The Flower Guarding Bells by Edmundshen - HTML preview
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The Flower Guarding Bells
Life and Death, Love and Hatred, Affection and Feud, Benevolence and Vendetta.
In the eyes of the people in the Pugilistic Fraternity, these are like sharp blades; their differences separated only by a very thin line.
The night sky was devoid of clouds. Amidst the fog stood a demure, alluring and extremely beautiful young maiden. One hand held her flowing hair and the other hand her soft outer garment. Yet without slowing her pace, she continued on.
Along the treacherous mountain trails, there appeared several people. The young maiden raised her eyebrows and gave a faint laugh, a laugh that seem 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. “Mentor 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 Mt. Huashan 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 the Huashan summit? Are you Danfeng’s (Phoenix) follower?”
The extremely beautiful young maiden coldly replied “That’s right!”
The old man said solemnly. “Where is Danfeng 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 Mentor 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 disciple?”
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 Mentor 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 Mentor Mistress will still be unable to honor it!”
Long Bushi asked angrily, “How come?”
She replied, “Three months ago, my Mentor 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 Mentor 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 Mentor 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 Mentor 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 Mentor 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 Mentor 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 Huashan summit. Furthermore, all protégés from Zhijiao Manor shall henceforth be forbidden to partake in the Pugilistic Fraternity.”
Long Fei suddenly laughed, “What if my father wins? What happens then?”
The extremely young woman did not even glance at him out of the corners of her eyes, 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 Danfeng Ye Qiubai 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 Mistress Mentor left behind? Would it not be the same as fighting my Mentor Mistress?”
Long Bushi looked even more forlorn, “Sixteen years ago, all the best fighters in the Pugilistic Fraternity, except your Mentor Mistress and me, perished on Mt. Huangshan. 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 Huangshan 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 Mentor 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 obtained a miraculous herb that could aid the growth of internal force, she could not have beat 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 Mentor 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 Mentor 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 Mentor 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 Mentor Mistress and you have a life and death agreement, and there is as yet no victor. But although my Mentor 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 Mentor 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 Mentor 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 Mentor Mistress’ swordplay against you, and the fight would seem not different from you fighting my Mentor 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 Mentor 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 like a play-acting. It is certainly impossible. I can’t believe you actually voiced it.”
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, “Mentor Mistress, oh my Mentor 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, what does it matter?”
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 Mentor 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 that I still managed to wound 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, ‘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” 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 Tianshan (Mt.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 Kunlun summit. He shook to the core as he recalled that frightening episode. Each of his memories shook him badly, but still he 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 Huangshan!”
Long Bushi gave a long sigh. The Huangshan 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 expectance, 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 ‘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 remove 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 Zi, do you still remember 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.
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!”
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, “Mentor 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 and as my opponent!”
Long Fei was stunned. “You were trying to test her internal power to see if it was the same as our Mentor 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 the rare young beauty.
The rare beauty only now glanced away from Nangong Ping. She said 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 Mentor 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 my Mentor 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 Mentor 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, your Mentor 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, Mentor 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 woman, 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 Mentor 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 gave a “hum” sound.
Guo Yuxia hastened to add, “But Maiden Ye, the condition that you 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 Mentor 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?”
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 sure there was none here can find any weakness in my swordplay!”
Guo Yuxia smiled. “Then why do you say it now?”
Ye Manqing focussed 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 disciples 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 disciple like you, it’s no wonder your Mentor 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 finally managed to convey what her eyes already said.
Long Bushi said. “Ye Qiubai’s 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 ambushed, 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 Miss will return and give this sword to my disciple, Nangong Ping!”
This expression, none of his 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 say, “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 pointed 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 Mentor Master and Danfeng Ye Qiubai really had…”
Long Fei coughed and said, “Mentor Master’s personal matters are his own affair. 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, betraying her martial arts skills. But in between her movements, she seemed to always carry an air of selfconsciousness. 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, Nangong Aristocratic Family whose wealth is known to all, the pugilists in the 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 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. “Mentor Master…Alas, he has been gone an hour already!”
Guo Yuxia rolled her eyes and said coldly, “You are always so impatient. No wonder Mentor 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 Mentor 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 Mentor 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 Mentor Master has his power reduced and that 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 Mentor Master, I have also found out that our Mentor 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 Mentor Master was standing on my left side. Although his right hand was holding to his sword, when my palm struck, our Mentor 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 Mentor 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 Mentor 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 Mentor 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 Mentor 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 Mentor 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 “Hong” 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 Mentor 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 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 Mentor 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 Mentor 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 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. Disciples from the Danfeng 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 Mentor Master and Danfeng 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 Mentor 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 Mentor Master!”
The long hair priest asked. “What is it?”
Guo Yuxia rolled her eyes and said. “She finally died before our Mentor Master!”
The long hair priest was shaking all over. He was stunned for some time.
Guo Yuxia said. “Indeed!”
The long hair priest sighed heavily. “Twenty years ago, the Heavenly Crow Priest predicted this just before he died!”
Long Fei interrupted. “What do you mean?”
The long hair priest bowed his head and said. “The Dragon shall triumph over the Phoenix…”
An Zi suddenly laughed. “Although Mistress Ye has died, the Immortal Divine Dragon did not triumph!”
The eyes of the long hair priest shone, and his spirits rose again. “The Immortal Divine Dragon did not win? Did the both of them die together?!”
Long Fei angrily said. “Bull...rubbish!”
The long hair priest stared at Long Fei and ground word by word. “Bull what?”
Long Fei replied. “Bullshit!”
The long hair priest gave a loud yell and drew out his sword. But when his long sword was halfway unsheathed, he loosened his hand. “Although you are rude, I can’t be bothered with you!”
Long Fei answered, “Huh… hehe…” And laughed.
An Zi responded coldly, “Some people will not par with their juniors but…the Immortal Divine Dragon is now fighting with Mistress Ye’s disciple!”
The long hair priest asked. “Immortal Dragon will fight with a junior?”
An Zi replied, “Indeed!”
Long Fei intoned cuttingly, “Although our Mentor Master is fighting with Ye Qiubai’s 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 disciple 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 disciple, why is 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 Mentor 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 Mentor 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 Mentor Master? Where is my Mentor Master?”
Ye Manqing coldly replied, “You should have already guessed where is your Mentor Master is by now!”
Long Fei was shaking all over.
Nangong Ping 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 Mentor Master! Give back my Mentor 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 Mentor 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 disciples of your Mentor 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 Mentor Master!”
Long Fei said, “I only acknowledge the Decree, not the person…But you killed my Mentor 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 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 Mentor 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 Mentor 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 Mentor 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.
Decree of the Golden Dragon
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 Mentor Master letter and instead comforting your wife who only knows how to act, heng, heng...“
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 Mentor 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 Danfeng’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 PingEr, 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 PingEr 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 PingEr 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 disciple of Danfeng 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 Mentor Master?”
Wang Susu nodded her head.
Guo Yuxia wiped her tears and asked again. “Do you recognize Mentor Master handwriting?”
Wang Susu melancholy sighed. “For the past few years, Mentor 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 Mentor Master has never forget about you!”
Ye Manqing once again coldly smirked. “Till now, you have remembered your Mentor 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 Mentor 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 Mentor 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 PingEr need not worry. End of March, he is to meet Maiden Ye Manqing at the foot of Huashan 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. “Mentor 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 Mentor Master?”
The calm posture on Nangong Ping’s face began to fade as he asked. “My Mentor 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 Mentor Master may not have died?”
Nangong Ping seemed to be in thoughts before he replied. “If our Mentor 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 Mentor 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 Mentor Master writes in slow pace!”
Nangong Ping eyes shone. “That is right. Under that condition, even if Mentor 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 Mentor Master? Do we ignore the plight of our Mentor 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 Mentor 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 Mentor 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 Mentor 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 Mentor 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 Mentor 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 Mentor Master and Mentor Master has always doted on Fourth Sister the most. How will she not be willing to search for our Mentor Master?”
Long Fei said, “Indeed, indeed. There is no reason why Fourth Sister is not willing to search for our Mentor 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!”
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 Mentor 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 Mentor 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 PingEr 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 Mentor 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 leapt 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 Mentor Master asked you to protect this coffin with your life, do you know the reason why?”
Nangong 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 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 Mentor 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 Mentor 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 Mentor Master one more word…”
The priest interrupted. “Insult him…heng, heng. 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 Huashan 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 “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 teacher? 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 teacher in his rage decided to meddle in this matter. In the nine peaks of Huashan, 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 Huashan 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 Mentor Master. He sighed. “It a pity at that time, I have not yet become the disciple of my Mentor 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 teacher 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 teacher. 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 Mentor 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 Mentor 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 Mentor Master really hid the Peacock Concubine inside the coffin and deceive the whole world? Mentor 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 Mentor 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 Mentor 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 Mentor 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 Mentor 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 teacher. 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 selfconfidence. 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 teacher 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 Mentor Master last will. “I have killed countless people, among all those that I have killed they are all deserving, therefore in all my life I never feel guilty conscious…”
Nangong Ping sighed. And beginning to feel the taste of “guilty conscious”. 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. “Mentor Master in all his life, he has never feel guilty conscious, so how would he have done what the priest had said!”
Therefore his faith restored and he laughed. And continued to read. “Although no guilty conscious but there is something, I suppose can be considered guilty conscious…”
Nangong Ping 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 Mentor 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…really Mentor Master is really dead?…” As he shed two warm tears.
“One day you will know the truth…” But when would that day be? “As I cannot hope to repay you is the greatest regret in my life…” He wipe his tears and cried aloud. “Mentor Master, you have always treated me with great kindness. And I have always been grateful to you. Don’t you know Mentor 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 fated 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 relaxed and he slipped into a sleep and after an unknown period of time…
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. Even your breathing would follow her laughter breathing and let your pulses, followed her soft laughter pitch and jumped.
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. And 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 paled 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 was 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?”