into temptations. He was also benevolent and frank but when compared to Long Fei, he knew how to hide his strength and be tactical.

He lifted his shoulder and held his sword in front of his chest while the young man in gray shook his spear and in that instant, five to seven beams of reflective light lingered.

Nangong Ping slowly extended his sword point and solemnly said. “After you!” By now he had already noticed that the young man in gray harbored neither evil intention nor his enemy and was only suppressing his frustrations. Therefore in his speech and actions, there was still some traces of courtesy!

The young man in gray thrust his spear and in the fog was a ray of light as he bypassed even the shower of reflective light. Nangong Ping admired secretly. That young man spear technique was indeed amazing fast till the point of unbelievable!

He shifted his leg movements as his sword point followed the spearhead of his opponent. There was a green light, then a silver light and a couple of clashing sounds. Suddenly the young man in gray coughed out a sound as he soared upward!

There was a ray of silver light as it followed the ascended up. Nangong Ping took a step backward as he lifted his sword.

But the young man in gray as he ascended up, his shining silver spear broke through the fog and at lightning speed thrust downward, just like a crane that was dancing in mid-air that was descending upon its prey on the ground!

Nangong Ping was startled as he said. “Mount Tian Seven Forms Swiftness skill”! And he adjusted his steps to home his sword upward.
There was a flash of green light as it sealed off the silver spear path. The young man in gray jerked his spearhead and gently contacted the sword point. There was a dang sound as he once again used the opportunity to jump forth again.

Nangong Ping gave a sudden shout as he hastily hurried seven steps that placed him out of reach of the young man in gray spear attack!

His eyes focused but he did not retaliated yet as he waited patiently for the young man to descent first!

But the young man kicked backward to reverse and he extended both his shoulders much like a eagle and a ray of silver light once again came piercing in his direction.

Nangong Ping once again moved another seven steps. He was as steady as the mountain, when he moved, it were as fast as lightning. This seven steps looked like just one step as the green light of the sword in his hand beamed, being as fast as the silver spear!

The young man failed in his first attempt as his body much like an eagle landed on the ground. Now if Nangong Ping were to shift his sword up, although he may not lose but he could seize the first strike opportunity!

But he only maintained his present posture when the young man landed with his silver spearhead vibrating.

The young man secretly muttered to himself. “Alas Di Yang, Di Yang, do you still want to continue to test one more stroke against him?”

This young man in gray was naturally Di Yang. After he had buried the corpse, he immediately rushed down the mountain. Imbued with the solo purpose of finding out what sort of a person was this ‘Fifth Brother’ that Long Fei had lavished so much praise upon.

He was naturally a forgiving person; therefore he did not put much thought whether others had doubted him. But he had the same haughtiness of most young men that when he saw Nangong Ping, he felt like pitting against him. On the other hand, he was feeling strange why this young man had the mood to listen to the singing of a girl?

But now as he was facing Nangong Ping, his heart was slowly begun to appreciate him. His spearhead was constantly shaking but in fact foreshadowed an extremely powerful stroke that he had yet to use!

Nangong Ping still maintained his posture all the while his attention was focused on the moving spearhead.

Suddenly Mei Yinxue suddenly softly laughed awhile and asked. “You are not fighting anymore?”

The two young men with their four eyes turned their attention on her.

Mei Yinxue slowly stood up, her looks was so charming and lovable that just that simple posture of just standing up, caused them unable to resist to have a second look.

She walked gracefully towards Di Yang and said. “Are you not the descendant of Mount Tian Divine Sword, Ninth Wing Flying Eagle Old Master Di?”

All along, Di Yang did not pay attention to her. Now it seemed that he was like a man enveloped in darkness that suddenly discovered her glamorous beauty. This glamorous beautiful woman instantly dazzled him with her beauty like lightning. He felt so startled that he just nodded and did not say anything.

Mei Yinxue softly laughed and said. “Did you see his protégé brother just now?”

Di Yang was once again startled and nodded his head again.

Nangong Ping was surprised inside him. “How did she know? How did he have known his protégé brother?” Just as he was about to ask him where he had saw him, Mei Yinxue giggled and said, “His protégé brother must have been praising him in front of you, therefore you do not feel good within and wish to test him?”

Di Yang widened his eyes and was astonished. He could only nodded again.

She asked him three questions and all hit the mark of Di Yang’s heart!

It caused Di Yang who had been dazzled by her beauty to unconsciously intimidate by her superb intellect.

Inside Nangong Ping’s heart, he felt more and more curious. Only to hear her laughed softly and turned back, “That is it, what are you all fighting for!” She walked to a tree and began to sit down. Her eyes rolled and looked at the two young men and suddenly laughed. “I observed it from his martial art skills to know his origins, from his attitude and speech and guessed his intention. There is nothing so strange about it. Why are you puzzling over it?”

Her speech was modest, seemingly suggesting that it was something everyone would have guessed.

Di Yang secretly sighed in his heart and thought. “What an intelligence girl!” He laughed suddenly and said. “What an intelligence girl!” What he had thought in his heart was exactly the same as what he had said. But the language and meaning was entirely different.

Nangong Ping asked. “May I know if…“

Di Yang said. “That is right. Just as what this maiden has said, I indeed saw your protégé brother earlier. At this moment, he is still on top of the mountain peak. Now that it is soon to be morning, you should go up and conduct a search.” He did not wait for others to say anything and laughed again to say. “I am Di Yang. Now that I seen you, I am really very happy. Hope that we can meet again some other time…”

Nangong Ping asked. “Why not stay behind for awhile to talk…”

Di Yang laughed. “Earlier I have intentionally offended and now I really feel slightly embarrassing. There be much to catch up some other time but today we must part!”

When he had said ‘embarrassing’ he had already started to move away.

When he had spoken the last word, he had already moved beyond the woods.

Nangong Ping looked at his direction intensely and secretly sighed. “What an extremely fast swiftness movement skill.”

Suddenly Mei Yinxue laughed lovably and said. “Do you know why he suddenly go in such a haste?”

Nangong Ping paused to consider but before he could reply, Mei Yinxue laughed again and said. “That is because he really did not dare to look at me!”

Nangong Ping was stunned for awhile but he did not turn his head and coldly said. “I afraid that may not be the case!” But his heart secretly sighed unconsciously because he was actually doubting himself.

Suddenly there was a sweet fragrant in his nostril as Mei Yinxue walked undetected besides him and softly laughed. “In your heart, you think that what I say is correct but your mouth refuse to admit it. Why is that so?” She carried all smiles on her face and she happily observed Nangong Ping face and thought. “Whether you admit or not, I am going to see how you are going to reply me this time.”

But even before she had finished her thoughts, Nangong Ping solemnly said. “You are always treating human characteristics as too base therefore even if I am unwilling to agree with you but I have to agree. But what I say whether it is worth a grain of salt by agreeing with you, why don’t you think about it, right?”

The revealing truth was always better than flowery words. Mei Yinxue ceased her smiles and she was startled. Only to hear Nangong Ping looked at her in her eyes as he started to carry the coffin and solemnly said. “It best if you follow me and I introduced you to my big protégé brother, then you will know that in this world, there is still a few real man!”

Mei Yinxue was still remaining stunned for awhile until Nangong Ping had carried the coffin for quite a distance. Unconsciously she began to follow him. After awhile, she suddenly halted her steps and looked at his back view and sarcastically laughed a few times and said. “What a disciple that respected his Benevolent Master and his teachings, I see now that he is such a person!”

Nangong Ping was startled and turned his head to ask. “What did you say?”

Mei Yinxue coldly laughed and said. “I am speaking a common language, don’t tell me you do not understand?”

Nangong Ping looked perplexed and said. “If you do not explain, it doesn’t matter to me if I listen or not!” he turned his head and continued to walk.

Mei Yinxue looked at him hatefully. Ever since she started to roam the Pugilistic Fraternity, every time she knitted her eyebrows or laughed, there were be countless number of men who got smitten by her. She had never seen a young man such as Nangong Ping before. When Nangong Ping still did not turned back and continued to walk, she could not resist the urge to follow and said. “Hello…”

Nangong Ping did not ceased his walking nor did he turned his head but he asked. “What is the matter?”

Mei Yinxue said, “Your Protégé Master ordered you to follow me, to protect me. Why did you choose to run up the mountain alone?” Although she sounded so frustrated but she did not ceased her steps either.

Nangong Ping stopped in his tracks. He turned around and looked at her. “Did you not follow me up as well, why did you say I go up alone?”

Mei Yinxue said, “I…I…” Suddenly she stomped her leg and said. “Who says I want to go up the mountain with you!”

Nangong Ping said, “Marvelous, marvelous…”

Mei Yinxue widened her beautiful eyes and cautiously asked, “What did you say?”

Nangong Ping smiled and said. “If you are not willing to follow me up the mountain, please wait for me here awhile and I can also put the coffin here too.”

Mei Yinxue bit her teeth, asked. “Who say I am going to wait here for you?”

Nangong Ping said, “Then…” Whether he really did not understand a girl heart or intentionally did not understand, he did not say a single word of pleading. “Then…” He purposely pondered. “What should be done?”

Mei Yinxue said, “You will follow me down the mountain…”

Nangong Ping said, “It is naturally. Naturally I will follow you down the mountain…”

Mei Yinxue smiled and said, “Then…Let go!”

But Nangong Ping smiled too as well. “But you should follow me up the mountain first.”

The smiles that was on Mei Yinxue instantly evaporated as she said angrily. “Why you…”

Nangong Ping smiled and added. “You have lay in the small coffin for thousands of days, you should really have taken a stroll. Have a look, today wind is so wonderful, the weather is so fine and the grass and trees are so beautiful. And touring under the grandeur of the peerless view of Mount Hua, isn’t it such a joyous thing?”

Mei Yinxue was half filled with frustration for awhile. Suddenly she bit her teeth and moved to the front of Nangong Ping and said. “Follow me!” At last she finally move up the mountain.

Nangong Ping glanced at her long fluttering hair and secretly laughed. “People in Pugilist all say that she is so cold hearted and how vicious. But I think she is just a girl who have not shed off her innocent yet.” He tried his best not to laugh it out.

But Mei Yinxue suddenly giggled in front and said. “First time listening to some one sounds fun. But…” Suddenly her laughter was no more as she turned her head. “Only this once.”

Nangong Ping said. “Indeed, indeed. Only this once.” He turned his head back as not to let Mei Yinxue saw his smiling look.

The morning sun rose above the peaks of Mount Hua when they found the broken down bamboo hut. Although Nangong Ping was feeling anxious, he had stopped earlier at the place where there was a deep footprint on the ground as well as the various stone figurines. Finally they had reached the bamboo hut but it was now emptied of anyone. He sighed disappointing. “They have left…”

Mei Yinxue casually said. “And you have wasted a trip!”

Suddenly Nangong Ping eyes shone and he said aloud. “That may not be the case!”

He suddenly placed the coffin that was in his hands to Mei Yinxue. Mei Yinxue had not the time to ponder and received it. She saw him moving to the old furniture and lifted it. Mei Yinxue did not saw that beneath the old furniture was a piece of yellow paper so she sarcastically said. “Will there be a treasure underneath?”

Nangong Ping said. “Indeed!” As he turned his body and on his hand was a piece of yellow paper. He looked at it carefully for awhile and slowly there was a comforting smile to his countenance. But his smile contained some elements of astonishment. Afterwards, he placed it in his clothing.

Mei Yinxue who was carrying a coffin had wanted to look at it too. But because she was being encumbrance, she could not do so therefore she could not resist asking. “Hello!”

Nangong Ping purposely remained nonchalance and said. “What is the matter?”

Mei Yinxue coldly hummed and raised both her hands to fling the coffin to Nangong Ping. After he had received it, she stormed out of the door.

She felt so frustrated in her heart and did not wish to look at Nangong Ping anymore. But after walking awhile, she could not resist looking back only to see Nangong Ping looking at the stone figurine that was engraved on the side of the mountain. When he had walked casually towards her, he looked very calm. It seemed that his worries earlier had largely faded.

But Mei Yinxue felt even more perplexed and after walking another two steps, she turned her head and asked. “Do you want to say it or not?”

Nangong Ping asked. “Say what?”

Mei Yinxue hummed and swung her waist a little as she stormed off several meters away.

Nangong Ping felt it was funny but she suddenly stormed back again and said aloud. “That piece of yellow paper, what on earth is written on it?”

Nangong Ping smiled and said. “You want to look at the paper, why don’t you say it sooner? If you don’t say, how should I know!”

His right hand was carrying the coffin but his left hand when it extended out, was clenching the paper. It seemed that he had already placed the paper on his hand.

Mei Yinxue was stunned for awhile and she could not help but sighed melancholy in her heart. “Although I am beautiful, but not all the men in the world are smitten by me. Although I am smart but he is not necessary stupider than me…” She looked at Nangong Ping awhile, was she feeling sorrow, angry or happy in her heart? She reached out for the yellow paper and opened it and it read. “Guest of the Heavenly Emperor, the Divine Dragon is well!”

“Divine Dragon is well…” She softly muttered and raised her voice to ask. “The Immortal Divine Dragon, he is not dead yet?”

Nangong Ping smiled. “He will not die!”

Mei Yinxue lifted her head to look at him and asked in a serious tone. “This ‘Heavenly Emperor’, how you do decipher it?”

Nangong Ping said. “Naturally is a name of a Old Master in Pugilist. Other than that, what…”

Mei Yinxue coldly added. “Who is it? Have you ever heard that there was some one in Pugilist that is nicked Heavenly Emperor?”

Nangong Ping appeared to be startled while Mei Yinxue added. “Maybe…”

She wanted to say ‘Heavenly Emperor’ also meant Western Paradise or maybe it was the joke of his enemies to deceive them. Or the good intention of friends that wanted to comfort their hearts.

But when she saw the expression on Nangong Ping, she found herself unable to say aloud her thoughts. “Heavenly Emperor! Heavenly Emperor!” She just said matter of fact. “Just that this name I have never heard anyone mentioning it about.”

Just when they were about to descend down the mountain, she suddenly laughed. “It better that we go down by the small road!”

Nangong Ping asked. “Why?”

Mei Yinxue extended her hands to comb her long hair and gently laughed. “Look at my appearance, how can I face anyone?”

Nangong Ping looked at her for awhile, looked at her beautiful long hair that was as thick as the cloud, looked at her beautiful eyes, her pale white face under the glow of the sun and her snow white long dress, she was really unearthly beautiful. What was it and anywhere that she could not face anyone? So he muttered. “If with your appearance you cannot face anyone, then all the rest of the girls should dig a hole in the ground and hide inside it!

As he had news of the safety of Divine Dragon and as for his clan brothers and sisters, it would be a matter of time before they would finally gather again. As he was feeling quite happy, he did not say anything but followed Mei Yinxue using the small road down the mountain. Finally they reached the town of Lin Xuan.

Nangong Ping who was carrying the coffin mumbled in repetition. “This coffin is really very heavy. No wonder, Protégé Master expended so much trouble to find the coffin carriers. But they usually do not work for long before they quit!”

Mei Yinxue followed docilely besides him, her knowing eyes rolled and smiled.

Her smile seemingly contained some secrets but Nangong Ping did not noticed or paid much attention. He only added. “Do you that some of the coffin carriers are actually some who have turned over a new leaf…” He suddenly stopped and he suddenly noticed that everyone in the streets were looking at him.

A handsome presentable young man who was carrying a coffin and a maiden who was strangely attired but whose beauty was beautiful beyond comparison, were both walking down the street. If they did not attract any attention, then the people on the streets surely must all be blinded. Nangong Ping blushed and lowered his head and softly said. “If we have gone down by the main road, we can hire a carriage.”

However Mei Yinxue remained as composed as ever and smiled. “If you are afraid of being seen, there are many shops on both sides of the streets…” Her meaning explicitly speaking mean that she was already used to being look upon.

Nangong Ping said. “Indeed, indeed…” As he lowered his head and walked to the side of the street.

He suddenly spotted a wine tavern with a signboard ‘Ping Ji Fast Wine Tavern’ written in fresh red color. Even the sides of the door were in red black colors and it was differ from the other wine taverns. His countenance undergoes a slight change but he continued to walk towards it.

But even before he could enter the door, a tavern assistant came out. He was not trying to welcome him but to block him from entering.

Nangong Ping was startled and asked. “What are you doing?”

The tavern assistant looked proud and hypocrite as he coldly said. “What are you trying to do?”

Nangong Ping said. “Naturally I come to eat.” He wondered in puzzlement in his heart why this shop treated its customers with such disrespect. So he asked. “Isn’t this shop opening for business?”

The thin shop assistant coldly laughed. “Sure we have to do business but for customer that bring a coffin, we do not welcome.”

Nangong Ping flurried laughed and said. “But…this coffin is emptied. If you do not believe me, I can open it for you to look!” He was about to put the coffin down when the shop assistant pushed him away and shouted. “Even if it is emptied, it is still not welcome.” Although he was skinny but he had great strength. Therefore it quite obvious that he had practiced martial arts before.

At this moment there appeared many people who had gathered to see the commotion. Nangong Ping looked perplexed and he was slowly giving way to anger but when he saw the crowd, he suppressed his anger and said peacefully. “Your boss and I are acquaintances. Do you think you can do me a favor by letting me place the coffin…”

Even before he could finish, the shop assistant was in rage. “Even if you know my boss, I will not allow it, now leave fast…”

Mei Yinxue had already noticed that Nangong Ping did not want to create any troubles so she gently tagged his sleeves and said. “This shop can’t, we can still change to another shop!”

Nangong Ping looked at the shop assistant for awhile before he made his way out of the crowd, only to hear him scolding. “You should have asked around what place is it! Who open it? And who is our Master? If you come to make trouble again, I will break your leg…”

Mei Yinxue secretly looked at Nangong Ping and saw that he was calm and did not show any hint of anger. So she felt very strange.

But when they changed to another shop, the another shop assistance told them. “Customers that Fast Wine Tavern rejected, our small shop did not stay to invite…” After changing another three shops, it was exactly the same as before. By now Nangong Ping became perplexed. The small whispering that was filled with jeering behind his back caused him a great deal of intolerant.

But still, he did not give way to anger. And make his way to another big street and finally found a small shop that was willing to accept them.

The old tavern keeper served them cups and chopsticks but whispered in a low voice. “Actually, customers that Fast Wine Tavern refuse to entertain, we do not dare to receive but…Alas! You are so young and bring along your wife…Alas! I heard that their Young Master is someone, who upheld righteousness and thought little of wealth, has a rich reputation, is a wanderer and has many friends. Just now the person you meet should be Second Master You. This Second Master You is someone who is trained by the boss of the Ju Ying Hero Establishment. I heard that he even learnt some martial arts from their boss personally. Although he is a shop assistant, even their tavern keeper did not dare to offend him…Alas!”

Although he said a lot, he also at the time placed three dishes on the table. Nangong Ping still remained as calm as ever and not a trace of any expression.

After Mei Yinxue heard the old man words, she was original quite puzzled and flabbergasted. But now she found it to be quite funny.

After eating two mouthfuls from the dishes, Nangong Ping suddenly requested for paper and brush, wrote some words and carefully folded it and walked to the door and handed it over to an idle man by the street and said something in a very low voice before walking back.

Mei Yinxue looked at him and smiled captivating but she did not ask him what he was doing, seemingly she had something up her sleeves as well.

The both of them continued to eat their meal peacefully. After awhile, there was a middle age man in cotton attire who clumsily and hastily appeared. He respectfully raised both his hands to greet Nangong Ping.

But before he could say anything, another man came like the wind and bowed down on the ground. He was that thin shop assistant Second Master You.

Nangong Ping rolled his eyes and slowly got up and asked. “Second Master You, what are you doing?”

The proud and hypocrite Second Master You now looked so pitiful and laudable that he could not say anything. The another man in cotton attire had an anxious look on his face, tried to lighten the mood by saying. “I didn’t expect…I didn’t expect…that Young Master will come, arrive at the Northwest.”

The old man from the little shop was startled as well. He glanced at Nangong Ping and glanced at the crowd that was gathering outside the shop. He rubbed his white hair on his head and really could not believe his eyes.

One must know that the Nangong Aristocracy Family had the wealth that could equal a kingdom. In the entire fraternity, it seemed that everywhere were their business. And the famous red black marking of the Nangong Aristocracy Family supported thousands if not tens of thousands of people but very few actually knew their Young Master Nangong Ping!

Now the paper that Nangong Ping wrote could cause that Second Master You and the man in cotton attire to feel startled and anxious as they faced their Young Master. Those two men really did not know what to say and what sort of pleading should they do.

Mei Yinxue softly laughed and said. “Now we can change another place to eat right!”

Nangong Ping lowered his head and said in jest. “Second Master You, can we carry a coffin inside?”

Of course, his henchmen would never allow their Young master to carry the coffin. So the man in cotton attire replied. “Welcome Master to first come to the shop. Your humble servant will order some men to carry the coffin after you.” He felt strange why his Master would want to carry a coffin by his side but he kept those questions to himself, as he did not dare to ask.

Nangong Ping smiled and from inside his clothing, he took out a fragrant sack and placed it casually on the table and smiled at the startled old man. “This is the payment…” He paused awhile before adding. “In two days, I will arrange for you to be the Steward of Fast Wine Tavern. I believe that you will motivate the shop assistants over there to be more kind and courtesy.”

He did not wait for the old man to thanks him and walked hurried out of the little shop with Mei Yinxue.

Only when they had disappeared from view with the crowd, this happy old man stood motionless by the entrance and it seemed that he had just had a very beautiful dream.

He sat by the side of the table and opened the fragrant sack and there was a brilliant light shining forth from it. It seemed like the ray of light from the sunrise that blinded his eyes and also lit his heart.

This happiness came too suddenly yet came too late. He rubbed his wrinkles and thought of his dead wife. He did not know whether to feel happy or to sigh.

Suddenly he heard of a cracking sound, therefore he turned his head.

But as soon as his eyes moved, his entire body seemed to freeze. And he dropped the fragrant sack as four shining pearls rolled toward the coffin that was at the side of the wall…

The coffin lid was now opened and a priest who was drenched with blood climbed out. The old man felt his body shook and suddenly remembered he still got his voice…but he was already too stunned by the happenstance just like he was too stunned by the happiness earlier.

But even before he could shout, the priest had purged forward and extended all ten of his fingers like hooks and strangled his neck.

There was some sound before silence settled down. The priest looked around anxiously; the streets were emptied as everyone had gone to take a peek at the dashing Nangong Young Master.

He let go of a sound of relief as he hurried upstairs to change his clothing with the old man and then sneak off, leaving the old man who had work hard for his entire life helplessly on the ground with the shining pearls…

Ch6 End

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Chapter 5

Long Fei and the rest viewed the intruder as he came forth. He wore a broad smile and he looked like a warm sort of person. Although he was rude by coming in just like that but for some strange reason, none in the hut developed feeling of animosity towards him especially Long Fei.

At first look, he viewed the intruder in a positive light. Because he knew that a person that carried an air of happiness around him, his heart would never be tainted by malice.

The smiling young man rolled his eyes and actually walked to the front of Long Fei and greeted him. “Big Brother, how are you?” His tone of mannerism sounded like he had already known Long Fei!

Guo Yuxia, Shi Chen was surprised and looked at Long Fei. Gu Yihong lifted her eyes and looked up and she turned ashen immediately!

Although Long Fei was surprised as well, but he answered. “Still good! Still good…” As he was a genuine person himself, if others were respectfully, how could be bring himself to brought forth a sour face!

The cheerful young man smiled again. “Big Brother, I know that you do not recognize me…”

Long Fei looked and looked, said. “Really…do not recognize!”

The young man laughed and laughed, said. “But I do know Big Brother. And I also know…” As he took a sharp glance at Gu Yihong. “This little girl!”

Gu Yihong turned ashen and her body began to move backwards unwittingly. “You…You…”

Shi Chen shouted. “Who are you?”

Because of the change in Gu Yihong expressions, everyone reaction started to change but this young man countenance did not changed.

“Who am I?” He laughed cheerfully. “This question is so hard to answer! Just like what this sister Yihong had said earlier, her brother have gathered a group of Old Master Long’s enemies and descendants. I am one of them, I too have been involved in their plans for revenge.”

Shi Chen mustered a breath of vital energy, as he stepped forward. “Are you from Diancang Clan?” As he raised both his hands and preparing to attack!

The cheerful young man laughed and said. “You ask who I am, naturally I will reply you. But if you keep interrupting, I will not say!”

Shi Chen looked coldly and suspiciously at him.

But the strange young man maintained his cheerful look at Shi Chen!

Long Fei sighed. “Friend, if you are enemy instead of ally. Can you please enlightenment the reason why you are here.”

“Enemy instead of ally!” The cheerful young man laughed. “If I am an enemy, how will I address you as Big Brother. If I am an enemy, how will I prepared for Big Brother torches, lowered a long rope.”

Suddenly he grew solemn and said. “Although I have been involved in their evil plans but I have never muttered anything and neither did I forward any ideas.” Then he became his normal self after saying till this point and laughed. “Therefore all of them look upon me as useless, muddle headed and a stupid fool!”

Long Fei questioned. “Torches, long rope, all are from you…” He took a glance at Gu Yihong who nodded her head.

The cheerful young man laughed again. “But in my view, they are actually the fools. They didn’t use their brains to consider that the renowned swordsman Ninth Wing Flying Eagle, Di Mengping that is so famous throughout the world, how will he give birth to a muddle-headed and foolish son!”

Long Fei was taken aback and clenched his hands together. “Alas, it is Young Master Di. Benevolent Master has often mentioned to me that among all his opponents, the one who has the highest martial art skills, the most righteousness and the most heroics, from the frontier is the most foremost swordsman of this generation, Ninth Wing Flying Eagle Old Master Di Mengping!”

The young man ceased his cheerful countenance as he said. “My deceased father…”

Long Fei was surprised. “Old Master Di has passed away! Why is there no news in the Pugilistic Fraternity?”

The young man regained his cheerful mannerism but it looked forcefully. “The road to Mount Tian is far, and he had retired for ten years…alas, even if the people in the Pugilistic Fraternity with the most updated affairs will not take notice of some one who had sealed his sword for ten years.”

Long Fei unwittingly sighed. Although he did not speak it loud but his heart knew that after Ninth Wing Flying Eagle, Di Mengping was defeated by Protégé Master’s sword, his fame was not as before and in fact faded!

But the young man regained his heroism mannerism and said. “Father when he was alive, often referred to the heroism of the Immortal Divine Dragon. Although, he was defeated by the sword the Divine Dragon, he had never felt anguish.”

Long Fei sighed. “Benevolent Master has often said the winner of that fight should be Old Master Di because he was first wounded by Old Master Di’s sword!”

The young man said. “Wrong, Father had already told me the situation at that time. Old Master Long braved the heavy snowstorm alone just to go up Mount Tian. And he waited at the peak of Mount Tian for one day and a night. He is originally from Jiangnan, how could he be used to the freezing temperature of Mt. Mount Tian? His hands were already covered with frostbites. Under that situation, Father managed to win by half an opportunity. When Father’s sword point reached Old Master Long body, Old master Long’s long sword had also reached his chest…Alas! If not for the fact that Old Master Long was merciful…Alas!”

He let go of a deep sigh, and was silence.

Gu Yihong suddenly melancholy sighed and was filled with respect.
Long Fei extended his hands his headdress and said aloud. “A win is a win, a defeat is a defeat. Even if we do not discussed about Old Master Di’s swordsmanship and martial art skills, just based on the heroic spirit displayed, is already considered a Hero of our age. I, Long Fei is greatly impressed!”

Gu Yihong lowered her head, as she knew that her own grandfather heart was a little too petty. But little did she know that in Pugilistic Fraternity, winning and defeat are viewed very important. The better the exponent, the more they would want to determine to the utmost who is the victor and loser. Therefore a man like Ninth Wing Flying Eagle would be uniquely special and deemed worthy of respect!

The young man said. “Before Father passed away, he repeatedly told me, “There should be only gratuitous and not anguish towards Old Master Long. In future, you can only repaid his kindness.” These words, at all times, I have never forgot. After Father died, I journey down Mount Tian, traveled into the Passes and reached the Central Plains. At that time, I was still young and enjoyed drinking wine…” He smiled as he said that. “Until now, I still love wine more than my life!”

Long Fei smiled too.

“One day I was drinking wine in a very small town, inside a wine tavern. That time I was so drunk that I was muttering nonsense…” The young man smiled again. “There after did I know that at that time I was drunk and boasting of the superiority of my swordplay, even…even the Immortal Divine Dragon was not my match. I even said how superior is Mount Tian swordplay and belittle Central Plains swordplay!”

Long Fei smiled knowingly. He had begun to like this frank young man.
“The next morning when I woke up,” He added. “I discovered that a handsome young man was looking after me. That was the Heartless Sword Old Master Gu’s descendant and also the brother of this Sister Gu, Gu Hong. He and I toured together for three days, and after many more Fragrant Bamboo Leaf (Wine that is brewed from Yellow Wine and bamboo leaves), he began to discuss his ploy with me. That is, if we can gathered all the descendants of the enemies of Immortal Divine Dragon, to extract from the invincible number one warrior the blood debt of our forefathers!”

“At that time, I was indeed slightly shocked in my heart. Because I heard that he had already gathered all the renowned descendants of the famous heroes that was scattered in four directions. No matter how highly skilled was the Immortal Divine Dragon, the gathered strength of all the descendants of the famous heroes cannot be belittle! At that time, the words that my Father told me before he passed on, rung in my ears. “…There should be only gratuitous…” Therefore, I immediately agreed. The things that happened afterwards, Sister Gu had already told you. What Big Brother does not know is how these people managed their roles for the “Phoenix and Divine Dragon” meet in Mount Hua. And how they set their stratagems?”

Long Fei sighed. “Indeed, this matter confounds me. But before you tell me all these, do you mind first telling me your name!”

“Di Yang!” The young man gestured his hands to form a soaring gesture. “Fei Yang, the Yang (Soaring). This name is not well known in Pugilistic Fraternity but it was because I was acting dumb for these couple of years.” And he heartily laughed for several times.

Long Fei could not help but joined him in the laugher; even Gu Yihong eyes appeared to smile as well. But Shi Chen expression remained as still water!

Guo Yuxia rolled her eyes and looked at him for awhile before smiling. “Di Yang, is a good name!”

“Sister in law, thank you!” Di Yang said. He seemed to be able to bring out the sunshine and warm no matter how sad, solemn a situation was and even in those dark, chilling places! He could make the best out of everything.

Somehow when Shi Chen looked at him, he felt angry. And turned his face away, no longer looking at him.

One must know Shi Chen character was originally a righteous person. Only “lust” figured prominently on his head and he lost his tolerance. Just now when he saw Gu Yihong reaction, he had already started to feel vexed. And now when Guo Yuxia mannerism was like that, he was overcome with jealousy in his heart yet he was unable to vent it out!

Di Yang said. “Although I may have the heart to help Old Master Long but because I have an agreement with Gu Hong and the rest, it not convenient for me to aid directly. Therefore I can only aid behind the scenes.”

Long Fei nodded his head. “Just now the torches and the long rope, I have already given my silent thanks. I was wondering who was the noble man that secretly aided us. So it was from worthy brother. Now that I have witnessed the talent of worthy brother, even if you did not forsake the agreement and not aid us anymore, I will still be very happy!”

Di Yang sighed deeply. “Ever since I have entered the Central Plains and traveled across the Pugilistic Fraternity, I have already heard of the many rumors of the Martial Fraternity on how upright and righteousness the eldest disciple of the Divine Dragon Clan, ‘Iron Hero’ Long Fei is. Now that I have met Big Brother, I know your fame is indeed true!”

Long Fei smiled. “Worthy Brother, heap too much praises.”

Di Yang turned ashen but said calmly. “If I did not witness the actions of Big Brother secretly, I will never appear in front of Big Brother.”

He turned his glance at the corpse and sighed. “Although there is no long standing friendship between the two of us, but at least we know one another. Now that he had died and Big Brother still treated him with much respect and none insulting whatever so. So I thought in my heart, since Big Brother can treat the dead with so much respect, what about those alive? If I can have such righteous hero as my friend, I will not waste my trip to the Central Plains therefore I could not help but jumped down…”

Long Fei smiled and said, “I see that Brother Di you are already at the roof top. The funny thing is although we have many people here, none of us knew about it.”

Guo Yuxia said, “I have long heard of Mount Tian Triple Divine Sword and Seven Forms Swiftness Skill are two of Pugilist foremost skills. After witnessing your swiftness skill, I know that the sayings of the Pugilistic Fraternity are not false!” She was smiling now. It was although she had forgotten her worries!

Di Yang heartily laughed. “Triple Swordplay, Seven Forms Swiftness skill, I have only learnt some portions. But running in the winter snowstorm is good training for agility, my legs become stronger than others, how can I deserve the praise of Sister in law!”

Long Fei sighed. “Everyone knows Mount Tian swiftness movement skills are the acme of the Pugilistic Fraternity. Imagine running in the treacherous paths of the high mountains in winter, that level of difficulty in training your movement skills, how will the swiftness movement skill that is developed under that condition not be stronger than others by a few notches. All the famous skills from the various Clans in Pugilistic Fraternity must have good reasons for its own uniqueness and it is not attained through luck!”

Di Yang exclaimed. “How true! Take for example Old Master Long’s Divine Dragon Swordplay, didn’t he undergo great tribulations and thousands of dangers before he can create it…”

Long Fei closed his eyes and sighed deeply. “Unfortunately, among all the disciples here, none of us can master his techniques…Alas. Although Fifth Brother is born highly talented and is willing to brave hardships, but he follows Protégé Master for a short while only and seems unlikely he has managed to learn all the intrinsic formulas from Protégé Master. And although I been the longest with Protégé Master, but unfortunately I am so stupid!”

Di Yang thought it over and said. “Big Brother, the Fifth Brother you mention, is he the descendant of the Nangong Aristocracy Family whose wealth equaled a kingdom?”

Long Fei nodded. “Indeed!”

Di Yang said, “I too had heard others say that the Lord of the wealthy Nangong family had a only son who had a love for martial art skills and been under the tutelage of a great many Martial Teachers. He wasted plenty of riches just to seek a worthy Martial Teacher. A pity that none of them were the truly skilled exponents that he had sought. It was only just recently that he had joined the Divine Dragon Clan. At first I thought that it was just the son of a wealthy family that was pursuing martial art skills as a pastime therefore he joined the Divine Dragon Clan, how could he undergo the hardship to train? But from the accounts of Big Brother, it is indeed very strange!”

Long Fei said. “The Nangong Aristocracy Family and Benevolent Master have deep ties that is hard to explain in a few words.”

Long Fei raised his thumb and said aloud. “But my this Fifth Brother, no ordinary disciple can compare to him. Not that I am boasting for him but he was not only highly talented, he has a natural disposition towards others as well.

He was piety to his family, loyal to our Protégé Master, righteous to all his friends, cool towards lust and calm in the face of dangers.

Although he is born in a wealthy family and knows how to blow and sing with a flute, plays the zither and chess, read and paint, knowledgeable in a hundred crafts but he had shown none of the obnoxious air.

Not only that, until today, there is not a day that he has neglected his training with martial arts. Ever since he has joined the Clan, he has been obedience, work hard with self-encouragement.

When he first joined the Clan, he would chop the woods, and cart the bucket of water, swept the courtyards. Those tasks that he did not have to do, he is eager to do as well.

As for training in martial arts, he is a notch above the rest. When everyone is still sleeping, he will wake up early and practice swordplay. When everyone is asleep, he will still be practicing internal breathing exercises. Even when I first joined the Clan to train in martial arts, I am not as hardworking as him.

Moreover his talent is twice as high as I. I dare to wager, the one that will spread the fame of Divine Dragon Clan far and wide, will surely be Fifth Brother. It will not be long before he will make a impact upon the Pugilistic Fraternity.”

Although Long Fei was not good with words but he was saying it proudly from the bottom of his heart, therefore although it was such a long speech, he said it out with one breath.

Shi Chen remained unmoving while Guo Yuxia listened with a smile.

Gu Yihong was looking at the ceiling, was she listening or she in her own thoughts?

Di Yang was listening intensely till his warm blood began to stir within him. When Long Fei had finished, he was stunned and muttering. He finally sighed deeply and said. “It will not be wrong since it came from Big Brother!”

Long Fei said. “Naturally it won’t be wrong. Or else Protégé Master will not think so highly of him.”

Di Yang furrowed and asked. “Where is this Nangong big brother now?”

Although he was a courtesy to everyone he come near but in actuality, he was a haughty man. Therefore after hearing how Long Fei had praised Nangong Ping, he remained unconvinced within his heart.

Long Fei sighed. “That Nangong Fifth Brother of mine suppose to be here too but…”

Long Fei explained all the reasons from the beginning to the end.

Di Yang was stunned momentarily after hearing. Suddenly he turned his body and began to walk in strides towards the entrance of the door. “Good bye everyone, I make a move first!”

Long Fei asked in puzzlement. “Brother Di, where are you going?”

Di Yang turned his head and said. “I have heard Big Brother speaking of the heroic mannerism of brother Nangong that if I do not rush down the mountain to meet him, how can I pacify my heart. I afraid I am unable to sleep at all even if I do so.”

Long Fei laughed. “Since ancient times, there always been a mutually attraction, moreover both of you are young heroes that will surely meet. But even if you to meet Fifth Brother, the days are long, there is no need for you to rush! Moreover…”

Di Yang said. “Although the days are long but I can’t wait!”

Long Fei said. “Although you cannot wait but the question I asked, if you do not explain, how will I get to the bottom of this. Benevolent Master is missing, if you do not say, Big Brother I, cannot help but worry.”

Di Yang was stunned momentarily. And lost his smiling countenance and said. “I am only thinking of meeting that Nangong big brother and forget about this whole matter.”

Long Fei thought to himself. “It seems that this person is a warm hearted man that value friends dearly. If Fifth Brother befriends him, in future, he will have a someone to look after him.”

Di Yang turned around and muttered something, seemingly considering how he will begin relating Long Fei’s concern.

Long Fei said. “This matter should be long, Brother Di, you don’t have to rush, just slowly…”

Before he could finished, Di Yang lifted his head and looked at the five shining peals on top of the ceiling and said. “Big Brother, from your travels in the Pugilistic Fraternity, do you know the origins of that five shining pearls?”

Long Fei was stunned and said, “I do not know…”

Di Yang said. “Years ago after the Huangshan gathering, Red Phoenix Ye Qiubai became renowned throughout the realm. At that time she had not come to Mount Hua but was staying at the foot of Huangshan in her Shi Zhu Manor.”

Long Fei said. “This I am aware too!”

Di Yang said. “Then, is Big Brother aware that ten years ago in the Pugilistic Fraternity, there was a distinguished gathering hosted by Shi Zhu Manor?”

Long Fei asked. “Do you mean the gathering of the Hundred Birds Flocking to the Phoenix* that was often mentioned in Pugilist?”

* Known as the Phoenix Banquet. The Phoenix is widely regarded as head of all birds.

“Indeed!” He smiled and said. “At that time, I was still young and was beyond the frontiers. Although I have never saw this distinguished banquet with my own eyes but when I heard others mentioning about the banquet, perfumed dresses flowing long hair, unrivalled grandness.

As a gesture of respect for “Red Phoenix”, none whatever so dared to bring a weapon into the manor but left it behind outside the door of the Manor, in a room filled with five hundred over precious swords, excluding other types of weapons that was too many to count.

It was said that the beautiful wine that was drunk, if it was to pour over to Lake Taihu (Lake Taihu, located at the junction of Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces, the Yangtze River Delta in the south, is the largest lake in China’s eastern coastal region, is the third largest freshwater lake in China), the waters of Lake Taihu will rise by one feet!…”

Long Fei smiled, “I was there at that time but that Hundred Birds Flocking to the Phoenix distinguished gathering, although it may not occurred ever again but it was not without precedence.”

Di Yang smiled. “This naturally, I knows. Thirty years ago, people in the Pugilistic Fraternity hosts a grand congratulation ceremony at the top of Xian Xia Ling (Ancient hill in Zhejiang) in honor of Old Master Long, which glorious splendid equaled the gathering.”

On Long Fei’s face floated the expression of admiration as he unwittingly smiled. “That gathering had no courtyards nor halls. Everyone in the Pugilistic Fraternity brought their own wine and meat and carried their swords up the hill…”

Di Yang looked up and laughed. “Everyone brought their own wine and meat, what cavalier spirit, what an extraordinary gathering. Since ancient times after thousands and hundreds of years, I afraid there will not be a second such time anymore. The person that can think of this idea, must be a chivalrous and impressive hero character. What a pity, that I was born later and unable to participate in such a gathering.”

Long Fei said. “It was hosted by thirteen of the most famous old heroes from the Seven Southern and Six Northern Regions throughout the thirteen provinces. But the main host was actually one that was so famously renowned throughout the realm. With a pair of iron fists, with a iron lance and his uncanny predictions that was always accurate with his iron mouth, whose was so famously well known throughout the two grand rivers, to the North and South of Changjiang, the Heavenly Crow Priest!”

Di Yang cried out in surprise. “The Heavenly Crow Priest! Indeed he was a chivalrous and impressive hero character!”

Long Fei continued. “That grand congratulation ceremony started on Mid-Autumn Festival and lasted all the way to the wee morning. Thousands and hundreds of pugilists drawn their swords high above and shouted loudly. “Immortal Divine Dragon, Divine Dragon that is Immortal.” The rising sun reflected the light of those thousands and hundreds of swords and its light shine forth like a five colored sea of light. The ear-shattering shouts had already dispersed the fog of Xian Xia Ling. Such a gathering when compared to the Phoenix Banquet, how that compare to it!”

Everyone listened intensely at this tale with stirring joy in his or her hearts especially Di Yang who seemed to be totally immersed in the exaltation of the Divine Dragon.

Long Fei broad smile disappeared and he said solemnly. “Although both gatherings were equally grand but the quality cannot be compared.”

Di Yang asked. “Why?”

Long Fei said. “This grand congratulation ceremony was held for Benevolent Master heroics by the people in Pugilist. Benevolent Master was invited to it but did not know the purpose. But that Phoenix Banquet gathering was sent alone by Red Phoenix Ye Qiubai to invite all the famous heroes of Pugilist and all the women pugilists. Those that turned up for the Shi Zhu Manor gathering, there were some that were unwilling to come but were not prepared to offend Red Phoenix Ye Qiubai. Therefore they had to come, so how could that gathering compared to the grand congratulation ceremony at Xian Xia Ling!”

Di Yang smiled and knew that the two equally famous Clans of Phoenix and Dragon, that a line had been drawn between them, therefore Long Fei would tell him that.

Suddenly Guo Yuxia coughed a laugh and said. “What are the both of you saying earlier on?”

Long Fei was startled, and he lost his smiles. “We are originally talking about that shining pearl!”

Guo Yuxia smiled. “You both only care to keep on talking and the conversation seems to be carried away. I am waiting to hear the origin of the shining pearl and I was anxious from waiting!”

Di Yang laughed. “Sister in law please don’t fault us. We will keep idle talks to the minimum and get back on track!”

Long Fei and Guo Yuxia laughed together as Di Yang copied a line from the storyteller.

Di Yang purposely coughed two times and cleared his throat, said. “Just as what Big Brother had said. The invitations that Red Phoenix Ye Qiubai sent out, every swordswomen, heroine, no matter whether they were willing or unwilling, all brought gifts and hurried to Shi Zhi Manor. Among the crowd, from Humphshan, under the protégé of Master Jing, were the Murong five sisters who brought those five shining pearls!”

Long Fei said. “Therefore this five luminous pearls were from the Humphshan five sisters, given to Red Phoenix Ye Qiubai. In another words, this bamboo hut is the dwelling place of Ye Qiubai.”

Di Yang said, “Indeed.”

Guo Yuxia asked questioning. “Ye Qiubai was the daughter of a wealthy family and she was very particular on her choice of food and living. How could she stay in a place like this?”

Di Yang said, “Very few people knows about this matter in Pugilistic Fraternity.” He sighed. “That Red Phoenix Ye Qiubai and Old Master Long, used to be a couple in Pugilist…”

Suddenly Long Fei coughed two times and Di Yang changed tact and said. “Please don’t be offended by little brother! I unwittingly mentioned about Old Master’s past.”

Guo Yuxia said, “Although Benevolent Master and Ye Qiubai had long know one another but they did not become a couple. Furthermore, ten years ago over a matter, they quarreled and refused to meet anymore. And in a surge of anger, they even made an agreement to duel ten years later using their swordmanship. Everyone in Pugilist knew about this matter. What does it matter even if you mention it?”

Di Yang said. “That Red Phoenix Ye Qiubai and Old Master Long sealed a pact for the duel on swordmanship ten years later. In her haste to claim victory over Old Master Long, she began to practice a secret skill on inner strength that originated from the west in a region known as India. It was called the ‘Three Treatise Divine Skill’. Rumors had it that it was a type of inner strength skill created by the Buddhist high monk Jiu Mo Luo. It was a secret technique that was considered not hereditary.”

Long Fei said in a startled manner. “I have heard Benevolent Master remarking about this skill before. Rumors had it that the leader of the evil flocks, Taiyang Monk Yuan Ji had used this skill but it was lost after he had passed away. That Red Phoenix Ye Qiubai was not from the Monastic Order so how could she have tried to practice this Monastic secret skill?”

Di Yang said. “According to my knowledge, Red Phoenix Ye Qiubai accidentally obtained this secret manual. Naturally she was very happy and in her eagerness to borrow this skill to emerge victorious for the duel on swordmanship ten years later. But in her haste to master this skill and because her own inner strength and the inner strength that was needed had differences, after painstaking training for one year, she lost control and was afflicted by deviation phenomenon (In wuxia terms, it means nerve damage or seeing illusions. In modern terms, it can also mean too deeply into something).”

Long Fei turned ashen and unwittingly made a startled sound. “Ever since Red Phoenix Ye Qiubai distributed away the riches of Shi Zhu Manor, and give the hall of Shi Zhu Manor to Divine Nun Ru Mo. Benevolent Master thought she had gone to a quiet place to train a secret technique. But who would expect that she would be afflicted by deviation phenomenon.” He could not help but sighed for her.

Di Yang said. “After she was afflicted by deviation phenomenon, judging from her haughty persona, she would constantly think about the swordsmanship meet with Old Master Long, therefore she would feel unspeakable heart wrenching and torturous.

Just then her best friend Divine Nun Ru Mo paid her a visit at Shi Zhu Manor. Upon seeing her in pain and the decorations of her bed was scratched to shreds. Her disciple who was attending her was constantly being blamed and scolded. Therefore she urged her to find a secluded and cold high mountain and built a dwelling place that can shelter her from the wind and rain to train. Using the icy cold depths of the high mountains and the coming of the windless wind and the cold rain to insolent her body’s inner demons and inner fire. Maybe after less than ten years, she would be able to regain her bodily movements and used this opportunity to train another earth shattering inner strength.”

Long Fei sighed. “Therefore she stayed ten years on the peak of Mount Hua in this rough bamboo hut, painfully braving the wind and rain everyday, just because she wanted to prove something with Protégé Master, is it?”

The night settled in and the chilliness crepe into the bamboo hut. Although their internal strength protected them from the cold but still it was insufferable. When he thought how Red Phoenix Ye Qiubai had soldiered on and stayed in this bamboo hut for nearly ten years, although he was not on the best of terms with her, he unwittingly sighed for her.

Di Yang continued. “After hearing from Divine Nun Ru Mo, Ye Qiubai took a newly accepted disciple and her four maids who were always with her and reached Mount Hua. She would sit on this set of furniture and stay alone in this bamboo hut. Only her disciple will come everyday to accompany her for a few hours, bring some food and train some martial arts.”

Long Fei said, “Therefore, this ambush is thought by Ye Qiubai!”

Di Yang shook his head and said. “Gu Hong is bent on seeking vendetta After sending sister Gu to Zhijiao Manor, he brought us to the newly renamed “Ru Mo tranquil residence” that used to be Shi Zhu Manor to seek aid…”

Long Fei was astonished and he could not help thinking about it, interrupted. “That Divine Nun Ru Mo and Benevolent Master, do they have any animosity?”

Di Yang shook his head. “Although that Divine Nun Ru Mo has no animosity with Old Master Long but she has a deep connection with Kunlun disciple ‘Cloud Breaker Hand’, Zhuo Bufan.”

Long Fei muttered. “This is also strange as well…”

Di Yang interrupted. “Does Big Brother know the origin of Divine Nun Ru Mo?”

Long Fei replied. “I do not know!”

Di Yang explained. “Big Brother, have you ever heard from others, that tens of decades ago, there was a ‘Agile Hand’ Li Ping a swordswoman from the Kunlun Clan?”

Guo Yuxia smiled and said. “I have heard of this name before. Big Brother, do you still remembered when Protégé Master mentioned ‘Peacock Concubine’ Mei Yinxue, he had also mentioned that thirty years ago, there was a ‘Agile Hand’ Li Ping who was even more vicious in her persona and actions than even the famous ‘Cold blood Concubine’. But after she created a storm in Pugilist, she suddenly disappeared!”

Di Yang smiled and said. “The people in Pugilist will never expect ‘Agile Hand’ Li Ping who was as beautiful as a flower, whose heart was as cold as steel, would suddenly become a nun and become the famous Divine Nun Ru Mo in Pugilist. It was because her enemies were pursuing her. Therefore she disappeared from the Martial Fraternity. But after reaching middle age, she felt regretful and shaved her hair and entered the Monastic Order. After she became a nun, she grew even more regretful and felt that the past was like a dream, a smoke. So she took the name of ‘Ru Mo’.”

Long Fei sighed. “To be able to put aside all thoughts of vengeance and turned over a new leaf. This Divine Nun Ru Mo is indeed a wise person. But a pity, in this world, some people even when they did the wrong things, persistence in their evil ways. Man is no saint, as long as one have the heart to turn over a new leaf, how could anyone not forgive her!”

Shi Chen was startled and turned his body around..

Guo Yuxia rolls her eyes and thought. “Is he talking about me?” But she smiled sweetly and said. “That is to say, that Divine Nun Ru Mo and ‘Cloud Breaker Hand’ are from the same Clan…”

Di Yang nodded and said. “Therefore Divine Nun Ru Mo suggested that ‘Cloud Breaker Hand’ and us to go Mount Hua and seek Red Phoenix Ye Qiubai. At that time, Ye Qiubai were filled with anguish. When she heard our intentions, without saying a word, she waved her hand to strike at Gong Hong and Zhuo Bufan! Alas! Although this renowned old senior was afflicted by deviation phenomenon and her body could not move, but her extended palm was shocking. I was standing far away behind and only saw her extended palm gently lifting up, there were two ripples of palm force that rippled out towards Gu Hong and Zhuo Bufan.”

He sighed again and again before saying. “Before the palm force had landed, Gu Hong had evaded it. As for Zhuo Bufan he did not try to move but directly accepted her direct attack. I heard a ‘Peng’ sound like thunder. I saw Zhuo Bufan standing rigid and was startled that his internal strength could handle Ye Qiubai’s direct attack. But before I was able to finish my thoughts, Zhuo Bufan collapsed with a ‘Pong’ sound on the ground.”

Long Fei said. “That Zhuo Bufan is indeed a real man.”

Guo Yuxia smiled. “It seemed that young master Gu was smarter than him.”

Gu Yihong blushed upon hearing.

Di Yang said. “Although Zhuo Bufan had managed to fend off Ye Qiubai’s one palm attack, but had already expended all his strength in his whole body, therefore he was unable to stand. Siting on the ground, he began to scold Ye Qiubai. “Even though you don’t agree but you do not have to attack us juniors. We have after all a common enemy, and on the recommendation of the Divine Nun Ru Mo.”

He began to scold for some time, although his meaning is about the same as this but it was very vulgar. When he had scolded halfway, we began to be on our guard in case Ye Qiubai suddenly attack. But who will to expect that after he had finished scolding, Ye Qiubai would suddenly sigh deeply and said. “Just on base on the standard of everyone’s martial skills, how could you be the match for Long Bushi.”

She just waved her hand, closed her eyes and no longer looked at us. Therefore Gu Hong who was standing besides her began to say. “We are not looking for Long Bushi to compare martial skills but seeking revenge on him. We only seek to accomplish our goals, by hook or my crook. Although our martial skill standards by comparison are poor but our chances of success rate are high indeed. He did not wait to see whether Ye Qiubai was listening, and began to pour forth our plans to her. He even told her that in Zhijiao Manor, there was already a spy planted, not only would they know the every moves of the Immortal Divine Dragon but also his newly created martial skills.”

Di Yang smiled and added. “Our this Gu brother, although I never know the extend of his martial skills but he is really very good with his mouth and Ye Qiubai slowly opened her eyes and her eyes had a strange glow. Looking from the sides, I knew the matter was a success!”

Long Fei was surprised. “Ye Qiubai had always been lonely and likes to do things alone. She always wanted to be strong. This is so out of her characteristics, alas…I will never think she will try to use unscrupulous methods to obtain her objection.”

Di Yang said. “Although it is the case but Ye Qiubai was forced to sit and mediate, suffered the torture of the cold and the wind. Moreover the ten years of swordsmanship was approaching and her body shown no signs of recovery…alas! That time within her, naturally she would behave out of norm and actually accepted Gu Hong suggestion.”

Long Fei asked solemnly. “What suggestion?”

Di Yang replied. “We stayed on Mount Hua for five years. During those five years, we take turn going down the mountain and to update ourselves with news and the martial skills development of Old Master Long. At the same time we trained our martial skills on the mountain…alas! I did not expect that the enmities between Gu Hong and Old Master Long would be so deep. It seemed that his entire existence in life was just for vengeance. Would he not feel torturous to be in Mount Hua all year round, braving the loneliness and cold for his age and characteristics?”

“Fame, repute, wealth, joy, glory…” Di Yang sighed. “These are the dreams of every young man but he did not even think about these. I am startled because with his charisma, whatever else if he pursued would definitely be obtainable.”

Gu Yihong unwittingly melancholy sighed and softly said. “If you but will to imagine growing up in my brother’s environment…” But she did not finish the words she was thinking in her heart.

How could anyone not understand her meaning?

Di Yang was silence for awhile before continuing. “Five years of extreme loneliness, torture yet filled with hope finally passed. They finally thought of a plan that was fail-safe and the chance of it being exposed was the smallest yet the chance of it failing will be the minimum.”

Finally he had reached the most important aspect!

“This plan if I will do say it in detail, will be divided into six parts. Firstly, use the news of the death of Red Phoenix Ye Qiubai to disrupt Old Master Long’s concentration and to weaken his defenses. Everyone knows of the past between Old Master Long and Ye Qiubai. If Ye Qiubai were to die, Old Master Long upon receiving the news will more or less be affected and be upset. And also when he knew that his one and only opponent had already died, his defenses and mental state will be loosen and will belittle his enemies.”

Long Fei sighed. “And the second?”

Di Yang said. “Secondly, instruct the disciple of Ye Qiubai to use a haughty and cold language to revoke Old Master Long’s rage. Judging by his temper, naturally he will be affected by this taunting tactic. Therefore that Ye Manqing will propose that Old Master Long reduces his internal force. Once Old Master Long has agreed, the plan will thereby succeeded by half.”

Gu Yuxia melancholy sighed. “At that time, I already knew that something is amiss. Therefore urge Protégé Master not to fall into the ruse but unexpected…alas! Fifth Brother…”

Long Fei said. “Even if Fifth Brother did not do it, I will still do it. How can a real man behaved like a woman. Even if I know someone wants to lie to me, I will still try and definitely refuse to swallow that bitter pill. Even if I am silly for once but I am not the one that is wrong. So therefore you can see, who can bluff me twice thereafter.”

Di Yang raised his mother thumb up and said. “What a real man! The heroism of Divine Dragon Clan is well known throughout Pugilist. It is indeed incomparable.”

Guo Yuxia lowered her eyes and softly said. “And thirdly?”

“Thirdly…” Di Yang said. “After reducing Old Master Long internal force, will be to weaken his surrounding strength and separate him from all of you…”

Long Fei glanced at Guo Yuxia and sighed. “Just as she expected.”

Di Yang said. “If the first three parts of the plan succeed, it doesn’t really matter if the next three parts are to success or fail, for he will be in a very precarious position.

I supposed to be in the middle to aid the plan but when I saw that Ye Manqing was taking Old Master Long alone up here, I thought to myself if this is not the time to repay Old Master Long gratitude, then when will it be!” Therefore I made up my mind to finish Ye Manqing and to tell Old Master Long the truth.”

Long Fei bowed his head. “Just basing on this good intention from brother, is enough for me to give this respect!”

Guo Yuxia rolled her eyes and said. “And Sister in law, this respect as well!”

Di Yang moved back many times and bowed in return. “Big Brother, your this respect should be shown to Maiden Ye Manqing rightfully!”

Long asked in puzzlement. “How do you explain this line?”

Di Yang said. “At that time I had that intention in mind. But when Maiden Ye saw me, without saying a word, she began to attack me with her sword. Her sword was fast, vicious, accurate and steady. It was as though she could not wait to pierce me with her sword. It took me all my efforts just to dodge. My heart was panicky at that time and thought that girl had the ability to foreseen the future. Did she saw my intentions therefore she wanted to kill me first?”

He smiled. “My heart was agitated while she remained as calm as still water. Seemed that she treated me as though I am her greatest enemy, left side one sword, right side another sword and dancing her piercing thrusts non stop. All her sword strokes were extremely vicious. My martial skills could not win her in short notice and I was afraid that some others would come to aid. Therefore as I fought her, at the same time I shouted to Old Master Long and reveal their plans. But who would to expect that after I had shouted, Ye Manqing actually stopped.”

Long Fei took a deep breath. “Could it be that Maiden Ye is also intending to help Protégé Master?”

Di Yang nodded. “Indeed. Because that Maiden Ye’s forebears was once indebted to Old Master Long. Moreover regarding this cunning ploy, she is extremely against it. Although she did not have any plans but along the way, after listening to Old Master Long and saw his persona, she decided to aid Old Master Long away from the ploy even if it mean she has to betray her Teacher.”

Long Fei made a sound of lament before saying. “It really true for the saying that help is all around us. At first I really could not tell that Maiden Ye is such a righteousness maiden.”

Di Yang smiled. “Old Master Long was the most startled. He was a frank man, how would he suspect that there would be ploys? Therefore we invited him to a dwelling place where we normally residence on the mountain and told him the entire matter.”

But his smile soon ceased and gave way to a deep sigh. “But who will to expect that soon after he heard us, he asked for paper and brush to write some letters. He looked very peaceful within for we were looking at the side and his writings did not appear to be hasty. We were even more afraid than he was.

After he had finished, he folded the letters up and passed to Ye Manqing and instructed her to pass to all of you. And said to me. “Lead me!” Ye Manqing and I were too startled and asked him where he wanted to go?

He laughed aloud upon seeing our expressions and laughing said. “Even if it a dragon territory or a tiger den, I will still want to go. Having lived till today, I have already see beyond life and death.

Only gratuitous and vengeance are more important to me. That is because I do not want to bring those unfinished gratuitous and vengeance to the grave. And in front of me ‘Immortal Divine Dragon’, was a fitting place for me to finish all the gratuitous and vengeance, why shall I not go!”

Di Yang at this moment when reciting ‘Immortal Divine Dragon’ Long Bushi words, happened to mimic some of his heroic spirit.

Therefore Long Fei felt his warm blood arousing and said aloud. “And then?”

Di Yang replied. “Suddenly there was a cracking sound that echoed loud by Old Master Long’s bones as he continuing laughing. It seemed like the tall imposing figure of his, became even more imposing. I did not dare to look into his eyes but was looking down. But I could tell that in his laughter, he had freed himself of all the sealed accupoints and regained his original internal power…Alas! I am really deeply impressed by his martial skills and heroics!”

Since everyone in the bamboo hut were mostly the disciples of ‘Immortal Divine Dragon’ and after hearing those words from Di Yang, a sense of heroic spirit began to stir within the hearts of everyone. It caused this chilling cold bamboo hut to generate some warmth.

Di Yang looked down and said. “Ye Manqing and I after witnessing Old Master Long this magnificent display of heroics, none of us dare to persuade him anymore. When we walked out of the dwelling place and reached the crossroads of the mountains, I could not controlled my tears anymore. Maiden Ye had been in tears long before I even shed. Only Old Master Long was expressionless as though he had never put life and death into his thoughts.”

“At the mouth of the crossroad,” Di Yang could not help but sighed. “Old Master Long placed his precious sword into the hands of Maiden Ye and asked her to bring it down the mountain. But Maiden Ye was too startled and stood there unmoving. Although usually I am full of words to say but under that situation, there was none.”

Long Fei sighed. “At first I thought of that Maiden Ye as a heartless and cold maiden.”

Di Yang said. “Although we did not say anything but in our hearts, we are most unwilling to let Old Master Long braved the dangers alone. Although his martial skills are invincible but there are still a few more cunning stratagems ahead that are set to snare Old Master Long frank and heroics persona. After a long time, Maiden Ye finally slowly turned her body and Old Master long seemed to flow forth a unspeakable sadness, looking idiocy at her back view…”

“Under the celestial lights, I could clearly see his scars and wrinkles. I knew in my heart that each scar and wrinkle carried his past and his fulfilling life. And I saw too a tinge of sadness in his eyes and unconsciously, I suddenly thought of the plains over Mount Tian, and the setting sun over the plains. But my vision came to the part when the darkness overtook the plains, it became to dark and quiet…I really could not resist but to knee before Old Master Long!”

Di Yang said aloud. “At that time, I only saw the glance of Old Master Long that looked like the bright stars of the night that shone deep into my heart. He looked at me questioning for a while before he said aloud. ‘Once a man is born, as long as his heart is without guilt, able to end all gratuitous and vengeance, how it doesn’t matter if one is to die? Your father has warrior spirit that is passed throughout the generations, you are born in a Martial Aristocracy Family, why learn all the hesitation mannerism of little girls.’ Upon finishing, he gently stomped his foot and his tall imposing figure was like a cloud that fluttered away and disappeared into the darkness.”

Di Yang was silence for a while before he added. “When I lifted my head, I saw on the ground was a deep footprint. I looked in idiocy at the footprint and my heart was really confused as I recalled all his teachings echoing in my ears…”

Long Fei sighed deeply. “That footprint was what we saw earlier…”

Guo Yuxia melancholy sighed. “But we nevertheless failed to guess for what reason caused that footprint to be left behind…”

Di Yang bright eyes too became empty and deep. He said. “There are many things in the world, even if the most brilliant of all, is unable to guess…”

He looked up and added. “For example, even now, I cannot know what happens to Old Master Long up the mountains and where is he now at this very moment!”

Long Fei was startled. “You do not know?”

“I do not know!” Di Yang shook his head. “After he had left, I thought it over for some time before I decided to go down the mountain to look for all of you. But all of you had already moved up the mountain so I started to follow and listen to your theories and guesses…”

He smiled. “Later, when I heard that you all need a torch, so I went to my dwelling place to retrieve some torches and rope. Later I lit the torches in the route in front of you and from the small road, I lowered the long rope. As for what happened in this bamboo hut, I am the same as all of you, clueless.”

Long Fei and Gu Yihong was thinking in their heart. “What actually happens here? And where did Protégé Master go? What sort of outcome will it be?”

But Shi Chen and Guo Yuxia were thinking inside their heart. “Since this Di Yang was already up here, would he not already have saw our actions.”

Shi Chen became even more guilty and thought. “No wonder he was rude to me, that is because he had already saw what happened earlier!” He did not consider that it was he who was rude first.

He looked at Di Yang coldly and asked seriously. “What you have just said, is it real?”

Di Yang was startled and Long Fei interrupted. “Third Brother, don’t be rude!”

Shi Chen kept quiet as his heart sunk.

Guo Yuxia softly said. “Brother Di, what happened in this bamboo hut, you have witnessed it. Why did you say you did not witness?”

Di Yang suddenly laughed hilariously. “Good, good. I have good intentions but it turned into deceiving all of you.” He was shaking with anger in his words and about to storm off when Long Fei blocked him.

Guo Yuxia looking composed gently laughed. “Brother Di, if I have said anything wrong, do not fault me but…”

She smiled awhile before adding. “Since you already been here and along the way we wasted quite some time with the pictures that were engraved on the three rocks…Moreover, when you first entered this bamboo hut, you were not the least startled. Why is that so?”

Shi Chen asked as well. “Why is that so?”

Long Fei looked perplexed as well and saw that Di Yang had closed his eyes. He could help but wondered. “What is the reason?”

Guo Yuxia added. “The first three traps that you all set, you have already told me. As for the next three traps, even if you don’t say, I know it as well. Firstly, your friends engraved some words on the side of the mountain to incite Protégé Master to climb up even if it dangerous so that even before he could fight, his strength would be spent. In fact, they would even make a wistful hope that he would not be able to maintain his inner strength and fell. They would not need even to move their fingers.”

Until now, Di Yang did not open his eyes. Therefore Guo Yuxia continued. “Secondly, for many years now, your friends had already learnt from the mouth of Fourth Sister, the extend of Protégé Master’s martial skills. Therefore through the efforts of several people, created three stances and engraved it onto the rock. Theoretically, it may be workable but in actual fight, it may not be really practicable to use it. Therefore they could use it as an opportunity to deal a blow to Protégé Master and cause him to feel frustrated even before he had the chance to confront Ye Qiubai.”

“The third stroke of the stance could even be unattainable. Or should I say unattainable by anyone. Protégé Master is a prominent figure, how can he not see through it. Therefore in a fit of rage, he smashed that rock with his hand.”

“Thirdly,” She paused to catch her breath before saying. “Three choices of route, four heavy doors. That was the way for your friends to test Protégé Master’s martial skills…There is more one thing which profound me. Since that Red Phoenix Ye Qiubai had already been afflicted by deviation phenomenon, then where is she now at this moment?” As she initially had the intention to malice Di Yang, therefore she immediately cast him in a suspicious light.

Long Fei took a few glances at Di Yang, he could not help but wondered in doubt.

Di Yang opened his eyes and added. “Sister in law, you are really intelligence. These three things, you have all guessed correctly! But his speech was still as calm as ever.

Guo Yuxia smiled as Di Yang said. “That right. The stances and strokes that were engraved on the three rocks, theoretically can be achieved but in practically, it is impossible!”

The side of his mouth seemed to be smiling as he said. “I have heard every single words that you discussed by the three rocks. But a pity, at that time Sister in law, in your heart, you were thinking of too many things therefore you did not notice that above the rock, there is a person hiding!”

Guo Yuxia was startled.

Long Fei sighed deeply. “Brother Di, there are too many things that happened therefore our hearts and thoughts are all in confusion. If Sister in law has offended you…Haiz, haiz, you…”

Di Yang laughed it off and said. “This can’t blamed upon Sister in law. If it were I instead, I would feel doubtful too. Although I reached this bamboo hut a little earlier than you but what concurred in this place, had already passed. What Sister in law is wondering, I am wondering in my heart as well…Ye Qiubai, Gu Hong, Zhuo Bufan and Old Master Long, their whereabouts have now become a mystery…”

His eyes looked on the ground. “The floor have three traces of blood,” He blended down and turned the body over a few times. “But only this corpse shown no blood traces. So how did he died?”

Although this question was very obvious but before he pointed out, no one else had noticed. Everyone looked at the corpse now and observed that his face was twisted and he died because he was greatly startled by something. Or was he attacked by a form of soft stance inner martial skill, that destroyed his veins and died?”

Long Fei sighed deeply. “All these had become a mystery. But I hope that Brother Di will join hands with us to investigate the mystery…”

Di Yang smiled coldly, his hands carried the corpse and said with his head lowered. “All these mysteries will be revealed one day. By then everyone will know that what I say earlier is the true!”

He lifted his head to glance at Long once and said in a clear voice. “Big Brother take good care of yourself.” And he flashed outside the door.

Long Fei was stunned and shouted after him. “Brother Di…Di Yang…wait!”

But this Mount Tian Sword Clan only descendant, had an astonishing swiftness movement skill. Even though he was carrying a body in his hands but in an instant, he had all but disappeared!

Long Fei was left looking idiocy at the door for awhile as he eyed the darkness. He sighed deeply in his heart, turned back and muttered. “He is really a worthy man…!”

Guo Yuxia rolled her eyes and softly said. “From what I can tell, this man has something up his sleeves! He…”

Long Fei suddenly shouted. “Shut up!”

Guo Yuxia was startled as Long Fei continued to add. “If it is not for your finger guessing, I will not offend such a good man. Have you already forgot what Protégé Master usually have been teaching us? Use honesty to treat people, suppress all anger. Now look what we done. Will anyone in Pugilist still befriend Zhijiao Manor. Does it mean the end of Zhijiao Manor because of what you have done!”

He was usually a lenient man to others. Therefore when Shi Chen and Gu Yihong saw him now in real rage, they did not dare to say anything now!
Guo Yuxia was startled momentarily before she covered her hands with her face and stormed out of the bamboo hut.

Shi Chen and Gu Yihong were startled as well and together they shouted after her. “Sister in law!”

Long Fei countenance changed and he looked with open eyes. How could he not feel startled within after he saw his doted companion of many years stormed out in a fit of anger?

When Shi Chen reached the door, he felt like going after Guo Yuxia.

All of a sudden he halted his steps as though he seemed to remember that he was not the person that supposed to go after her.

Gu Yihong softly said. “Big Brother, you should be the one soothing her…”

Long Fei lowered his head. “I was too bash in my words!” He looked at Shi Chen and sighed deeply. “It is better if Third Brother will to sooth her instead!”

Even before he had finished, Shi Chen had rushed out.

After being silence for quite some time, Long Fei sighed deeply. “Indeed, I was too harsh on her. Actually, what she did is for the concerns of everyone…”

He did not try to fault others and fault himself first. When Gu Yihong looked into his eyes, she felt a sense of pity for him. After what happened, she could no longer remained in the Divine Dragon Clan but somehow, she could not bear to say out the word “leaving”!

Therefore she could change tact and say. “Big Brother” She softly said. “Do we remain here or do we go down the mountain?”

Long Fei muttered as he looked down. “Down the mountain!” He sighed deeply. “Anyway your Sister in law has no reason not to go back Zhijiao Manor and…Fifth Brother is very likely to be waiting for us down the mountain. Haiz…What concurred today is indeed very weird and mysterious. What for did that priest steal the coffin? This matter and the other matters are the same, it really stumbles the mind. Maybe…”

He smiled. “Maybe I am too a little too stupid.”

Gu Yihong sighed in her heart. “Is he really too stupid?” She could not answer therefore she did not reply.

“All these mysteries, there will be a day when it will be revealed…”

Long Fei muttered as he eyed the door outside to see a column of misty fog rolling over. Therefore he sighed deeply at the sight. “But no matter what…” he muttered. “This very day is finally done!”

Ch5 End

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Chapter 4:

Under the same starry night, Long Fei and his wife, Guo Yuxia walked together hand to hand. She looked at him with loving eyes. Although her swiftness skill was higher than her husband, her martial art skills did not seem to be any weaker as well. But now her present mannerism seemed like without his strength and protection, she would be unable to continue in these desolate mountains.

She intentionally gave him a sense of pride and that she was confident in him; let him believe that between the two of them, he was the stronger. But in actuality, which was the stronger, only she knew in her heart!

Following behind them, was the enchanting Wang Susu. But she did not want the support of Shi Chen although fragrant sweat was covering her face. Therefore Shi Chen could only follow behind her!

The four of them had already combed the entire mountain range but were still unable to find any suspicious spot that gave them the clue to the whereabouts of their Protégé Master!

They had nothing to talk about therefore they had to remain silence. Finally Guo Yuxia said softly. “Unable to find anymore!”

Long Fei said in agreement. “Unable to find anymore!”

Wang Susu nodded her head while Shi Chen sighed lengthy. “Unable to find anymore!”

Guo Yuxia melancholy sighed as well. “Let go back then!”

Long Fei said. “Let go back then!”

Shi Chen exclaimed, “It time to go back then!”

Wang Susu injected what she was unable to say earlier. “Maybe he is still waiting for us!”

Shi Chen expression slowly changed but said nothing. Long Fei and Guo Yuxia stopped in their tracks and looked at Wang Susu. The four of them looked at one another.

Suddenly Shi Chen said. “There is still a path in front…” he stopped his voice in his track and looked at Guo Yuxia.

Guo Yuxia locked her eyes on him for awhile and gently nodded. “The mountain range is vast, let not make it a wasted trip. Let us investigate the path in front and see how!”

Shi Chen immediately continued. “Indeed, indeed. The mountain range is vast, let not make it a wasted trip!”

Wang Susu bowed down her head in silent while Long Fei was mystified!

As they went further, their movements became slow and the mountain ledges became more and more treacherous. Normally no one would ever think of traveling along the high mountains of Mount Hua let alone in the lonely darkness.

The whole mountain range emitted a sense of cold chilled feeling. Guo Yuxia and Long Fei walked even more closely to one another while Wang Susu walked even further from Shi Chen!

Wang Susu was the type of vulnerable girl. She too needed a strong shoulder to support her and to protect her. But she took aside this desire in her heart. Except for “him”, she did not want anyone to feel for her. But “he”, where was he at this moment?

She tried to control her warm tears but failed. So she bowed her head and tears flowed. Therefore her head sunk even lower. She did not try to wipe away her tears with her hands as she did not want Shi Chen who was behind her to know the pain in her heart.

Suddenly, she stopped her steps and cried out in shock. And Long Fei and Guo Yuxia turned back. And Shi Chen dashed in front and asked in a low voice. “What is the matter?” And they saw Wang Susu looking in surprise, and with tears looking on the ground!

The ground looked ordinary and nothing unusual at first glance.

Therefore Long Fei, Guo Yuxia and Shi Chen followed her stares and looked carefully. On the mountain footpath was a footprint that was three inches deep into the rocks. Therefore there were another three cries of surprise!

This mountain footpath was rock solid. An ordinary person with average martial art skills even if he had used a exceptional sharp weapon would have difficulty creating such a deep footprint. Moreover this person seemed to have anyhow stomped on the ground to create such a deep imprint!

And by a sheer coincidence, the footprint had pointed a path towards the left!

Wang Susu asked to clear her doubts. “This…this…footprint…does it look like our Protégé Master…”

Long Fei, Guo Yuxia, Shi Chen and Wang Susu exchanged looks with each other, trying to guess.

Guo Yuxia said in a shaky voice. “This is not our Protégé Master!”

Although her voice was soft, it was also firm. She did not wait for others to speak and continued. “Although this footprint looks like his…”

Wang Susu could not help but spoke out softly. “Not only is it exactly the same, even the design of the shoe print is the same!”

Shi Chen pointed out. “In the Pugilistic Fraternity, there are not many people that wear this type of government boot!”

One must know that the pugilists that roamed the Martial Fraternity preferred light and convenient shoe. Naturally they would not wear this type of government boot! Especially not on this type of treacherous mountain ground!

Guo Yuxia nodded lightly and said. “In the Pugilistic Fraternity, I afraid except for our Protégé Master, not many people will wear this type of heavy government boot!”

Wang Susu continued. “In the Pugilistic Fraternity, I afraid except for our Protégé Master, not many people have such internal power…”
Long Fei said. “Indeed, indeed. Our old man left behind this footprint. Surely it pointed to the direction of his whereabouts!”

Shi Chen said. “Indeed, In…”

Guo Yuxia suddenly laughed coldly. “Indeed, indeed. But all of you forget something!”

Shi Chen asked. “What thing?”

Guo Yuxia replied. “Although this footprint look like it belongs to our Protégé Master and from the depth of the imprints, looked like something only his internal power can accomplish. But this footprint definitely does not belong to our Protégé Master, that because…” She purposely dragged her words, then word by word continued. “Our Protégé Master at this moment does not have this type of internal power.”

Long Fei, Shi Chen, Wang Susu were all taken aback and said together. “True!”

Long Fei said. “Our Protégé Master, after he reduced his internal powerful by seventy percent, has the same level as me, so how can he have left such a deep footprint on this rocky ground!” He looked with admiration at Guo Yuxia. “This fact, we all know but why only you remember it?”

Guo Yuxia smiled gently. “You are all so tired, hungry and your moods are full of tensions. No matter who it is, under this type of circumstances are bound to forget many things!”

Wang Susu had been looking down all along, suddenly lifted up her head and softly asked. “If this footprint does not belong to our Protégé Master, then who it belong to?” She rolled her eyes from Guo Yuxia, Long Fei and Shi Chen before continuing. “ Can all of you think of anyone besides our Protégé Master, who other else will wear a government boot and walk in this desolate and treacherous place? And who other else possesses such powerful internal strength?”

Ever since the Huangshan meeting that caused all the best from the Pugilistic Fraternity to sacrifice themselves, there indeed in the Pugilistic Fraternity no one else who had internal power the same level as “Phoenix and Divine Dragon” anymore.

Therefore, Wang Susu questioning reached deep into the souls of Long Fei, Shi Chen and Guo Yuxia!

They were silent for awhile. And then Long Fei asked. “Unless in the Pugilistic Fraternity, there appeared a top ace exponent?”

Shi Chen said. “Unless our Protégé Master had been under…” He seemed to have some difficulty therefore he found himself unable to continue!
Long Fei asked sternly. “Under what?”

Shi Chen sighed and shook his head. Long Fei became vexed and asked again. “Why did you say halfway and don’t continue!”

Guo Yuxia slowly smiled.

Wang Susu said. “If he unwilling to speak. Let him bury it in his heart then.” She once again lowered her head to look idiocy at the footprint!

Shi Chen looked at her awhile and said. “How will I not be unwilling to speak!”

Guo Yuxia laughed. “Then, will you say it out fast!”

Shi Chen coughed two sounds and said. “I just afraid…that footprint…” Then coughed another two times to catch Wang Susu attention.

She lifted her head and Shi Chen continued. “I only afraid that the footprint is left behind when our Protégé Master…before…before…”

Guo Yuxia said. “Are you afraid that this footprint is left behind by our Protégé Master when he fought with some one. Badly injured, before he died, there was a last exaltation of his internal power?”

Shi Chen lowered his head and said. “I am afraid of that!”
Wang Susu looked shocked, and she shook all over.

Long Fei muttered. “Last exaltation of his internal power…last exaltation of his internal power…” Suddenly he shouted. “Protégé Master, you…Are you really dead?” And tightened his fists.
One must know that some one who had strong foundations in inner strength, just before he died, the stroke he mustered with all his might, was what he normally he could not accomplish yet was the peak of all his internal power. And just before they died and their last exaltation, be it finger or palm, fist or kick, the force were not to belittle! Long ago, there were some top exponents who had retreated to live in some cave. Just before they died, they left behind their last words on the walls of the cave, all done by a type of martial arts known as the Golden Steel Finger Strength… Their last words were typically stronger than their usual cultivation by a third. Therefore, future generations also typically paid a third more respect to the words of the dead. This was exactly the same reason!”

Long Fei was taught by a renowned teacher, therefore he knew the reasoning. Unable to control his sadness, his warm tears flowed!

Shi Chen said apologetic. “I am just talking rubbish. Big Brother, you…”

Guo Yuxia smiled gently “That is right. You are indeed talking rubbish.”

Shi Chen said. “But…”

Guo Yuxia said. “But what, do your words have any proof to back your reasoning?”

Long Fei wiped his tears and said. “His words, surely are not groundless?”

Guo Yuxia injected. “If this footprint is left behind by Protégé Master after he exalted all his internal power, why is that there are no signs of any fighting from the surroundings!”

Shi Chen, Long Fei and Wang Susu were stunned. Guo Yuxia added. “And, Protégé Master last will, does it look likely to be written from this place?”

Long Fei was surprised but shouted. “Indeed, indeed. If Protégé Master exalted all his internal power, how could he have written all those words!”

Wang Susu melancholy asked. “Then, who left behind this footprint? Sister in law, you can tell me?”

Guo Yuxia said. “I am just stating a matter of fact. There is no intention to oppose your ideas!”

Wang Susu said in a frightened voice. “Sister in law, I…I have no such meaning…” She blinked her eyes and asked. “Do I really have such a meaning in my words?” She was closed to tears again.

Guo Yuxia softly sighed and placed her hand on Susu’s shoulder and brushed back her hair. “Little sister, what are you hiding in your heart, you can tell Sister in law.”

Wang Susu lifted her head and said. “Sister in law, I think…” Then changed her mind. “I still young. There are many things that I do not know yet and prone to say the wrong things. Sister in law please do not blame me!”

Guo Yuxia seemed to understand and laughed and whispered in her ears. “You are thinking of little brother Ping, right?”

Wang Susu was stunned and lowered her head, speechless!

Guo Yuxia smiled and looked at her. Suddenly she said in clear voice. “Who left behind this footprint, at this moment we do not know yet. But whoever left behind this footprint, surely the person and Protégé Master have some undeniable connection…”

Long Fei asked. “How so?”

Long Fei asked. “Why did you say whoever left behind this footprint, surely the person and Protégé Master have some undeniable connection? This…I…I really cannot understand!”

Guo Yuxia shook her head gently. And copied his speech and asked. “Why did you say whoever left behind this footprint, surely the person and Protégé Master have some undeniable connection!” She sighed softly and replied. “This is because unless it have something to do with ‘Phoenix and Divine Dragon’, how can such a top exponent appear and in the darkness come to this desolate mountains?”

Long Fei muttered. “This…this may not really be the case!”

Guo Yuxia said. “Of course, this may not really be the case. There is for sure thing in this world. But this footprint is not left behind innocently!” She looked unhappy as she said.

Long Fei quickly said. “Of course, of course. This footprint surely have some secrets!”

Wang Susu smiled beneath her lowered head.

Guo Yuxia looked at Long Fei and laughed all of a sudden.

Long Fei thought it over. Suddenly his spirit rose and said aloud. “This footprint surely has some secrets. Why not we wait here and see what going to happen!” He looked proud of his reasoning and broadened his chest. And looked at Guo Yuxia and asked. “What do you think of this idea? Is practicable?”

Guo Yuxia tried to suppress her laughter and said. “Practicable, practicable. All of us will just wait here will do. After a while, this footprint will reveal its secrets on its own!”

Long Fei looked puzzled and asked. “This footprint will reveal its secrets on its own? This….This I really cannot figure out the reasons!”

Guo Yuxia tried to say with a straight face and told him. “This footprint may look ordinary but in a while time…” She could not suppress her laughter anymore and laughed.

Long Fei who had always been honest and straightforward did not seem to understand and asked. “This footprint, will have an extraordinary change later. This sort of matter, I can never believed!”

Wang Susu lowered her head, even lower. That was because she almost wanted to burst out laughing. Even Shi Chen who was not easily moved to laugh had broke into a broad smile by now.

Guo Yuxia smiled. “Since this footprint has nothing of extraordinary, why shall we wait here then?”

Long Fei was stunned. “Alas…Alas your words earlier, are meant to trick me!” He looked stunned and said slowly. “I know that you have always been smarter than me, this I have always acknowledge. Why…” His face became still and said. “Why did you have to trick me like this?”

There was a slight change in Guo Yuxia expressions. But she laughed again. “Why should I play a trick on you. You are just being suspicious. I…I just thought that at this moment, everyone must be feeling nervous. Therefore I just telling a joke to make everyone relax only!”

Long Fei lifted his head and looked at Guo Yuxia. This look was half-loving, half- suspicious. For a second, love and hatred became intangible!

Guo Yuxia gently extended her soft hand and pulled him to a side and said in a low voice. “You must be blaming me in your heart, even if I will to tell a joke, I should not have make you a target, right?”

Long Fei remained silent, sighed and lowered his head!

Guo Yuxia smiled gently and said in a low voice. “But if I don’t, what can I do? You are closest person to me! In all matters, I suppose only you can understand me, forgive me, but…” Her smiles slowly vanished, replaced by a troubled look.

Long Fei lifted his head, and held her soft hands tightly. His darkened look that was clouded by hatred and suspicious had all but disappeared. He said apologetically in a low voice.“I…I have wronged you. You…don’t be angry with me!”

Shi Chen was watching at a distance. In his heart he felt funny and thought. “Sister in law really is very clever. But Big Brother…” He sighed. “Big Brother is really too honest!” and said aloud. “What Sister in law meant to say that remaining here is useless. But what should we do then?”

There was a sparkle in Wang Susu’s eyes and she said. “We…why not we go back!” She used a great of efforts to say aloud those words.

Guo Yuxia broke into a laugh. “Fourth Sister seems hurry to go back, is it because…” She laughed again and shut up.

Wang Susu flushed and lowered her head. Long Fei laughed awhile and about to say something when Guo Yuxia said in a serious voice. “Actually I do wish to return as well. But we finally found the clue to the whereabouts of our Benevolent Master after much difficulty. How can we just leave like this?”

She looked at everyone before explaining. “What is the meaning of this footprint, whether it has any secrets, I do not know. But I can be certain of one thing. The direction it is pointing to, must be the whereabouts of Protégé Master!”

Long Fei interrupted. “But you…”

Guo Yuxia gently waved her hands and said. “You don’t have to ask me for any reasons, what deductions do I have. I really do not have any reason to say so, it is all based on my intuition!”

She smiled and said. “But my intuition is usually very accurate. Do you believe or not?”

Shi Chen said. “Then we shall go and investigate!”

Long Fei said. “That shall be the case!”

Guo Yuxia smiled again while Long Fei had already broaden his strides and moved towards the left mountain path!

Mount Hua mountain peaks was already a very desolate place. This mountain trail which they were undertaking was even more perilous. Had it for the fact that they all possessed swiftness movement skills, they could not even took a single step in front!

Shi Chen lifted his head and looked at the starry skies and exclaimed. “If only we have a torch!”

Guo Yuxia turned her head and smiled. “Actually it is one of the necessities of pugilists to bring one along. If not for your Big Brother worries, we should have bring some along!”

Long Fei muttered some words.

Shi Chen said. “Judging from our eyesight, even if there is no torch, it does not matter.” Suddenly his eyes caught hold of Wang Susu who was about to lose her balance and reached out to hold her, only to see her once again moving ahead!

Wang Susu bit her teeth, and summoned a breath of vital energy and move ahead as though she was flying and in front of Long Fei.
Guo Yuxia gently smiled. “Fourth Sister really force herself. Look at her…”

Before she could finish, everyone heard the surprised cries of Wang Susu.

Then followed by the surprised cries of Long Fei, Shi Chen and Guo Yuxia for they had saw fire not more than twenty meters from Wang Susu.

Wang Susu being surprised by the light from the fire, halted.

In these desolate mountains, why would there suddenly appear rows of fire that obviously was made by men?

Long Fei, Shi Chen and Guo Yuxia, Wang Susu in their hearts was feeling surprised.

For this row of fire had suddenly appeared in these desolate mountain peaks making it seemed so miraculous and mysterious.

They stood unmoving on the spot as they saw a mountain wall that also appeared in front of them just as mysterious. Above the wall was darkness and no one could guess the height of that wall.

After awhile, Wang Susu sighed and began to walk towards the source of fire!

Long Fei, Shi Chen and Guo Yuxia could not help but follow her as well. Although this mountain trail looked short, but they spent considerable time making their way through. Finally they reached the source of the fire which is made of lit by four pine branches that formed the torches!

Shi Chen was really surprised. “Torches! It really are torches!”

Earlier he was wishing for a torch and now it really appeared!

Long Fei and Guo Yuxia looked at one another.

Long Fei asked. “Is it because…because our movements are being observed by others?”

Guo Yuxia thought for a moment before she said. “This is indeed very strange. Who possesses such highly martial art skills to observe us secretly and not be discovered by us. His behavior alone is weird enough. But is he our friend or foe? He spent so much effort to keep us guessing his intentions. Can he be a friend? If he is, that is good. But if he is a foe…” She did not say more.

Her eyes were looking at this sheer mountain wall. That was because suddenly she had caught some words on the mountain wall. Everyone followed her glances and saw the words as well. It was written like this. “Long Bushi! Have you come! On top of the mountain wall, ten meters ahead are some words that you wish to see! Do you dare to take a look?”

It was filled with words of challenge! Who would dare to challenge the “The Immortal Divine Dragon” who was renowned throughout the Pugilist realm? Who had that inner strength to write such words firmly on the mountain walls?

Long Fei took a deep breath. “Who is he?…Who is he?” As he dashed to take a closer look at the words. It was obviously inscribed by a weapon. Who could inscribe such firm words with a weapon must have possessed exceptional inner strength that was equally shocking!

Guo Yuxia was looking at the other side of the mountain wall. She looked idiocy at a mountain rock that looked clean for awhile before she sighed gently. “Fifth Brother, your words are proven correct. Our Protégé Master…he is really not dead!”

In her tone, she looked disappointed as well as happy. But in what she was disappointed? Was it because of jealousy over Nangong Ping’s talents or was it because of some other matters? But no matter what she disappointed over, at this moment, this circumstance, no one would notice the looks on her tone!

Long Fei asked. “What Fifth Brother had said are true? Protégé Master really did not die?” Although he kept asking, his tone was excited and happy.

Guo Yuxia nodded her head and said. “That is right!” She pointed to a position of a mountain rock that looked clean and said. “Protégé Master did not die. When he arrived here and saw those words, he immediately exhibited the Floating Cloud swiftness skill and went up the mountain wall from that rock.”

Long Fei looking puzzled asked. “But…”

Guo Yuxia said. “These words are left behind for Protégé Master. The person that left these words must have predicted that our Protégé Master will surely come this way. And from the mountain wall, the one that scaled the mountain did not use Tiger upon the Wall and similar swiftness skill because such martial art skills are back facing up. But from the imprints of the palms, the one scaling the wall had his face facing the wall. All of you should know that in the entire world, only “Divine Dragon Clan” Floating Cloud swiftness skill face the wall. Therefore, the one who went up the wall, who else can it be, except for Protégé Master!”

Long Fei exclaimed. “Protégé Master he did not die, why then have you sigh?”

Guo Yuxia continued to sigh. “What did you know?” She looked at the words inscribed on the wall again and sighed. “When Protégé Master arrived here, although he did not die yet but once he scaled the mountain wall, he will be in immediate danger. Can you see that it is all a ruse!”

Long Fei asked. “A ruse?”

Guo Yuxia said. “Indeed a ruse!” She explained. “First using words to taunt, then reduced Protégé Master internal power. Lastly they had tried to lure him here! This three things, comes one after one another. It is arranged to the point of perfection…” She sighed heavily. “I can’t blame Protégé Master for falling into the ruse!”

In that instant, Long Fei, Shi Chen and Wang Susu became saddened.

Shi Chen solemnly said. “Therefore it seems that the Ye maiden says that Red Phoenix is dead, it is all a pretense!”

Guo Yuxia answered. “Possible! Very possible! She reduces Protégé Master internal power and further aliening Protégé Master from us, and caused him to venture alone. And then lure him to this place, alas…Protégé Master when he reached here, judging from his temper, even if it is a mountain of blades and burning oil, he would even try. Therefore…therefore…alas, he will fall into the trap of others!”

Even before she had finished, Wang Susu had dashed to the mountain wall and tried to climb up the sheer mountain walls!

Shi Chen gently shouted behind her. “Fourth Sister, let me go up!” As he came to the foot of the mountain wall. But Wang Susu was already several meters high already.

Guo Yuxia caught hold of Shi Chen’s shoulder and softly said. “It is only ten meters. Judging from Fourth Sister swiftness movement skill, it shall not be a problem. You relax a little and let Fourth Sister takes a look at the words up there!”

Shi Chen nodded his head but he appeared vexed and looked in concern at Susu.

Wang Susu movements slowed down and Guo Yuxia asked. “Did you see anything?”

Wang Susu turned her body and said. “It is here!”

Guo Yuxia asked. Can you see?”

Wang Susu replied. “I can see very clearly!”

Shi Chen shouted. “Fourth Sister, you must be careful!”

But Wang Susu did not reply.

Guo Yuxia said. “After you finish reading, come down fast!” But even before she had finished speaking, she saw Wang Susu moving up again.

Long Fei became puzzled and shouted. “Four Sister, why are you going up?” Suddenly he shouted. “Oh no! Not good!” As he saw Wang Susu had been on top for sometime and her inner strength began to give way, and floated down!

Shi Chen became paled and reached out his arms. Long Fei and Guo Yuxia was astonished and said aloud. “Fourth Sister, be careful!”

In a twinkle of an eye, she dropped down although she had tried to muster a breath of inner energy to keep her afloat but dropping from such a high place placed her into a precarious position!

Shi Chen blended both his knees as he mustered all the inner energy that he had in his body to catch Wang Susu body. He was forced to move back three steps before he could balance himself after catching her.

But Wang Susu immediately pushed him away another three steps. He was left looking stunned on the spot and the fire from the torch showed that he felt very horrible within!

Wang Susu rolled her eyes and eyed him awhile. Before sighing and lowering her head and softly said. “Sorry, and thank you!” She was naturally kind at heart and unwilling to hurt others feeling. Moreover Shi Chen was doing all for her. She felt just as horrible within!

Guo Yuxia looked at both of them, where else Long Fei did not seem to notice the love relationship that is going on, shouted. “Fourth Sister, what did it written up there? Did you tell a close look?”

Wang Susu nodded her head and said in a low voice. “I have looked clearly!” But her voice appeared vexed.

Long Fei asked anxiously. “What was written on top?”

Wang Susu sighed lightly and said. “Long…” She could not read out her Protégé Master name out of respect, so she replied. “You come up for what? That means that your internal power is not reduced. When you come down, walk left sixty steps, there is an opening at the foot of the mountain. You will see a crack. Continue to walk right in and towards the end, you will see me!”

As she paused. Long Fei immediately walked left and started counting. “One!”

Wang Susu sighed softly and said. “Big Brother, hold on, there are still some more!”

Long Fei halted and turned back. “What some more? You have not finished reading all out yet?”

Wang Susu nodded. “There is another line. And it is written like this. “If you still have strength, continue to move up another five meters there is more words. Do you want to take a look?”

Wang Susu bowed her head and said. “But I am unable to move up!” She became melancholy.

Long Fei was stunned. “Fourth Sister’s swiftness movement skill has always been better than mine. If she can’t go up, so am I!”

Shi Chen said. “Let me try!”

Long Fei said. “Sister in law’s swiftness movement skill is better than you. Let her go up to take a look!”

Wang Susu said. “There is no need to try. Sister in law can’t reach the top too. When I was ten meters on top, and tried to move up another one foot, it proved more difficult than the one meter earlier. To move up another five meters, even if I have trained another ten years, I still will not be unable to accomplish the feat!”

Guo Yuxia said, “This sort of thing, even if you do not say it, I already know.”

One must know that Tiger upon the Wall and Floating Cloud all depended on that one mouthful of inner energy. At first, the first few meters might be easy. But the further the distance, it would prove to be taunting and difficult. If one had reached their limit and still unable to reach the destination, even if there was still one feet more, they would still fail to climb up. This was the same reasoning as the piercing of the sword into the rock by Guo Yuxia earlier. If the sword had no more strength, even if you push the sword, it would still refuse to budge.

Long Fei, Shi Chen looked at one another and did not know what to do. After awhile, Long Fei sighed. “What shall we do then?”

Shi Chen said, “If there is no other ideas, let me at least try to scale the mountain wall!”

Long Fei said, “Indeed, indeed.”

Guo Yuxia said, “If there is no other ideas, even if you try to scale, it will be futile. Let us first travel through the tunnel to the left and take a look.”

Long Fei said, “Indeed, indeed. We shall at least take a look, who is the person that is guarding that place.”

Guo Yuxia smiled. “I already know who is there without taking a look!”
Long Fei asked. “Who?”

Guo Yuxia replied. “Who else but Red Phoenix Ye Qiubai. Will it be anyone else?!”

Wang Susu softly said. “Maybe is…”

Guo Yuxia asked. “Who else but Ye Qiubai will talk in such a manner to Protégé Master?”

Long Fei looked stunned for awhile before asking. “But…Red Phoenix Ye Qiubai is already dead!”

Guo Yuxia said, “I have told you earlier that this is yet another ruse. Except where the loose ends of this ruse lie in, I do not know yet. Unless…Alas! Unless we can see the words on top.”

As her voice echoed around, a long rope dropped from the top of the mountain peak!

Shi Chen, Wang Susu, Long Fei and Guo Yuxia cried at the same time in surprise and looked all around with their eyes. They were left standing looking stunned at the long robe and were silent for a long time!

Four pair of eyes gave rise to surprise, chill and saw on the tall peaks, there was a figure!

Long Fei asked. “The one that throw this long rope down, I wonder if he is the same person that lit the torches?” Without waiting for the rest to add anything, he continued. “Surely it has to be!”

Guo Yuxia nodded her head.

Long Fei said. “Surely it has to be, surely it to be!”

Shi Chen felt more troubled and solemnly said. “But this person whether he is a foe or friend. At the moment, I am still unable to figure out. If he have no ill intention toward us, we can use the rope and go up. Otherwise…judging from our situation, it is really dangerous!”

Guo Yuxia sighed. “We come so far, no matter if he is a friend or foe, we have no choice but to take a look above!”

Shi Chen said, “But if this person is planning to ambush us. Once we gone up the rope, will not we be trapped in his ruse!”

Guo Yuxia smiled and shook her head. “Judging from this person martial art skill, if he want to harm us, why go through all this trouble…”

Wang Susu continued. “Then let me go up and take a look will do!”

Shi Chen immediately said. “You and I go up together, if there is something amiss, we can look out for one another.” At this moment, he forgot about the dangers.

Wang Susu looked down and said. “I alone go up will do!”

Shi Chen said, “I will accompany you!”

Wang Susu said. “Aren’t you afraid of danger?” Her voice muttered as if she had regretted she had been too harsh. And said. “If there is danger, it will be better for only one person to be up there!”

Shi Chen was speechless and he lowered his head. He bore a guilty expression on his face.

Guo Yuxia smiled. “Fourth Sister has been up once already. This time shall be my turn to go up.”

Long Fei said, “Indeed, Indeed. This time should be our turn to go up!”

Shi Chen suddenly lifted his head and said aloud. “I will accompany Sister in law up!” Because he wanted displayed his bravery in front of the person he liked, therefore he did not hesitate even if it a mountain of blades that was braving him now.

Guo Yuxia said, “ Let Third Brother accompany me will do.” Turning around, she leapt three meters and gently extended her soft hands to gripe the rope. Suddenly she turned back and laughed. “Big Brother, if I should fall, you must catch hold of me!”

Long Fei extended his arms and laughed aloud. “You can fall in peace, I…” But felt his words may not be right under this situation so he did not continue.

Shi Chen dashed up soon after. Wang Susu moved her lips, finally she muttered. “Be careful!” Although her voice was very soft but Shi Chen had heard it clearly! His spirit rose immediately and said. “I will be careful, you be assured!”

In the darkness, his figure elevated higher and higher. Finally he was past the place where Wang Susu had saw the words earlier. His figure halted awhile before he elevated past the words and finally it was more and more difficult to spot him.

Wang Susu looked for a long time before she finally lowered her head and softly said. “I think that they will not be in any dangers on the way up!”

Long Fei asked. “Why will it not be dangerous?”

Wang Susu replied. “Didn’t Sister in law say already! That person’s martial art skills may be many times higher than us. If he wanted to harm us, why expend so much efforts?”

Long Fei thought it over and finally he nodded his head and yelled at the top of his voice. “Is there anything amiss up there?” His voice was loud and high and the wind carried his voice up. But the pitch-dark mountain peaks emitted no sound.

Long Fei became vexed and asked himself with his eyes above. Was it because they could not hear?”

Wang Susu was stunned. Long Fei shouted again. “Oei! Can you hear me?”

This time, his voice was even louder and Wang Susu who was standing besides him felt a burning sensation on her ears and moved back unwittingly.

But the dark-pitch peaks still emitted no reply. Only the sound of the mountain breeze that carried Long Fei shouts to the surroundings was heard.

Wang Susu felt confused. Although the walls of the mountain peaks were high but there were also no obstructs, how would they not heard such a loud voice?

Unwitting, she started to worry for them but still, she did not say her fears out. She took a glance at Long Fei under the soft light of the fire and saw his appearance started to change. His dark face had now turned bronze green as he blamed. “Look, look, you say Sister in law and Shi Chen will not be in any dangers. But…But now, why did they not reply to my shouts?”

Wang Susu sighed. She really did not know how to reply him. After awhile, she finally sighed softly. “If there is danger, they should at least let us know but until now, it is still disquiet above. This is indeed very strange!”

Long Fei said solemnly. “This is indeed very strange…” And gripped the long rope and looked back at her. “No matter, I will also take a look…” Before he finished, his hands was already shaking. But Wang Susu did not know the reason why?

Long Fei big hands were holding the rope tightly but because his hands were shaking uncontrollably so did the rope now! Wang Susu exclaimed in surprised. “Eldest Brother, you…what is going on?” She pointed at Long Fei’s shaky hands.

She was surprised because she knew that Long Fei was known in Pugilistic Fraternity as a fearless man. His bravery and righteous, and his steady internal power, fierce swordplay and his mighty strength that could split mountains, was renowned throughout the Pugilistic Fraternity, why did his hands began to shake so violently?

Long Fei was filled with surprised and fear as he said. “Look!”

His hand gave a pull and that long rope began to shudder!

Wang Susu was in deep thoughts as she too reached for the long rope and shook it a few times. The long rope began to shudder and shudder.

There was nothing up there! She lowered her hand and moved back a step in surprise. She looked up and said. “This piece of long rope has no pull whatever so. Where did they…they go!”

Long Fei stared at her and shouted. “Did you not say they will be in no danger?”

Wang Susu expressions changed and she move back another step again. And looked at the long hanging rope and bit her teeth. And then she leapt forward…

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

Shi Chen was as agile as a monkey as he made his way up the mountain.

Although the higher he climbed, the mountain breeze became harsher and the light from the torch became smaller but in his heart, he felt warm as he thought. “She do cares about me after all.” And he recalled Wang Susu parting words. “Be careful”. Therefore his spirit and body became as light as the cloud as he relished in those thoughts!

Before he knew it, he was already at ten meters elevation. And he heard Guo Yuxia saying, “These are the words that Fourth Sister saw. Alas, her memory is really very good. Just now when she read it out, there is not a word missing and not a word wrong.”

Shi Chen replied. “Her memory has always been good!”

As he glanced through all those words, he began to think again. “She is after all concern about me. Sometimes the way she treats me is because she is after all a young girl that is shy and a need to observe the proper propriety. But no matter, I have known her for five years. How will she not feel anything about me?” His mouth cupped a smile as he immersed himself in the bliss of his thoughts.

Suddenly his head knocked into something. Surprised, he looked above and saw Guo Yuxia’s beautiful shoes. A pair of green shoe that had some beautiful purple flowers sewed onto it with a pearl ornament at the point of each shoe. At this moment, this two pearls by sheer coincident was at the front of his eyes and a sweet perfume aroma reached his nose.

Shi Chen body froze and so did his eyes. Now then he understood, why this beautiful Sister in law who was renowned throughout Pugilistic Fraternity, why did she always refuse to wear the typically shoe of the atypical pugilist women or shoes that could hide a blade. That was exactly the same habit as Protégé Master who under no matter what circumstances would not switch his government boots. Maybe it was because the thick government represented his authority and righteousness and separated him from the rest of the ordinary pugilists. As for this light and flowery shoe, it drew out the beauty of the girl’s foot!

Suddenly Guo Yuxia laughed softly, disrupting his thoughts. “What are you looking at?”

Shi Chen blushed as she asked again. “Come up quickly and check if these those words are true instead of looking at my leg for?” Her voice was soft but it seem like she was speaking close to his ears, making him flushed with redness, all the way to his heart.

He tried to say something. “I…I, I…” Suddenly he felt a soft hand gently touching his hair.

Guo Yuxia on one hand holding the rope, the another hand sliding down and gently supported against his head, said gently. “There is no need to be shy, hurry up. In the presence of Sister in law, there is nothing to be shy at!”

This gentle laughter caused Shi Chen to lift his head unwittingly and saw her beautiful face looking at him. Under this dim light, he could almost hear his heart pounding, as he asked. “What is written up there?”

Guo Yuxia supported her body against the mountain walls as she said softly. “Come up and take a look yourself!”

Shi Chen moved up once he had sufficient space after Guo Yuxia moved aside. He did not dare to look at her again.

When he reached the top where the words were, he began to read. “Long Bushi, you actually can reach here. Very good, very good. Your martial art skills indeed did not gone to waste. Now you go up, move toward the right and walk fifteen steps there is another opening.

This route is much nearer but harder to walk. If you still have enough strength, you can move up another seven meters, you will find another better route. But you must not force yourself and walk the route that you can walk. Do not force yourself. Even if your martial art skill are weaker a little bit, you can still see me!”

Although the light was dim but with Shi Chen superior eyesight, he was still able to read the words craved on the cliff clearly. Although he had finished reading but his eyes did not move as he remembered something from the perfume that was in the air.

When he was ten and Guo Yuxia was twelve, thirteen-year-old, they were under the tutorage of the Divine Dragon Clan. At that time, they were still enjoying the golden period of their childhood. Although Protégé Master was strict in his training, they still enjoy games of what other kids enjoyed in their childhood.

Naturally he would come to secretly like his Second Protégé Sister, who was two years older and cleverer than him. But that was only a pure love between children, a brotherly and sisterly love, as pure as a white paper. Even when he had grown up, he still never spoke out his true feelings!

When he was fifteen year old and Wang Susu had become a disciple of the “Divine Dragon” Clan, till five years from now, Shi Chen could still remember how bright was the starlight on that night!

On that bright and starry night, the “Immortal Divine Dragon” Long Bushi announced two joyous things in that grand hall filled with tables of wine and dishes. Firstly, he had accepted another intelligence girl as his disciple. Secondly, he announced the wedding of his first disciple Long Fei with his second disciple Guo Yuxia.

On that very night, in his cold but spatially room, he had secretly cry. But from that day onward, he tried to very best to forget that pure love he harbored. That was because she had already married to his most respected big brother. From then, she had become his “Sister in law” and no longer his childhood companion, that “Little Protégé Sister”. Therefore he could only try to forget this hurt, forever forgot and forgot it cleanly!

From then, he began to distant himself from her. Even their chats became formal. One day at the training ground he happened to see her and they were alone. He tried to avoid her but she stopped him and asked. “These days you are always trying to avoid me. Is it because I am no  longer your Little Protégé Sister anymore?”

In his heart he thought. “Yes! You are indeed no longer my Little Protégé Sister.” But he did not voice it out.

Till now until this moment, they never had the chance to be alone with one another. The past became to flash in a blink of the eye in his heart.

Just like many years ago when Guo Yuxia was with him, under the influence of the perfume, he actually forgot that she was his “Sister in law” and turned back his head and unwittingly muttered. “Little Protégé Sister…”

Although those three words appeared soft but was like a thousand tons gigantic rock that was cast into the ocean. It caused Guo Yuxia deep blue ocean to react with ripples. Her eyes took a glance at Shi Chen face. The ripples ended and was replaced by a ray of moving light – What was she thinking in her mind?

But who would know what she really thinks in her heart? She just gently reached out her hand and touched Shi Chen face and softly said. “You have become thinner!”

Shi Chen did not move but was as quiet as a stone statue that was engraved on the walls. But his heart was definitely not as calm as his appearances – What was he thinking now? But no matter what he was thinking now, he could be heard saying. “Surely Protégé Master has gone up!” He did not dare to look her in the eyes but mustered his strength and continued to ascend!

When Shi Chen reached the top, above the mist was a flatten terrain. And he cast his eyes and looked around. “This mountain peak is indeed very strange. From the bottom, no wonder we cannot see the peaks. That is because the peak head is chopped off!” Then his thoughts were interrupted by Guo Yuxia voice!

It was a soft voice and she needed not have to say aloud for she was already besides his ears.

Shi Chen did not dare to turn back. Although he harbored that wish but he remained looking in front but in actuality, there was not a thing to be seen in his eyes!

The wind, that was even wilder than the wind below, blew her loose hair to his ears, chin and mouth…

She lightly sighed and said. “I know that when I am with your Big Brother ever since, you are always trying to avoid me. That day at the training ground when I have the chance to be alone with you, why did you not even say a word to me, why did you not treat me the same as before…”

Suddenly there was a big yell below. “Is there anything amiss up there?”

Surprised by the shout, he turned his head and immediately touched against Guo Yuxia sweet and beautiful lips. Both of them did not make a sound, no one moved, not even replying to Long Fei shouts and even to the surrounding echoes. For they could only hear the sound of their beating hearts…

Guo Yuxia gently said. “Do you remember that there was once upon a time, behind the manor, there was an elm tree…” her breath was like a sweet aroma of an orchid.

Shi Chen took in a deep breath and said. “I…hugged you and want you to play the bride and groom game…”

Guo Yuxia gently rolled her eyes and said. “You want me to be your new bride and accompany you to the bed chamber. I refused…”

Shi Chen said dreamily. “You said your age is older than me and only can be my older sister. And unable to be my bride…”

Guo Yuxia said. “Therefore you hugged me and forced me. That time…I…I…”

Suddenly from the mountains below was another big shout. “Oei, can you all hear my voice?”

Shi Chen felt himself awakened by the shouts but suddenly a pair of gentle red lips touched his mouth…

Guo Yuxia gently said. “That time, I was exactly the same as now, being kiss by you…”

Shi Chen said. “But…later you are already married to Big Brother and you are now my Sister in law…” He did not did not turn his body away nor did he step backwards. It was because the fire of his youth was burning hotly inside his heart.

Guo Yuxia said. “Although I have married to your Big Brother but…You still do not understand my heart?”

Shi Chen asked. “Your heart…Your heart…”

Guo Yuxia said. “I have helped you in all my matters. Sometimes when you meet with difficulties by Fourth Sister, I am the one that helps you to put in the good words. Do you why that is for?”

“Meet with difficulties by Fourth Sister!” He painfully thought. But he was soon captivated by the beautiful sight in front and dreamily asked. “Why?”

Guo Yuxia said. “Because in my heart, I am still thinking of you. And always treat you as nice as before but you did not know it!”

Shi Chen thought awhile before asking. “Then why did you have to marry Eldest Brother?”

Guo Yuxia rolled her eyes. “I am older than you and is your Protégé Sister. Even if I want to marry you, Protégé Master will not agree!”
Shi Chen sighed. “At first I thought you only want to be the wife of the first disciple of Divine Dragon Clan and to take over Zhijiao Manor, therefore you married Big Brother. Because…because you and Big Brother in terms of persona and moods, there isn’t any there seemingly fitted.”

Guo Yuxia smiled and said. “Even though I was not able to marry you but…from now on, if we can meet from time to time, won’t not it still be the same?”

Shi Chen looked dreamily at her for a long time, even forgetting to breath…

At this moment, in this empty plain and the starry skies, he suddenly found himself to be so close with the stars – He was closer to the stars than many in the world. Suddenly he had another thought. If all the stars were the eyes of people and they saw him with his Big Brother’s wife so intimate, intimate till there was not even a single spacing, what then should he do?…

Suddenly from below, Long Fei said solemnly. “Fourth Sister, there would be dangers above. You should have let me go up first!”

Suddenly Shi Chen jumped with shock and he moved back immediately two meters and at that single moment, Wang Susu leapt in front, followed by Long Fei at the back.

Under the starlight, four pair of eyes looked at one another and everyone looked surprised and stunned. Naturally Shi Chen eyes were filled with shame and fright as well!

Long Fei said. “Oh you are all on top!”

Guo Yuxia smiled and brushed her long hair. “Of course, we are on top. Would we be below?”

Long Fei swept his eyes around, and saw Shi Chen looking frightened and he stood stiffly, back facing a mountain rock, as if he was afraid to topple over. His mouth looked like he wanted to say something but unable to say a single word and although Guo Yuxia was smiling, her mannerism did not look as her usual self and unnatural.

Although he was a frank person but upon seeing Shi Chen and Guo Yuxia not in their usual self, he began to show signs of suspicious in his heart. He asked solemnly. “What are you all doing?”

Guo Yuxia sunk her face and said. “Why ask such a strange question? What do you think we are doing?”

Long Fei was taken aback and said. “Just now when I was shouting below at the foot of the mountain, did you all not heard me?”

Guo Yuxia answered. “We have heard!”

Long Fei sighed. “Since you have heard, why did you all not answer me? And make me so anxious below!”

The calmer Guo Yuxia became, the more impatience Long Fei was. In his heavy sighing, his speech was filled with reproach.

Guo Yuxia exclaimed. “Hehe.” And laughed. “You are muddle-headed. But I am not as muddle-headed as you!”

Long Fei asked. “I am muddle-headed? In what sense?”

Guo Yuxia coldly smirked and said. “Do you know that we are under a dangerous situation? The enemy is hidden and we are in the open. The enemy is strong and we are weak. And you keep shouting so loud, do you really want others to know where we are! How can I be the same as you. You rushed into things blindly and yet blames on me!”

Long Fei was taken aback and lowered his head.

Wang Susu sighed softly and said. “Sister in law is indeed thoughtful!”

Shi Chen heart began to calm. But his face was still awful. To Guo Yuxia, he was impressed and at the same time, afraid. For he could not imagine a person who after doing a guilty act, would go on becoming righteous and blaming others.

As for Long Fei, he began to reproach himself after taken aback for awhile. He took a broad stride towards Shi Chen and extended his hand said. “I am sorry to you!”

Shi Chen heart skipped a beat. “Big Brother…you…you in what way need to be sorry to me…”

Long Fei sighed. “I wronged you just now.”

Shi Chen lowered his head and said. “I…” Compared to Guo Yuxia, he found himself unable to say something with a straight face.

Long Fei sighed. “Although I did not say it in my mouth but in my heart, I was suspicious of you. Alas! I deserved to die for doubting you.”

Shi Chen was stunned. And he felt his warm blood gushing to his head. Facing such an honest, frank, apologetic real man, compared to him, he felt very tiny and shameful. “Big Brother…I am…”

Before he could say. “I’m sorry to you,” Guo Yuxia had stepped in between them and said aloud. “Even if there is misunderstanding among brothers, you just need to say it out and then let it rest. There is no need for anyone of you to say anything more!”

Long Fei said. “Indeed, indeed. I won’t say anymore, I won’t say anymore.”

Suddenly he saw something behind Shi Chen and suddenly cried out in surprise. “What is that?” Long Fei was staring at something behind him.

Once again a surprise was sprang upon Shi Chen as he turned his body and saw that engraved on the rock above was a picture of a woman garbed in priest robes with her hair pinned on top of her head. Her body rigid with her left shoulder lowered, extending out with her two fingers lifting upward. As for her right hand, it carried a long sword and it was in a lowered position. Her face seemed real and if one were to take just a glance, it would look like a woman that was alive!
Besides the engraved image, was some words – “Long Bushi, your internal power has once again improved. But can you break this stance of mine? If you can, proceed. If not, go back!”

Long Fei took a careful look before he burst out in a cold laughter. “Even me can break this stance, Protégé Master definitely can break!”

Shi Chen said. “The words sound arrogant. At first glance, this stance looks ordinary but could it hide an extraordinary stroke?”

Wang Susu did not even move her eyes away and said. “This stance may look ordinary but I am sure that it conceal many powerful strokes behind. It just that at first glance, we did not notice!”

Guo Yuxia nodded and said. “Indeed. The more ordinary a stroke is, in fact it is all the more deadly! All of you have been looking for sometime but have you saw anything that is worth noting?”

Long Fei looked again before saying. “The way she lifts her sword, her feet must definitely position in a attack position. But this priestess, both her legs was together and her feet formed a “Eight” characteristic, as if she is preparing to use some movement skills.”

Guo Yuxia said. “That right. That is the weird part!”

Long Fei said. “And her left shoulder was lowered but her two fingers pointing upward, this is not a way to counter and display swordplay.”

Guo Yuxia said. “That right!”

Long Fei looked proud of his deductions and continued. “Although she is wearing a priestess robe but the shoes she is wearing is a man footwear. It is so ridiculous.”

Guo Yuxia gently smiled. “Clothing and swordplay are not related. This does not count as …”

Long Fei was serious and said. “How can it not be considered a weird part. If the attire is improper, it is also unrighteousness, the swordplay will also not be righteous, an improper unrighteous swordplay will never defeat enemies and gain victories!”

Guo Yuxia laughed and said. “Alright, alright. Let consider you’re…”

Long Fei interrupted. “Naturally must consider.”

Wang Susu found herself saying. “An improper unrighteous swordplay even though it may dominate for a period but it will not be everlasting. Big Brother’s words, are indeed logical!”

Shi Chen said. “Indeed that is the case. Throughout ancient times, there have been many such examples. For example, ‘Southern Sea Swordplay’ that is renowned for its viciousness and nicked ‘Life Stealer Sword’, till today only the name is remembered but not its legacy. Therefore we can surmise that those that wield this type of swordplay in the past was able to dominate for a time because they were more intelligence, had strong internal power but definitely not because their swordplay is extraordinary. Fourth Sister words, really…”

Guo Yuxia interrupted. “Have you finished?”

Shi Chen was taken aback. But Guo Yuxia explained. “At this moment, I really don’t understand why you all have the mood for idol chats.”

Shi Chen lowered his head.

Guo Yuxia suddenly smiled and said. “If you want to chat, there will be a time for it in the future. Why pick this time?”

Wang Susu flushed with red and lowered her head.

Guo Yuxia looked at her and laughed. “With the exception of these two points that Big Brother pointed out…”

Long Fei said. “Three points!”

Guo Yuxia laughed awhile and continued. “With the exception of these three points, did any of you observe anything else?”

Shi Chen lifted his head and although he was looking at the picture but his eyes were a blank, he did not found anything amiss.

Wang Susu softly said. “I think the most important part is that the woman’s eyes are closed. If there is a fight, it doesn’t seem logical for one to close their eye?”

She did not lift her head. It seemed that she had already observed it but did not have the chance to speak!

Long Fei sighed. “Indeed Fourth Sister is much more attentive!”

Guo Yuxia said. “That is right. Earlier I found it the weirdest part. And it so weird till it makes no sense. But on further analysis, it make great sense to have her eyes closed and it is also the most deadliest part in her swordplay!”

Shi Chen and Long Fei asked together. “Why is that so?”

Guo Yuxia explained. “This stance from her swordplay is as motionless as the mountain. It is using the principle of being motionless to counter motion. Everyone in the Pugilistic Fraternity know that our Protégé Master’s ‘Heavenly Dragon Seventeen Strokes’, is the most fearsome in attacking and difficult to block swordplay, especially the last four stances, which has even more changes and dazzling. Some people can’t even block a single stroke!”

Shi Chen said. “Therefore now she closed her eyes, she can’t see the dazzling swordplay and her heart become even calmer…“

Guo Yuxia nodded. “That is right. But that is because her inner strength has also reached the peak of perfection and is confidence of countering just by listening to the vibration of the wind!”

Long Fei clapped his hands and said. “Indeed, indeed. I was thinking of using a stroke from ‘Wind Tiger, Cloud Dragon’ as bait to induce her into attacking me. If she shifted her sword positioning, then I will attack with a stroke from ‘Ascending Cloud Breaker’ to break her defense stance. But since she closes her eyes and if she have the patience, then how my “Wind Tiger, Cloud Dragon” stroke going to be useful?”

Shi Chen said, “Even if we don’t use a dazzling stance, from the “Heavenly Dragon Seventeen Strokes”, there is a stroke that can break her stance!”

Guo Yuxia said. “Do you mean that ‘Cloud Breaker Four Strokes’, the first stroke of ‘Ascending Cloud Breaker’, that ‘Ninth Heaven’?”

Shi Chen said, “Indeed! Although her sword can protect her on her left and can seal the advance of her opponent on her right. But there will be an opening towards her left. If I use the sixth stroke and interchange it with the seventh stroke of “Ascending Cloud Breaker”, it not difficult to break her stance.”

Guo Yuxia smiled. “Third Brother roams the Pugilistic Fraternity for not even two years and to think that his martial art skills have improved by leaps and bounds.”

Long Fei said, “In another two years, surely you will be even better than your Big Brother!”

Shi Chen nodded his head in appreciation.

Guo Yuxia said. “If you use these two strokes “Ninth Heaven” and ‘Moon Disturbance, Shooting Star’, although it is impressive and sure but the feint is overdoing it. Moreover if the opponent has the same internal power as you, and just change the sword stance a little, it will block your sword stance and it will become a contest between who has the stronger internal power. It will not be a contest to see whose swordplay is better and will lose its original intention!”

Shi Chen lowered his head and thought deeply. And borne the mark of respect!

Long Fei asked. “Then what do you think what stances we should use to break it?”

Guo Yuxia smiled. “If one is to defeat the opponent and hope to win, one must first know how many deadly stances that one single stance has hidden. And the more ordinary a stance looks, the more changes it is able to display. This is the undeniable acme in swordplay but too many people forget about it!” She said it slowly, as she wanted to let the others to absorb it and to be able to understand the logic behind it.
She saw Wang Susu lifted her head and listened intensely.

Guo Yuxia laughed awhile and said. “This reasoning is very obvious. In the multitude of all matters, nothing can be compared to simplicity. For example, if a scholar is to write just a word, if he just write a “Humph” (It can mean unruly or horizontal) character, the next character he is going to write, no one will be able to guess. That is because from one word “Humph” it can be added to form many other characters, really is uncountable. But if he writes a ‘Bao Gai’, or ‘Cao Tou’, then the next words he can write will become narrow, and others may find it easier to guess. When he has written half a sentence, then he can no longer change and write other words. Then others will naturally try to make a guess and guess it!”

Long Fei, Shi Chen and Wang Susu were filled with admiration as she continued. “It is the same as fighting with another. It is taboo to keep using the same strokes again and again nor can you use your fullest strength. It follows the same reasoning!”

Long Fei sighed and said. “This logic although I have known it but I can never understand it that clearly. But once you explain, I began to understand clearly. Your example of using writing words is indeed quoted in a very excellent manner!”

Guo Yuxia smiled. “The stance that was engraved on this mountain rock, is indeed like the scholar that writes a “Humph” word only and makes us wonder how many words remain to be written. If we do not know how many stances it hid, so how can we ever break her stance!”

Wang Susu suddenly said, “This is not ‘Humph’ but a ‘Cao Tou’!

Guo Yuxia nodded and laughed. “That is right, I say the wrong word. Is a ‘Cao Tou’. If it is a ‘Humph’, it cannot be considered a stance!”

Long Fei and Shi Chen exchanged glances for awhile before Long Fei said. “I think the girls are smarter than us, men!”

Shi Chen said, “Indeed!” And both of them laughed.

Guo Yuxia said, “Fourth Sister indeed is smarter than the both of you.”

Wang Susu lowered her head and said, “Sister in law is much…”

Guo Yuxia laughed and said, “You do not need to praise me. I ask you, did you manage to find out how many hidden stances that one stance hide?”

Wang Susu lowered her head and muttered. “Although I do not know much but from what I know, there is already seven different stances!”

She swept her glances at Long Fei and Shi Chen who was looking half-believing as they listened.

Guo Yuxia asked. “Which seven stances?”

Wang Susu replied, “Although she doesn’t look like she is using any swordplay stance from any clans but it can be evolved into Wudang Clan, from the stance ‘Ninth Palace Continuous Swordplay’, a stroke call ‘Total Oblivion’…”

Guo Yuxia said, “That is right. If the sword point moved toward the left and turn, it becomes ‘Total Oblivion’.”

Long Fei narrowed his eyebrows and nodded.

Wang Susu continued. “If her sword stance is to lift up to the left, it will be ‘Returning Dance of the Gentle Wind’ from Diancang Clan. If her wrist were to move back, it will the Emei Clan most powerful sword stance ‘Returning Wind Swordplay’, a stroke that can attack and defend call ‘Peacock Spreading its Tail’!” When she appeared flustered as she tried to say it all in one breath!

Guo Yuxia smiled. “It is alright for you can say it slowly.”

Wang Susu took in a deep breath and said, “Other than that, that one stroke can…can…be change…change into…”

Long Fei asked. “Can be changed into what?”

Under the starlight, Wang Susu beautiful face looked painful and confused.

Shi Chen asked in fright. “Fourth Sister, are you…you…alright?”

Wang Susu took in a deep more breath and she slowly became restored her calmness. “I am alright, just…just that my chest suddenly feel painful. Now I feel fine!”

Shi Chen reached out to wipe his sweat from his forehead. It was because just now he felt so anxious that he broke into cold sweat.

Guo Yuxia rolled her eyes and laughed questioning. “And the other four strokes?”

Wang Susu continued. “That one stroke can be changed into Mount Tian Clan from ‘Triple Divine Swordplay’, a stroke call ‘Spreading Confusion’ and Kunlun Clan from ‘Jade Carrier Swordplay’, a stroke call ‘Jade Tidal’. Shaolin Clan, ‘Demonic Divine Swordplay’ a stroke ‘Reversal of Nature’ and in the past there was ‘Triple Flower Swordman’, he left behind his ‘Triple Flower Swordplay’, a stroke call ‘Seizing the Peach’.”

Although her face looked calm but her eyes looked terrible as though she was unwilling to say out what she had just said but was being forced to.

Long Fei sighed. “Fourth Sister, I really can’t tell that your martial art knowledge is so profound. I guess that before you have been accepted by Protégé Master, you have already learned quite a lot of martial art skills!”

Wang Susu turned ashen and muttered. “No…I didn’t…”

Long Fei asked. “You didn’t? I don’t believe. If you did not, how is that I cannot see from this stance, how many changes can it evolve?”

He looked at Guo Yuxia and asked. “Can you tell?”

Guo Yuxia laughed and shook her head. “I did not too. I can only tell that it can be evolved into Wudang Clan’s Total Oblivion from the Ninth Palace Continuous Swordplay, Shaolin Clan’s Reversal of Nature from Demonic Divine Swordplay. As for the other five changes, I was not able to tell.”

She continued. “Although I can tell that single stroke may hide more than two strokes. But ‘Triple Flower Swordplay’, ‘Jade Carrier Swordplay’ all these swordplay I have never seen before. As for ‘Triple Swordplay’, ‘Returning Dance of the Gentle Wind’ all these swordplay, although I have seen before but I am not familiar with its strokes. Therefore how it evolve, naturally I am unable to tell.”

Long Fei sunk his face and looked at Wang Susu. And he slowly phrased word by word to her. “All these swordplay, where did you learn from?”

Guo Yuxia laughed and said. “I am wondering as well!”

Shi Chen looked in concern for Wang Susu but he could tell from her face, she was hiding some secrets!

Guo Yuxia rolled her eyes and tried to contain her smile. “When Fourth Sister was accepted as disciple, I was already feeling strange. Big Brother, do you remember who recommend Fourth Sister in?”

Long Fei replied. “It is the head of the Red Flag Escort Agency from the northern sixth province, Sima Zhongtian!”

Guo Yuxia said. “That is right. But Old Senior Sima did not reveal her background and only say she is the daughter of a bosom friend. Our Protégé Master, he is a trusting person, therefore he did not ask for her background.” Although she carried a smiling face but it was a malicious smile. And she looked from time to time at Shi Chen and then at Wang Susu.

Wang Susu became even more paled. Even her fingers were shaking.

Guo Yuxia contained her smile and said. “All these years we have been living like a family and like real brothers and sisters. But Fourth Sister, under this situation today, however I cannot but…”

Wang Susu suddenly interrupted. “Even though I was not able to marry you but from now on, if we can meet from time to time, won’t not it still be the same?”

Guo Yuxia and Shi Chen suddenly turned ashen. And was shocked.
Shi Chen unwittingly took a step backwards.

Long Fei puzzled. “Fourth Sister, what did you just say?

Wang Susu smiled and said. “Nothing. It just that I unwittingly…”

Guo Yuxia laughed and said. “She did not say anything!” And walked towards Wang Susu but Wang Susu took two steps backward.

Long Fei was bewildered. “What are the two of you doing!”

Guo Yuxia suddenly laughed softly. “Look, I am really muddle-headed.

There is far more important things left to do and we are chatting here. As for Fourth Sister background, even Protégé Master did not ask and feel assured. So why should we worry? Divine Dragon Clan has no rule that stops anyone who already knows other forms of martial arts from entering. Even if she have learn other forms of martial arts, so what does it matter?”

Long Fei said. “I never say it matter but …”

Guo Yuxia furrowed and said. “What do you still want to say. If Fourth Sister has a dubious background, base on the esteem of the Escort head of the Red Flag, how will he introduce Fourth Sister to Protégé Master?”

Long Fei said. “But…”

Guo Yuxia said. “But what? Let hurry and find Protégé Master!” And hold Wang Susu by her hand and walked in strides away!

Shi Chen sighed secretly. He looked troubled for he knew that Wang Susu had overheard his conversation with Guo Yuxia. At this moment when he looked at the back view of Wang Susu, he felt his heart weighed by a thousand ton of heavy rock.

Only Long Fei who was righteous failed to see the malicious in their behavior. He looked bewildered and asked. “Third Brother, what is going on?”

Shi Chen lowered his head and said. “I do not know as well.” He had no courage to face his frank Protégé Brother.

Long Fei wondered awhile then laughed suddenly. “I really do not understand what going on between the girls. Never mind, I shall not be bother anymore.” He laughed a few times and said. “Third Brother, let me tell you. It is best to be single! If you get involved in girl matter, it will always mean trouble.”

Shi Chen after listening to his forthright laughter, he felt respectful but at the same ashamed. He let down his guard only with his Protégé Brother’s laughter but he felt even more ashamed!

Guo Yuxia held Wang Susu’s hand till they made a turning after a mountain rock. She suddenly halted her movements and pulled Wang Susu to the back of the mountain rock.

Wang Susu asked. “Sister in law, what is the meaning of this?”

Guo Yuxia coldly laughed awhile before saying. “Do you really think I do not know what you are planning?”

Wang Susu said. “Sister in law, what are you saying? I don’t understand!” Although she tried to force a smile but in the presence of this “Sister in law”, somehow she could not shake away her fear. It was as though she was facing her real elder brother…

Guo Yuxia rolled her eyes and said. “Once we are down the mountain, I have things to talk to you!”

Wang Susu said. “Alright!” Suddenly she saw Long Fei and Shi Chen hurried steps.

Long Fei asked. “What are the two of you doing here?”

Guo Yuxia laughed and said. “Can’t sisters be left alone to whisper some mush words?”

Suddenly Long Fei said aloud in surprise. “There are words on top as well!” and continued. “Third Brother, come and have a look! The words written on top read. “Long Bushi, if you can only tell that the stance has only seven changes. It best that you turned back!”

Long Fei was surprised. “Alas, that stance has more than seven changes!”

Shi Chen walked besides Long Fei and started reading. “Total Oblivion, Reversal of Nature, Jade Tidal…These are the four types of changes that Fourth Sister had mentioned.”

Long Fei took in a deep breath and said. “I don’t believe that such a simple stance can hide more than seven changes and that there are others too!” His eyes caught some words below. As those words were messy and not easy to be noticed, only now had he noticed it.

Guo Yuxia softly exclaimed. “Isn’t it Protégé Master’s handwriting?”
Wang Susu softly said. “That right!”

The four of them began to look at each other and then started to read the words.

“The sword is the primary, the leg as auxiliary, the orthodox swordplay, the unusual kick technique. To break this stance, the only way is to go against the flow!” There was another messy line below.
“Although that stance of yours may be extraordinary. But that was all based on the intricacy upon the left shoulder and that strange shoe on your leg. You really think I cannot tell, haha, haha…”

Long Fei laughed as well. “Haha, haha…What do you think. The intricacy part of that stance lies on that pair of strange shoe. And you say that it is unrelated to swordmanship!” He looked extremely proud.

Shi Chen looked in bewilderment and muttered. “To break this stance, the only way is to be go against the flow!…How do we explain ‘Against the Flow’!”

Guo Yuxia took a glance at Long Fei before her eyes rolled and glanced at Shi Chen who continued. “All these theories on the intricacies of martial arts, even if we are to think for three days and nights, we may not be able to think of a breakthrough!”

Long Fei said. “But I…”

Guo Yuxia said. “Even if you have said correctly by guessing but do you know what the intricacy behind that pair of shoe?”

Long Fei was stunned.

Guo Yuxia continued. “There is one more suspicious point but all of you did not even noticed!”

Long Fei asked. “What is it?

Guo Yuxia pointed at the words and asked. “Can you all tell how these words are written?”

Shi Chen looked doubtful and said. “It is by finger!”

Guo Yuxia said. “That is right!”

Long Fei asked. “What is so strange about it. Our Protégé Master finger strength is enough to grind rock to powder!”

Guo Yuxia coldly laughed awhile and asked. “What about you?”

Long Fei said. “I am not able to.”

Guo Yuxia said. “After Protégé Master reduced his internal power by seventy percent, won’t his internal power be the same as yours?”

Long Fei clapped his hands. “True, true. When Protégé Master writes those words, his internal power must have fully recovered. This is indeed a strange thing and indeed worthy for us to ponder…But at this time and place, who will help him to release his accupoints?”

Guo Yuxia sighed and added. “The duel at Mount Hua is normally an ordinary affair. Before I reached the mountain, I was thinking that although there may be some risks involved but definitely not this mysterious and crowded with secrecy. But once I reached the mountain, I discovered that every single matter is out of expectations. I afraid there isn’t any past records of any duels that can be stranger than this!”

She rolled her eyes before adding. “That Ye maiden tries to use numerous methods so that our Protégé Master will reduce his internal power. And Protégé Master even agreed even though it is something that never happened in the Pugilistic Fraternity before. And that strange priest that risks his life to steal an empty coffin makes the entire thing even more mysterious. In my heart I already feel so uneasy but it turned out to be even stranger the more we try to unravel.
Therefore it set me thinking that this Mount Hua duel, surely it is hiding many secrets and many plots. Maybe it is even planned by many people for a long time and they set a ambush to trap Protégé Master using Red Phoenix Ye Qiubai as a bait. All of you think carefully…”

Before she had finished, Long Fei looked like he was about to spring.

She halted him and said. “What are you doing?”

Long Fei slowed down and turned back his head and said. “Since that is the case, even if we stand here and discuss for three days and nights, it will be pointless. Let hurry to aid Protégé Master. No wonder he says you are intelligent and brilliant, but a pity you say too much and not much of an action!”

Guo Yuxia turned ashen and looked stunned while Wang Susu said. “Big Brother, wait for me!” as she sprang three meters…

Shi Chen was slower and took a glance at Guo Yuxia before he too sprang forward as well.

Guo Yuxia looked at them from the back view and laughed coldly awhile. Once her laugh ceased, she too run after them!

Unexpectedly, Long Fei halted his movements for he saw that seven, eight meter ahead, there was something. It was another portrait of a priestess engraved on the mountain rock. But her stance was now changed! What used to be a defensive stance had now changed to an offensive stance. What used to be a rigid body had now changed to a posture that looked like she was about to spring anytime. Her left hand wielded a sword while her right hand carried the scabbard. And the words besides her read. “Long Bushi, even if you can break the defensive stance just now but can you break the offensive stance now?”
But he just took a few glances and sprang past the mountain rocks. Besides the words there was some more words.

Shi Chen coldly laughed awhile and said. “Again the same old trick!”

Long Fei said aloud. “What the point of looking?” And he again hastened his pace.

Guo Yuxia mustered her vital energies and sprang besides him and asked in a low voice. “Why did you treat me like that just now?” Long Fei looked stunned. She added. “In front of Third Brother and Fourth Sister, you should at least give me some face!”

Long Fei said. “In front of them, you too treat me the…” He sighed deeply and changed his tact and said. “I feel anxious inside. Don’t blame me.”

Guo Yuxia melancholy sighed awhile as though she wanted to say something but she saw another rock in front. It was another portrait of a priestess and it was destroyed and its pieces had fallen to the ground.

Long Fei and Guo Yuxia looked at one another and the words on its sides were smashed to bits.

Long Fei questioning asked. “Protégé Master…”

Guo Yuxia said. “That is right. Except for Protégé Master, who else have this level of internal power.”

Long Fei asked solemnly. “Why did Protégé Master…can it be that Protégé Master is unable to break this stroke?”

Guo Yuxia sighed and shook her head. However they sprang ahead and a few ten of meters away there was another rock that was blocking them.

On top on the words were the words “I, Long Bushi has been here!” written with his fingers. But at the bottom, there was another line of words. “Never turn back!”

The words at the top and bottom were different. One written by fingers, the another engraved by a blade.

Long Fei shouted and raised both his hands to strike against the rocks and in a shattering sound, send the some rocks shattering but he was knocked back three steps. Although in Pugilistic Fraternity, he was renowned as “Iron Hero” but he was after all made of flesh and blood.

Guo Yuxia sighed softly. “Your temper is exactly the same as Protégé Master!” And she extended her hand to help him up. “But you must know, your internal force is not the same as him!”

Long Fei appeared more vexed and he broke loose from Guo Yuxia’s grip and raised his legs to kick the rock. This kick shattered more of the rock.

Shi Chen and Wang Susu said together in concern. “Big Brother, what are you doing?”

Guo Yuxia said coldly. “It best that you save some of your strength to kick the stomach of your opponent. It better than kicking this rock!”

Long Fei turned back his head and said. “You…You…” He was so angry that he was not able to say anything!

Shi Chen added. “Sister in law, Big Brother’s temper is always like this…”

Guo Yuxia laughed coldly awhile and walked ahead of them.

Long Fei said. “You…” He was interrupted by a cry from Guo Yuxia behind the mountain rock. Without finishing his words, he immediately dashed ahead.

Wang Susu eyed Shi Chen for awhile and added. “Big Brother is good to everyone, especially Sister in law…”

Shi Chen reddened and almost could not lift his head!

Behind the mountain rock, there was a fork and at the side of the fork was a bamboo hut!

Long Fei hurried past Guo Yuxia who muttered. “I’m afraid our Protégé Master is no longer…”

Before she could finished, Long Fei had hurried past her and pushed the door opened and shouting at the time, “Protégé Master!” And he entered the bamboo hut.

Shi Chen was taken by surprised and he cried out behind him. “Big Brother…” And he too was about to rush inside when Guo Yuxia caught him by his sleeves and said. “Wait awhile!”

Wang Susu said. “What are we waiting for, if Big Brother is in danger, you won’t even go inside?” This usually gentle and demure girl now sounds anger judging by the tone of her voice. She did not even took a glance at Guo Yuxia and rushed into the bamboo hunt…

Long Fei stood unmoving inside. The bamboo hut was emptied of anyone. But the strange thing was, there was actually five shining pearls, four closed doors, three trace of fresh blood, two footprints and a set of furniture in this empty hut!

The five shining pearls lit the ceiling while the four doors all looked differently. The door that Long Fei entered was the smallest and towards the end was the biggest closed door. And now he was facing it and a old furniture!

But the furniture was in a bad condition with only a small part still intact and the three traces of blood and two footprints were seen besides it.

Long Fei broke into a cold sweat as he began to think about this bamboo hut and everything that could possible happen inside. It was so mysterious and the three trace of blood further shrouded it with even more secrets and even looked horrific.

Long Fei was momentarily stunned before he opened the door to the left, and it revealed a passage down the mountain.

Wang Susu opened the door to the right and revealed another passage down the mountain.

Although these two passage ways looked the same but its wide was different.

Long Fei began to think. “These left and right passage way must be the route indicated by the rock when we passes through. Although there is one destination but there are actually three routes. I think the person in the bamboo hut wanted to use this opportunity to test Protégé Master’s martial art skills. Once Protégé Master entered this bamboo hut, he will immediately be attacked upon…”

Long Fei was a straightforward person in thoughts and deed but he was not stupid. Although he was careless with things but he was not rough. Certain things he just could not bother to ponder over it only.

Now he was set thinking and his mood grew somber and heavy. “If the person in the bamboo hut is Red Phoenix Ye Qiubai, judging from the relationship between the both of them and her status and martial arts in Pugilistic Fraternity, it seemed unlikely that she will ambush Protégé Master. But why then she wants to set up things in such a way? If this bamboo hut is not Red Phoenix Ye Qiubai, who will it be? And from the looks of this old furniture, she must have rested in this bamboo hut for quite some time…”

He tried to ponder over the heads or tails of this mystery but was unable to think of any lead. And saw Wang Susu pushing opened the biggest door…

Guo Yuxia pointed at Wang Susu back view and laughed awhile and softly said. “This wrench indeed knows too much, too much…”

Shi Chen said. “If Big Brother knows about it…” His voice was shaken and unable to continue.

Guo Yuxia added. “People that know too much, will usually invite disaster.”

Shi Chen eyed her and sensed her malevolent air and felt a chill down his spine. “Sister in law, you…”

Guo Yuxia turned her head around and said word by word slowly. “Am I still your “Sister in law” now?”

Shi Chen lowered his head and said. “I…I am terribly afraid…” He was shaking all over.

Guo Yuxia suddenly laughed and gently said. “What are you afraid of. Tell you the truth, you do not need to be afraid of anything. Although she knows a lot but she will not dare to say anything out!”

Shi Chen said, “But…”

Guo Yuxia smiled broadly and added. “To tell you the truth, she is hiding some secrets as well. If I will do spend some more time…Humph, humph!” Although her face was smiling, her speech was surrounded by an aura of malevolent air.

Shi Chen looked idiocy at her smiling face and his heart did not know if he was afraid or felt confused.

Suddenly there was a cry from Wang Susu inside the bamboo hut!

Guo Yuxia ceased her smiles and said. “Let’s go!” And dashed inside the bamboo hut.

When they reached the inside and they saw a bony green hand clawing firmly onto the bamboo door! Beyond the door was a bottomless ravine.

And the man was desperate enough to hold onto the door or he would have dropped down the ravine. His eyes were staring horribly and filled with hatred!

Guo Yuxia asked. “Who…who is he?”

Long Fei, Shi Chen, Guo Yuxia, Wang Susu looked at the terrible face, his hands that were clawing onto the door. After awhile, Long Fei sighed. “He is already dead!”

Shi Chen bent down to examines his hand, which was cold and rigid. And immediately withdrawn his hands and said. “He is already dead!”

Long Fei lowered himself to grip the corpse shoulder and dragged him up. But the corpse hand was firmly on the door and after some efforts, Long Fei managed to loosen the fingers and placed his corpse horizontally on the ground.

The corpse was a thin man and he did not look old. At most around thirty years old and he was clad in black attire.

Long Fei sighed and said. “I wonder who this man is.”

Guo Yuxia coldly added. “Search his body, and see if we can find any possessions!”

Long Fei’s eyes were wide opened as he asked. “Why?”

Guo Yuxia said. “From his possessions, maybe we can find out his identity!” She said it in such a calm manner that it looked like it was the right thing to do.

Long Fei turned ashen and rose up and looked steadily at Guo Yuxia and said. “This person is unknown to me and moreover no hatred exists between us. Even though he may be my enemy, we should not intrude his body after he had died. Our Protégé Master is a righteous man for his entire life because he wants to lend some benevolent to the Martial Fraternity and upheld some righteousness. How can we go against the principles of Protégé Master and did such an dishonorable and unrighteousness thing!” When he had finished, his eyes were as firm as the mountain rocks!

Guo Yuxia smiled, turned back her head and said. “Alright, up to you!” And no longer looked at Long Fei.

Wang Susu was standing besides the door and when she looked at Long Fei’s face, she felt very respectful!

Shi Chen coughed twice and said, “From the clues of this traces, Protégé Master must have passed through here. Take this pair of footprints for example, it even look like Protégé Master. If Protégé Master internal force has been regained, then the footprint that we have discovered below the mountain must be most probably left behind by Protégé Master as well. But…Where did Protégé Master go now?” He seemed to be muttering to himself and yet asking everyone. But no one had the answers to his queries.

Shi Chen added. “This place altogether have three traces of blood. I think there is more than one person that are wounded. But from this dead corpse, there aren’t any traces of blood to be seen. Therefore who is the wounded person? And the one that inflict the wound, who is the one?…”

Shi Chen heart was in a wave of confusion. All those feelings that seemed to overwhelm him as he wanted to say the word that everyone was asking too in their hearts.

Long Fei lifted his head and looked at Shi Chen. “Third Brother. You don’t have to say it out. Big Brother, I…am feeling very confused…”

Wang Susu melancholy sighed. “Big Brother, actually this person…”

Long Fei said solemnly. “Don’t!”

Wang Susu softly sighed. “But for the sake of Protégé Master’s whereabouts…”

Long Fei thundered. “Just because it is for our Protégé Master, all the more we cannot do anything that cause him to feel ashamed and uneasy.”

He sighed. “Fourth Sister, you must know that although many things you can do without anyone knowing but it will weighted upon your self-conscious and even will cause deep regrets for life. At present, there are many evil doers that are because when they do evil, they hope that no one will know about it and not ask their conscious if it is shameful. Fourth Sister, you and I come from a righteous clan, so how can we do anything that is against our conscious!”

His voice was slow and deep, it was as though he was also lecturing everyone while talking to Susu.

Shi Chen eyes looked clouded and his hands were shaking. And he felt his adrenaline rushing to his head. “Big Brother, I…I have something to say to you! I…actually…”

Guo Yuxia suddenly turned around and although her eyes seemed affected but her expression was as calm as ever.

Shi Chen stepped back and his head was lowered even more. His eyes looked blur and the guilty feeling in his heart caused him unable to lift his head and unable to face Wang Susu!

Wang Susu expressions looked even more painful than him and aroused. For deep inside her heart, she hid something that was even guiltier than he did. Following Long Fei speech, there were two steady tears flowing from her eyes!

Finally she cried out and Long Fei was stunned. “Fourth Sister, why did you cry?”

Wang Susu wiped her tears with her hands and painfully cried aloud. “Big Brother, I am sorry to you. Sorry to Protégé Master…” She suddenly pointed at the corpse on the ground. “This person, I do know him and there are many more people I also know as well. And there are many other things that I know too…”

Long Fei furrowed and asked. “Fourth Sister, what do you want to say. Feel free to talk to Big Brother.”

Wang Susu suddenly stopped crying and walked step by step towards Long Fei!

Long Fei on seeing that she looked paled and her eyes were in a blur and looked possessed. He felt disheartened and asked. “Fourth Sister, you…sit down first and calm yourself!”

Shi Chen was taken aback to see her losing her normal self while Guo Yuxia seemed she was panicking from her eyes…

Wang Susu said slowly. “Big Brother, do you know that my entire family is Protégé Master’s sworn enemies and we can’t wait to kill him until we are satisfied. The reason why I joined the Divine Dragon Clan, is to avenge my entire clan on the Immortal Divine Dragon! And my surname is not Wang, and not even name Susu. I am Gu Yi Hong and the descendant of the Heartless Sword Gu Xiaotian who was wounded by the sword of the Divine Dragon!”

Even before she had finished, she had already crumbled onto the blood stained ground and in that instant she finally removed the burden that she had carried, that thousand ton rock that weighed upon her conscious was finally removed. Her heart could not bear the burden nor endured it, finally she broke down and cried uncontrollably!

But this big rock that weighed a thousand ton began to weigh upon Shi Chen and Guo Yuxia’s heart!

Shi Chen could not believe that this weak and most demure “Fourth Sister” would bear such a heavy burden. She bore the heavy burden of hiding her identity as a “Spy”. He could not believe that the one that treated Protégé Master the best, and closest to him and the “Fourth Sister” that Protégé Master most doted on, was actually the daughter of his swore enemy!

Although Guo Yuxia had guessed she was hiding her background but never would she expected, that this vulnerable girl would have the courage to reveal her secret out!

Guo Yuxia had wanted to use this secret to blackmail her. But now the only hold she had on her had become useless. She thought. “If she could say out her own very secret, she could well possible say out my secret?”

Only Long Fei looked very calm. It was an unexpected reaction coming from him as he walked slowly towards Wang Susu…Gu Yihong’s side. He sighed and gently pats her on her head, not once aroused to anger or incitement. He only did a deep sigh and said. “Fourth Sister…”

But this deep sigh only made Gu Yihong felt even more painful in her heart.

For she had painfully felt Long Fei gentleness and it was a great shame upon her. And his big rough hand that gave her a feeling of love.

She painfully cried. “Ever since forty years ago when my grandfather returned wounded, after no medicine could treat his injuries and he passed away. My pitiful father could not endure this shock and slowly become crazed. He would sit down under the chrysanthemum flowers behind our courtyard, did nothing, say nothing except repeating what my grandfather had say before he died. “If only my, that stroke ‘Heaven Startling Hues’, if it had been deeper by a little…” I been hearing the same words until my father passed away. Every time I heard it, my heart will have an unspeakable pain!” Her voice and body was shaking as she said.

Long Fei only lowered his head and listened.

Guo Yuxia wanted to say something but was stopped by Long Fei. It was as though he wanted her to pour out all her pain and worries.

“These unforgettable vendetta have been with us for forty years and cause everyone in my family to engrave with “Vengeance”. We can only bear with it the whole time as we know deeply that ‘Immortal Divine Dragon’ martial art skills, are already unparalleled in the world!”
She added. “Time passed but till we cannot think of a fail-safe revenge plot. Therefore, our hatred grew deeper as time passed. It was so painful to endure that one year seem like three years. My father and mother lived like that painfully and wasted their lives and they had never in their entire lives, laughed heartily for even once!”
Tears flowed from her eyes as she added. “A person that never laugh in his entire life, a person that never experience benevolent love, and only hatred. What a frightening and painful thing to have!”

The Long Fei sighed deeply in concern.

She cried. “When father and mother died, that time I was still very young. The only one dependent I have is my big brother. But half a year later, my brother suddenly went away. Everyday I will sit by the chrysanthemum flowers which my father once did and wait for my brother to return. That time I had already felt the sadness and pain of my deceased father. Therefore, although I never learn how to love but I learn how to hate…”

Long Fei was shaking in his head. A child that was living in a family that only knew hatred, her life itself was a sad thing. Long Fei sighed again!

Gu Yihong exclaimed, “One year later, brother returned. He brought back a lot of friends. Although his friends were all young, but their looks and attire were all so differ. From their speech and tone, they are all not from one place. But they all know martial art skills, although there were differences in their strengths but all were more or less the same. Brother did not introduce them to me but instead brought them to a secret chamber. And for three continuous days, they did not appear. During that three days, they talked over many things and also drunk many wine…”

Her cries seemingly weakened and her voice slowly becoming normal but her eyes were still blur as she recalled back the painful memories of the past! “Three days later, I really could not endure anymore and run to the door to eavesdrop. But when I just run to the door to listen, someone in the room had heard me and the door was opened all of a sudden. A tall and thin man stood by the door. His face was green and pale. I was taken aback and was about to turn and run. Just when my body started to move, he caught me much like lightning.”

Long Fei muttered. “Can he be the only descendant of Kunlun Clan, ‘Cloud Breaker Hand’, one of the new batch of young swordsmen?”

Gu Yihong replied, “That time I only feel that his hands were like iron. If my brother did not stop him, my shoulder would have been broken. Later I come to know that he is the renowned ‘Cloud Breaker Hand’. His father too was defeated by the sword of ‘Divine Dragon’, was left broken for life. Not only him but in that room, was other people, they were all the descendants of the enemies of ‘Immortal Divine Dragon’! Although they were scattered all over, and did not know one another but my brother had managed to contact them all!”
Long Fei thought. “From the looks of it, her brother is a resourceful person. But why there isn’t any news of him in Pugilistic Fraternity?”

Gu Yihong said, “They discussed for three days and decided a few most important matters. First matter is to do their best to send me to the… Divine Dragon Clan to monitor ‘Immortal Divine Dragon’ movements, secretly trained in his martial art skills and once an opportunity arose…”

Guo Yuxia suddenly said as she stared. “Once an opportunity arose and assassinate Protégé Master, right?”

Shi Chen felt heaviness crowded his head as he looked at Gu Yihong and saw that she nodded her head and added. “That is right!”

Guo Yuxia said sternly. “The sin of betrayal to one’s Protégé Master, cannot be forgiven. Why should we allow these type of people to live in the world for?” She leapt forward, and raised her hand! She had long labored the thought of silencing her, therefore this strike was not only as swift as the wind but also long been prepared!

But unexpectedly before she could hit her, Long Fei suddenly shouted. “Stop!”

Guo Yuxia was surprised and moved half a step back and angrily asked. “Big Brother, what is the meaning of this…”

Gu Yihong did not even lift her head and added. “Sister in law, today I have revealed all my secrets out and I am preparing to die. Sister in law you shouldn’t have been so impatient!” Although she was still feeling sad but her voice was steadily becoming calmer.

“Since I am unable to be filial to my parents, nor can I uphold loyalty to my Benevolent Master’s clan. Under this circumstance, except for death, I have no other choices. All these years, Protégé Master, really treat me very well but the more he treated me well, the more painful I feel in my heart. For more than once, I feel like telling him everything from head to tail but…”

She sighed and added. “But I can never forget the look of my father before he died!”

Guo Yuxia said sternly. “All these years, I don’t believe you did not do anything that betray our Clan?” Every word of her speech seemed to push one to a corner. If words could kill, then Gu Yihong would have died this very instant.

But Gu Yihong did not lift her head as she continued. “All these years, I have indeed did many things that are against the interest of the Clan. More than once, I revealed what I learnt from Protégé Master, the essences of his martial art skills, to my brother or to another person that he sent!”

Guo Yuxia coldly hummed and said. “Anything more?”

Gu Yihong said. “This Mount Hua meet is actually a ploy from my brother and I have already known as well.”

Guo Yuxia said. “But you did not even reveal a single word!”

Gu Yihong answered. “I did not reveal a single word, because “Indebtedness” and “Hatred” are both weighed equally in my heart. Indebtedness is engraved deeply but so is Hatred!” She lifted her head and asked. “Big Brother, if you are me, what will you do?”

Long Fei was silent and he was expressionless.

She pointed at the corpse and said. “This man, was the descendant of Peng Tianlie from the ‘Five Tigers Crushing Through Blade’. He, my brother and that Kunlun ‘Cloud Breaker Hand’ and Diancang Clan, eldest disciple, ‘Returning Dance of the Gentle Wind Swordsman’ Liu Po Yang’s descendant, for the sake of today Mount Hua meet, have expended years of thoughts to bring this to fruition!”

Guo Yuxia coldly laughed awhile before saying. “So, now you have fulfilled your wishes now. Our Protégé Master, he really…” She said more and more aloud and at this point, she covered her face with her hand and cried aloud.

Gu Yihong lowered her head and two crystal tears flowed once again.

She cried in sadness. “Alas Heaven, why did you ask me to be borne as a descendant of Heartless Sword  and yet at the same time asked to experience the kindness of the Immortal Divine Dragon …Alas Heaven, do you or do you not know, every time I betrayed my Protégé Master, how heart wrenching I felt. But…If I don’t do it, how could I face my father who had passed away…”

Shi Chen faced the wall and tears flowed as well.

Guo Yuxia wiped her tears from her face and said. “Since you know that you cannot be filial to your parents and unable to be loyal to your teacher’s clan, therefore why do you want to remain in this world for? If I were you, I will never remain for even a second in this world!”

Gu Yihong said.“Will… never…remain….for… even….a… second… in… this… world…” She once again lifted her head and looked at the night sky from the door seemingly as if it was her last!

Suddenly she reached lightning fast into her dress and drawn out the “Golden Dragon Dagger”, as she prepared to thrust it into her chest. “My Protégé Master, Big Brother, I am so sorry to you…” Even before she muttered, “All”, she had thrust the dagger into herself.

Long Fei suddenly yelled and his left hand gripped her right wrist and there was a “Dang” sound as the dagger dropped to the ground!

Guo Yuxia asked fiercely. “What motivations have you got? Are you trying to cover this traitor?”

One must know that in the Pugilistic Fraternity, one of the taboos was the act of betrayal to one own Benevolent Master. It was a terrible sin and everyone in the Pugilistic Fraternity would not hesitate to kill anyone that committed such an act, even if it was their own relatives or best friends, no one would dare to speak for such a person.

At this moment, Long Fei was treating Gu Yihong as such. Naturally Guo Yuxia was filled with anger.

By a masterstroke, she had placed her hidden intentions to that of justice. She angrily said. “Just now when I tried to cleanse this evil on behalf of Benevolent Master but was stopped by you. Is it because between you and she, there is a…” She wanted to say “affair” but just when she about to say it, she felt a sense of emptiness and was unable to say it out!

Long Fei still ever so calm and holding Gu Yihong’s wrists, and did not even look at Guo Yuxia, said. “Fourth Sister, don’t rush into matters first. Listen to me…”

Guo Yuxia interrupted. “Listen to what? There is nothing to say…” She labored an evil intention and could not wait for this only person who knew her secret, to die as fast as possible.

But before she could finish, Long Fei turned around and shouted. “Shut up!”

This shout was so loud that the surroundings, this bamboo hut began to shook and the sound echo back from the surroundings non-stop.

Guo Yuxia was stunned for awhile and she turned ashen. Ever since Long Fei and her were married, he was always giving way to her, and never once lost control or shouted at her. She began to question herself in her thoughts. “Why did he treat me like this, don’t tell me he had already know my secret?”

Gu Yihong white teeth began to bite her colorless lips and her tears continued non-stop. “Big Brother!” She took in a deep breath and said. “Sister in law is right. I should have die. Every time I accompany Protégé Master to practice calligraphy, he would impart me some of the theories of martial arts and how to be a good person. It is all the more I feel I deserve to die, because…he treated me so well and I have always lie to him…”

Long Fei sighed deeply and added. “You did not lie to him!”

Guo Yuxia, Shi Chen and Gu Yihong was all taken aback as Long Fei sighed and explained. “On the third day when you joined the clan, Protégé Master had already known your background!”

Gu Yihong cried out in surprise while Guo Yuxia and Shi Chen turned ashen!

Long Fei looked calm as he looked longingly back to the past as if he was chasing the noble side of his Protégé Master’s spirit. “You must know that Protégé Master has always been strict in selecting disciples. Your Sister in law and I are orphans. I am adopted to be Protégé Master’s godson. Three Brother is the grandson of Protégé Master’s friend and he and Fifth Brother family have deep ties.”
He asked. “Why did he accept you, who seemingly comes from nowhere, it was because Protégé Master knew your background from the day Sima of the Red Flag Escort brought you to him…”

Gu Yihong interrupted. “Old escort chief Sima did not know of this matter. This is a ploy set by my brother and his friend. To let Old escort chief Sima thought that I am a fatherless, motherless orphan. Under a hopeless situation I was unconscious in front of the door of old escort chief Sima. Therefore he would send me to Zhijiao Manor!”

Long Fei stern expression began to smile. “There is no secret that can be buried for long in the world. And there is no person that can fool another person and that person is little stupid to think like that.”

Guo Yuxia was shook from the confines of her mind. She had already reached her hand into her dress and secretly prepared three steel needles and aimed at Gu Yihong back. But when she heard those words, her hand shook as well and the needles dropped back inside her dress.

Long Fei added. “Don’t think that you have fooled old escort chief Sima. Actually he brought you to Zhijiao Manor was because he had already see the loops in your story. You just think about it, a fatherless and motherless orphan girl that suddenly shown interest in martial arts and know about Zhijiao Manor? Since you know about Zhijiao Manor but why choose Zhijiao Manor as a place to learn martial art skills? Under those circumstances, no one really have a choice. But speaking of a place to learn martial art skills, is not learning under the renowned Master Sima the same!”

Gu Yihong was stunned and unwittingly melancholy sighed.

Long Fei added. “Since ancient past, there were many intelligent people, who were prone to do stupid things. Your brother may think that he is superb brilliant but he would never think of such a big loophole!”

Gu Yihong lowered her head even more!

Guo Yuxia felt a chill in her heart as she thought. “He said all these, could it be it he trying to convey another message and purposely tell it for me to listen?”

Therefore she felt even more frustrated inside her!

Long Fei sighed. “Old escort chief Sima after he brought you to us, went on to discuss with Protégé Master for quite awhile. Protégé Master concluded that you are the daughter of his enemy. Old escort chief was someone who comes to the point and his heart was like iron stone, immediately said in a low voices. “Investigate the background, complete the extermination!”

Gu Yihong shuddered at the words!

Long Fei said. “But at that time Protégé Master only smiled and said. I am from the Martial Fraternity and could not avoid bloodshed. In my entire life, I have killed and wounded many and the enemies I have made are uncountable. But at that time although I am forced by circumstances to kill but every time I think back, I will feel very regretful!” He unwittingly copied his Protégé Master’s mannerism and set Gu Yihong to think of her noble Protégé Master, and her tears started flowing again.

Long Fei said. “At that time old escort chief Sima interrupted him and said. If you don’t kill others, others will kill you. If you kill without guilt, you will not feel regretful afterwards! At that time I was still young and when I listened to his explanations. I feel it make sense.But Protégé Master shook his head and sighed. This may be the case but Heaven decides human lives and if we can avoid killing, it is the best. I know that I have wounded many and if next time I will to be wounded by the descendant of my enemies, I will have neither regrets nor complaints. This cycle of avenge and revenge is normal!Protégé Master smiled after saying this and added. Although I do not wish that in the future I will die prematurely, but I am not willing to go into the stage of complete extermination and pulled out all roots. I hope that the vendetta can be mediated. This young girl no matter whose descendant is she, is after all a determined child. Moreover her physique is good. She made so much efforts just to try to be under my clan, how can I disappoint her? Even if she have one day learnt all my martial art skills and turned around to kill me, I will not regret it. If I can use benevolent to dissolve her hatred, and moved her, dissolved this vendetta, will not be the best thing?”

Gu Yihong after listening up to this point wailed and cried.

Long Fei sighed and said. “At that time, I was besides Protégé Master, and these words I have heard it clearly and I remembered it deeply in my heart, never will I forget. Although I don’t know if I can ever learnt one tenth of Protégé Master’s martial art skills but if I can learn his big hearted characteristics, I will be satisfied!”

The crying Gu Yihong moved her lips as she wanted to say, “You have already learnt it!”

Shi Chen looked respectfully at his Protégé Brother.

Long Fei sighed and said. “Therefore that very night, when Protégé Master accepted you in the Clan, and that very night, Protégé Master, he also…” He did not look at Guo Yuxia! And continued. “Announced the wedding of your Sister in law and I.”

“Do you still remember that the following morning, on the second day, he rode a horse out and only come back on the third day of the night. When he returned, he told me that you are the descendant of Old Master “Heartless Sword” Gu Xiaotian. And sternly guarded this secret. And told me to treat you nicely from now on. Your Sister in law, Third Brother and I when we first become disciples, we have to undergo much hardship. Even your Fifth Brother with his family connections, is not spared the hardship. Only you, are spared from all this.”

Gu Yihong cries became even sadder. In her heart, she really had so much to say but she just could not know how to say it out.

At the same time, Guo Yuxia was feeling a sense of panic. The more she thought, the more panic she felt. It was because in her heart, she had a secret, a guilt – one that was disloyal to her husband. Although she might not feel painful but more or less she would feel panic!

Shi Chen was feeling the same as well. At least he still had some conscious. He knew the despicable and shame of being with a married whore, moreover it was with his friend and brother’s wife. Although his remaining conscious had been blinded by lust…

This was such a sad thing considering that such a good young man was really seduced by lust. At least he can still be forgiven, for he had never taken the initiative!

Long Fei said. “One day, when the night is late, I saw you looking suspiciously around for awhile and secretly went to the back yard outside the manor. I know that my swiftness movement skill is not good therefore I did not follow but watched from a distance. I saw a man in the darkness conversing with you for quite some time. That man even reached his hands from time to time to wipe away your tears. Come to think of that, that man must be your brother?”

Gu Yihong gently nodded her head.

Long Fei sighed. “All these things, not only have I know but I have also known it for a long time but…only one thing, I found it hard to understand! I wonder if you can…”

Suddenly he stopped talking of a sudden.

Gu Yihong tried to stop crying. “No matter what thing, as long as I know.”

Long Fei sighed. “Fourth Sister, now you are trapped between filial and loyalty. You can’t cast away your vendetta and neither can you forget Protégé Master’s benevolent. I’m not forcing you to say anything.” He closed his eyes and added. “All this are within the predictions of Protégé Master. That time Protégé Master had already told me, no matter what happens, I mustn’t force you. That is because he already know you are innocent and kind within.”

“No matter what thing, I will be willing to say it out!” She said resolutely as she rose up; even her vulnerable, petite face became resolute. “How can it be considered that Big Brother is forcing me!”

Long Fei sighed. “You should not really, unless you…”

Gu Yihong said. “I have never forgot my kin vendetta. But…Protégé Master…he…is already …” Her voice became weak.

Long Fei said. “Protégé Master will definitely not die!” At this moment, he was full of confidence.

Gu Yihong said. “But no matter, it is time for me to repay my Benevolent Master!”

Long Fei asked. “But if it is to harm your brother…”

Gu Yihong said. “I will do my best to dissolve it. Didn’t Protégé Master say it too, isn’t it best to dissolve the vendetta?”

Long Fei sighed. “If it cannot be dissolved. Then what should be done?”

Gu Yihong said. “If it cannot be dissolved, I will die in front of brother and use my blood to cleanse the vendetta between our two families.” She said with much conviction that her eyes shone.

Long Fei sighed deeply. “If it still cannot be dissolved. What will you do?”

Gu Yihong said. “No matter what happen, I strive to do my best and doesn’t matter if it is within my means to accomplish…”

She suddenly sighed awhile. “I can only pray for the best providence of Heaven. Big Brother…if you were me, what will you do?”

She looked at Long Fei and after awhile…

Long Fei suddenly laughed hilariously. “Fine, fine. The Immortal Divine Dragon no longer accepted you as disciple. I, Long Fei will also won’t recognize you as Protégé Sister. Loyalty and Filial are both so hard to be fulfilled, Benevolence and Hatred are so hard to be separated. If I cannot give up loyalty for filial and neither can I give up filial to be loyal. If I were you, I will simple end my life!”
He ceased his laughter, looked at Gu Yihong and said word by word. “If it is me, that will what I do!”

The two of them locked eyes with one another, in their hearts were the feelings of appreciation!

In Guo Yuxia eyes, she was feeling scared. “The two of them seems to be getting along well. If one day she reveals my secret, what shall I do!”

In her heart, she really felt uneasy. She thought of silencing her but at the same time thought of leaving. But after awhile, she thought it was better to observe and changed according to the circumstances. She glanced at Shi Chen who looked greatly troubled.

Suddenly from the roof, there was a clear laughter. “What a hero, what a heroine!”

Everyone was taken by surprised!

Long Fei said aloud. “Who is that?”

All turned and saw a man in dark gray sliding from roof, as he somersaulted in mid-air and gently floated inside the door. He seemed like he had been on top of the roof for a long time. But all the top exponents of Pugilist that were inside, none had detected his presence! From his dexterous display of his agility that was so light and slow, inside the hearts of everyone, they felt all the more surprised.

Who is this man? Long Fei, Shi Chen, Gu Yihong and Guo Yuxia glanced in that direction with eight beaming eyes!

Ch4 End

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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.

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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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Chapter 2

The only reason why Guo Yuxia was surprised by Ye Manqing was because she was too anxious to get hold of the letter. Now she felt resentment and anger within her. She wanted to say something but could not! She was just too upset for words!

Long Fei loved his wife and held her hand. It was cold when he touched her. “My dear, how are you feeling?”

Guo Yuxia tried to force a smile. “I…I…feeling fine!” Suddenly she whispered in his ears. “Hurry and take a look at the letter. If it not to our advantage, don’t read it out!”

Long Fei was taken aback and looked at his wife for a while. It was only today that he started to begin to understand his wife.

Ye Manqing coldly laughed. “Refusing to look at your Protégé Master’s letter and you comfort your wife who only knows how to act instead, humph, humph…“

Long Fei flushed and turned his body and was about to pick the letter when Ye Manqing pierced the letter with the sword point of the Fallen Autumn Leaf!

Long Fei asked. “Why are you doing this?”

Ye Manqing coldly said. “If you are not willing to read, I will take it to the others to read!” Her eyes looking at everyone present and looked carefully at each of everyone as though she was looking for the right person to read the letter. And she walked to Wang Susu. “Take this letter and read it aloud!”

Wang Susu paled immediately. She had just fainted earlier and had not recovered from the shock. She secretly took a glance at Guo Yuxia and said in a low voice. “My Protégé Master last will, why did you want me to read!” She took the letter from the sword point, and hesitated for awhile, looking at Shi Chen, Nangong Ping before she finally tore open the letter.

Ye Manqing said. “Read it aloud, not a word less!”

Guo Yuxia and Long Fei looked at one another. And he noticed his wife hand was getting colder and colder. He sighed and said in a low voice. “Everything depends upon heaven’s will, why are you so nervous and worrying about!”

Guo Yuxia almost cried out.

Long Fei clenched his fists while Wang Susu read it in a clear crystal voice. “The swordplay match between Ye Qiubai and I have finally come. This ten year of preparation, the victor shall live, the loser shall die, both sides have no complaints whatever so. There is no hatred. If one shall fall, it is of one’s own will. All of you must not seek revenge upon Red Phoenix’s disciples. Or else the holder of the Decree of the Golden Dragon have the right to expel any disciples from the Clan!”

Maybe Susu was feeling nervous or overtly aggravated as her voice was shaking now. When she had read that part, she began to sigh. When she had calmed down, she continued. “Among all my disciples, Long Fei is the first to join the clan and he is also my nephew. Not only is he honest, loyal and also straightforward. But his heart is too soft and will prove fatal to him one day. So he can never accomplish great things.” She rolled her eyes to take a glance at Long Fei who lowered his head!

Wang Susu closed her eyes, hating herself for taking that look. She continued reading. “Shi Chen is perseverance, Susu is gentle and caring…” She flushed. “…Only Ping’Er, is borne from a noble family. Although he is used to good food and banquets but he has never complaint. What is most notably about him is that he is extremely talented, therefore I have decided…”

Suddenly Guo Yuxia interrupted by crying out. Long Fei sighed and gently held her in his embrace. She cried even louder. “I have help Zhijiao Manor in so many ways and matters…But our old man did not even mention anything about me.”

Long Fei sternly said. “My dear, what is going on today with you!”
Guo Yuxia lifted her head, her tears flowing. “I…I am really too…upset. All these years, I have worked hard for our old man but…but what did we gain? What did we gain…”

Ye Manqing who was standing near to Wang Susu could not help turned her back and laughed coldly.

Wang Susu seemed to be taken aback by the interruptions. She melancholy sighed and continued reading. “Therefore I have decided to give the “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.”

She furrowed her eyebrows as although she did not understand and repeated again. “Till the coffin is destroyed and the person dead!”

Wang Susu continued. “I have three unfulfilled wishes. Therefore I will task it upon Ping’Er to finish for me. These three wishes I have already handed over to Maiden Ye Manqing.” She stopped and lifted her head to look at Ye Manqing.

She continued. “The Pugilist Fraternity have been in turmoil for several decades, even I cannot avoid the bloodshed. But I can safety say that I am above board in all matters and have never done a single harmful thing. But from now on, I am unable to meddle in the affairs of the mortals. Therefore I will hand over Zhijiao Manor which is my hard work to…“ She took a deep breathe and there was a surprise look on her face.

Ye Manqing interrupted. “Hand over to who?”

Wang Susu turned to look at her and asked softly. “You have not seen this piece of paper?”

Ye Manqing furrowed her eyebrows and said in a clear voice. “Will the protégé disciple of Red Phoenix be so despicable and do such despicable acts?”

Wang Susu melancholy sighed. “I have thought you have read it beforehand. If it to your advantage, only then will you hand over to us. If it not, you will not let us read!” Her rebuke was so gentle and lovely and that no one would have the heart to rebuke her!

Guo Yuxia crying had become weaker by now. She lifted her head and asked. “Is the handwriting our Protégé Master?”

Wang Susu nodded her head.

Guo Yuxia wiped her tears and asked again. “Do you recognize Protégé Master’s handwriting?”

Wang Susu melancholy sighed. “For the past few years, Protégé Master have been practicing his writing every night, I…I had been by his side preparing the ink!” Before she finished, tears began to form in her eyes. Her eyes were wet with tears and just as she was about to use her hand to wipe her tears away, there was a soft tap on her shoulder.

It was Ye Manqing who hand her a soft handkerchief!

Guo Yuxia was silent for awhile before she let go a long sigh. And said in a deep voice. “Who is the person that our old man has hand over Zhijiao Manor?”

Wang Susu wiped her tears, hand over the handkerchief back to Ye Manqing and gratefully smiled at her. She held the letters again and said. “From now on it will be hand over to the couple Fei and Yuxia!”

Guo Yuxia straightened her back and eyed the heavens. She felt ashamed.

Long Fei softly said. “My dear, our Protégé Master has never forget about you!”

Ye Manqing once again coldly smirked. “Till now, you have remembered your Protégé Master and feel sad for him!”

Guo Yuxia cried even louder and Long Fei lowered his head!
Wang Susu continued reading. “Matters concerning Zhijiao is not something that Fei can handle with his honesty and straightforward character. It is not enough to command respect from all the heroes of the world. If there is no Yuxia who is smart and without her quick thinking, Zhijiao Manor will never last a hundred year of fame.”

Nangong Ping sighed. He was very impressed with his Protégé Master thoroughness. He took a glance at Wang Susu who seemed to stare blankly at the letters.

Even Shi Chen had noticed it. He asked. “Fourth Sister, why don’t you read it?”

Shi Chen exclaimed. “Our Protégé Master’s will, must be read!” His eyes were on the letter but he failed to notice that Wang Susu was looking shyly and at the same time disappointed.

Wang Susu wiped her eyes with her fingers, lifted her head and read. “The Decree of the Golden Dragon is the sacred treasure of our sect. From now on, it will be hand over to ShiEr…ShiEr and Susu. Both of them will hold it together. With Shi Chen righteousness and Susu kindness, surely they will not abuse the Decree. With the Two Swords of the Dragon Gate, their combine martial art skills will not let the Decree loses it glory!Everything had been handled in the Manor therefore Ping’Er need not worry. End of March, he is to meet Maiden Ye Manqing at the foot of Mount Hua and to discuss my three unfulfilled wishes with her. But he is forbidden to leave too far from the heavenly coffin, please remember!” Wang Susu had read faster and faster. With a single breath, she had read to this part.

Guo Yuxia whispered to Long Fei. “Protégé Master knows everything except Fourth Sister feeling!”

Long Fei was taken aback. “What feeling?”

Guo Yuxia said. “She would rather be with Fifth Brother to explore the Fraternity than to share the Decree with Third Brother!”

Long Fei softly said. “You seem to know everything!”

Guo Yuxia’s face suddenly became blank, bowed her head and sighed deeply. “I seem to know everything?…”

Wang Susu read. “In my life, I have done nothing wrong. I have my friends, my disciples are useful, even if I have died, I will be glad.” When she had finished, her voice was stuttering. She folded up the letters and saw Ye Manqing placed the golden dagger to her hands and said. “Please take care!”

Wang Susu blinked her eyes and said. “Thank you!”

Ye Manqing gently smiled but Wang Susu suddenly whispered to her. “I hope that from now on, you will take care of him!” Her eyes turned red and she walked off.

Ye Manqing was taken aback and stood unmoving for several moments. She finally turned and walked to Nangong Ping and without a word, thrust the “The Autumn Leaf” into the ground and coldly said. “On the sword hilt, there is yet another letter, you may read yourself!” She was pointing to the yellow silken handkerchief that was tied to the sword hilt. After saying, she walked away!

Even before Wang Susu had finished reading the Immortal Divine Dragon Will, Nangong Ping was already pondering. At this moment, although he had pulled the long sword from the ground but he was still thinking!

Till Ye Manqing had already gone far. He suddenly yelled. “Maiden Ye, please halt!” And ran to her side.

Ye Manqing turned her head and coldly said. “What is the matter? Do you wish to kill me and avenge for your Protégé Master?”

The calm posture on Nangong Ping’s face began to fade as he asked. “My Protégé Master is not dead right? Where is he now?”

Ye Manqing was taken back but regained her posture. “If the Immortal Divine Dragon is not dead, why is that he has not returned?”

Nangong Ping coldly replied. “That have to ask you!”

Ye Manqing speech became even more unfriendly. “This you have to first ask yourself, that is more appropriate.” She did not even turn her head anymore and she walked to the four waiting women. “Go!” And the five of them move swiftly down the southern peak!

Long Fei, Guo Yuxia, Shi Chen and Wang Susu all came to Nangong Ping and asked together. “How did…”

While the other three became mute, only Guo Yuxia continued. “How did you surmise that our Protégé Master may not have died?”

Nangong Ping seemed to be in thoughts before he replied. “If our Protégé Master has died, why did he in the letter, say “If he have been defeated and died, and even if he have died”. Moreover…even if our Protégé Master have been defeated and died, judging by his fury character, how could he have the calmness to write such a detail and thoroughness Will?”

Wang Susu suddenly said. “The handwriting on the will, is very straight, exactly the same style as what Protégé Master writes in slow pace!”

Nangong Ping eyes shone. “That is right. Under that condition, even if Protégé Master did not die immediately, he definitely will not write in such a style in his Will. There must be a secret…” But his eyes discolored, and he sighed. “If…he did not die, why did he not return here?”

Everyone was listening intensely, even the two men that were carrying the coffin.

Under this circumstance, no one would give the priest who was still present much attention. So he charged to the other two men who were the coffin carriers, and stretched both his hands and hit them at the back of their head. The two men did not have much time to react and could only feel themselves in a daze before collapsing onto the ground!

The priest did not even bother to look at them, certain that the two men would not be unable to get up. He then carried off the purple coffin and ran down the peak!

Nangong Ping was stunned as he was in deep thoughts earlier. Wang Susu shouted to the running priest. “You…You, what are you doing?” She was surprised as well. She had never thought a person would risk his life just to steal a purple coffin. Therefore she remained rooted to the ground in confusion.

But her shout had already alerted and interrupted Nangong Ping from his thoughts and shouted at the priest as he quickly sheathed Fallen Autumn Leaf into the scabbard, as he chased after him! And his speed was astonishing!

Wang Susu paled and exclaimed. “Big Brother, Third Brother…”

Long Fei shouted. “Hurry and chase!”

Guo Yuxia said. “Why hurry and chase?…”

Long Fei furrowed with his eyebrows. “Naturally we have to hurry and chase!”

Guo Yuxia said. “A piece of coffin wood, although it is dyed in purple, how much can it worth?”

Long Fei angrily replied. “How can we ignore the plight of Fifth Brother? He could be in danger!”

Guo Yuxia coldly laughed. “But what about our Protégé Master? Do we ignore the plight of our Protégé Master then?”

Long Fei halted in his steps and turned back. “What are you saying?”

Guo Yuxia gently sighed. “Just now what Fifth Brother have said, set me into thinking that it is a very good deduction. No matter if our Protégé Master is alive or dead at this moment, we should follow up and check. If he is not dead, then we should really give thanks the heavens!”

Long Fei asked. “What about Fifth Brother then?”
Guo Yuxia asked. “You seen Fifth Brother using that ‘Dragon Flying through the Cloud’ swiftness movement skill. How is that compared to you?”
Long Fei was stunned and stunned, said. “It is…”

Guo Yuxia slowly smiled. “It is…Just based on Fifth Brother martial skills, if he wants to win, it is not difficult. But if he want to use it for self-preservation, it is easy right?”

Long Fei sighed. “This conclusion…is also reasonable!”

However Wang Susu was anxious. “But that priest is willing to risk to steal that coffin. The coffin must have a secret…”

Guo Yuxia gently patted her on her head and gently said, “Fourth Sister, you are still young. There are many things that you do not understand yet. That priest is willing to risk the gamble to steal the coffin for the sake of trying to garner fame in the Pugilist Fraternity.”

Wang Susu asked. “If the coffin have no secret, why then did our Protégé Master asked him to protect the coffin with his life?”

Guo Yuxia became grave and said. “Even if the coffin have a secret, is the secret more important than the life of our Protégé Master?”

Wang Susu folded her hands behind her back. Although she did not agree with Guo Yuxia but she did not know what to say.

Long Fei said, “Fourth Sister, your Sister in law is right too. I think the priest martial art skill is not that high. Therefore Fifth Brother will not come to misfortune. Looking for our Protégé Master is much more important!”

Shi Chen had a heavy look on his eyes as if he wanted to say something but when he glanced at Wang Susu, he kept silence.

Guo Yuxia smiled and patted Wang Susu again. “Listen to Sister in law, you won’t get wrong. If something happen to Fifth Brother, I will take responsibility. So don’t be anxious anymore alright?”

Guo Yuxia continued. “Third Brother, Fourth Sister, go. Let us go and find our Mentor Teacher!”

Wang Susu nodded her head and followed Guo Yuxia but her eyes were looking at the direction where Nangong Ping had vanished.

Shi Chen said, “If Fourth Sister is not willing to look for our Protégé Master, the three of us are sufficient too!”

Guo Yuxia laughed. “Third Brother, how can you say such a thing. Fourth Sister has always been the most filial to our Protégé Master and Protégé Master has always doted on Fourth Sister the most. How will she not be willing to search for our Protégé Master?”

Long Fei said, “Indeed, indeed. There is no reason why Fourth Sister is not willing to search for our Protégé Master!”

Suddenly there appeared a mountain bird that came forth from the clouds and it screamed aloud as though it was mocking the human race, mocking at Long Fei’s stupidity, Guo Yuxia’s cunning, Shi Chen’s jealousy and Wang Susu vulnerability.

Then it crashed on the side of the mountain cliffs!

Long Fei sprang forward and was the first to see the dead bird. He turned his head around and said to everyone. “This bird is really stupid!”

Shi Chen said, “The lonely bird lost its partner, rather than be lonely, killed itself. Isn’t it better in this way!”

Wang Susu melancholy sighed. “If it is me, I would rather let myself be killed by humans!”

Guo Yuxia slowly smiled. “You are all wrong. This bird is not stupid or lonely. It crashed to death because it had flown too high and was careless!”

Long Fei sighed. “Flying high will crash to death, flying too low will let hunters catch it. Come to think of that, being a human is hard enough, being a bird is not easy too!”

 

Ch2 End

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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.

Chapter 1

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.

“Ye…Qiu…Bai…has…died…already…really…?”

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!

 

Ch1 End

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