The Smiling, Proud Wanderer (笑傲江湖) Chapter 27 – Three Fights


The Smiling, Proud Wanderer (笑傲江湖) Chapter 27

[Great Master Fangzheng’s hand moves were completely unpredictable. Every time when he struck out, while the hand was still on the way to the target, it had already switched into several positions. Ren Woxing’s hand moves were quite simply. When he struck out or pull the hand back, it always looked stiff.]

Chapter 27 – Three Fights

Linghu Chong leapt into the forest and went up a tree concealing himself among the tree’s dense leaves. After a long time, the sound of those heroes gradually disappeared, and finally, everything was quiet. He thought everyone must have gone already when he slowly walked back to the tunnel’s exit. As he expected, there was no one there. The exit of the tunnel was concealed by two large rocks and long grass. For someone who didn’t know of the existence of this tunnel, even if he stood besides it, he probably still would not be able to discover it.

Linghu Chong quickly re-entered the tunnel and ran back to the temple. When he arrived at the Da Mo hall, he heard the sound of people talking from the front hall. It was the orthodox schools’ people carefully and slowly searching for traps. Linghu Chong gathered his power into both of his arms and pushed the statue of Da Mo back into its place. After putting the statue back, he considered, “Where can I go to eavesdrop on the gathering of the orthodox schools’ leaders to find out the whereabouts of Yingying? Shaolin temple has more than a thousand rooms and I don’t even know which room they’re going to use.”

He remembered that day when Great Master Fangsheng led him to see the Abbot. Great Master Fangsheng took him to the Abbot’s mediation room, which he could still vaguely remember the direction to. He quickly went out of the Da Mo Hall and went on the path towards the back. But Shaolin temple had so many rooms that after going for a while, he was still unable to find the Abbot’s meditation room.

He was in a sitting room at the side of a hall when he heard footsteps approaching. Linghu Chong quickly took a look around the hall and saw that there was nowhere for him to hide. But there was a wooden signage suspended on top of the hall with the gold letter writing of “Refreshing Realm”. So he leapt up and hid behind the wooden signage. The footsteps gradually got nearer; and seven to eight people entered the hall.

One person said, “Those demons’ skills are not bad. We surrounded them from all directions like an iron pail but they still escaped down the hill.”

“It seems that there’s a secret tunnel from the top of the mountain going all the way to the bottom. Otherwise, how could they have managed to escape?” Another person replied.

“I don’t think there’s any tunnel here. I’ve been in this temple for more than twenty years already, but I’ve never heard of any secret tunnel going down to the bottom of the mountain,” another person added.

“It’s called a secret. Of course not many people know about it,” one of the earlier person said.

“I may have not known about it, but wouldn’t our Abbot know? If there were a secret tunnel in this temple, my humble temple’s Abbot would have ordered one of the schools to guard it. Why would we allow those demons to escape?” that Shaolin monk said.

All of a sudden, Linghu Chong heard one of the person shouted, “Who’s there? Come out!”

Linghu Chong was greatly startled. “Did he discover my footprints?” Just as he was about to jump down, he suddenly heard the sound of laughter from behind a wooden signage on the east side of the hall. “Old man breathed too deeply and blew some dust down, and you guys actually saw it. Hey, you have very good vision.” The voice was clear and loud. It was Xiang Wentian’s voice.

Linghu Chong was surprised and happy at the same time. “So it’s big brother Xiang hiding here. He held his breath really well. I’ve been here for so long but I didn’t hear anything. If it wasn’t for the dust falling down, that person wouldn’t have perceived…”

Just then, his thoughts were interrupted by two “ta, ta” sounds. Two people had jumped down from the sides of that east signage at the same time. This was followed by three people crying out, “What…” “You…” “Who…” These three people only managed to utter one word before they were muted. Linghu Chong couldn’t stand it anymore. He poked his head out to take a look. He saw two dark shadows flying around in the big hall, one person was Xiang Wentian, and the other person had a big and tall stature. He was Ren Woxing. These two people noiselessly struck out with their palms. With every palm strike, a person fell down on the floor. In a short time, eight people had fallen on the hall’s floor. Among them, five people were facing the ground while the other three were facing up. Their eyes were wide open and they looked terrified. Their faces twitched once before they became motionless. It was obvious that they had died violently under the hands of these two people, Ren and Xiang.

Ren Woxing wiped his hands on the side of his body. “Ying’er, come down!”

A person floated down from behind the eastern wooden signage appearing graceful and elegant. It was really Yingying, the person whom he had not seen for many days. She was wearing a coarse gown and her face was looking feeble. Linghu Chong felt giddy looking at her. He really wanted to leap down and meet her but Ren Woxing waved his hands a few times towards his hiding place.

Linghu Chong thought, “They arrived here first. So they naturally know that I’m hiding behind this wooden signage. Mr. Ren is telling me not to come out, what’s his idea?”

But in an instant later, he understood Ren Woxing’s idea. He saw a few people rushing through the door to come into the hall. With a glance, he saw his Master and Master-Wife along with the Shaolin Abbot Fangzheng and many other people. He didn’t dare to look anymore and quickly pulled his head back behind the wooden signage. His heart skipped a beat as he thought, “Yingying and the rest of them had been surrounded. I… even if my body were grounded to dust and my bones broken to pieces, I have to help them escape from danger.” He heard Great Master Fangzheng said, “Amituofo! You, three honourables, have very fierce palms. The female honourable had already departed Shaolin, why did you come back again? These two people must be Dark Wood Cliff’s masters. Forgive old monk for not recognising.”

“This person is Divine Sun Moon Sect’s Chief Ren. I’m Xiang Wentian,” Xiang Wentian introduced. The two of them had very high reputations. When Xiang Wentian mentioned their two names, many people in the hall exclaimed their surprise.

“So it’s Chief Ren and Left Protector Xiang. I’ve been looking up to your names for a long time already. What lessons do you have to teach me by coming here?” Fangzheng said.

“Old man hadn’t paid attention to worldly matters for a long time so I don’t recognise many of the promising youths in Jianghu of this generation. I don’t know who these little friends are,” Ren Woxing said.

“Let old monk introduces them to you. This Taoist is Wudang School’s headmaster, his name is Chongxu,” Fangzheng said.

An elder spoke out, “Poor Taoist is perhaps a few years older than Mr. Ren. But when I took over the leadership of Wudang School, Mr. Ren had already retreated in secret from Wulin. Youth is youth but this word ‘promising’, you’re flattering me, hehe.”

When Linghu Chong heard this elder’s voice, he thought, “The voice of this Wudang School’s leader sounds familiar.” Another thought quickly followed. “Ayo! I met three people at the foot of Mount Wudang. One was carrying firewood, one was carrying vegetable, and the other one was an old man riding a donkey who possesses a wonderful sword art. So he’s actually the headmaster of Wudang School.” Suddenly, a good feeling rushed forth in his heart and his hands started to sweat. Wudang School and Shaolin School had been famous for several hundred years. One had soft movements and the other had hard movements, but each had their own specialties. Priest Chongxu’s sword art was wonderful and esteemed. He was delighted when he suddenly learned that he had unexpectedly defeated Priest Chongxu.

He then heard Ren Woxing said, “This big leader Zuo, we’ve met before. Master Zuo, these last few years, your ‘Great Songyang Divine Palm’ must’ve improved by a lot, right?”

Linghu Chong was again startled. “So Songshan School’s leader, martial uncle Zuo, is also here.” He then heard a person said coldly, “I heard Mr. Ren was imprisoned by your own subordinate and was in hibernation for many years. Congratulations on coming out again. I haven’t used this ‘Great Songyang Divine Palm’ for many years now. I’m afraid I’ve probably forgotten half of it.”

Ren Woxing laughed. “How can Jianghu be that lonely? When old man was hidden away, there’s no one else who can trade palms with brother Zuo. What a pity, what a pity.”

“In Jianghu, there are many people with martial art equal to Mr. Ren, such as Great Master Fangzheng and Priest Chongxu. But we can’t just go around asking for a lesson without any reason at all,” Zuo Lengchan said.

“Very well. If there’s some free time, let me try out your new moves.”

“I’ll certainly accompany you.”

Hearing these two people speaking to each other, it was obvious that they had fought before. But who won or lost, they could not tell from just hearing what these two people were saying. Great Master Fangzheng continued with his introduction. “This person is Taishan School’s headmaster, Priest Tianmen. This person is Huashan School’s headmaster, Mr. Yue. This person is Madam Yue, back then she was known as Heroine Ning. Mr. Ren must have heard of her.”

“I already know of Huashan School’s Heroine Ning. But this Mr. Yue whatever, I’ve never heard of him before.”

Linghu Chong was displeased. “My Master’s name was known before Master-Wife’s. If he said that he doesn’t know them both then that’s fine. But there’s no one who only knows Heroine Ning but doesn’t know Mr. Yue. He was imprisoned under the West Lake for close to ten years. Before that time, my master’s name was already known throughout the realm. It’s obvious that he’s doing this on purpose to provoke my Master.”

Yue Buqun indifferently replied, “Junior’s name is lowly. It would insult Mr. Ren’s ears to hear my name.”

“Mr. Yue, I’d like to ask you about a person. I don’t know if you know of his whereabouts. I heard that he was formerly under your Huashan School,” Ren Woxing said.

“Who’s Mr. Ren asking for?”

“This person’s martial art is extremely high. His conduct is also very rare in this world. My heart was blind before and was actually jealous of him so I kicked him out. But he actually felt like an old friend to me when I first met him. Now, I wholeheartedly want to betroth my darling daughter to him…”

When Linghu Chong heard him saying this, his heart started to thump loudly. He felt that something big was going to happen soon. He heard Ren Woxing continued, “This youth has passion and righteousness. When he heard that my darling daughter was being imprisoned in Shaolin temple, he led a few thousand heroes to come to Shaolin to greet his wife. But I don’t know his whereabouts now and it’s making me very anxious. It’s for this reason that I’m asking you about it.”

Yue Buqun looked towards the sky and laughed. “Mr. Ren is very resourceful. How come you’ve lost your own son-in-law? This youth Mr. Ren is talking about, is he that little thief Linghu Chong who was expelled from my humble school?”

Ren Woxing laughed. “I clearly saw a piece of jade but you saw gravels. Old brother, your vision has become really poor. This youth I’m talking about really is Linghu Chong. Haha, you scolded him as little thief, doesn’t this mean that you’re scolding me as an old thief?”

Yue Buqun sternly replied, “This little thief’s conduct is very inappropriate and he has a weakness for women. Just because of one woman, he roused groups of unorthodox sects, foxes and dogs, and come to Shaolin temple causing a lot of disturbance. If it weren’t for Songshan’s martial brother Zuo’s arrangements, this thousand year old temple would’ve been burned to the ground. This would’ve been a big sin that even a thousand deaths wouldn’t have been able to atone. This little thief was indeed part of my Huashan School before, but unfortunately, I didn’t teach him enough manners. Now, he’s shaming everyone.”

Xiang Wentian hastily replied, “Mr. Yue is wrong! Brother Linghu came to Shaolin just to meet lady Ren and not to absurdly cause a disturbance. You go and have a look. So many friends were in Shaolin temple for one day and one night, but did they burn a single piece of grass or tree? They didn’t even eat a single grain of rice and they also didn’t even drink a mouthful of water.”

Suddenly someone interrupted, “Shaolin temple has instead gained many items when these swine and dog friends came here.”

Linghu Chong heard the sharp voice of this person and recognised him to be the Qingcheng School’s headmaster Yu Canghai. He thought, “So this person has also come.”

“May I ask Priest Yu, what has Shaolin temple gained?” Xiang Wentian asked.

“Cow shit, horse piss. Everywhere on the ground is full of yellow stuff.” Yu Canghai answered. A few people laughed hearing this but Linghu Chong felt apologetic. “I only restricted those brothers not to damage anything but I didn’t ask them not to urinate on the ground. Those crude people just pulled their pants down and pee everywhere and soiled the clean ground of the temple.”

Great Master Fangzheng said, “When Master Linghu led so many people to come to Shaolin, old monk was really worried that this temple would be burned down. But when those friends were in Shaolin, not a single thing was damaged. This must be because of Master Linghu’s merciful heart restricting these people. Everyone from the temple is really appreciative towards him. When I meet Master Linghu in the future, I will thank him wholeheartedly. Mr. Xiang, never mind about what Priest Yu said.”

Xiang Wentian praised, “So there’s actually an eminent monk here who is very open minded and very different from other people. Compared to hypocrites and really small-minded people, he’s completely different.”

Fangzheng continued, “Old monk doesn’t understand one matter here. How did Heng-Shan School’s two Shi Tai die in my humble temple?”

“Ah!” Yingying exclaimed in surprise. Her voice trembled as she asked, “What… what? Dingxian, Dingyi Shi Tai… died?”

“That is so. We found their bodies inside the temple. Their time of deaths is around the time that those many Jianghu friends entered the temple. Could it be that Master Linghu didn’t restrict his subordinates and the two Shi Tai were outnumbered and lost their lives here? Amituofo, amituofo,” Fangzheng let out a long sigh after saying this.

“This… this is really strange. That day I met with the two Shi Tai in the hall behind the temple. Because of Abbot’s merciful heart and the two Shi Tai, you agreed to release me.” Yingying said.

Linghu Chong’s heart swelled with gratitude towards the two Shi Tai but he also felt sad at the same time. “The two Shi Tai pleaded for Abbot’s mercy and Abbot actually released Yingying out of the temple. But the two of them lost their lives because of this. They’ve died because of Yingying and me. But who are their murderers? I must seek revenge for them.” He heard Yingying said, “These last few days, many friends from Jianghu had come here to rescue me and make some disturbance at Shaolin temple. But more than a hundred of them were captured by the Shaolin temple. Great Master Abbot is merciful and talked to them about the ten heavenly ways, hoping that they would turn from their violent ways before they were released. But I was already imprisoned for a long time so I was allowed to go earlier.”

“This Great Master Fangzheng is really a good person but he’s slightly pedantic. How can Yingying’s subordinates turn from their violent ways after just hearing you talk to them about the ten heavenly ways?” Linghu Chong thought.

He heard Yingying continued, “I have so much gratitude towards the two Shi Tai. After thanking Great Master Abbot, I accompanied them down Mount Shaoshi. On the third day, I heard Linghu… Master Linghu was leading friends from Jianghu to come to Shaolin temple to meet me. Dingxian Shi Tai said: “We must travel at twice the speed to intercept those people in order to avoid disturbing the eminent monks in Shaolin temple.” That night, we met a friend from Jianghu. He said that people were coming from all directions and have decided to gather at Shaolin on the fifteenth of the twelfth month. The two Shi Tai discussed this and said that Jianghu’s good and bad warriors of outstanding abilities are mixing together. Furthermore, they were all coming from all directions. So it might happen that not everyone would listen to Master Linghu’s order. So Dingxian Shi Tai instructed me to go catch up and meet with him… Master Linghu, and ask everyone to disperse while the two Shi Tai would go back to Shaolin to lend their help to Great Master Abbot.”

She said all this clearly and elegantly. When she was speaking of the two Shi Tai, there was a hint of sadness in her voice. When she was speaking of ‘Master Linghu’, she couldn’t cover up her bashfulness. Linghu Chong’s heart was thumping hearing all these from behind the wooden signage.

“Amituofo! Old monk appreciates the two Shi Tai’s good intention. When news of the difficulty facing the Shaolin temple spread, all the orthodox schools, whether they knew what the difficulty was or not, came to help. My humble school doesn’t know how to repay them for all their efforts. Luckily, we didn’t fight and avoided a bloodbath. Ai, the two Shi Tai understood the Buddhist teachings very well. They were kind and merciful. We’ve now lost two eminent people of our Buddhist faith. What a pity, what a pity,” Fangzheng said.

Yingying continued, “After I parted ways with the two Shi Tai, I was overwhelmed by sheer number and was captured by Mr. Zuo’s Songshan School on that same night. I was then imprisoned for a few days before daddy and uncle Xiang came and rescued me. By then, those friends from Jianghu have already entered the Shaolin temple, so the three of us went to Shaolin temple to find them. We’ve been here for around an hour but didn’t know where everyone had gone to. We also didn’t know that the two Shi Tai had died.”

“If that’s the case, then the two Shi Tai were not harmed by Mr. Ren or Left Protector Xiang,” Fangzheng said.

“I’m indebted to the two Shi Tai for rescuing me and I only have gratitude towards them. If my daddy and uncle Xiang had met with the two Shi Tai and had a disagreement, I would have definitely mediated between them. There’s no way that I would just stand by and do nothing,” Yingying said.

“Well said,” Fangzheng complimented.

Suddenly Yu Canghai interrupted, “Devil Sect’s people’s conducts are usually opposite to that of other people. Common people returns kindness with kindness. But the disciples of those demons repay kindness with enmity.”

“That’s strange, very strange! When did Priest Yu join the Divine Sun Moon Sect?” Xiang Wentian asked.

“What? Who said I joined the Devil Sect?” Yu Canghai replied indignantly.

“You said my divine sect’s people repay kindness with enmity. Escort leader Lin from Fujian’s Fortune Prestige Escort House assisted with the lives of your household. Every year they sent ten thousand silver taels to you. But your Qingcheng School repaid them by killing escort leader Lin. Priest Yu’s reputation for repaying kindness with enmity is well known throughout the world. No one in the world doesn’t know about this. So given your conduct, Headmaster Yu must be a member of my sect then. Very good, very good, welcome to the sect,” Xiang Wentian remarked.

“Nonsense, don’t fart here!” Yu Canghai was livid.

“I was sincere in my welcome but Priest Yu is scolding me of farting. If this is not repaying kindness with enmity, then what is it called? So, it’s clear that rivers and mountains can be easily changed but character is hard to change. When one person repays kindness with enmity for his whole life, then his speech and action clearly shows this,” Xiang Wentian said.

Fangzheng was afraid that they would get into a fight over this senseless dispute. He said, “We should ask Master Linghu who killed the two Shi Tai. This will make things come to light. But the three of you have come to Shaolin temple and killed eight disciples of the orthodox schools. Why did you do this for?”

“Old man has always wandered Jianghu by myself and no one has dared to be rude towards me. These eight people shouted at old man here telling me to come out from my hiding place. Don’t they deserve to be killed for this?” Ren Woxing asked.

“Amituofo, so it was only because they shouted at you that you violently killed them. Isn’t that too much?” Fangzheng said.

Ren Woxing laughed before answering, “Great Master Abbot said that it’s too much then it’s too much. You didn’t give my daughter any more trouble so old man has received your compassion in that regard. At first I came here to thank you so I don’t want debate with you this time. So there’s no need to say thanks anymore now, let’s just call it even between us.”

“Since Mr. Ren already said that we’re even, then we’re even. But the three of you have come to my humble temple and killed eight people. What should we do about this matter?”

“What’s there to decide? My Sun Moon Sect has a lot of disciples and you have skills. Just kill eight of them.”

“Amituofo. Killing people carelessly is a very big sin. Headmaster Zuo, from these eight people who were killed, two of them were from your respectable school. What do you think we should do?”

Zuo Lengchan had not said anything when Ren Woxing hurriedly said, “I killed those people. Why did you have to ask other people what to do and not ask me? Listening to your tone, it sounds as if you’re relying on the superiority in numbers to kill the three of us. Isn’t this right?”

“How would I dare to do that? It’s just that Mr. Ren has come out again and this will make Jianghu very eventful. I’m afraid countless number of people will lose their lives under Mr. Ren’s hands. Old monk has this thought to keep the three of you in my humble temple to read Buddhist scriptures so there would be peace in Jianghu. What do the three of you think of this?”

Ren Woxing looked up towards the sky and laughed loudly. “Wonderful, wonderful, this idea is brilliant.”

“When your daughter resided at the back of my humble temple, everyone in this temple treated her with respect and she didn’t lack for anything. Old monk kept your daughter here but not because I wanted to avenge the disciples of my school who were killed. Ai, revenge breeds revenge, you’ll get entangled endlessly. How can a Buddhist disciple act like that? The few disciples of Shaolin School who were killed by your daughter’s hands; maybe this was revenge from the previous life. But… but she’s very vicious and kills people easily. If she can stay in my humble temple to cultivate her mind and grow her soul, then that would be to the benefit of everyone.”

Ren Woxing laughed and said, “In that case, Great Master Abbot’s intention was good then.”

“That is so. But old monk didn’t anticipate that this matter would unexpectedly lead to a great disturbance in Jianghu. Also, that day your daughter carried young hero Linghu on her back to the temple to seek help. She said that if old monk agrees to save young hero Linghu’s life then she would be willing to repay the killing of the temple disciples with her own life. Old monk told her that there was no need for her to repay with her life, but she must stay in seclusion on top of Mount Shaoshi, and she can’t leave the mountain without old monk’s permission. She immediately agreed to this. Miss Ren, is what I said true?” Fangzheng said.

Yingying answered quietly, “It’s true.”

Linghu Chong’s heart swelled with gratitude when he heard the story of that day told from the Great Master Abbot’s own mouth. Even though he had heard this story from other people before, it was very different hearing it directly from Great Master Fangzheng’s own mouth. Also, hearing how Yingying undertook this matter by herself, he couldn’t help his eyes becoming moist from tears.

Yu Canghai laughed coldly. “So it was all because of love. But it’s a pity this Linghu Chong’s conduct is very lacking. During that time in Hengshan, I saw it with my own eyes how he went to the brothel to sleep with prostitutes. Ai, he has really let down young lady Ren’s affection.”

Xiang Wentian laughingly asked, “So Priest Yu was inside the brothel observing all this and can’t possibly be wrong?”

“Of course, how can I be wrong?”

Xiang Wentian lowered his voice and said, “Priest Yu, so you often visit brothels just like I do. Who’s your favourite in that brothel? Is she pretty?”

Yu Canghai was furious. “Bullshit, bullshit!”

“It stinks, it stinks!” Xiang Wentian smiled.

“Mr. Ren, if the three of you agree to stay secluded on Mount Shaoshi then everyone here will turn from enemies into friends. So long as the three of you do not go down the mountain, old monk will guarantee that no one will bother the three of you. From this time onwards, you will enjoy complete happiness. Wouldn’t this be a great happiness for everyone?” Fangzheng said.

Linghu Chong heard utmost sincerity in Great Master Fangzheng’s speech. He thought, “This eminent monk doesn’t understand worldly matters at all and he’s also being very unrealistic. These three people kill people without even blinking and you want them to voluntarily be restrained on Mount Shaoshi? You must be dreaming.”

Ren Woxing smiled slightly and said, “Abbot’s idea is very good and you have also thought of this from all aspects. The right way is for me to follow this idea.”

Fangzheng was happy to hear this. “Then ‘shi zhu’ is willing to stay on Mount Shaoshi?”

(Translator’s note: shi zhu is a term of address used by monks or nuns referring to a believer in Buddhism.)

“Right,” Ren Woxing answered.

“Then old monk will prepare the rooms. From now on, the three of you are Shaolin Temple’s honoured guests,” Fangzheng said happily.

“But we can only stay here for six hours and no longer than that,” Ren Woxing added.

Fangzheng was greatly disappointed to hear this. “Six hours? What’s the use then?”

Ren Woxing laughed. “Originally, I wanted to stay here for many days and linger with all the friends here. But my name’s not good and there’s nothing I can do about that.”

Fangzheng was stupefied as he asked, “Old monk doesn’t understand. What’s shi zhu’s name got to do with it?”

Ren Woxing explained, “My surname isn’t good. My given name is also not good. My surname is Ren and I’m called Woxing. If I’ve known about this earlier, then I would’ve been called Nixing and it would’ve been more convenient. But I’m already called Woxing, so I’m forced to do as I please. Wherever I want to go then that’s where I’ll be going to.”

(Translator’s note: Ren Woxing’s name means “To do what I please”. He’s saying Nixing which means “To do what you want me to do”)

Fangzheng angrily said, “So Mr. Ren was making fun of old monk.”

“I don’t dare, I don’t dare. Within the world’s highly skilled martial artists, there are only a few people that I admire. Counting the numbers, there are only three and a half. Great monk is one of them. Also there are three and a half people that old man doesn’t admire,” Ren Woxing said. He said all this heartily without a hint of ridicule in his voice.

“Amituofo, old monk doesn’t deserve it.”

Linghu Chong became really curious when he heard him say that within the world’s highly skilled martial artists, there were three and a half that he admired and there were three and a half that he didn’t admire. He wanted to know who Ren Woxing would point out. Besides Fangzheng, who are the rest of the people?

He heard a person with a loud booming voice asked, “Mr. Ren, who else do you admire?”

After Fangzheng introduced the Yue Buqun couple to Ren Woxing, both parties started to argue non-stop so there was no opportunity to introduce the rest of the people. Counting the breathings of the people underneath, Linghu Chong guessed that there were ten people altogether in Fangzheng’s group. Besides Great Master Fangzheng, Master, Master-Wife, Priest Chongxu, Zuo Lengchan, Priest Tianmen, and Yu Canghai, there were still three other people. He didn’t know whom this booming voice belonged to.

Ren Woxing laughed. “I’m really sorry but you’re not in it Sir.”

That person replied, “How would I dare to stand shoulder to shoulder with Great Master Fangzheng? Naturally, I’ll be one of the people Mr. Ren doesn’t admire.”

“You’re also not one of the three and a half people I don’t admire. If you practise your martial art for thirty more years, then maybe you’ll become one of the people I don’t admire.”

That person uttered a “hey” and stopped talking. Linghu Chong thought, “You want to be one of the people not admired, but it’s not that easy.”

“Mr. Ren’s opinion is very novel,” Fangzheng said.

“Great monk, do you want to know who I admire and who I don’t admire?” Ren Woxing asked.

“I will listen to shi zhu’s enlightening words.”

“Great monk, your study in Tendon Altering Sutra is profound and your internal energy has also reached the top. But your heart is still kind and modest, unlike old man here clamouring around Jianghu. That’s why I admire you,” Ren Woxing explained.

“I don’t deserve it,” Fangzheng said.

“But among the people that I admire, great monk isn’t number one. The number one person that I admire in Wulin is the person who usurped the chief position of my Divine Sun Moon Sect. This person is Dongfang Bubai.”

Everyone uttered an “ah”. Obviously this was beyond their expectation. Luckily, Linghu Chong managed to stop himself from uttering his “ah”. But he was thinking in his heart why Ren Woxing would regard Dongfang Bubai as the top person he admired. Dongfang Bubai imprisoned him for many years so of course he must hate Dongfang Bubai to the bone. But who would have thought that he admired Dongfang Bubai?

“Old man’s martial art is already very high, I also have a very keen mind, and it’s known in the realm that I have no match in this world. But I was unexpectedly fooled by Dongfang Bubai’s sweet talk and as a result was buried underneath a lake. Dongfang Bubai is such a fierce person, how could old man dare not to admire him?”

“So that’s how it is,” Fangzheng remarked.

“The third person that I admire is the top master of Huashan School at the moment,” Ren Woxing said.

This was really beyond Linghu Chong’s expectation. When Ren Woxing was talking to Yue Buqun before, he didn’t even give him any face. Who would’ve thought that inside his heart, Ren Woxing would actually admire Yue Buqun?

Madam Yue said, “You don’t need to say these false talks and ridicule people.”

Ren Woxing laughed. “Haha, Madam Yue, you thought that the person I was referring to was your husband? He… he lacks by a lot. The person I admire has a godly sword art. He’s Feng Qingyang. Mr. Feng’s sword art is much higher compared to me and I wouldn’t be able to reach that stage at all. I sincerely admire him.”

“Mr. Yue, is Mr. Feng still alive?” Fangzheng asked.

“Martial uncle Feng went into… into seclusion for tens of years already and we’ve never heard news of him ever since. If he’s still alive then that would be a big fortune for our school,” Yue Buqun said.

Ren Woxing laughed coldly. “Mr. Feng is from the sword branch and you’re from the qi branch. These two branches of sword and qi can’t co-exist together in the Huashan School. If Mr. Feng is still alive, why would it be so fortunate for you?”

Yue Buqun just stayed silent after he was reprimanded by Ren Woxing.

Linghu Chong had guessed before that Feng Qingyang was from the sword branch. When he heard what Ren Woxing said and how his master didn’t dispute it, he no longer doubted it. Ren Woxing laughed. “Don’t worry. Mr. Feng is a highly skilled person outside of Wulin. Do you think he still needs your Huashan School’s leadership and would take over your throne?”

“I’m just a dumb person. If martial uncle Feng can give me some guidance then it would make me very happy. Mr. Ren, if you can point me to the direction where I can pay a visit to martial uncle Feng, then the Huashan School will appreciate your kindness,” Yue Buqun said with apparent sincerity.

“One, I don’t know where Mr. Feng is. Two, even if I know, I wouldn’t tell you. A frontal attack is easily avoided but a stab in the back is hard to protect against. A real villain is easy to cope with but a hypocrite will give a lot of headache,” Ren Woxing said.

Yue Buqun did not speak anymore.

Linghu Chong thought, “My master is a refined gentleman and doesn’t want to speak vulgarly towards Mr. Ren.”

Ren Woxing turned towards Wudang School’s leader Priest Chongxu and said, “The fourth person that old man admire is this old ox-nosed priest. Your Wudang School’s Taiji Sword is wonderful. You also exercise self control to protect yourself from immorality and stay away from many idle matters in Jianghu, but you don’t know how to teach to your disciples. Wudang School has no one of potential and if you wait till you die then Taiji Sword Art would be lost forever. Also, even though your Taiji Sword Art is high, you might not win against old man. That’s why I only admire you one half.”

Priest Chongxu laughed. “I’m actually admired by Mr. Ren by one half, this is already giving me a lot of face. Many thanks!”

“No need to be so polite,” Ren Woxing said. He then turned his head towards Zuo Lengchan. “Great leader Zuo, you don’t need to keep that smile on your face when you’re actually feeling angry. While you’re not one of the people I admire, you’re one of the three and half people that I don’t admire. You’re number one in this list.”

Zuo Lengchan laughed. “I feel extremely flattered.”

“Your martial art is sufficient and your scheming is very deep, very suitable to my taste. You want to annex the five mountains sword schools and to stand as an equal with Shaolin and Wudang. You have really high fantasy. But your movements are very suspicious and you planned all sort of conspiracies and deceits. This is not the behaviour of a hero. That’s why I have absolutely no admiration for you,” Ren Woxing explained.

Zuo Lengchan replied, “From the three and a half people that I don’t admire in this world, you’re only one half.”

Ren Woxing continued, “All you can do is copy other people’s ideas and have no thought of your own; so that’s why no one admires you. Even though your study of Songshan School’s martial art is profound, everything was passed down by the people before you. If you have to depend on just your own ability, I’m afraid even after many years, we won’t be able to see any new moves in the martial art.”

Zuo Lengchan uttered an “Hng” before coldly laughing. “Sir, you’re talking here and there. Are you just dragging along the time or are you actually waiting for help to arrive?”

Ren Woxing laughed coldly. “The way you said this; are you still relying on numbers to besiege the three of us?”

Zuo Lengchan said, “You’ve come to Shaolin and killed many people here. Today, if you think you can still retreat with your whole body intact, then you’re looking down at everyone here. You said we’re relying on numbers to win, that’s alright. If you want to say that we’re not following Wulin’s customs, that’s also alright. You’ve already killed some disciples of the Songshan School. Since Zuo Lengchan is here today, I want to see how good you really are.”

Ren Woxing turned toward Fangzheng and asked, “Great Master Abbot, is this Shaolin temple or Songshan School’s courtyard?”

“Shi zhu is still asking even though you already know. Of course, it’s Shaolin temple here,” Fangzheng answered.

“Then, concerning this matter, is Shaolin’s Abbot presiding over it or Songshan School’s headmaster presiding over it?” Ren Woxing asked.

“Although old monk is presiding over this matter, if any of the friends here has any esteemed opinion then old monk will definitely listen to it,” Fangzheng said.

Ren Woxing looked up the sky and laughed heartily. “Good, it’s really an esteemed opinion to know that you’ll lose if you fight alone so you have to gang up to fight us.
Zuo, you’re blocking me here today. I don’t need to fight you, I’ll just cut my own throat to commit suicide in front of you.”

Zuo Lengchan said coldly, “We have ten people here. We might not be able to stop you here but to kill your daughter won’t be hard to do.”

“Amituofo, you can’t kill her,” Fangzheng said.

Linghu Chong’s heart started thumping wildly. He knew that Zuo Lengchan was saying the truth. Although he didn’t know who the other three people were, he thought that their position must be similar to Fangzheng or Chongxu. Even if they were not a leader of a school, they would still be elite masters. Ren Woxing’s martial art was powerful and at worst, he would escape injured. But it was hard to say whether Xiang Wentian would be able to escape with his life. As for Yingying, she would have no hope.

Ren Woxing calmly said, “That’s wonderful. Headmaster Zuo has a son and I heard his martial art is poor so he should be easy to kill. Gentleman Yue has a daughter. Priest Yu, I think have a few lovely concubines and three sons. Priest Tianmen has no son or daughter but has a lot of beloved disciples. Mr. Mo Da still has his old father and mother. Kunlun School’s Qiankun One Sword Zhenshan Zi has one grandson. There’s still Beggar Clan’s big clan leader Xie. Left protector Xiang, who does clan leader Xie have?”

Linghu Chong thought, “So martial uncle Mo is also here. Actually Mr. Ren doesn’t need Great Master Fangzheng’s introduction. He already knew the appearances of these ten people from the beginning. Not only that, he must have been familiar with each of their life’s experiences.”

Xiang Wentian said, “I heard that in Beggar Clan, there are these two people called Green Lotus Emissary and White Lotus Emissary. Although they don’t have the Xie surname, they’re both clan leader Xie’s sons.”

“You’re not wrong about this? We don’t want to wrongly kill a good person here,” Ren Woxing said.

“I’m not wrong. Subordinate already asked clearly,” Xiang Wentian reassured him.

Ren Woxing nodded his head. “If we kill wrongly then it can’t be helped. But if we kill thirty-four people from Beggar Clan then we’ll at least kill a few people correctly.”

“Chief’s opinion is esteemed!” Xiang Wentian praised.

Ren Woxing had mentioned each of their loved ones. Zuo Lengchan and clan leader Xie were shivering in fear. They knew that this person was not just saying some false threat. These people here would not be able to stop him from leaving. But if they kill his daughter then he would certainly avenge her death by violently killing each of their loved ones. They were afraid that it would be very difficult for their loved ones to escape his violent hands. Thinking of this made them trembled with fear. In that moment, everything was quiet and all their faces changed colour.

After some time, Fangzheng spoke out, “Revenge will always breed revenge. Shi zhu Ren, we had decided not to harm young lady Ren, but we want you three honourables to stay on Mount Shaoshi for ten years.”

“We can’t. My murderous nature has been aroused. I can’t wait to kill Headmaster Zuo’s son and Priest Yu’s concubines and sons. Especially Mr. Yue’s lovely daughter, I can’t allow her to live in this world,” Ren Woxing replied.

Linghu Chong was greatly alarmed. He didn’t know whether this head of Devil Sect was just saying this to threaten them or he really wanted to kill them.

“Mr. Ren, why don’t we gamble? What do you think of this?” Priest Chongxu asked.

“Old man’s luck in gambling isn’t good so I have no confidence in making a bet. But I have confidence in killing people. Killing master-hands, I don’t have confidence. But killing master-hands’ parents, children, big wives, or small wives, I have lots of confidence,” Ren Woxing replied.

“Those people don’t know martial art. Killing them isn’t what heroes do.”

“Even though it’s not what heroes do, it would make my enemies grieve for their whole lifetime and make me really happy.”

“If you don’t have your daughter anymore, you also won’t be happy. If you don’t have your daughter then you wouldn’t have your son-in-law anymore. Your son-in-law would become other people’s son-in-law and you would lose your reputation.”

“That can’t be helped… that can’t be helped. I’m forced to kill all of them. Who said that my son-in-law doesn’t respect my daughter?”

“How about this? We won’t rely on numbers to win and you won’t carelessly kill people. We’ll make it equal and let our martial arts decide the winner and loser. The three of you fight three of our people in three fights. The winner would be the one who won two fights out of three.”

Fangzheng hastily said, “This is good, Brother Chongxu’s esteemed opinion is really out of the ordinary. We’ll just fight as necessary and there’s no need to hurt anyone.”

Ren Woxing asked, “If the three of us lose, then we have to stay on Mount Shaoshi for ten years and aren’t allowed to go down the mountain. Is this right?”

Priest Chongxu answered, “Right. If the three of you won two fights, then we have naturally lost the fight and you’re free to go down the mountain. And we’ll just regard that these eight disciples have died in vain.”

“In my heart, I admire you ox-nosed by one half. I feel that these words you said is half right. So who are the three people fighting for your side? Can I choose the people?” Ren Woxing inquired.

Zuo Lengchan butted in, “Great Master Abbot is the host here. So he would definitely fight. My martial art hasn’t seen any use for the last ten years so I’ll give it a try. And the third fight? This competition was Priest Chongxu’s idea so he won’t just be a spectator in this and let other people face this problem. So he has to show his Taiji Sword Art here.” Although each of these ten people was not just any ordinary fighter, Great Master Fangzheng, Priest Chongxu and he himself had the highest martial arts. When he picked these three people to fight, it could be said that they were now in an invincible position. Yingying was only an eighteen to nineteen years old girl, even though her martial art was high, her cultivation of it was still limited. So no matter which school leader she fought, she was doomed to lose. Yue Buqun and the rest of the people also agreed to this method.

Great Master Fangzheng, Priest Chongxu, and Zuo Lengchan were the orthodox school’s three top masters. Any of their martial art was unlikely to be below Ren Woxing. Compared to Xiang Wentian, they were most likely better by half a level. So they were most likely to win this best two out of three fights. Even if they had to win all three fights, they still had a fifty percent chance.

What everyone worried about was that they would fail to capture Ren Woxing and allow him to escape down the mountain. He then would violently harm each of their loved ones. So only if they fought upright and decisive battles would they have nothing to fear.

Ren Woxing said, “Best two out of three fights is inappropriate. Let’s just fight one battle. You pick one person to come out and we’ll also pick one person. And just fight one fight to decide this.”

“Brother Ren, if you only fight by yourself today, you’ll be at a disadvantage. Not just the ten people here, even if you have three times more people, Great Master Abbot can call out twenty to thirty more masters from the Shaolin School. And we haven’t even counted the number of good fighters from the other schools,” Zuo Lengchan said.

“That’s why you’re going to rely on numbers to win,” Ren Woxing sneered.

“Right, we’re going to rely on numbers to win.”

“How shameless!”

“Killing people for no reason is also shameless.”

“Killing people must have a reason? Headmaster Zuo, do you eat meat or are you a vegetarian?”

“Hng, if I want to kill someone then I’ll kill him. Why do I have to be a vegetarian?”

“Every person you killed deserved to be killed?”

“Naturally,” Zuo Lengchan said confidently.

But Ren Woxing continued, “You eat cows and sheep. These cows and sheep, what kind of sins do they have?”

Great Master Fangzheng said, “Amituofo, what shi zhu Ren said is according the heart of Buddha.”

“Great Master Fangzheng, don’t be fooled by his words. He’s saying that our eight innocent disciples are like cows and sheep,” Zuo Lengchan said.

“Insects, ants, cows, sheeps, immortal Buddha, mortal people, they’re all living things,” Ren Woxing said.

Fangzheng again said, “Yes, yes. Amituofo.”

“Brother Ren, you keep delaying this, you’re afraid to fight today?” provoked Zuo Lengchan.

Ren Woxing suddenly let out a long whistle which rattled and shook all the tiles in the room. The twelve candles on the offering table dimmed. When he stopped whistling, the candles burned brightly again. Hearing his whistle, everyone felt their hearts thumping wildly. Their faces changed colours.

Ren Woxing declared, “Alright. Zuo, let’s fight.”

Zuo Lengchan affirmed what was at stake. “What a gentleman said cannot be taken back. Best two out of three fights, if the three of you lost two fights then all of you must stay on Mount Shaoshi for ten years.”

“Alright! Best two out of three fights, if we lose two out of three fights then the three of us will stay on Mount Shaoshi for ten years.”

When the orthodox people heard how Ren Woxing was provoked by Zuo Lengchan into agreeing to the fight, all their faces looked happy.

Ren Woxing continued, “I’ll fight you for one fight. Left protector Xiang will fight this dwarf Yu. My daughter is a female so she’ll fight a woman. She’ll fight heroine Ning.”

Zuo Lengchan hastily said, “No. We decide ourselves who will fight for our side. How can you appoint the people for us?”

“So you must choose yourself and can’t let the other party choose for you?” Ren Woxing asked.

Zuo Lengchan confirmed, “That’s right. Shaolin and Wudang’s big leaders. Also, add me in there.”

Ren Woxing questioned, “Depending on your prestige, status and martial art, how can you be on par with Shaolin and Wudang’s two big leaders?”

Zuo Lengchan uttered an “Hng” and said, “I don’t dare to consider myself to be on par with Shaolin and Wudang’s bid leaders. But I’ll manage to fight with you.”

Ren Woxing laughed loudly. “Great Master Fangzheng, I want to ask you to teach me Shaolin’s divine fist, you want to accompany me?”

“Amituofo, old monk hasn’t practised my martial art for a long time and isn’t shi zhu’s match. But old monk is already here and wants to keep you on this mountain so I’ll have to put my old bones through some of your punches and kicks.”

Zuo Lengchan saw him unexpectedly challenge Great Master Fangzheng. He understood that he did this to scorn him. But he was actually happy that this happened. “I was originally worried that I would have to fight with him, and he would let Xiang Wentian fight Chongxu. Then he would get his daughter to fight Fangzheng. If Priest Chongxu is careless and I lost to you, it would’ve been disastrous.” He didn’t say anything anymore and stepped back a few steps. The other people moved the corpses of those eight people aside to clear the middle of the hall.

“Great Master Abbot, please.” Both of Ren Woxing’s sleeves were hanging down as he cupped his fist.

Fangzheng put his palms together to return the propriety. “Shi zhu, please move first.”

“I’m using Sun Moon Sect’s orthodox martial art. Great Master is using Shaolin School’s orthodox skills. We’re both using orthodox skill to fight orthodox skill, so we definitely have to go on with this fight.”

Yu Canghai said, “Pei! What orthodox skills does your Devil Sect have? No shame.”

“Abbot, let me kill this dwarf Yu first then I’ll fight you,” Ren Woxing said.

Fangzheng hastily replied, “You can’t.” He knew that this person’s fist was like lightning and his strikes were like thunder. So he didn’t tarry and immediately sent a palm out. “Shi zhu Ren, guard yourself.”

This palm he sent out looked ordinary. But halfway through the strike, it suddenly swayed. The single palm suddenly turned into two palms. Two palms turned into four palms. Four palms turned into eight palms. “Thousand Hands of Rulai!” the words escaped Ren Woxing’s mouth. He knew that if he was late for a bit longer, his eight palms would turn into sixteen palms and then it would continue to transform into thirty two palms. With a shout, Ren Woxing immediately sent a palm out to attack Fangzheng’s right shoulder. Fangzheng shot his left palm out underneath the bottom of his right palm. It then swayed slightly and started to transform. The shadows of the palm turned from one to two and two to four. Ren Woxing jumped up and shot out two palms of his own.

Linghu Chong peered from his vantage point to observe the fight. Great Master Fangzheng’s palm moves were unpredictable. Every strike he shot out, it always changed into many different directions when it reached halfway. The palm moves were like illusions and couldn’t be observed. On the other hand, Ren Woxing’s palm moves were simple. When he struck out or pulled his palm back, it looked quite stiff. But no matter where Fangzheng’s palm struck out, Ren Woxing would immediately follow every change and sent his palm there. Linghu Chong saw that these two people were well-matched as they fought with all their powers. His bare-fist martial art was very shallow so he was still not proficient on Dugu Nine Swords’ “palm breaking stance”. Thus, he was not able to see the flaws in their fist martial art and was unable to see where he could attack.

These two masters were executing the world highest and most profound palm moves. Linghu Chong was bewildered and did not understand the refined essences of the moves. “In sword art, I was victorious against Priest Chongxu and I wouldn’t lose to Mr. Ren if we fight. But against these two people’s palm martial art, I have to constantly attack them with a sharp sword. Grand Master uncle Feng said, I have to practise for twenty years before I can fight the world’s elite masters. When he said that he was probably mainly referring to the “palm breaking stance”.”

He watched for a while longer and suddenly saw Ren Woxing pushing out with both hands forcing Great Master Fangzheng to retreat three steps. Linghu Chong was alarmed. “Ayo, this is bad, Great Master Fangzheng is going to lose.”

After that he saw Great Master Fangzheng’s left palm drew a few circles while his right palm struck out. It struck out to the top, bottom, left, and right. After striking out a few times, Ren Woxing retreated a step. After a few more strikes, Ren Woxing retreated a step again. Linghu Chong thought, “Good, good!” He softly let out a sigh and thought, “Why do I worry when Great Master Fangzheng is losing but become comforted when I saw him fight back? That must be it. Great Master Fangzheng is a righteous eminent monk while Chief Ren is after all a person from the unorthodox sect. My heart still distinguishes between ‘good and evil’ and ‘right and wrong’.” But he changed his mind and again thought, “But if Chief Ren lost, Yingying will be detained on Mount Shaoshi for ten years. How can that be what my heart wish for?” After a moment, he did not know himself who he really wanted to win or lose. In his heart, he secretly felt that when this Ren Woxing father, daughter and Xiang Wentian entered Jianghu, then there would be great disturbance. But in his heart, he also thought, “What’s so bad about great disturbance? Wouldn’t that be very lively?” He slowly swept his eyes across to look at Yingying.

She was leaning on a pillar looking very delicate and fragile. Her eyebrows were slightly wrinkled looking really worried. Suddenly, a feeling of pity flourished in Linghu Chong’s heart. “How can I let her be held captive for ten years here? How can she pass through this kind of torment?” At this thought, he remembered how Yingying was willing to give her life up to save his life. Throughout his whole life, he had had many generous martial friends, but not one of them would go so far as to give their lives for him. A hot feeling started to rush forth in his chest. He did not care anymore if Yingying was the daughter of the Devil Sect’s Chief or if the evil things she had done were unpardonable. He was resigned to the fact that everyone in the world would want to kill him as he decided that he was going to protect her and not let any harm come to her.

The eleven pairs of eyes in the hall were watching the fight between Great Master Fangzheng and Ren Woxing attentively. They were praising the palm moves of both fighters in their hearts. Zuo Lengchan was relieved, “Luckily this old freak Ren picked the fight with Great Master Fangzheng. Otherwise, I wouldn’t know how to handle this clumsy palm move of his. Compared to my own school’s Great Songyang Divine Palm, his palm move seems to be more complicated and have more changes. His palm move is better than mine. He only attacks at a specific point and nothing else.”

Xiang Wentian was thinking, “Shaolin School’s martial arts have enjoyed their reputation for a thousand year. They are really no small matter. Even though Great Master Fangzheng’s ‘Thousand Hands of Rulai’ is very complicated, its power isn’t dispersed at all. This is very difficult to do. If I have to fight him, I won’t be able to trade palm moves with him so I have to compare inner power with him.” Yue Buqun, Yu Canghai, and the rest of the people there were also comparing their own martial arts against these two people’s palm moves.

Ren Woxing had now fought for a long time. He gradually felt that Great Master Fangzheng’s palm moves were getting slightly slower. He secretly felt happy. “Even though your palm move is wonderful, you’re old already. It’s hard to keep it up for a long time.” He immediately attacked repeatedly. After his fourth strike, he felt a slight tingling on his right arm as he pulled his palm back and he felt his internal energy not working smoothly. He felt alarmed and knew that it was his own inner energy that was disturbed. He thought, “This old monk’s Tendon Altering Sutra is indeed powerful. We haven’t clashed palms yet but he can restrain my internal energy.” He knew that if they fight longer, his opponent’s abundant internal energy would eventually come out and he would be in an unfavourable position.

He saw Great Master Fangzheng’s left palm struck out. With a cry, he also sent his left palm out rapidly. The two palms clashed and they both retreated a step. Ren Woxing felt that even though his opponent’s internal energy was soft, it was abundant and matchless. He also used his “Art of Essence Absorbing” but unexpectedly he could not absorb Great Master Fangzheng’s internal energy at all. He was confounded.

Great Master Fangzheng said, “Well done! Well done!” and followed with his right palm striking out. Ren Woxing again struck his right palm out to meet it. Both people faltered from the impact. Ren Woxing felt his whole body shaken and immediately took two steps backwards. When his second step landed, he turned his body around and his right hand shot out and grabbed Yu Canghai’s chest. Then, he raised his left hand to smash it down on Yu Canghai’s head.

This situation was just like a rabbit being captured by a falcon and nobody had expected this turn of event. They all had their eyes on the fight between Ren Woxing and Great Master Fangzheng and saw that the situation was gradually becoming disadvantageous towards Ren Woxing. Normally, he would put all his power into protecting himself. But who would have thought that he would turn around and attack Yu Canghai. This turn of event was just too strange and too quick for Yu Canghai even though he was a martial artist of the same generation. If he were to actually fight with Ren Woxing, even though he would lose at the end, he would not have been captured in just one move.

Everyone gasped in surprise while Great Master Fangzheng leapt and struck his two palms out. It was as if he was flying as he rushed at Ren Woxing aiming at the back of his head. This move was known in martial study as ‘attacking the enemy’s rear in order to make him give up his own attack’ and the enemy would have no choice but to rescue himself. The aim of this attack was to make Ren Woxing withdraw his own attack towards Yu Canghai’s head and turn around to block the incoming attack.

The other masters saw how Great Master Fangzheng shot this palm out in the blink of an eye and they were all impressed by this. But there was not enough time to cheer although they knew that he had saved Yu Canghai’s life. But no one could have guessed that when Ren Woxing withdrew his left hand, he did not try to block the strike. Instead, his left hand grabbed Great Master Fangzheng’s Tanzhong acupoint while his right hand was thrust towards the chest. Great Master Fangzheng’s body became immediately weak and dropped to the ground. Everyone was surprised and one by one called out as they crowded around him.

Zuo Lengchan suddenly flew out and violently shot his palm out towards Ren Woxing’s back. Ren Woxing turned his hand around to strike back. He shouted at the same time, “Alright, this is the second fight.” Zuo Lengchan’s hand suddenly kept on changing. It changed from a fist into a palm into a stab into a grab. In a short time, it had changed more than ten times.

Even though he was repeatedly attacked, Ren Woxing was able to resist for a moment by exerting his power. He had just fought with Great Master Fangzheng. Even though the last three moves he used against the Abbot were mostly based on his ingenuity and cunning, he had still used up a lot of energy. Otherwise, how can this Shaolin School’s headmaster with abundant internal energy let him grab his Tanzhong acupoint? How could he let him hit his heart with his fingers? These last few moves were done with all of his strength, as he was staking everything on this attack. As a result, Ren Woxing was victorious against Great Master Fangzheng through dishonest means. He took into account his opponent’s merciful heart and immediately dashed to Yu Canghai to kill him. Firstly, the distance between that Yu person and Great Master Fangzheng was great that Great Master would not have been able to help Yu Canghai in time. Secondly, none of the other school leaders had any deep feeling towards Yu Canghai that they would brave danger and stake their lives just to save him. So the only person who would try to save Yu Canghai was Great Master Fangzheng.

When the Shaolin Abbot attacked him to free Yu Canghai, he did not try to block or parry Great Master Fangzheng’s strike but seized his fatal acupoint instead. At that time, his plan reached its most dangerous point. The two palms of Great Master Fangzheng that were aiming at the back of his head did not need to actually reach his head to kill him. The wind from the palms was fully capable of bursting his skull open.

When he grabbed Yu Canghai, he had already staked his own life in this gamble. He gambled on this eminent Buddhist monk’s merciful heart. When Great Master Fangzheng’s two palms were about to reach the back of Ren Woxing’s head, the Abbot took his palms back which left half of his body wide open. In order to take back the two palms, Great Master Fangzheng had to use the power from his whole body to do so. Even though this was done by a master, the internal energy in between the chest and stomach region was still left empty. When Ren Woxing’s grab and stab had reached Great Master Fangzheng, Fangzheng had actually wanted to transfer his power into his two palms and smash Ren Woxing’s head open, but the internal energy in his Dantian region was unable to go up.

Priest Chongxu hastily supported Great Master Fangzheng and opened his sealed acupoint. He sighed, “Brother Abbot is too humane and was taken advantage of by an evildoer.”

“Amituofo. Shi zhu Ren’s mind is very keen and he used wits instead of brawn. Old man has lost,” Fangzheng said.

Yue Buqun said loudly, “Mr. Ren’s conduct is traitorous and deceitful. Your win is not from upright and frank method. This is not the behaviour of an upright gentleman.”

Xiang Wentian laughed. “In my Divine Sun Moon Sect, how can there be any upright gentleman? If Chief Ren is an upright gentleman, he would’ve followed your bad example from a long time ago. Do you think we would be having this competition now if he did?”

Yue Buqun was lost for words.

Ren Woxing was leaning his back on the wooden pillar and sluggishly striking his palm out to block every fist and kick from Zuo Lengchan. Zuo Lengchan was a proud person. If it was any other time, he would not have fought Ren Woxing after his opponent had just fought with Shaolin School’s number one master. He knew that this was a cheap behaviour and not something that a master of a school would do. Instead, this behaviour was something that people would condemn. But Ren Woxing used dishonest means and took advantage of Great Master Fangzheng’s kind heart to defeat him and this made everyone really angry. When Zuo Lengchan disregarded his own safety and boldly attacked, everyone there regarded that he did this because of righteous anger and did not care that he fought the enemy in succession without giving him a necessary pause. This was a once in a thousand years opportunity for Zuo Lengchan. Xiang Wentian saw that Ren Woxing did not have a chance to draw breath yet so he rushed besides the pillar. “Big leader Zuo, you’re receiving such a kindness, aren’t you ashamed? I’ll fight with you.”

Zuo Lengchan replied, “Wait till I flatten this Ren first then I’ll fight you. Do you think old man here is afraid to fight you in succession?” With a shout, he struck a fist out towards Ren Woxing.

Ren Woxing lifted his left hand up and coldly said, “Brother Xiang, step back!”

Xiang Wentian knew that Chief liked to outdo others so he did not dare to disobey him. “Alright, I’ll retreat for now. But this Zuo is too shameless, so I want to kick his butt.” With a kick, he flew out behind Zuo Lengchan and booted at his bottom.

Zuo Lengchan was indignant. “Two against one?” He sneered as he slanted his body to avoid the kick. How could he have known that even though Xiang Wentian raised his leg, he did not kick it out. He merely raised his right leg up and lightly moved it. When Xiang Wentian saw that Zuo Lengchan was fooled, he laughed loudly. “Bastard grandson relies on numbers to win.” He then leapt back to stand besides Yingying.

As soon as he was let off, Zuo Lengchan resumed his attack against Ren Woxing. When masters fight, the difference between them would be small. When Ren Woxing was freed for a time, he drew a deep breath and regulated his qi smoothly. His vigor was greatly roused after this.

“Peng, peng, peng” as he struck three palms out. Zuo Lengchan exerted his power to protect himself and he was secretly shocked. “I haven’t met this old man for more than ten years and his skill has greatly improved. I must use all of my power today if I want to win.”

This was the second time these two people had fought. This fight was a fight to the death in front of the masters in Jianghu. The two of them regarded the winning and losing of this fight to be very serious unlike the fight between Ren Woxing and Great Master Fangzheng which was peaceful.

As soon as Ren Woxing was re-energised, all his moves were killing moves. Both of his hands changed to knife-forms and he started hacking down. Zuo Lengchan kept changing his hand from fist into palm into a grab into a seize. This was the strong point of his palm move. The two people were getting quicker as they fought. Linghu Chong’s eyes were just seeing patterns as he watched the fight from behind the wooden signage. When he was watching the fight between Ren Woxing and Great Master Fangzheng, he did not understand the essences of their martial art, but he unexpectedly also did not understand the extremely fast moves from these two people.

He turned his eyes towards Yingying and noticed her snow white complexion. She had her eyes lowered and he could see her long eyelashes hanging down. There was no amazement or worry on her face. Xiang Wentian’s face was sometimes happy and sometimes worried. In a moment, it changed into doubt. In another moment, it changed into regret. Another moment, it changed into an angry glare. It was as if he was personally fighting this battle. Linghu Chong thought, “Brother Xiang’s experience is much higher compared to Yingying. Looking at him being so nervous, I’m afraid it would be really hard for Mr. Ren to win this battle.” He slowly turned his eyes to look at where his Master and Master-Wife were standing at. Besides them were Great Master Fangzheng and Priest Chongxu. The two people behind them were Taishan School’s leader Priest Tianmen and Hengshan School’s leader Mr. Mo Da. Ever since Mr. Mo Da arrived inside the hall, he had not made any noise at all. When Linghu Chong saw his thin and small body, he felt warmth in his heart followed by the thought, “Martial sister Yilin and the rest of the Heng-Shan School’s disciples have no more masters. I don’t know how they’ll cope with it.” Qingcheng School’s headmaster Priest Yu was standing at the back wall with his hand grasping his sword handle and was looking indignant. Standing by the west was a beggar with white hair. He was Beggar Clan’s leader Xie Feng. The other person was wearing a green gown and his appearance was quite natural. He was Kunlun School’s leader Qiankun One Sword Zhenshan Zi.

These nine people were the present orthodox schools’ most powerful masters. If the nine of them were not fully concentrating on the fight, even if he had used all of his power to hold his breath, it was more than likely that he would have been discovered a long time ago. He thought, “The gathering below has so many masters. Especially Master and Master-Wife are also there. Then there are Great Master Fangzheng, Wudang’s leader, and Mr. Mo Da, the three seniors I respect completely. But I’m being really disrespectful hiding here and eavesdropping to what they’re saying. Even though I was here before them, I’ve eavesdropped to what they were saying. If any of them felt my presence here then I’d be really shamed.”

He hoped that Ren Woxing would quickly win this fight and thus win the best two out of three fights and go down the mountain with Yingying. When Great Master Fangzheng and the rest of the masters had gone out of the hall, he would then hurry down the mountain to meet Yingying. At the thought of meeting Yingying, his chest felt hot and his ears were also feeling hot. He pondered, “From now on, are Yingying and I really going to be man and wife? She treated me with passion and righteousness, but I… but I…” These last few days, although he had been thinking of Yingying, he had always thought of protecting her because of her kindness towards him. He wanted to help her get out of her imprisonment and declare to everyone in Jianghu that it was him who adored her and that it really was not her idea. Thus, it would stop the warriors of Jianghu from ridiculing her and causing her to be embarrassed. Every time Yingying’s image appeared in his mind, there was no feeling of happiness or warmth in his heart. It was very different with the feeling of warmth when he remembered his little martial sister Yue Lingshan. There was actually a bit of fear when he thought of Yingying.

When he first met Yingying, he thought that she was an old granny and he respected her and felt grateful towards her. Later, after he saw her lifted her hands to kill people and commanded those group of heroes, it was unavoidable that his respect was mixed with fear. Only after he found out recently that she had some feelings for him that this little bit of fear in his heart started to gradually lighten. And later when he found out that she was willing to give her own life to Shaolin to save him, his feelings for her became full of gratitude. But even though his feeling of gratitude was deep, he did not have any thoughts to be intimate with her and only wished that he could repay her kindness. Hearing Ren Woxing say that he was his son-in-law, he felt uneasy in his heart. Just now, when he saw her magnificent beauty, he only felt that the distance between them was far. After looking at Yingying for a few times, he did not dare to take a look again. He saw Xiang Wentian made a fist with both of his hands and his two eyes were wide open. Xiang Wentian was looking intently at Ren Woxing and Zuo Lengchan.

He saw Zuo Lengchan had already pulled back to one corner of the hall while Ren Woxing was still hacking repeatedly. Each of his palms was like a big hatchet and the power was astonishing. Zuo Lengchan was completely in an unfavourable situation. His two arms could not attack as he kept withdrawing them as soon as they had gone out for one foot. It seemed that he was only defending and not attacking. Suddenly, Ren Woxing shouted loudly and pushed both of his palms towards Zuo Lengchan’s chest. The four palms clashed and Zuo Lengchan hit the wall behind him. Dust from the top fell down from the impact. The four palms did not separate. Linghu Chong felt his body shook and it looked as if the wooden signage he was hiding behind was about to fall down. He felt alarmed. “Martial uncle Zuo is in trouble. They’re both competing inner energy, Ren Woxing would use the ‘Art of Essence Absorbing’ to absorb his inner energy. After some time, martial uncle Zuo will definitely lose.” He saw Zuo Lengchan pulled his right palm back and unexpectedly only used his left palm to resist his opponent’s palm while extending two fingers in his right hand to poke Ren Woxing. Ren Woxing shouted in alarm and leapt back immediately. Zuo Lengchan stabbed again with his right hand. He successively stabbed three times and Ren Woxing stepped back three times. Great Master Fangzheng, Priest Chongxu and the rest of the people were surprised: “I’ve heard that Ren Woxing’s ‘Art of Essence Absorbing’ will absorb the opponent’s inner energy without exception, but how come when their four palms connected, Zuo Lengchan was unexpectedly unharmed? Could it be that his Songshan School’s inner energy cultivation does not fear the ‘Art of Essence Absorbing’?” All the masters looking at the fight were in amazement but Ren Woxing was even more astonished.

More than ten years ago, when Ren Woxing fought with Zuo Lengchan, he did not have to use his ‘Art of Essence Absorbing’ before gaining the advantage. He was able to stop Zuo Lengchan then even though at that fight, he had a sudden pain in his heart and found it hard to control his power. He had been truly frightened as he knew it was because of the ‘Art of Essence Absorbing’ reversing. Under normal circumstances, he could have calmly meditated to regulate his inner energy. However, how could he do that with the enemy right in front of him? He had been at a loss as to what to do when he suddenly saw two people appearing behind Zuo Lengchan. They were Zuo Lengchan’s martial brothers, “Tower Holding Palm” Ding Mian and “Great Songyang Palm” Fei Bin. Ren Woxing had immediately leapt away and laughed loudly. “We agreed to fight one on one but you secretly have some helpers. A gentleman doesn’t want to be disadvantaged so I’ll meet you at some other time. Today, grandpa won’t accompany you anymore.” If his opponent had not voluntarily ceased the fight, Zuo Lengchan’s loss would have been guaranteed. It had been such a good turn of events for Zuo Lengchan that he had not dared to refute his opponent’s accusation by saying something like “To have helpers is not the way of the hero”. He had been afraid that Ren Woxing might have gotten angry and started fighting again. It would have been also inappropriate for Ding Mian and Fei Bin to enter the fight and help as it could have ruined his good reputation. Instead he had immediately said, “Who told you not to bring some of your Devil Sect’s helper?” Ren Woxing had laughed coldly and left.

Thus, the victory or defeat of that previous fight to the death was not decided. But they both had known in their hearts that each of their martial arts had a big flaw. They had been lucky not to lose to each other and to be able to train hard after the fight to correct the flaws. Especially Ren Woxing as he had known that the ‘Art of Essence Absorbing’ had a secret danger attached to the skill, just like gangrene to the bone. He had used the ‘Art of Essence Absorbing’ to absorb many opponents’ inner energies where the opponents were from different schools and they all had different inner energies. Because he did not have the method to harmonise them into one in the past, the various energies had frequently come out unexpectedly. His own internal energy had already been very powerful so when he had felt these different inner energies surging and swirling, he had immediately suppress them before they became dangerous. In his first confrontation with an extremely powerful master, he had used up a great amount of his internal energy, and as a result, his own internal energy, which had long suppressed the others, had been weakened. When fronted with a powerful enemy, he not only had to contend with their attacks but also worry about his own internal problem. That had been an extremely difficult dilemma for Ren Woxing.

Later on, he had thought deeply to search for a method to make uniform all these internal energies. When concentrating fully on this, even the most intelligent hero would not be aware of the rebellion happening under him. In the end, he was imprisoned by Dongfang Bubai. While he was imprisoned under the West Lake for ten years, his mind was focused on fixing the “Art of Essence Absorbing” until he finally comprehended the right method to suppress all the various internal energies from different schools that there would no longer be the danger of the “Art of Essence Absorbing” reversing.

At the current fight, when Ren Woxing had not won after a while, he used the ‘Art of Essence Absorbing’ when their two palms clashed. But unexpectedly, he found that Zuo Lengchan’s internal energy was completely empty and he did not know where it went to. Ren Woxing was greatly startled that he couldn’t absorb his opponent’s inner energy. It was incredibly strange. Just before then he was also not able to absorb Fangzheng’s inner energy, but it was because in a blink of an eye Fangzheng was able to hide his internal energy without a trace and made his ‘Art of Essence Absorbing’ powerless. Not only had he not experienced this before, even in his dream, he would never have thought that this kind of strange matter could happen.

He used the ‘Art of Essence Absorbing’ a few more times, but he could not feel where Zuo Lengchan’s internal energy was. When he saw the fierce stab by Zuo Lengchan, he immediately retreated three steps and changed his moves. He then used a chopping move whose power was unrivaled. Zuo Lengchan changed into defence. The two people had fought for twenty to thirty more moves when Ren Woxing left hand chopped down while Zuo Lengchan’s right hand stabbed towards Ren Woxing’s left rib. Ren Woxing saw that the power of this poke was very fierce. He thought, “This poke really has no inner power?” In fact, he had deliberately revealed that empty spot allowing Zuo Lengchan to poke it. At the same time, he diffused his ‘Art of Essence Absorbing’ from his chest. He thought, “You have a deep inner energy but you’re not letting my Art of Essence Absorbing absorb it. But this poke you used to attack me, if it has no inner energy, then it would be just like an itch to me. But if it was laced with any internal energy, then I’d absorb it.”

As this thought flashed in his mind, Zuo Lengchan’s finger poked his Tianchi acupoint. The spectators all cried out in surprise.

Zuo Lengchan’s finger only stayed on Ren Woxing’s chest for a short time. Ren Woxing immediately transferred his whole power. Sure enough, his opponent’s internal energy was like a river dam broken open as it rushed into his Tianchi acupoint. He felt really happy and intensified his effort to absorb his opponent’s internal energy faster. Suddenly, his body faltered. He slowly stepped back one step at a time. He did not say anything and was staring at Zuo Lengchan. His body trembled and he was now motionless just like when people had their acupoints sealed.

Yingying frightenedly called out, “Dad!” and rushed to support him. She felt his hand was ice cold. She turned her head around and called out, “Uncle Xiang!” Xiang Wentian rushed in front of Ren Woxing and pushed his chest a few times. “Hey!” Ren Woxing reacted. He was looking angry and his complexion was pale. “Very good, I’ve never experienced this kind of game before. Let’s compete again.” Zuo Lengchan just shook his head.

Yue Buqun said, “The winner and loser have been determined, what’s there to compete again? Didn’t Headmaster Zuo seal Mr. Ren’s Tianchi acupoint?”

Ren Woxing shouted, “Pei! Good, I was swindled so we’ll just count this fight as my loss.”

Zuo Lengchan’s earlier technique was most hazardous. He had accumulated ‘Polar Ice Energy’ for over a decade and transferred all that energy into his index finger at that moment. He risked the danger of losing a lot of his internal strength and allowed Ren Woxing to absorb his internal power. Not only did he allow him to absorb it, he even forced it towards Ren Woxing by pouring it through his acupoint. Zuo Lengchan’s polar ice energy was similar to the Boreal Finger of Plum Manor’s Mr. Black-White; both were extreme yin and cold martial arts. However, Zuo Lengchan’s internal energy was a lot deeper. In a few moments, Ren Woxing was frozen solid. Zuo Lengchan took advantage of this moment when the ‘Art of Essence Absorbing’ stopped by transferring his internal energy and sealing Ren Woxing’s acupoint. (Translator’s note: I took part of this translation from Athena’s post on 3rd edition changes in SPW)

Usually you would only see acupoints sealed in a fight between second or third class fighters in Wulin. When masters fought, they would never use such an ordinary martial art. But Zuo Lengchan was willing to part with a large amount of his internal energy and used a second or third class martial art method to win. Even though this method was dishonest, without an extremely good internal energy, it would be very difficult to accomplish. Xiang Wentian knew that even though Zuo Lengchan had won, his internal energy had been exhausted and it would probably take several months for him to recover. He immediately said, “Just then Headmaster Zuo said that you would fight me after you had flattened Chief Ren. Please begin now.”

Great Master Fangzheng, Priest Chongxu, and the rest of the people understood what he meant. After Zuo Lengchan had poked Ren Woxing, his face was wretchedly pale and he had not dared to say a single word. It was obvious that he had used up a lot of his internal energy. If the two of them fought, not only would Zuo Lengchan lose, after many moves he would be killed by Xiang Wentian. But Zuo Lengchan really did say those words before when Xiang Wentian challenged him. Would he actually eat his own words now? Everyone was hesitating on what to do when Yue Buqun said, “We already said before that for these three fights, each side will choose for themselves on who will go out to fight and not the other side. Didn’t Chief Ren agree to this? Chief Ren is a big hero, a grand hero, how can we not regard what he said?”

Xiang Wentian coldly laughed and said, “Mr. Yue’s dispute is really good and caused other people to admire you. But this word ‘gentleman’, there’s something that doesn’t fit. This kind of talking aimlessly resembled something a small person would do.”

Yue Buqun replied indifferently, “From the point of view of a gentleman, everyone in this world is a gentleman. From the point of view of a small person, there’s no small person in this world.”

Zuo Lengchan slowly dragged his feet back a few steps till his back was on the pillar. He was having difficulty just to stand up let alone having to fight. Priest Chongxu moved a couple of steps forward and said, “I’ve heard that Left Protector Xiang is called ‘Old Heavenly King’ and your abilities are earth-shaking. Poor Taoist is ashamed to be the headmaster of Wudang. In this fight between the orthodox schools and your respectable sect, I haven’t done anything. I feel really ashamed. It’ll be lucky today if I can fight with ‘Old Heavenly King’. It would be a real glorious favour.”

He was the leader of a martial art school but he was talking to Xiang Wentian in this way. Isn’t that giving the opponent too much credit? It was hard for Xiang Wentian to refuse this so he said, “I have to respectfully obey your order. I respect Priest Chongxu’s unrivalled ‘Taiji Sword Art’. I will risk my life to accompany you and reveal my shortcomings.” Xiang Wentian cupped his fist and retreated a couple of steps. Priest Chongxu also cupped his fist returning the propriety.

The two of them stood opposite each other. They were looking at each other for a while without drawing their swords. Suddenly, Ren Woxing shouted, “Wait! Brother Xiang, step back,” and drew the sword on his waist. Everyone there was astonished: “He already fought two masters and his internal energy has been greatly harmed. Now he wants to fight a third time against Priest Chongxu?”

Zuo Lengchan was surprised, he thought, “My ten years of hard work on this Polar Ice Energy was poured into his Tianchi acupoint. Even if it were someone with a martial art ten times better than him would need around six to eight hours to recover. How can he fight another person after just a short while?”

How could anyone know that Ren Woxing was actually feeling like there were dozens of knives slashing and stabbing in his Dantian region. He was using all of his power just to talk calmly and steadily while not revealing the pain he was under.

Priest Chongxu smiled. “Chief Ren wants to grant some lesson? We’ve already said before that both sides will decide for themselves who will go out to fight. If Chief Ren wants to grant some lesson, we won’t disobey what we’ve agreed upon. It’s just that poor Taoist’s advantage is too large.”

“I’ve already staked my life in fighting two masters before. If I want to fight against Priest again, then I would be looking down at your Wudang School’s sword art’s hundred of years of reputation. Even though I’m mad, I wouldn’t do this.”

Priest Chongxu felt happy to hear this and nodded his head. “Many thanks.”

When he first saw Ren Woxing drew his sword out, he hesitated. If he prevailed against Ren Woxing after they had fought him in succession, it would be said that it was not honourable. However, if he lost, then Wudang School would have no face to stand in Jianghu anymore. When he heard that Ren Woxing was not going to fight, he was relieved.

Ren Woxing continued, “Priest Chongxu is a new force in your respectable side. So we’ll also get a new force for our side.” He then looked up and shouted, “Little brother Linghu Chong, please come down!”

Everyone was greatly surprised and followed Ren Woxing’s eyes in looking up towards the wooden signage. Linghu Chong was even more confounded. He was now in a very difficult position and did not know what to do for a short moment. But seeing that he could not hide anymore, he leapt down. He then knelt down in front of Great Master Fangzheng and kowtowed a few times to pay his respect. “I rushed into your treasured temple without permission. This is a really big sin. I’m ready to receive Abbot’s punishment.”

Fangzheng laughed before answering, “So it’s young hero Linghu. I heard young hero’s even breathing and sensed that your internal energy is profound. I felt it was really strange. I didn’t know which master was visiting my humble temple. Please rise, please rise, this is too big a propriety, I don’t deserve it.” As he was speaking, he was joining his two palms together returning the propriety.

Linghu Chong thought, “So he already knew for some time that I was hiding behind that wooden signage.”

Beggar Clan’s leader Xie Feng suddenly said, “Linghu Chong, come and take a look at these words.”

Linghu Chong stood up and followed his finger to look at three sentences behind a wooden pillar. The first sentence was: “Someone’s behind the signage.” The second sentence was: “I’ll grab him down.” The third sentence was: “Wait, this person’s internal energy is orthodox and demonical. Don’t know yet whether he’s friend or foe.” Every word was carved deeply and was clearly seen on the wooden pillar. They were written by Great Master Fangzheng and Xie Feng by using their fingers. Linghu Chong was alarmed and impressed. He thought, “Great Master Fangzheng detected my very weak breathing and was able to distinguish the origin of my martial art. He’s really a divine person.” He then immediately gave his respect to everyone around. “When seniors came to the hall, because I was afraid, I didn’t dare to come down and pay my respect. Please forgive me.” He believed that his master’s face must be looking furious at the moment so he did not dare to look at his eyes.

Xie Feng laughed. “You were afraid like a thief? What are you trying to steal from Shaolin temple?”

“I heard that young lady Ren was detained at Shaolin temple. So I bravely came here to get her out,” Linghu Chong replied.

Xie Feng laughed. “So you came here to steal your wife, haha, this is not afraid like a thief but it’s called extremely daring in lewdness.”

Linghu Chong replied with a straight face, “Young lady Ren treated me very kindly. Even if my body is grounded to dust and my bones are chopped into pieces, I’m still willing.”

Xie Feng let out a long sigh. “What a pity, what a pity. A very promising youth’s future is harmed because of a woman. If you don’t abandon your evil way, then this honourable position of Huashan School’s leader, do you think it would still be able to come to your hand?”

Ren Woxing said loudly, “What’s so rare about being a leader of Huashan? When I die, the position of Chief in Divine Sun Moon Sect, wouldn’t that be in my lucky son-in-law’s hand?”

Linghu Chong was startled and tremblingly said, “Can… can.. cannot…”

Ren Woxing laughed. “Alright. No need for this idle talk anymore. Chong’er, why don’t you get some lesson from this headmaster of Wudang’s divine sword? Priest Chongxu’s sword art is using soft to overcome hard and has this circling motion. It’s very rare in the world so you must be really careful.”

He called him ‘Chong’er’. This was really regarding him as his son-in-law already. Linghu Chong silently examined the situation. Both sides had now won one fight each so this third fight would determine whether Yingying would be able to go down the mountain. He had already fought Priest Chongxu before and knew that he could win against him. In order to save Yingying, he must enter the fight. He turned his body around and knelt in front of Priest Chongxu to pay his respect.

Priest Chongxu hastily extended his hand to ask him to get up. He then oddly asked, “Why such a big propriety?”

Linghu Chong answered, “I really respect Priest. But under these circumstances, I’m forced to ask Priest to grant me a lesson. My heart feels uneasy about this.”

Priest Chongxu laughed loudly and said, “Little brother’s propriety is too excessive.”

Linghu Chong stood up and Ren Woxing passed over the long sword to him. Linghu Chong took the sword in his hand. Then with the sword pointing down, he leaned his body forward. Priest Chongxu lifted his eyes to look at the sky outside the hall and was lost in thought thinking about Linghu Chong’s sword art. Everyone there saw him not moving as if he was meditating and they all felt that this was really strange. After a long time, Priest Chongxu let out a long sigh. “We don’t need to fight this battle. The four of you can go down the mountain.”

When these words were spoken, everyone was astonished. Exulted, Linghu Chong bowed towards Priest Chongxu. Xie Feng said, “Priest, what do you mean by those words?”

Priest Chongxu replied, “I can’t think of a way to break his sword art. This battle, poor priest admits my defeat.”

Xie Feng said, “The two of you haven’t fought yet.”

Chongxu told everyone, “Many days ago, at the foot of Mount Wudang, I’ve already fought him for more than three hundred moves and I lost. If we fight today, I would still lose.”

Fangzheng and the rest of them asked, “Did this really happen?”

“Little brother Linghu’s sword art was passed down by Feng Qingyang, Senior Feng. I’m not his match,” Chongxu said. After he said this, he smiled slightly and stepped back.

Ren Woxing laughed loudly and said, “Priest is very open-minded, this is really admirable. At first, old man here only admires you by one half. Now, I admire you seven-tenths.” He said seven-tenths, but it was after all still not full. He then folded his hands in salute towards Great Master Fangzheng and said, “Great Master Fangzheng, we’ll meet again some other time.” Linghu Chong walked up in front of his Master and Master-Wife and kowtowed to them. Yue Buqun leaned his body to avoid it and coldly said, “You flatter me!” Madam Yue’s heart was sore and tears filled her eyes. Linghu Chong went to Mr. Mo Da to pay his respect. He knew that Mr. Mo Da would not want other people to know about their contact in the past so he only kowtowed three times and did not say anything.

One of Ren Woxing’s hands was leading Yingying and his other hand was leading Linghu Chong. He laughed, “Let’s go!” He strode purposefully towards the door of the hall. Xie Feng, Zhenshan Zi, Yu Canghai, Priest Tianmen, and the other people were not as good as Priest Chongxu in terms of martial art. Since Chongxu already admitted that he was not a match for Linghu Chong’s sword art, even though they did not believe him, they also did not dare to rashly go up to fight and brought shame to themselves.

Just as Ren Woxing was about to step outside of the hall, they suddenly heard Yue Buqun shouted, “Wait!”

Ren Woxing turned his head around and asked, “What?”

“Priest Chongxu is an educated man. He doesn’t want to fight someone with a narrow mind. We haven’t fought out this third fight yet. Linghu Chong, I’ll accompany you for this fight.”

Linghu Chong was surprised and his whole body started to shake. His mouth was chattering as he said, “Master, I… I… how can…”

But Yue Buqun was calm when he replied, “Other people said that you’ve taken some pointers from martial uncle Feng and received the essence of swordsmanship from Huashan School. It seems that even I’m not your match. Even though you’ve already been expelled from Huashan, but in Jianghu, you’re still setting up your reputation using our school’s sword art. Because I am unable to teach you, all the seniors of the orthodox schools are exasperated by you, unworthy youth. If I don’t take care of this then do I let other people take responsibility for this? Today, if I don’t kill you, then you’ll kill me.” As he said these last few words, his voice became fierce. He then drew his sword out and shouted, “The two of us no longer have a master disciple relationship, en guard!” Linghu Chong took a step back and said, “Disciple doesn’t dare!”

Yue Buqun thrust his sword towards Linghu Chong’s chest. Linghu Chong leaned to the side avoiding it. Yue Buqun followed this with another two thrusts which Linghu Chong also avoided. Linghu Chong’s long sword was still pointing at the ground and he had not used it to block the thrusts. Yue Buqun said, “You already gave me three moves. Consider that as finishing the respect we have. Ready your sword!”

Ren Woxing said, “Chong’er, you’re still not returning any move, do you really want to die here?”

Linghu Chong answered, “Yes”, and immediately lifted his sword up. In this fight, should he let Master win or should he win over Master? If he deliberately held back and lost, even if he received heavy injuries, he wouldn’t care, but Ren Woxing, Xiang Wentian, and Yingying would all be detained on Mount Shaoshi for ten years. Great Master Fangzheng was surely a righteous eminent monk, but there was no guarantee that Zuo Lengchan and the rest of the Shaolin monks would not harm the three of them. In this ten year of imprisonment, it would be very hard to say whether they would be able to keep their lives. But he also thought about how he had been by himself since he was young, and it was Master and Master-Wife who brought him up. He considered them as his own parents and he had not repaid them for their kindness yet. How could he defeat Master in front of all the world’s heroes and make him lose face and reputation?

As he was hesitating on what to do, Yue Buqun had already attacked him with more than twenty moves. Linghu Chong only used the Huashan sword moves previously taught by his master to block. He didn’t dare to use the ‘Dugu Nine Swords’ as each of its moves was an attacking method meant to harm the opponent. After he studied ‘Dugu Nine Swords’, his knowledge had greatly advanced and furthermore, his internal energy was abundant. Although he was only using a common Huashan sword art, his sword’s power and class naturally differed by a lot compared to the past. Yue Buqun was attacking continuously but he had not managed to harm him yet.

The spectators saw how Linghu Chong was wielding his sword and they naturally understood that he was intentionally giving way. When Ren Woxing and Xiang Wentian looked at this, both their faces showed their worries. Both of them remembered that day at the Plum Manor on Hangzhou’s Mount Gu when Ren Woxing invited Linghu Chong to join the Divine Sun Moon Sect. He was giving him the Right Protector position and later on, the position of Chief. Ren Woxing would also impart to him the secret of how to harmonise the various internal energies in his body after using the ‘Art of Essence Absorbing’. But this youth was hardly moved by this offer and was very loyal to his school.

At this time, seeing how he was so respectful towards his former master and master-wife, it seemed that if Yue Buqun were to stab him to death, Linghu Chong would even be willing to accept this in his heart. He was actually only using defensive moves so how would he be able to win? It was apparent that Linghu Chong had already decided not to win over his master, especially since they were fighting in front of so many accomplished heroes. He would have abandoned his sword and admitted defeat a long time ago if it was not for the fact that Yingying, Ren Woxing and Xiang Wentian would be imprisoned on Mount Shaoshi if he lost. The two people, Ren and Xiang, were pacing back and forth not knowing what to do. They looked at the fight again and they thought, “What should we do?”

Ren Woxing turned his head around towards Yingying and whispered, “Go in front.”

Yingying understood her dad’s intention well. He was afraid that Linghu Chong would take into consideration the kindness of his former master and would intentionally lose the fight. He wanted her to go in front so that Linghu Chong would be able to see her and be reminded how she had treated him, so he would use his power and gain victory. She lightly groaned but did not move. After some time, when Ren Woxing saw Linghu Chong kept retreating, he became even more worried and again told Yingying, “Go in front.” Yingying still did not move and groaned again not answering him. She thought in her heart, “You already understand how I treated you. If you think I’m more important then you’d help me go down the mountain and you’d be able to gain victory by yourself. If you think your master is more important, even if I pulled your sleeve and cry, it would still be useless. Why must I stand in front of you to remind you of this?” She deeply felt that it was natural for two people to love each other. If she had to give some signs before Linghu Chong would consider her love for him then that was just too tasteless.

Linghu Chong was not restricted to using Huashan sword art when blocking each of his master’s attack. If he had actually counter attacked, Yue Buqun would have been forced to throw away his sword and admit defeat a long time ago. He had seen a lot of flaws in his master’s sword moves but he had not even attacked once. Yue Buqun understood Linghu Chong’s heart from the beginning, so he attacked continuously using his Divine Violet Twilight Art in conjunction with his Huashan sword art. He already knew that Linghu Chong would not attack back so he kept advancing with all of his attacks and did not care about the flaws in his sword art anymore. As he did this, the power of his sword art had now greatly multiplied. The spectators saw that Yue Buqun’s sword art was wonderful and he had also received an advantage, but he had not been able to stab Linghu Chong from the beginning. They also saw that when Linghu Chong wielded his sword, sometimes there was a move and sometimes there was no move. When there was no move, it looked like as if his long sword was just blocking in a disorderly fashion but looked marvellous at the same time. He only had to touch Yue Buqun’s sword lightly to protect himself. The more they watched, the more they admired him. They all thought, “Priest Chongxu said that his sword art is inferior, seems like he didn’t just make that up.”

Yue Buqun had been fighting for a long time without stopping and he was becoming impatient. Suddenly, he thought, “Ayo, this is not good! This little traitor doesn’t want other people to say that he doesn’t know how to repay the kindness of other people so he kept on fighting me. Even though he’s not attacking, he’s still making it difficult for me to gain victory. Everyone here is a master and is very observant. At this time, they must have observed a long time ago that this little traitor is purposely giving way to me. I’ve been continuously attacking him from the start, what would become of my dignity? How can this be considered as the behaviour of a school leader? This little traitor wants to give me some difficulties and force me to give way and voluntarily admit defeat.”

He quickly transferred his Divine Violet Twilight Art into his sword. His sword hacked down splitting the air. Linghu Chong slanted his body and avoided the chop. Yue Buqun circled his sword and slashed towards Linghu Chong’s waist. Linghu Chong leapt above the sword. Yue Buqun flicked his sword upwards aiming towards the back of his body. The change in this sword move was extremely fast. There were no eyes at the back of Linghu Chong’s body and the situation was very difficult for him to avoid. Everyone gasped in surprised. Linghu Chong was in mid air and there was nowhere for him to step on to launch his body forward. It was also too late for him to use his sword to block the strike. But then, they saw him using his sword to hit the wooden pillar in front him. Borrowing this force, he jumped to the back of the pillar and with a ‘pu’ sound, Yue Buqun’s long sword penetrated the wooden pillar. The sword was pliable but with his internal energy injected to it, the long sword went through the pillar and the point of the sword stopped just inches away from Linghu Chong’s body.

“Ah!” everyone gasped in surprise. The sound of this cry was full of happiness, delight and praise. Unexpectedly, everyone was happy for Linghu Chong. They admired him for the skilful and clever way he avoided the attack. They were also celebrating the fact that Yue Buqun did not manage to stab him. Yue Buqun had executed his unique skill, Three-Linking Strike, but was still unable to hit Linghu Chong. Furthermore, he felt angry when he heard the spectators calling out in compassion towards his opponent.

This ‘Life Snatching Three-Linking Immortal Sword’ was a move from the Huashan School’s sword branch, which he, a qi branch disciple, did not initially know. In those years, when the two branches were destroying each other, disciples of the sword branch used this sword art to kill many good fighters from the qi branch. At the same time, disciples from the qi branch were also slaughtering the disciples from the sword branch. After they had taken the leadership of the Huashan School, the good fighters from the qi branch attentively studied in detail these three advance sword moves ‘Life Snatching Three-Linking Immortal Sword’. When they thought of the power of these Three-Linking moves on that day, there was still lingering fear in their hearts. During the study of this Three-Linking sword art, everyone said that this sword art belonged to the demonical path. But as they were seeking the exquisiteness of this sword art, they all forgot their own school’s difficult ‘Qi Drives the Sword’ principle. They only said that the sword move was beautiful but in their hearts, they actually really admired it.

Seeing Yue Buqun and Linghu Chong fighting, Madam Yue was full of grief. When she saw her husband suddenly using these three moves, she thought in her heart, “In those years, the two branches wanted to destroy each other because of the dispute about the importance of qi cultivation and sword art. He’s the head disciple of the qi branch but at this moment, he suddenly used the move from the sword branch. If an outsider saw through this, wouldn’t they contemptibly mock us? Ai, he must have no choice but to use this move. But he’s clearly not Chong’er’s match, why is he still continuing to fight?”

She wanted to ask them to stop but this matter concerned a lot of people and not just her own school. She wanted to go forward but changed her mind, she grasped the handle of her sword and her heart was worried to death. Yue Buqun lifted his right hand and pulled his sword out from the pillar. Linghu Chong did not move and stood still behind the pillar. Yue Buqun only saw how he stayed behind the wooden pillar looking like he was hiding from further attacks. He regarded that this happened because Linghu Chong was afraid of him and also because Linghu Chong respected his reputation. The two people studied each other. Linghu Chong said in a low voice, “Disciple isn’t your match. We don’t need to fight anymore.” Yue Buqun uttered an ‘hng’.

Ren Woxing said, “There can be no winner and loser in this fight between master and disciple. Great Master Abbot, there’s no winner and loser for these three fights. Old man will pay for my sin, how about if we stop this?”

Madam Yue relaxed and inwardly sighed, “We clearly lost this fight. Chief Ren said this to give us face. In this case, it’s best if we stop.”

Fangzheng said, “Amituofo! What Shi Zhu Ren said saves everyone from injury and shows your wisdom. Old monk doesn’t…” The word ‘mind’ had not been said when Zuo Lengchan interrupted, “Then we’re going to let these four go down the mountain and let them harm Jianghu and massacre the innocents? Let their eight palms to be covered in the blood of hundreds and thousands of people and destroy everything good in this world? Should we still regard martial brother Yue as the headmaster of Huashan School?”

Fangzheng hesitated when a ‘chi’ sound was heard. Yue Buqun had gone around to the back of the pillar and thrust his sword towards Linghu Chong. Fast as lightning, Linghu Chong avoided the thrust. After many moves, the two of them were back in the middle of the hall. Yue Buqun wielded his sword and attacked quickly, advancing at every opportunity. Linghu Chong smothered these attacks by either blocking or avoiding. After more than twenty moves, Ren Woxing laughed. “To decide who wins this fight, we’ll just have to wait for seven to eight days and see who dies from starvation first. I’m sure we’ll find out by then.” Everyone felt that even though what he said was an exaggeration, it’s likely that if they kept on fighting like this, it would be hard to get a result within a few hours.

Ren Woxing thought, “This old fellow Yue just thickened his face and kept on fighting. He’s in an invicible position and couldn’t possibly lose. But if Chong’er made a slight mistake then everything would be spoiled. The longer this fight goes, the more harmful it would be to us. I must say something to incite him.” He then said, “Brother Xiang, we’ve really widened our view today in Shaolin temple.”

Xiang Wentian replied, “Right. All of the top masters from Wulin are gathering here…”

“Among them, there’s one who is better than the rest.”

“Which one?”

“This person learned a divine martial art and other people will admire him when they see it.”

“What divine martial art is this?”

“This person is learning Golden Face Cover, Iron Face Divine Art,” Ren Woxing told him.

“Subordinate has heard about Golden Bell Cover, Metal Gown, but I’ve never heard of this Golden Face Cover, Iron Face.”

“Other people’s Golden Bell Cover, Metal Gown martial art makes one’s body impervious to sabre. This person’s Golden Face Cover, Iron Face Divine Art will make the face hard when practised.”

“This Golden Face Cover, Iron Face Divine Art, which school or sect has this martial art?” Xiang Wentian asked.

“They said that this martial art is no small matter. It was created in the west mountain of Huashan by the headmaster of Huashan School, Jianghu’s venerable Gentleman Sword Yue Buqun, Mr. Yue.”

“I heard that Gentleman Sword Yue Buqun’s internal energy art is unrivalled and his sword art is unmatched. As expected, it wasn’t just an empty reputation. This Golden Face Cover, Iron Face Divine Art, after it’s learned then your face will be impervious to sabres, is this right?”

“This move has a lot of usefulness. We’re not disciples of the Huashan School so we wouldn’t know the secret to this art.”

“Mr. Yue already created this kind of divine martial art, then his name would be known throughout Jianghu and would forever be praised as an immortal.”

“Of course. When we later meet with anyone from Huashan School, we must be really careful with their Iron Face Divine Art,” Ren Woxing said.

“Yes, subordinate will remember this in my heart.”

The two of them were talking back and forth like they were the actors in a comical drama, but there was a hint of ridicule in their tones towards Yue Buqun. Yu Canghai was giggling non-stop, taking pleasure in other’s misfortune. Madam Yue’s was blushing furiously. But it seemed that Yue Buqun didn’t hear any of these conversations. He thrust his sword and Linghu Chong avoided it by slanting to the left. He quickly followed to the right and slashed his sword forward. Suddenly, he circled his sword back and the point of the sword thrust back out again. It was the Huashan School’s sword move called ‘Return of the Prodigal Son’. Linghu Chong lifted his sword to block it. Yue Buqun’s sword was now dancing around in mid-air, executing the sword move called ‘Green Pines Welcoming Guests’. Linghu Chong again blocked the attack.

Yue Buqun slashed twice with his sword. Linghu Chong was startled and hurriedly retreated two steps. His face was blushing as he called out, “Master!” Yue Buqun snorted and continued with his attack forcing Linghu Chong to take another step back. Everyone saw that Linghu Chong’s face was blushing and he seemed to be in a desperate situation. They did not understand a single thing and all thought, “There’s nothing strange about his master’s three attacks, what’s so great about it? How can it unexpectedly make things difficult for Linghu Chong?” None of them knew that these three moves that Yue Buqun used were from the sword art that Linghu Chong and Yue Lingshan created, the ‘Chong Ling Sword Art’. Linghu Chong suddenly felt sentimental, remembering the past when he was looking forward to the days when he would be able to share marital vows with his little martial sister, and when Yue Lingshan treated him nicely. With their childish thoughts, they had then felt that if the Yue couple could pass down martial arts, then the rest of the disciples would be able to as well. Thus, the two of them tried to create a set of sword art of their own and only the two of them were able to use this set of ‘Chong Ling Sword Art’. That’s why seeing this set of sword moves gave him a bittersweet taste in his heart.

He didn’t expect Yue Buqun would unexpectedly use these three sword moves. Linghu Chong felt helpless, ashamed, and sad. He thought, “Little martial sister had already broken our ties of love. You’re using this set of sword moves to make me recall my feelings and to put my mind in confusion. You want to kill me then just kill me.” He felt that there was nothing for him to continue living on this world and death would be better.

Yue Buqun’s long sword was thrust out again. The move he used was ‘Nong Yu Playing the Flute’. Linghu Chong knew this move very well and he just unconsciously blocked it. Yue Buqun followed with a move called ‘Xiao Shi Riding the Dragon’. These two moves complemented each other and the movements were graceful. Especially ‘Xiao Shi Riding the Dragon’ with the long sword dancing in the air, looking like a divine dragon flying elegantly through the air.

According to a story, during the time of Chun Qiu, Qin Mukong had a daughter called Nong Yu who loved to play the flute. There was a youth called Xiao Shi, who arrived riding a dragon and could play the flute divinely. Later on, he taught Nong Yu how to play the flute. Qin Mukong then allowed him to take her to be his wife. ‘Ideal Son-in-Law’ was the literary reference that these moves were taken from. Later on, the pair of husband and wife transcended to immortality together and occupied the middle peak of the Huashan Mountain. Huashan’s Jade Maiden Peak had ‘Phoenix Pavillion’, the middle peak had Jade Maiden Temple, Jade Maiden Cave, Jade Maiden hair washing basin, and a dressing table, every one of them gained their fame from this fable. Linghu Chong and Yue Lingshan had often gone to all these places but the meaning behind the story of Xiao Shi and Nong Yu, their happiness, and also what went on in the heart of those two people, they never knew any of those.

At the moment he saw Yue Buqun used the move ‘Xiao Shi Riding the Dragon’, Linghu Chong’s heart became confused while his hand moved to block the attack. He thought, “Why does Master want to use this move? Does he want to remind me of my mistakes and kill me?”

After Yue Buqun used this move, he again used the move ‘Return of the Prodigal Son’ followed by ‘Green Pines Welcoming Guests’ which was followed by the three moves from the ‘Chong Ling Sword Art’. These moves were again followed by ‘Nong Yu Playing the Flute’ and ‘Xiao Shi Riding the Dragon’ moves. When masters competed, even when the moves went above a thousand, they would never duplicate the pattern. This pattern of moves had already been executed to fight the opponent before so using them again would be useless. When the enemy was familiar with your pattern then he could take advantage of it to make an attack. When Yue Buqun used this pattern for a second time, it caused all the spectators to be puzzled.

Linghu Chong saw Yue Buqun used the move ‘Xiao Shi Riding the Dragon’ for the second time. This time, this move was followed by the three moves from the ‘Chong Ling Sword Art’. Suddenly, a thought flashed in his mind and he was enlightened. “So Master used these sword arts to remind me. I must abandon my evil ways and return to the righteous way, and then the return of the prodigal son means that I would be accepted back into the Huashan School.”

There were many ancient pine trees on Mount Huashan with branches full of leaves hanging down and stretching, as if they were welcoming guests who were coming up the mountain. They are called ‘Welcoming Guests Pine Trees’. The move ‘Green Pines Welcoming Guests’ was formed to resemble the appearance of these ancient pines. He thought, “Master is saying that if I return to the family of Huashan School, not only would I be welcomed back, even the pine trees on the mountain would welcome me back.” His heart trembled, “Master said that not only would I be welcomed back into the family of Huashan School, he would also give little martial sister as my wife. Master used the few moves from that ‘Chong Ling Sword Art’ to make me understand his intention clearly. It’s just that I was muddled and didn’t understand him so he used the two moves of ‘Nong Yu Playing the Flute’ and ‘Xiao Shi Riding the Dragon’ again.” Returning to Huashan and marrying Yue Lingshan were two of his biggest desire. Suddenly, in front of all these masters, Yue Buqun promised him these two matters. Even though it wasn’t conveyed outright by words, he understood it completely from these several sword moves. Linghu Chong knew that Master’s most important vow was to never take back what he already said. He had already promised to take him back into the Huashan family and also betroth his daughter to him. So if he fulfilled his promises then these matters would definitely happen. In that instant, a feeling of happiness filled his chest.

He naturally knew of the deep love between Yue Lingshan and Lin Pingzhi. He also knew that she did not love him any more but instead felt hatred towards him. But the marriage between man and woman was decided entirely by the parents and the daughter had no say in it. It had been that way for more than a thousand years. Yue Buqun had already betrothed his daughter to him, and Yue Lingshan would not be able to reject it. Linghu Chong thought in his heart, “If I were to be able to re-enter the Huashan School, I would be thanking the heaven and earth already. But to also become partner with little martial sister; that would really be a joy from heaven. Little martial sister would surely be unhappy at the beginning but I would be suitable for her. After a long time, she would see that I’m sincere towards her and would slowly change her attitude.”

He was beaming from ear to ear and was feeling very happy in his heart. Yue Buqun continuously used the moves ‘Return of the Prodigal Son’ followed by ‘Green Pines Welcoming Guests’. His sword moves were becoming urgent looking like he was becoming impatient. Linghu Chong comprehended what Yue Buqun meant, “Master is telling me, the prodigal son, to return. Of course he couldn’t say this out loud but he wants me to throw away my sword and admit defeat immediately. Then I would be able to rejoin the school immediately. I would be able to return to Huashan and get married to little martial sister. My life would be returned to me, what else do I want? But what about Yingying, Chief Ren, and brother Xiang? If I lose this fight then the three of them would be detained on top of Mount Shaoshi and they might be even be killed. I’m only coveting for my own happiness and not repaying other people’s kindness. Can I still be called a person?” At this thought, the back of his body was covered with cold sweat and his vision became blurry. He saw Yue Buqun slashed his sword horizontally passing very close to his mouth then pointing the sword towards him, pushed forward. This was the move ‘Nong Yu Playing the Flute’. Linghu Chong’s heart was moved again. “Yingying was willing to die for me but I didn’t even pay any attention to her plight. Is there anyone else in this world who is more vicious than Linghu Chong? No matter what, I have to repay Yingying’s kindness.” Suddenly, he felt dizzy, and heard a ‘zheng’ sound as a long sword fell on the ground.

All the spectators cried out in surprise.

Linghu Chong’s body was swaying. When he opened his eyes, he saw Yue Buqun had leapt back and was looking furious. Yue Buqun’s right wrist was bleeding. Linghu Chong checked the point of his sword and saw blood dripping from it. He was greatly startled. He knew that while his mind was in confusion, his hand was blocking the attack. But somehow, he unexpectedly used the ‘Dugu Nine Sword’ move to pierce Yue Buqun’s right wrist. He immediately threw away his sword and knelt on the ground. “Master, disciple has sinned and deserves death.”

Yue Buqun kicked out and hit him squarely on his chest. The kick was very fierce and swift causing Linghu Chong to fly off. While his body was in mid air, his vision became dark. He heard a ‘peng’ sound, and his body dropped on the ground. But he didn’t feel any pain as he passed out.

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