The Smiling, Proud Wanderer (笑傲江湖) Chapter 33 – Sword Fight

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The Smiling, Proud Wanderer (笑傲江湖) Chapter 33

[“Ring,” the two sword tips hit each other in mid-air. Sparks flew in all direction, and the two swords both bent into arches. The two both pushed out with their left hands, and then jumped back when the two hands met.]

Chapter 33 – Sword Fight

An old priest from the Taishan School said loudly, “This position of headmaster of the Five Mountains School must be held by a senior with virtue, ability, and prestige. How can it be otherwise?” This person’s voice was loud, and even those people who were in the middle of the bustling noise managed to hear it clearly.

Peachtree Branch Fairy said, “Ability, integrity, and prestige? In all of Wulin, the only person who fulfills all these requirements is Shaolin’s Great Master Fangzheng.” Every time the Peach Valley Six Fairies talked, everyone had laughed because no one could actually understand what they were talking about. But when they mentioned Great Master Fangzheng’s name, the whole mountaintop became quiet. Great Master Fangzheng’s martial art was powerful, and he was also a merciful and righteous person. He had always upheld justice in Wulin, and had also been revered by everyone for the last dozen of years. Shaolin School’s reputation was flourishing, and it was also the number one school in Wulin. So when the descriptions of ‘ability, integrity, and prestige’ were used to describe Great Master Fangzheng, no one objected.

Peachtree Root Fairy shouted, “Is Shaolin temple’s Abbot Fangzheng a person of ability, integrity, and prestige?”

The thousands of people there answered together, “He is!”

“Very good, since everyone agreed, Great Master Fangzheng is favoured by everyone then. Compared to the six of us, it seems Great Master Fangzheng is favoured slightly more. In that case, we’ll have to invite Great Master Fangzheng to become the Five Mountains School’s headmaster then.”

Quite a few people from Songshan School and Taishan School immediately called out, “Nonsense! Great Master Fangzheng is the headmaster of Shaolin School. What does he have to do with our Five Mountains School?”

Peachtree Branch Fairy replied, “Just now, this old priest said he wanted to invite a senior of integrity, ability, and prestige to become the headmaster, so I found one for him. Could it be Great Master Fangzheng isn’t a person of ability and integrity? Could it be he has no prestige? Alas, could it be that he’s not a senior in Wulin? Are you saying Great Master isn’t a senior of integrity, ability, and prestige, and that he’s just a lowly nobody in Wulin? What absurdity! Who had the nerve to say that? Who didn’t want him to become the headmaster? Peach Valley Six Fairies will have it out with him!”

Peachtree Trunk Fairy said, “Great Master Fangzheng has been the headmaster of Shaolin School for dozens of years already. Why can’t he be the headmaster of the Five Mountains School? Could it be the Five Mountains School is above Shaolin School as of today? Which crazy person has the nerve to say Great Master Fangzheng isn’t fit to be the headmaster?”

Taishan School’s Yujizi scowled. “Great Master Fangzheng is a person of integrity and ability, and everyone respects him deeply. But today we’re electing the headmaster of the Five Mountains School. Great Master Fangzheng is a respected guest, how can we just drag him into our matter?”

Peachtree Trunk Fairy said, “According to what you said, Great Master Fangzheng cannot be the headmaster of the Five Mountains School because Shaolin School and Five Mountains Schools are unrelated.”

“Correct,” Yujizi answered.

“How come Shaolin School and Five Mountains School are unrelated? I say they’re greatly related! Which five schools formed the Five Mountains School?” Peachtree Trunk Fairy inquired.

“Sir, you already know, but you’re still asking about it again. Five Mountains School consists of Songshan, Taishan, Huashan, Hengshan, and Heng-Shan Schools,” Yujizi replied.

Peachtree Flower Fairy and Peachtree Fruit Fairy replied together, “Wrong, wrong! Just then Zuo Lengchan said that after the five mountains sword schools merged, Songshan School and Taishan School’s names will no longer exist in Wulin. How come you mentioned the name of the five schools again?”

Peachtree Leaf Fairy said, “I see he’s still very much attached to his school and doesn’t want to forget it. Once an opportunity arises, he’ll hatch a plan and destroy the Five Mountains School. Then he’ll start rebuilding his Taishan School and establish its prestige again.” Many people in the crowd started laughing as they thought, “These Peach Valley Six Fairies are crazily turning everything upside down. But every time someone says something slightly wrong, they immediately latched onto it and the original speakers can’t do anything.”

What all these people didn’t know was that the Peach Valley Six Fairies had been debating endlessly since they managed to talk at around the age of two or three, and were particularly good at latching onto the mistakes in each other’s speech. In the last dozens of years, they had become accustomed to doing this. Thus, it was no wonder that no one could be their match when the Peach Valley Six Fairies combined their six brains and mouths. Yujizi’s face was green for a time, and red for a time. He said, “This is really one big bad luck for Five Mountains School with the six of you weirdos in it.”

Peachtree Flower Fairy said, “You said the Five Mountains School is bad luck. That’s really looking down at the Five Mountains School, and means that you don’t want to stay inside the Five Mountains School.”

Peachtree Fruit Fairy said, “This is only the first day that our Five Mountains School is opened, and yet you’re already cursing it, saying that it’s bad luck. In the future, the Five Mountains School will be glorious, and will stand as equals with Shaolin and Wudang. It will become a big school that everyone in Jianghu looks up to. Priest Yuji, how come you don’t have a good heart and said something so ominous?”

Peachtree Leaf Fairy said, “I see Priest Yuji’s body is at Five Mountains, but his heart is at Taishan, he’s hoping the merger would fail and that it would break up by the end of the first day. With this kind of intention, how can the Five Mountains School accept him into the school?”

For the pugilists of Jianghu, they had always lived on the points of bloodied swords so they believed very much of things that were taboo. When everyone heard what the Peach Valley Six Fairies said, they all felt that the Peach Valley Six Fairies’ words were logical. How could Yujizi said the Five Mountains School was bad luck on this auspicious day? Even Zuo Lengchan was dissatisfied at what Yujizi said. Yujizi knew he had said the wrong thing and he immediately stayed silent, while inwardly feeling angry.

Peachtree Trunk Fairy said, “I said Shaolin School and Songshan School are related, but Priest Yuji said they’re unrelated. So are they related or not? Are you right or am I right?”

Priest Yuji indignantly said, “Since you love to say that they’re related, we’ll just say that they’re related.”

Peachtree Trunk Fairy said, “Ha! Matters of the world are based on logic. Which mountain is Shaolin temple on? Which mountain is Songshan School on?”

Peachtree Flower Fairy answered, “Shaolin School is on Mount Shaoshi, Songshan School is on Mount Taishi. Shaoshi and Taishi both belong to Mount Songshan, is that right? Why did you say Shaolin School and Songshan School are unrelated?”

These words they said really made sense and everyone in the crowd were nodding their heads.

Peachtree Branch Fairy said, “Just then Mr. Yue said, after schools have merged together, the number of fighting in Jianghu would decrease. It’s for this reason that he approved of the merger. He also said, the merging schools will be selected based on the similarity of their skills, the closeness of their locations, and their willingness to merge. Speaking of nearness, Shaolin and Songshan are near each other, they are even together on one mountain. If Shaolin School and Songshan School don’t merge, then what Mr. Yue said was a little bit like breaking… breaking… breaking some… some sort of air.”

The crowd knew that he managed to hold back from saying the word ‘wind’, but they giggled over it. They all felt it was rather unthinkable for Shaolin and Songshan to merge, but what Peachtree Branch Fairy said was also quite reasonable, and it followed what Yue Buqun said earlier. Linghu Chong was secretly impressed, “The Peach Valley Six Fairies are experts in latching onto someone’s words, but I’d never expected them to say these kinds of words. I wonder who’s helping them?”

Peachtree Trunk Fairy said, “Great Master Fangzheng is in favour with the public, and originally we all wanted to invite him to become our Five Mountains School’s headmaster. But someone raised the issue that Great Master Fangzheng doesn’t belong to the Five Mountains School. So Shaolin and Five Mountains School must merge and become ‘Shaolin Five Mountains School.’ That way Great Master Fangzheng can become the new school’s headmaster.”

Peachtree Root Fairy said, “That’s right! At the present time, there’s no one who can compare to Great Master Fangzheng or more fit to become the headmaster.”

Peachtree Fruit Fairy said, “We, Peach Valley Six Fairies, accept Great Master Fangzheng. Could it be there are people who don’t accept?”

Peachtree Flower Fairy said, “If there’s anyone who doesn’t want to accept, then there’s no harm to come out and have a contest with us. Once you beat the Peach Valley Six Fairies, you might as well have a contest with Great Master Fangzheng. Once you beat Great Master Fangzheng, you might as well have a contest with all the great masters from the Da Mo Hall, Luohan Hall, Commandment Courtyard, and the Scripture Chamber. Once you beat all the great masters from the Da Mo Hall, Luohan Hall, Commandment Courtyard, and the Scripture Chamber, then you can have a contest with Priest Chongxu of Wudang…”

Peachtree Fruit Fairy interrupted, “Fifth brother, why do they have to have a contest with Wudang’s Priest Chongxu?”

Peachtree Flower Fairy answered, “The two headmasters from Wudang School and Shaolin School are best friends who share weal and woe together. If someone beat Great Master Fangzheng, how could Priest Chongxu not come out?”

Peachtree Leaf Fairy said, “That’s right! You’re not wrong at all! Once they beat Priest Chongxu, then they’ll fight the Peach Valley Six Fairies.”

Peachtree Root Fairy said, “Yi! They already fought against us, why do they have to fight us again?”

Peachtree Leaf Fairy replied, “Even if we lost the first time, how could the Peach Valley Six Fairies happily admit defeat? We’ll naturally dispute this with those smelly bastards again.”

The crowd was laughing madly listening to the six brothers talking back and forth. There were some who were disagreeing with them, and there were some who were calling out and following them. Yujizi was extremely mad and couldn’t hold it back anymore. He flew forward with his sword in his hand and called out, “Peach Valley Six Weirdos, Yujizi doesn’t accept and wants to fight with you.”

Peachtree Root Fairy said, “We’re all from the Five Mountains School, how can we be killing each other?”

“You talk too much. The gods detest it and the ghosts loathe it! Once we get rid of the six of you from the Five Mountains School, our eyes will see clearer and our ears will hear better,” Yujizi replied.

Peachtree Trunk Fairy said, “Alright, you have a sword in hand and murder in your heart. Are you thinking of using your sword to chop chop chop chop chop chop our six heads?”

Yujizi snorted and ignored him, but his eyes were full of murderous intention. Peachtree Branch Fairy said, “Today is the merger of our five schools. If on the first day, your Taishan School kill six masters from the Heng-Shan School, how can the Five Mountains School cooperate after today? How can we still work together?”

Yujizi thought that these words sounded logical. If he killed these six people today, then there would be endless fighting as there would certainly be someone from Heng-Shan School who would seek revenge for them. He immediately restrained his anger and said, “Since you already know that we should work together, then stop hindering this big matter with your nonsense, and stop talking.” He took his long sword a foot out of the scabbard then slammed it back in.

Peachtree Leaf Fairy said, “How about words that are beneficial to the Five Mountains School’s future and people in the orthodox path?”

Yujizi coldly laughed. “Hng, none of you are saying anything like that!”

Peachtree Flower Fairy said, “Doesn’t the matter of who’s going to become the headmaster of the Five Mountains School concern our school’s future and the destiny of Wulin’s orthodox path? The six of us are doing our best to choose a senior master who’s in favour with the public to become our headmaster here. But you’re so selfish, and only want that person who gave you three thousand gold taels and four pretty ladies to become the headmaster.”

Yujizi was livid as he shouted, “NONSENSE! Who said someone gave me three thousand gold taels and four pretty ladies?”

Peachtree Flower Fairy said, “Hmmm… I said the number wrongly. It’s not three thousand gold taels; it’s definitely four thousand taels. It’s not four pretty ladies, or three ladies, but it’s five ladies. You don’t know who gave these to you? It’s that person who you wanted to elect as the headmaster. That’s the person who gave these gifts to you.

Yujizi immediately drew his long sword. “You’re talking nonsense again! I want your blood splattered right here!”

Peachtree Flower Fairy cackled madly, walked towards Yujizi, and said, “You used such a despicable method to harm Priest Tianmen who was your Taishan School’s headmaster. Are you still thinking of harming other people? Not only was Priest Tianmen killed by you right here, other people from your own school were harmed by you. Harming people really must be your specialty. Why don’t you see and try it on my body.” As he said this, he strode forward step by step. Yujizi held his long sword in front of him and severely shouted, “Stop! Walk one more step and I won’t be polite anymore.”

Peachtree Flower Fairy said, “Are you being polite right now? This Songshan mountaintop isn’t yours. I’m allowed to walk anywhere I want, go to the east, walk to the west, what’s that got to do with you?” As he said this, he again walked forward a few more steps and was now only a few feet away from Yujizi. Looking at Peachtree Flower Fairy’s ugly, long horse-face with crooked yellow teeth, feeling of extreme loathing grew within Yujizi. With a stab, he thrust out his long sword towards Peachtree Flower Fairy’s chest.

Peachtree Flower Fairy hurriedly dodged the stab and scolded, “Smelly traitor, you’re really… really attacking!”

Yujizi had already grasped the essence of Taishan School’s swordsmanship. As his first attack came out, his second attack followed and the sword moves were extremely fast. Peachtree Flower Fairy had already dodged four attacks in the time he took to scold Yujizi. But Yujizi’s sword moves were getting faster and faster, while Peachtree Flower Fairy’s hands and legs were very busy dodging in a disorderly fashion. “Woah, woah!” Peachtree Flower Fairy continuously called out. He wanted to take the short iron stick hanging from his waist but he was too slow to do so. As the sword flashed around, Peachtree Flower Fairy’s left shoulder was pierced. Immediately within seconds of this, Yujizi’s long sword fell from his hand and his whole body flew up into the air. His four limbs were each grabbed by Peachtree Root, Peachtree Trunk, Peachtree Branch, and Peachtree Leaf Fairies. This was like a rabbit caught by a falcon, and happened very quickly.

Suddenly, there was a flash of yellow and a sword chopped down towards Peachtree Branch Fairy’s head. Peachtree Fruit Fairy, already beside his brothers to protect them, extended his short iron stick to block the sword. The yellow-clad person sent his second sword thrust towards Peachtree Root Fairy’s chest. Peachtree Flower Fairy drew out his short iron stick to block this attack and recognized the yellow-clad person as Songshan School’s headmaster, Zuo Lengchan. Zuo Lengchan knew that even though the Peach Valley Six Fairies talked in a jumble, they actually had astonishing skills. On that year when he sent a master of Huashan School’s sword branch, Cheng Buyou, to Mount Huashan, Cheng Buyou was torn into four pieces. When he saw Yujizi captured by these six brothers, he knew he must rescue Yujizi promptly to prevent him from being torn apart. Actually, since he was the host, it was inappropriate for him to just fight as he wanted. But the situation was desperate so he hastily pulled his sword out to help. Zuo Lengchan attacked both Peachtree Branch Fairy and Peachtree Root Fairy to force them to release their hands to dodge the attacks. But he never expected the Peach Valley Six Fairies to work together seamlessly. While four of them were holding the enemy’s hands and legs, the remaining two were on the outside protecting. These two sword moves from Zuo Lengchan were swift and fierce but they were successfully blocked by Peachtree Fruit Fairy and Peachtree Flower Fairy.

Actually, Yujizi’s life was hanging by a thread. Zuo Lengchan had used his inner energy when he was trading blows with Peachtree Fruit Fairy and Peachtree Flower Fairy because he knew he must force these two people back within six moves. If he didn’t manage to do this in six moves, then it might be too late to save Yujizi from being torn apart.

Zuo Lengchan immediately circled his long sword and the sword flashed. A moment later, Yujizi uttered a shout and his head hit the ground. Peachtree Root Fairy and Peachtree Branch Fairy were now each holding an arm, and Peachtree Trunk Fairy was holding a leg. Only Peachtree Leaf Fairy was holding a leg which was still attached to the rest of Yujizi’s body.

Zuo Lengchan knew he had no way of forcing the Peach Valley Six Fairies to release Yujizi quickly. So taking the bull by its horn, he chopped both of Yujizi’s arms and one of his legs so the four fairies couldn’t tear him apart. This situation was very similar to when your hand was bitten by a poisonous snake and you cut your arm off to save yourself. After Zuo Lengchan cut off three of Yujizi’s limbs, he anticipated the Peach Valley Six Fairies would cease to give anymore trouble to this crippled man. So he retreated with a cold laughter.

Peachtree Branch Fairy said, “Zuo Lengchan, you gave gold and pretty ladies to Yujizi so he helped you to become the headmaster. How come you cut off his arms and legs? Are you trying to silence him?”

Peachtree Root Fairy said, “He’s afraid we would tear Yujizi into four pieces. That’s why he came out to help. But he got the wrong idea.”

Peachtree Fruit Fairy said, “He thought he was being clever. What a pity. How funny. We grabbed Yujizi just to play around with him. Today is the opening day of the Five Mountains School, who would dare to kill people here?”

Peachtree Flower Fairy said, “Yujizi really wanted to kill me. But we’re friends from the same school, so why would we kill him? We only wanted to throw him up and down, scare him a bit. But Zuo Lengchan was crude, and his brain is muddled.”

Peachtree Leaf Fairy, with his whole body drenched with Yujizi’s blood, dragged the leg which was still connected to the body and dropped Yujizi in front of Zuo Lengchan while continuously shaking his head. He said, “Zuo Lengchan, you’re too violent. How could you harm Yujizi like this? He doesn’t have his two arms and one leg anymore, what should we call him from now on?”

Zuo Lengchan sucked a breath in anger and thought, “If I were just a bit slower, the four of you would’ve torn Yujizi into four pieces. How can he still live? How dare you to speak such words now! But I have no evidence to make this clear to everyone here.”

Peachtree Root Fairy said, “Zuo Lengchan can kill Yujizi with a stab of his sword and give him a clean death. But instead he cut off his two arms and one leg to make him not alive, not dead. So merciless, so heartless.”

Peachtree Trunk Fairy said, “Everyone is from the Five Mountains School. If we have any problem, let’s talk about it. Why do you need to be so violent? You have no loyalty at all.”

‘Tower Holding Palm’ Ding Mian said loudly, “You six weirdos, whether we move or not, you were going to tear him into four pieces. Headmaster Zuo went in to save Priest Yujizi precisely because he’s from the same school. What you said was absurd.”

Peachtree Branch Fairy said, “We were clearly just playing around with Yujizi but Zuo Lengchan thought it was real. It’s hard to distinguish between real and fake. Zuo Lengchan was just being unwise.”

Peachtree Leaf Fairy said, “A gentleman takes responsibility for what he does. You have already harmed Yujizi but you’re trying to deny it now. There’s no valour in what you’re doing. There are so many heroes on this mountaintop who saw you chopped off Yujizi’s two arms and leg. Do you think you can still deny it now?”

Peachtree Flower Fairy said, “Heartless, unrighteous, unwise, cowardly. How can this kind of person become the headmaster of the Five Mountains School? Zuo Lengchan, you must be dreaming.” When he finished speaking, the six brothers shook their heads together.

Actually, the Taishan School’s headmaster would’ve been torn into four pieces if Zuo Lengchan hadn’t use his wonderful sword art to cut off Yujizi’s two arms and one leg. The first class masters besides the worshipping place naturally could see this, and they were praising Zuo Lengchan’s wonderful sword art in their hearts. But the Peach Valley Six Fairies declined this vehemently so it was hard for other people to dispute them. The people who knew that Zuo Lengchan had suffered an injustice found this really funny while the ones who didn’t see the real reason felt that Zuo Lengchan behaved very crudely and violently; their faces showed their resentment.

Linghu Chong had already known the Peach Valley Six Fairies for a long time so he had a very good understanding of their characters. He thought, “The Peach Valley Six Fairies attacked Zuo Lengchan with every word they said today. How come their brains are so clear today? Most likely there’s someone directing them from the side.” He slowly walked closer to the Peach Valley Six Fairies to see which master was helping them, but he saw there was no one else standing beside the Peach Valley Six Fairies. The five brothers were busy trying to stem the bleeding on Peachtree Flower Fairy’s shoulder. Linghu Chong turned his head around and gazed to the west. Suddenly he heard a very faint sound in his ear: “Brother Chong, are you looking for me?”

Linghu Chong was surprised and happy. Even though the voice was faint, he heard it clearly and it was Yingying’s voice. He turned his head slightly to look at where that voice was coming from. But what he saw was an extremely fat and bearded big man leaning on a big rock, lazily stretching his hand to scratch his head. On this Songshan mountaintop, there was at least around one to two hundred bearded big man so no one would pay any attention to them. Linghu Chong squinted his eyes, and suddenly he saw a cunning and charming smile in that person’s eyes. He was exulted and walked towards her. Yingying transmitted her voice to him, “Don’t come here, you’ll ruin the secret.” This voice was very faint, like it was coming from somewhere far.

Linghu Chong promptly halted his step and thought, “I don’t know what kind of voice transmitting martial art you have, but it must be one of your father’s secret.” He immediately understood, “Those words the Peach Valley Six Fairies said were all taught by you. No wonder these six slow-witted people can say something like heartless, unrighteous, unwise, and cowardly.” He felt really happy and wanted to show this. He loudly declared, “Peach Valley Seven Fairies’ words are reasonable. I know the Peach Valley Six Fairies only have six fairies, but who could’ve thought they have one more clever and beautiful seventh fairy, the female fairy, Peachtree Calyx Fairy!”

(Translator’s note: here’s the definition of calyx: the whorl of sepals of a flower collectively forming the outer floral envelope or layer of the perianth enclosing and supporting the developing bud; usually green.)

When the crowd heard Linghu Chong suddenly saying some inanity unexpectedly, they were all startled. Yingying transmitted her voice, “This is a very critical time. You’re the headmaster of the Heng-Shan School, so don’t say any nonsense. Zuo Lengchan is backed into a corner now, so this is your good opportunity to become the Five Mountains School’s headmaster.”

Linghu Chong was alarmed and he thought, “Yingying disguised herself so that she could be here at Songshan and help me become the Five Mountains School’s headmaster. She’s the daughter of the Sun Moon Sect’s Chief, and currently a mortal enemy of the orthodox sects. If she’s discovered, it’s going to be very dangerous. She’s braving danger just to help me gain a name in Wulin. She has such deep feelings towards me. I… I… I really don’t know how to repay her.”

He then heard Peachtree Root Fairy said, “Great Master Fangzheng is such a senior master but you’re not willing for him to become the headmaster. Yujizi has no arm and no leg. Zuo Lengchan is heartless and unrighteous. So naturally, neither of them can become the headmaster anymore. Let’s choose a young hero who has the world’s
number one sword art to become the Five Mountains School’s headmaster. If there’s anyone who doesn’t accept this, then there’s no harm in trying out his sword art.” As he said this, he opened his left palm and extended his arm towards Linghu Chong.

Peachtree Trunk Fairy said, “This young hero Linghu is Heng-Shan School’s headmaster. He has a deep relationship with Huashan School’s Mr. Yue, and he’s also a good friend of Hengshan School’s Mr. Mo Da. Within the five mountains sword schools, three schools have supported him.”

Peachtree Branch Fairy said, “Taishan School’s priests are all insects (sounds similar to Linghu Chong’s name), so most of them naturally support him and not many would go against him.”

Peachtree Leaf Fairy said, “Everyone in the Five Mountains School uses a sword. So whoever has the highest sword art will, of course, without a doubt, become the headmaster.”

Peachtree Flower Fairy pressed on the injury on his shoulder and said, “Zuo Lengchan, if you don’t accept, there’s no harm in competing swords with young hero Linghu. Whoever wins will become the Five Mountains School’s headmaster. This is called the leadership challenge sword fight!”

Among the people who had come to Songshan, besides the people from the five mountains sword schools and people like Great Master Fangzheng, Priest Chongxu, and others with an interest in the events, most of the people who came here were looking for some entertainment. Everyone knew that if the merger of the five schools were successful then there would be fighting to decide for the headmaster position. These Jianghu people really didn’t care for lengthy debates. They didn’t mind when the Peach Valley Six Fairies were entangling Zuo Lengchan with words and saying interesting things. But if everyone were to talk the way Yue Buqun did, and talk until the sun goes down, it would definitely bore the hell out of everyone there. So hearing Peachtree Flower Fairy say “leadership challenge sword fight’, they cheered and applauded loudly.

The crowd had seen Priest Tianmen die miserably and they had also seen Zuo Lengchan chopping off limbs. These two events could be said to be scary and too close to reality. But the contest to decide on the headmaster position of the Five Mountains School would involve masters and they would be able to see a few good fights. This would more than satisfy their cravings. That was why the crowd was applauding and cheering excitedly.

Linghu Chong thought, “I promised Great Master Fangzheng and Priest Chongxu that I will block Zuo Lengchan from becoming the Five Mountains School’s headmaster so that he can’t cause a disaster in Wulin. But if Master becomes the headmaster, him being a just and fair person, naturally people will be pleased and willing to accept him. Besides him, who else in the five mountains sword schools can do this job?” With a loud voice, he said, “How could everyone forget a most suitable person for this position? If we don’t elect the Gentleman Sword Mr. Yue to become our headmaster, whom else can we choose? Mr. Yue’s martial art is very high and his knowledge is outstanding. He’s also righteous and compassionate towards people. This is well known, otherwise, how could he have gained the name ‘Gentleman Sword’? My Heng-Shan School elects Mr. Yue to be the Five Mountains School’s headmaster.” After he said this, the disciples of Huashan School applauded and cheered.

From among the Songshan School, someone said, “Even though Mr. Yue is not the wrong choice, he’s still below Headmaster Zuo by a notch.” Another person said, “Headmaster Zuo has been the chief of the Five Mountains Sword Schools for so many years already. It’s very reasonable that he becomes the Five Mountains School’s headmaster. Why do we need to elect someone else?” Another person said, “In my opinion, the headmaster of the Five Mountains School must be Headmaster Zuo and none other. Then we’ll establish four vice positions for Mr. Yue, Mr. Mo Da, young hero Linghu, and Priest Yu… Yu… Yu… either Priest Yuqingzi or Priest Yuyinzi. That’ll be appropriate.”

Peachtree Branch Fairy called out, “Yujizi is not dead yet. He only has two shorter arms and a shorter leg. You don’t want him anymore?”

Peachtree Leaf Fairy said, “Sword fight, sword fight! Whoever has the best martial art should become the headmaster!”

The thousands of Jianghu people echoed this sentiment by shouting, “Right! Right! Sword fight, sword fight!”

Linghu Chong thought, “In the situation today, Zuo Lengchan must be overthrown first. Then Songshan School will lose their leadership. Otherwise, my Master would never become the Five Mountains School’s headmaster.” He immediately drew his sword and called out, “Mr. Zuo, all the realm’s heroes are here. They all want us to have a sword fight to take the leadership. What do you say if we start first?” He inwardly pondered, “Zuo Lengchan’s cold palm is very formidable, and my bare hand martial art is nothing compared to his, but I wouldn’t lose to him when it comes to sword art. After I’ve won against Zuo Lengchan, I’ll lose to Master and no one would be able to say anything. If Mr. Mo Da were to fight, he won’t necessarily be able to beat Master. Two masters from the Taishan School are injured and dead, so they wouldn’t have anyone who could compete well enough anymore. If my sword art isn’t Zuo Lengchan’s match and I lose to him, I would’ve still exhausted a lot of his internal energy. My Master can fight him afterwards and have a very good chance of winning.” He hacked twice with his long sword and said, “Mr. Zuo, everyone in the five mountains sword schools uses sword, so we’ll decide this with a sword.” He said this first to prevent Zuo Lengchan from suggesting they fight barehanded.

The crowd called out one by one, “Young hero Linghu is quick with his word, fight with the sword.” “The winner becomes the headmaster, the loser gets ready to receive his order. That’s a fair deal, that’s the best way.” “Mr. Zuo, get down and accept this challenge. What are you scrupling about, afraid to lose?” “You already talked for half a day, what else is there to say? Go and fight!”

In a moment, that Songshan mountaintop was all a clamour with shouts. Everyone was shouting; even the most experienced seniors were shouting. These people were invited by Zuo Lengchan, but this matter of who would become the Five Mountains School’s headmaster had nothing to do with them. They originally didn’t want to butt in, but a martial art competition to take the leadership would be very exciting to watch, so they were all hoping to watch a few good fights. With this added urgings from the guests, it became imperative that if they didn’t have a competition then this headmaster position would not be decided.

Linghu Chong was very happy to see this and he called out, “Mr. Zuo, if you’re not willing to cross swords with me, how can you be the Five Mountains School’s headmaster in the presence of all these people?”

The crowd called out one by one, “Sword fight, sword fight! Not fighting isn’t for a hero, but for a dog!”

Many people from the Songshan School knew Linghu Chong’s sword art was wonderful, and Zuo Lengchan could not be guaranteed a win against him. But there was no good reason to say why Zuo Lengchan couldn’t compete swords with him. So all they could do was scowl and stay silent. In all the clamour, a clear voice was heard, “All the heroes here want a sword fight to decide the Five Mountains School’s headmaster. We can’t just brush away their wonderful idea.” The person who said this was Yue Buqun.

The crowd called out, “Mr. Yue is right, sword fight to take the leadership, sword fight to take the leadership!”

Yue Buqun said, “Sword fight to take the leadership is one thing. But the real intention of our five mountains sword schools merging into one is to lessen the fighting between schools. That’s why in this martial art competition, once the result is decided you must stay your hand and not take your opponent’s life. Otherwise, it would be a great violation against the real intention of our five mountains school’s merger.”

When the crowd heard him talking of leadership, they all quietened down. A big man said, “That’s all good, but sabres and swords don’t have eyes. So if you die, that’s your own bad luck. Who can you blame?” Another person said, “If you’re afraid of death or injury, go hide at home and hug your doll. Why would you be here to become the Five Mountains School’s headmaster?” The crowd burst into laughter.

Yue Buqun said, “Even so, to be injury free is always wonderful. I only have a few shallow ideas, but please consider them.”

Someone called out, “Quickly fight! What else is there to say?” Another person said, “Don’t blindly disturb him. Hear what Mr. Yue has to say.” The person before said, “Who’s disturbing? Go home and ask your darling!” The other person hurled abuses back.

Yue Buqun said, “Anyone here is entitled to participate in the leadership sword fight, but there are some stipulations…” His internal energy was abundant. When he talked, he completely drowned the voices of those people hurling abuses at each other. They turned around to listen to him continue, “The leadership martial art competition is to contend for the leadership of the Five Mountains School. For that reason, if you’re not a member of the Five Mountains School, you can’t come and fight even if you have heavenly skills. Otherwise, this fight would be called ‘World’s Number One’ fight, and not a way to decide the leadership of the Five Mountains School.”

The crowd all answered, “Right! Non-members of the Five Mountains School can’t come and compete.” There was also a person who said, “Let’s all fight to become the ‘World’s Number One’; that’s also good!” This person was obviously talking nonsense, so no one replied to him.

Yue Buqun said, “Concerning this martial art competition, about not taking other’s life and not injuring people from the same school, Mr. Zuo, please tell us what you think.”

Zuo Lengchan coldly said, “Of course you cannot take another person’s life in this fight. But not to injure other people would be very difficult. What’s Mr. Yue’s esteemed opinion in this?”

Yue Buqun said, “I believe the best way would be to ask Great Master Fangzheng, Priest Chongxu, Beggar Clan Leader Xie, Qingcheng School Priest Yu, and other virtuous senior masters in Wulin to be judges. Who wins and who loses will be decided by them to avoid people fighting endlessly. We’re just deciding the leadership, not life and death.”

Fangzheng said, “Good, good! ‘Deciding the leadership and not life and death’, these words will stop blood from being spilled. What does Mr. Zuo think?”

“Since it’s Great Master’s concern for my humble sect, I’ll definitely obey it. We were originally the five mountains sword schools, so each school should send out one person to compete in swords to take the leadership. Otherwise, each school will send out hundreds of people and the competition will drag on for years without any conclusion,” Zuo Lengchan replied.

The crowd felt that it wouldn’t be very lively if there were only five people fighting. But if each school were to send out its headmaster, then no one else from any of the schools would be able to put up a challenge anyway. They then heard the people from Songshan School cheering, so no one else objected to this.

Peachtree Branch Fairy suddenly said, “Taishan School’s headmaster is Yujizi. Will this ox-nosed priest with no arms and no leg also come forth and compete?”

Peachtree Leaf Fairy replied, “He’s only missing both arms and a leg, why can’t he go forth and compete? He still has one remaining leg. He can take off and kick people.”

When the crowd heard this, they couldn’t help laughing.

Yuyinzi from Taishan School indignantly said, “These six weirdos harmed my martial brother Yujizi and made him a cripple. Yet, they’re still here ridiculing him. I want each of their arms and legs cut off. Come, let’s fight one on one!” After he said this, he immediately drew his sword out and stood there. This Yuyinzi was tall and thin, and had an imposing appearance. As he stood there with a solemn demeanour and with his priest robe floating in the wind, he looked really grand. The crowd cheered for him.

Peachtree Root Fairy said, “From the Taishan School, you’re the one who’s going to compete for the leadership?”

Peachtree Leaf Fairy said, “Were you selected by your school or did you volunteer yourself?”

Yuyinzi replied, “How does that concern you?”

Peachtree Leaf Fairy said, “Of course it concerns us. Not only it concerns us, it greatly concerns us, it extremely concerns us. If you were selected by the Taishan School to compete for the leadership, then once you lose, Taishan School’s second person cannot compete again.”

Yuyinzi said, “The second person cannot come out to compete, so what?”

Suddenly someone from the Taishan School said, “Martial Brother Yuyinzi isn’t my choice. If he lose, of course, another master from Taishan School can go out.” The person who said this was Yuqingzi.

Peachtree Flower Fairy said, “Haha, another master; is that you?”

“Good, maybe it’s me,” Yuqingzi answered.

Peachtree Fruit Fairy called out, “Everyone look. Taishan School again has an internal strife. Priest Tianmen has already died and Priest Yuji is injured. These two people are again fighting to become Taishan School’s headmaster.”

“Nonsense!” Yuyinzi retorted.

But Yuqingzi was smiling coldly and didn’t say anything.

Peachtree Flower Fairy said, “So who’s going to compete for the Taishan School?”

Yuqingzi and Yuyinzi answered at the same time, “Me!”

Peachtree Root Fairy said, “Alright, the two of you fight first and see who’s stronger. Talking won’t clear it up but there will definitely be a winner and a loser after you fight.”

Yuqingzi came out and waved his hand. “Martial brother, step back! Don’t get ridiculed by other people.”

“Why would other people ridicule me? Martial Brother Yuji was heavily injured, I just want to take revenge for him,” Yuyinzi interjected.

“Are you taking revenge or competing for the leadership?”

“Do you think we can be the Five Mountains School’s headmaster based on our measly skills? Isn’t that absurd? Everyone from Taishan School has unanimously supported Chief Zuo to be our Five Mountains School’s headmaster a long time ago. Why would we two brothers go out and be shamed?” Yuyinzi reasoned.

“In that case, step back. I’m the eldest in Taishan School right now.”

Yuyinzi coldly laughed and said, “Hmmph, you might be the oldest, but looking at what you do every day, do you think anyone in the school still respects you?”

Yuqingzi became angry and said fiercely, “What’s your meaning? You refuse to acknowledge the order of seniority? What’s our school’s number one rule?”

“Haha, don’t forget, we’re now members of the Five Mountains School. We entered the Five Mountains School at the same year, same month, same time. What order of seniority? The rules of the Five Mountains School haven’t been drawn up yet, so what number one, number two? You mentioned the Taishan School’s rule to keep me under control. It’s a pity there’s only Five Mountains School now,” Yuyinzi said.

Yuqingzi didn’t know what to say. His left hand pointed at Yuyinzi’s nose and he angrily said, “You… you… you…”

The thousands of men called out, “Fight! See who’s got higher skills!”

The long sword in Yuqingzi’s hand kept trembling but he didn’t put it up. Even though he was older, he was always drowning himself in wine, and his sword art wasn’t as good as Yuyinzi. Even after the five mountains sword schools merged, it would be inevitable that each of the five schools would still be separated physically on five mountains. Thus, each mountain would have a leader. Yuqingzi and Yuyinzi knew their skills were far below Zuo Lengchan, so they had no plan to become the Five Mountains School’s headmaster. But they were thinking of who would become the leader once they got back to their mountain. At this time, the crowd was very excited waiting for the brothers to clash weapons. Yuqingzi did not dare to fight rashly but he really resented Yuyinzi for shaming him in front of the realm’s heroes. Moreover, Zuo Lengchan was likely to install Yuyinzi as the leader on Taishan, so he would be bound to follow Yuyinzi’s order from now on and he would never be able to hold his head high again. For the moment, the two brothers were staring angrily at each other. Neither of them wanted to back down.

Suddenly, someone in the crowd with a sharp voice said, “I see the two of you haven’t even grasped the slightest bit of Taishan School’s martial art essence. You really have thick faces to be quarrelling right here and wasting everyone’s time.”

Everyone turned to have a look at the person who said this. They saw a tall handsome youth with a beautiful appearance whose face was pale and whose mouth turned up at the corner carrying a cold mocking smile. He was Lin Pingzhi of the Huashan School.

Someone recognised him and called out, “He’s Huashan School’s Mr. Yue’s new son-in-law.”

Linghu Chong thought, “Martial Brother Lin has always been very cautious and doesn’t speak very much. After not seeing him for just a while, I’m surprised he now actually dared to ridicule these two traitors in front of everyone here.”

Yuqingzi, Yuyinzi, and Yujizi were in cahoots in harming Priest Tianmen to get on Zuo Lengchan’s good side, so Linghu Chong already felt resentful towards these two priests. When Lin Pingzhi insulted them, he felt quite happy.

Yuyinzi said, “If you say I haven’t grasped the slightest bit of Taishan School’s martial art, does that mean you’ve grasped it all? Then please use Taishan School’s martial art and let our eyes be opened.” He said the words ‘Taishan School’ especially loudly. His meaning was, “You’re a Huashan School’s disciple, but even if you have strong martial art, it would still be Huashan School’s and you couldn’t possibly use my Taishan School’s martial art”.

Lin Pingzhi gave a cold sneer and said, “Taishan School’s martial art is deep and profound. How can traitors like you who harmed your own school member be able to understand…”

“Ping’er,” Yue Buqun shouted. “Priest Yuyinzi is still your elder, don’t be rude!”

“Yes!” Lin Pingzhi responded.

Yuyinzi indignantly said, “Mr. Yue, what a good disciple and son-in-law you have! He can even speak nonsense about Taishan School’s martial art.”

Suddenly, a female voice said, “How do you know for sure he was speaking nonsense?”

A good looking young woman stepped out. Her skirt was brushing the ground, her belts were floating in the wind, and a red flower was inserted into her hair. It was Yue Lingshan. She was carrying a long sword on her back and her raised right hand held the sword handle. She said, “I’ll use Taishan School’s sword art and ask for your advice.”

Yuyinzi knew she was Yue Buqun’s daughter. He was thinking that since Yue Buqun had approved the merger of the five schools earlier, at the moment Zuo Lengchan would be on friendly terms with him, so he didn’t dare to offend her. He smiled slightly and said, “Congratulations Miss Yue. Are you angry because I didn’t come to your wedding and drank your celebratory wine? I admired your noble school’s wonderful sword art. But this is the first time I’ve heard of Huashan School’s disciples being able to use Taishan School’s sword art.”

Yue Lingshan raised her eyebrows and said, “My father wants to be the headmaster of the Five Mountains School. So, naturally, he has researched the sword arts of each of the five schools. Otherwise, even if my father wins against the other four schools’ headmasters, if he used only Huashan School’s swordsmanship, he can’t become the Five Mountains School’s headmaster.”

When these words were said, it created a sensation through the crowd. A person queried, “Mr. Yue wants to become the Five Mountains School’s headmaster?” Another person shouted, “Mr. Yue also knows how to use Taishan, Hengshan, Songshan, and Heng-Shan Schools’ martial arts?”

Yue Buqun said in a clear voice, “My daughter talks irresponsibly. Don’t worry about what my little kid said.”

But Yue Lingshan continued, “Martial Uncle Zuo, if you can use Taishan, Hengshan, Huashan, and Heng-Shan Schools’ sword arts to defeat the masters of each school, then we’ll naturally submit and accept you as the Five Mountains School’s headmaster. Otherwise, although your Songshan School’s sword art is very formidable in the world, it’s still only the Songshan School’s sword art which is good, and has nothing to do with the other four schools at all.”

The crowd all thought these words were right. If someone was proficient with the sword arts of each school, then he should become the Five Mountains School’s headmaster and this would be very fitting. But each school’s sword arts had undergone countless of refinements for hundreds of years by many masters. Even if someone was taught by a master of each school, and had undergone dozens of years of practice, he might not necessarily be able to fully learn all of the sword arts from the five schools let alone the secret skills of each school that wasn’t usually passed down to ordinary disciples. The possibility of someone actually grasping the essence of all the sword arts from all five schools at the same time was quite remote.

But Zuo Lengchan thought, “Why did Yue Buqun’s daughter say this? She must have an intention for saying this. Has Yue Buqun become muddled? Does he really want to fight me for the Five Mountains School’s leadership?”

Yuyinzi said, “So Mr. Yue is already proficient in the five schools’ sword arts. This has never happened in the history of the five mountains sword schools before. I’d like to ask for Miss Yue’s advice on Taishan School’s swordsmanship.”

“Very well!” Yue Lingshan shouted.

With a ‘shua’ sound, she drew the long sword she was carrying at her back. Yuyinzi was livid. “I’ll compete with your father! A little girl like you dare to draw your sword against me!” He reasoned Yue Buqun would surely stop this. In his heart, he believed that the Yue couple was the only two people in Huashan School who would be able to fight him. How would he know Yue Buqun would only shake his head, sigh, and say, “My little kid doesn’t know how high the heaven is. Senior Yuyin and Yuqing are Taishan School’s number one masters, and you actually want to use Taishan School’s sword art to fight against them. Isn’t that asking for trouble?”

Yuyinzi was startled. He thought, “Yue Buqun told his daughter to use Taishan School’s sword art to fight against me.” He took a glance and saw that Yue Lingshan’s long sword was in her right hand and it was pointing down at an angle. Her left palm was wide open and she started counting with her fingers. At the count of five, her left hand made a fist. Then she again extended her thumb out, her forefinger, and counted to five. Her five fingers were now spread open. She followed this by counting again starting from her thumb. This time, as her middle finger folded, Yuyinzi was greatly alarmed: “How could this baby know the move ‘Daizong Way’?”

(Translator’s note: Daizong is the old name of Mount Taishan.)

More than thirty years ago, Yuyinzi had heard from his master the essence of the move ‘Daizong Way’. This sword art move was regarded as Taishan School’s highest and most profound skill. Its essence wasn’t at the sword moves on the right hand, but was at the counting with the left hand. The left hand would be continuously counting. It would be counting the enemy’s position, the enemy’s martial art, his height, dimensions of his weapon, as well as the height of the sun and many other things. The calculations were very complicated, and once the calculations were finished, the sword would immediately attack and it would hit its target. In the past, Yuyinzi had thought of this sword move and felt he didn’t have the ability to memorise and count all sorts of numbers in such a short time during a fight. So he didn’t learn this skill deeply and only heard of its existence and put it at the back of his mind. His master was also actually not proficient at this technique. He only said, “This ‘Daizong Way’ technique is very difficult to learn and doesn’t seem practical at all; but its power is unmatched. Since you don’t have the desire to learn it, you won’t be able to learn this sword move, but it doesn’t matter. All of your martial brothers aren’t as attentive as you, so they also wouldn’t be able to learn this move. It’s a pity this profound sword art, with no match in this world, will be lost to us from now on.” When his master didn’t force him to learn this sword move, Yuyinzi felt relieved. Later on, he had never seen anyone in Taishan School practiced this move ever again.

Therefore, it was to his surprise that dozens of years later, he would see Yue Lingshan, who was only a young woman, use this move. All of a sudden, sweat started to form on his forehead. He had never heard his master talk about countering this move. He believed that since he couldn’t practice it, other people wouldn’t be able to practice this wonderful sword art either; so he never thought of a way to counter this sword move himself. But now the strangest thing had happened and it was completely outside of his expectations. He was feeling really worried and pondered to himself, “If I rapidly change my positions, leap high and crouch low, she naturally would block me.”

He immediately shook his long sword and slid three steps to the right using the move ‘Clear Moon on a Cloudless Sky’. Then he turned around, lowered his body, and slantingly pierced his long sword. His sword was still five feet away from Yue Lingshan’s right shoulder when he turned another circle and followed with the move ‘High Mountain Sky’ with a fast stab forward and fast pull back of the sword. But Yue Lingshan just stood her ground unmoving. The long sword in her right hand constantly trembled, while the fingers on her left hand unceasingly counted. Yuyinzi launched his sword with his body following it. He turned to the left side and then the right side, and with each turn he became even faster.

This pattern of sword art was called ‘Taishan Eighteen Coils’, and it was created by someone in the Taishan School a long time ago. That person observed that Taishan School’s eighteen coils of the three gates were very complicated. It was really an arduous path with its five steps of revolution and ten steps of circles. As a result, he harmonised the sword art with the lay of the land, and it was now just as wonderful and strange as the Eight Diagrams’ ‘Eight Diagrams Palm Movement’. Taishan’s ‘Eighteen Coils’ attacked higher with each coil and became more dangerous with each step. These patterns of sword moves also become more violent with each turn. All of Yuyinzi’s attack seemed to have pierced through Yue Lingshan’s body, but actually, none of his attacks was a genuine killing move. Both of his eyes were fixated on Yue Lingshan’s ceaselessly counting left hand. In the years past, his master once said, “This move ‘Daizong Way’ can be said to be the ancestor of our Taishan School’s sword art. It never misses and will never need a second stroke to kill someone. When a sword art reaches this stage, it has surpassed everything and has become godly. Your master actually only knows some basic skills of this skill, and if I actually wanted to learn it, then it might be easier said than done.” When he thought of his master’s words, cold sweat seeped through his back.

That Taishan’s ‘Eighteen Coils’ was divided into ‘Slow Eighteen, Fast Eighteen’. The eighteen coils turned slowly and the other eighteen coils turned quickly. Each step was higher than the next, and it was said ‘The person at the back will only see the soles of the shoes of the person in front, while the person at the front will only see the hair of the person at the back’. This pattern of sword art of the Taishan School was created from the steep mountain paths going up Mount Taishan. The movements were suddenly slow and suddenly fast, punctuated by very complicated turnings.

Linghu Chong saw Yue Lingshan not blocking or dodging while the fingers on her left hand kept on stretching and folding as if she was counting something. He couldn’t help feeling worried and wanted to shout out, “Little martial sister, be careful!” But these five words were stuck in his throat and he couldn’t call out. Yuyinzi was about to finish his sword pattern, but from the start, he didn’t dare to actually attack Yue Lingshan and his long sword was always two feet away from her body. Yue Lingshan abruptly stabbed her sword out and executed five moves. Each sword move had an ancient meaning behind it.

“‘Five Gigantic Swords!’” The words escaped Yuqingzi’s mouth.

Mount Taishan had some very ancient pines. According to an old story, they were given the names ‘Five Gigantic Pines’ during the Qin period when their branches were sticking out and their green leaves covered one another. The martial uncle of Yuqingzi and Yuyinzi made a set of sword arts and called it the ‘Five Gigantic Swords’. The moves in this set of sword art looked plain but contained wonderful variations. More than twenty years ago, Yuqingzi had studied this set of sword arts deeply and when he saw Yue Lingshan’s execution of these five moves, the moves looked right and wrong at the same time. Yue Lingshan’s moves were different from the ones he had studied, but were of a higher level compared to the ones he knew. As he stood greatly astonished, Yue Lingshan suddenly bent her waist and thrust her sword towards him. She called out, “Is this your Taishan School’s sword art?”

Yuqingzi hastily lifted his sword to block and called out, “‘Crane Coming to a Clear Fountain.’ It’s our Taishan’s sword art, but…” Even though the sword was already withdrawn, he was still startled and his whole body broke into a cold sweat. When the enemy’s sword came just then, the position was different from the one he had studied. That sword was dangerously close to piercing his chest.

Yue Lingshan said, “Doesn’t matter, it’s Taishan’s sword art!”

With a ‘shua’ sound, she slashed her sword towards Yuyinzi.

Yuqingzi said, “Stone Block, Horse Returning! You’re using it… wrongly…”

Yue Lingshan said, “You remember the sword move’s name.”

She swung her long sword and slashed it twice. Yuyinzi cried out loudly, and almost at the same instant, Yuqingzi’s right knee was also stabbed. Yuqingzi staggered for a bit before his right leg folded underneath him and he dropped to his knee. He quickly drove his sword down powerfully to support himself, but the point of his sword just happened to hit a piece of rock, and it was broken into two pieces. But he was mumbling to himself, “‘Three Happiness’! But… but…”

Yue Lingshan laughed icily and put her sword back into the sheath at her back.

The spectators promptly burst into cheers. Such a pretty young lady unexpectedly used Taishan School’s sword art to defeat two of Taishan School’s masters in such a short time. Her sword art was wonderful, and the people who saw the sword art display felt themselves soothed. The applause they gave her reverberated throughout the valley.

Zuo Lengchan and the other Songshan School’s masters looked at each other, and all of them were hesitating. They all thought, “This little girl can actually use Taishan’s sword art. But there’s some big alterations and her sword moves are very violent. This little girl can’t possibly be the one who thought of them; it must be Yue Buqun who imparted them to her. To actually finished learning all these sword moves probably took many, many days. If Yue Buqun has deliberately planned all these, then his will is in no way small.”

Yuyinzi suddenly called out, “You… You… This isn’t ‘Daizong Way’!”

After he was injured, he suddenly realised Yue Lingshan wasn’t displaying the moves from ‘Daizong Way’. Actually, it could be said that she could take victory in just one move if she used that move, but he didn’t understand why she still had to use ‘Five Gigantic Sword’, ‘Crane Coming to a Clear Fountain’, ‘Stone Block, Horse Returning’, ‘Three Happiness’ sword moves? What was more exasperating was that she actually added some modifications to the key aspects of the Taishan School’s sword moves she used. His martial brother and he hurriedly thought of this but they didn’t have much time so they automatically used the counter sword moves they had been practising for dozens of years already. But her sword positioning differed greatly and the two brothers were inadvertently defeated. If she had actually used another school’s sword art, no matter what move it was or how wonderful, they would not have lost to this young woman. But she was really using the real sword arts of Taishan School, so they felt shame, anger, and surprise mixed together, and couldn’t accept that they had lost to her.

Linghu Chong was bewildered when he saw Yue Lingshan using those sword moves to defeat her opponents. He suddenly heard someone behind him whispered, “Master Linghu, did you teach her those moves?” Linghu Chong turned his head around and saw it was Tian Boguang who asked him. He shook his head.

Tian Boguang smiled slightly and said, “That day on top of Huashan when I fought with you, I remember you used that crane coming whatever. But you weren’t familiar with the move at that time.” Linghu Chong was at a loss as if he didn’t hear what Tian Boguang said.

As soon as Yue Lingshan started her attack, he already realised she was using the Taishan School’s sword arts engraved on the wall at the cave behind the Cliff of Contemplation. But he had never mentioned to anyone the existence of the cave behind the Cliff of Contemplation. He also remembered that he had covered the hole to the cave’s entrance when he left. So how did Yue Lingshan discover it? His thought continued, “Since I could discover the cave, of course little martial sister could also discover it. Moreover, I opened up the entrance by accident. Little martial sister could’ve easily found it too.” Inside the cave, he had seen the unique skills of the five mountains’ sword arts as well as Devil Sect’s elders’ engraving of the methods to break those sword arts. Although he was familiar with those moves engraved on the wall, he didn’t know any of their names. The last three moves used by Yue Lingshan resembled the passing clouds and flowing water; indicating that she knew the movements very well. She managed to injure two masters of the Taishan School using these three moves and she unleashed the moves incisively. Linghu Chong inwardly praised her for this.

When he heard Yuqingzi said ‘Three Happiness’, he remembered the time he went with Master to Mount Taishan. After they had passed the Water Sign Cave, they encountered a long and steep mountain road which was named ‘Three Happiness’. The meaning behind these words was that the length of the slope was three li, and after passing the road, you would be very happy to have done so. He never thought that sword move was actually inspired by the slope.

A thin old man slowly stepped out and said, “Mr. Yue has grasped the essence of the sword arts from each of the five mountains sword schools. This has never happened in Wulin before. I want to study my school’s sword art and see how much I actually understand. I’d like to consult Mr. Yue today.” From the shining huqin held in his left hand, he drew out a really thin short sword with his right hand. He was Hengshan School’s headmaster, Mr. Mo Da.

Yue Lingshan bowed and said, “Martial Uncle Mo, please show mercy. I’ve only just casually learned a few moves of the Hengshan School’s sword art. Martial Uncle Mo, please give some advice.”

Mr. Mo Da had said ‘I’d like to consult Mr. Yue today’. He actually wanted to fight against Yue Buqun, but Yue Lingshan unexpectedly replied to him and clearly said that she was going to use Hengshan School’s sword art. Mr. Mo Da had a prestigious reputation in Jianghu. The crowd heard Zuo Lengchan said that Great Songyang Palm Fei Bin died under Mr. Mo Da’s sword, so they all thought, “Yue Lingshan used Taishan School’s sword art to injure two masters of the Taishan School. Could she also use Hengshan’s sword art to match him?”

Mr. Mo Da smiled. “Very good, very good! Great, great!”

“If I’m not Martial Uncle’s match, then my father will fight.”

Mr. Mo Da said repeatedly, “You’re my match, you’re my match!”

The short sword was slowly pointed out. It suddenly trembled and emitted a humming sound. From the humming noise, two thrust suddenly shot out. Yue Lingshan lifted her sword to block, but Mr. Mo Da’s short sword was like a ghost as it suddenly went around behind Yue Lingshan’s body. Yue Lingshan hastily turned around. Then she heard two humming sound besides her ears and saw a clump of hair floating past her. It was her own hair which had been cut off by Mr. Mo Da. She was anxious and quickly thought, “He’s showing mercy, otherwise his sword could’ve killed me just then. Since he’s not going to harm me, I can just attack him.”

She didn’t care about her opponent’s sword path anymore. With two thrust, she aimed at Mr. Mo Da’s lower abdomen and forehead. Mr. Mo Da was slightly startled and thought, “These two moves are ‘Quan Ming Furong’ and ‘Crane Soaring to Zige’. These are my Hengshan School’s unique skills. How did she learn them?”

Mount Hengshan had seventy two peaks and the five highest peaks were Furong, Zige, Shilin, Tianzhu, and Zhurong. Among the Hengshan School’s sword art, there were five groups of sword arts named after each of those highest peaks. Mr. Mo Da saw that the moves Yue Lingshan used just then was the ‘one move containing one group’ move which meant this one move contained the essences of dozens of sword arts from that one group.

‘Furong Sword Art’ contained thirty six moves and ‘Zige Sword Art’ contained forty four moves, and each of these two sword groups contained the essences of dozens of moves. When they were simplified and harmoniously combined into one move, that one move would be very powerful and would be offensive and defensive at the same time. ‘Quan Ming Furong’ and ‘Crane Soaring to Zige’ were two of these combined moves and they both made up part of the Hengshan School’s top sword arts which were called ‘Hengshan’s Five Divine Swords’. The crowd just heard the continuous sound of swords clashing and they didn’t know who was actually attacking or defending. They also didn’t know how many moves these two people had executed in that short time.

Mr. Mo Da had planned everything before making his move on this mountaintop. He had also thought of a way to counter this ‘leadership challenge sword fight’. He didn’t have the slightest thought of actually becoming the headmaster of the Five Mountains School, and he knew even better that he was no match for Zuo Lengchan or Linghu Chong. But he was the headmaster of Hengshan School, so he couldn’t just bow his head and stand idle by during the leadership challenge sword fight.

He was angry at Yuqingzi for helping an evil person do evil and causing the death of Priest Tianmen. So his original plan was to have it out with that priest, but who would’ve thought that all three Zi of Taishan was injured beforehand, and the only remaining opponent who was his match was Yue Buqun.

When he was at Shaolin temple, he had already seen Yue Buqun’s martial art clearly and he was sure that he wouldn’t lose to Yue Buqun. But the one who came up to fight was unexpectedly Yue Buqun’s daughter. He was already startled that Yue Lingshan was able to use Hengshan School’s sword art. But he was now confounded as well as afraid to see that Yue Lingshan was able to use one of Hengshan School’s highest sword arts: ‘one move containing one group’. The year Mr. Mo Da’s martial ancestors and martial uncle ancestors went to Mount Huashan to fight the Devil Sect’s ten elders, many of them were killed. At that time, Mr. Mo Da’s master was still young and he had learnt all of these five groups of sword art such as the Furong and Zige. But he only knew the general idea of the ‘one move containing one group’ move such as the ‘Quan Ming Furong’ move and the ‘Crane Soaring to the Zige’ move, which were part of the Hengshan Five Divine Swords. Naturally, Mr. Mo Da didn’t get detailed instructions of these moves from his master. But how could this young lady from another school suddenly use these precious sword moves?

Although Yue Lingshan used those two moves, the idea behind the moves eluded her understanding. Otherwise, Mr. Mo Da would’ve lost by the second move, excited as he was in seeing these moves. After he easily blocked the two moves, he saw Yue Lingshan’s long sword dazzlingly executing the move ‘Shilin Shu Sheng’, followed by the move ‘Tianzhu Cloud’. The principal of the ‘Tianzhu Sword Art’ was taken from the changes in the cloud, and it relied heavily on its strange variations. Its movements were very random and very hard to predict. When Mr. Mo Da saw Yue Lingshan used the move ‘Tianzhu Cloud’, he quickly made his decision. Instead of blocking the attack, he just walked past it. This so-called ‘not blocking and walking past’ was actually only good to hear. In reality, he was running away from the fight because he couldn’t defeat the move. However, because the changes in his sword art were complicated, even at the moment he was running away, his short sword thrust to the east and slashed to the west and dazzled everyone there. Thus, no one knew he was actually just planning to run far away.

He knew that among the Hengshan’s Five Divine Swords, besides the ‘Quan Ming Furong’, ‘Crane Soaring to Zige’, ‘Shilin Shu Sheng’, and ‘Tianzhu Cloud’, the most formidable move was called the ‘Wild Goose Returning to Zhurong’. Among Hengshan’s five highest peaks, Zhurong was the highest one. This ‘Wild Goose Returning to Zhurong’ move was also the most profound among the Hengshan’s Five Divine Swords. When Mr. Mo Da’s master talked about this move, his descriptions were quite vague because he didn’t understand the move clearly himself. If Yue Lingshan were to use this move, even if he didn’t lose his life, it still would shame him. His heart was worried and he anxiously dodged and slashed out his short sword. “Even though she’s learned these wonderful moves, it seems she can only use them stupidly and doesn’t seem to be able to respond to an attack automatically using these moves. Unavoidable but I have to flirt with danger and fight her with all my strength. Otherwise, Mo Da won’t have a face to show myself in Jianghu anymore.”

He saw Yue Lingshan moving hesitantly and knew that she was undecided about what to do, whether to give chase or not. Mr. Mo Da gloomily called out, “What a shame! Youngsters have no experience at all.”

Using the move ‘Tianzhu Cloud’, Yue Lingshan forced Mr. Mo Da to turn around and run. Although he covered this up cleverly and it didn’t seem like he had lost, the masters around there had already seen his embarrassment in running away. If Yue Lingshan had stood still, taken her sword back, and cupped her fist saying, “Martial Uncle Mo, thanks for giving way! I offended you,” then the winner and loser would’ve been decided.

With the position Mr. Mo Da had, how could he, after losing, still turn around and fight again with someone a generation lower than him? But Yue Lingshan unexpectedly hesitated, and actually gave Mr. Mo Da such a good opportunity. As Yue Lingshan started to smile showing her dimples and as her cherry-lipped mouth opened slightly like she was about to say something, Mr. Mo Da’s short sword hummed and rushed towards her. This fast attack was the culmination of Mr. Mo Da’s lifetime of practice. The sword was emitting the sound of a huqin, its light flickered everywhere, and in a flash the sword and its lights encircled Yue Lingshan. Yue Lingshan called out in alarm and retreated a few steps. How could Mr. Mo Da give her time to use that move ‘Wild Goose Returning to Zhurong’? The short sword in his hand was getting faster and faster executing the set ‘Magical Thirteen Phantom Stances of Hengshan Mist’ which was ever changing like the clouds and mist. The spectators couldn’t help feeling dizzy from looking at it. If it weren’t for the fact that the crowd felt that Mr. Mo Da was bullying the young, a man bullying a woman, they would’ve applauded a long time ago.

After Yue Lingshan used such moves like ‘Quan Ming Furong’, Linghu Chong had no more doubt she had used the sword arts from the engravings on the cave wall at the back of the Cliff of Contemplation. He pondered, “Why did little martial sister go up to the Cliff of Contemplation? Master and Master-Wife love her dearly; they would never have punished her to stay on that wild and dangerous cliff to meditate. No matter what kind of mistake she may have made, Master and Master-Wife would only reprimand her. The Cliff of Contemplation and the living quarters on Huashan peak aren’t close to each other; the road between them is also very dangerous. Even if it were not my little martial sister but one of the female disciples, they wouldn’t send her to live alone up there. Could it be that it was martial brother Lin who was punished to meditate on that cliff and little martial sister went up there every day to deliver him his meals, just like she did when she was attending to me back then?” As he thought of this, he couldn’t help his chest feeling heated. He again thought, “Martial brother Lin is a quiet person and he also follows rules and customs strictly, as close as one could get to be a ‘Little Gentleman Sword’. That was the reason why Master, Master-Wife, and little martial sister like him. How could he have erred to deserve punishment on that cliff top? He can’t, he couldn’t have, definitely not.” He then thought, “Could it be little martial sister… little martial sister…” Suddenly, he remembered something buried deep in his heart. But this memory was buried too deep. As soon as he recalled it, he immediately forgot about it again. He was stupefied for a moment. What did he remember? He couldn’t recall it clearly. Just at that moment, he heard Yue Lingshan cried out in alarm. Her long sword flew out from her hand, her left foot slipped and she was now looking up from the ground. Mr. Mo Da extended his short sword and pointed it at ther left shoulder. He smilingly said, “Please rise, there’s no need to panic!”

Suddenly, a ‘pai’ sound was heard and the short sword on Mr. Mo Da’s hand was broken. Yue Lingshan had grabbed a couple of rocks from the ground and smashed one rock towards Mr. Mo Da’s sword with her left hand. The short sword was very thin and it immediately broke in two as soon as it was hit. Yue Lingshan followed this by tossing the other rock on her right hand to the left side. Mr. Mo Da was startled when his weapon broke. Now, he saw her tossing a piece of rock to her left side but there was no one there. It was really strange and he couldn’t understand what her intention was.

As soon as the rock hit the ground, it rebounded and hit Mr. Mo Da on the right side of his chest. With a crack, a few of his ribs were broken and blood spouted out. This unpredictable movement by Yue Lingshan was wonderfully fast. Each move was done cleanly and with agility. Everyone was stupefied. They saw clearly that after Mr. Mo Da had taken the initiative, he stopped and said, “Please rise, there’s no need to panic!” Those words were the proper words spoken after a senior had defeated a junior. But Yue Lingshan’s picking up the two stones and the two moves that followed were actually fast as lightning and entirely unpredictable. But Linghu Chong understood. Those two moves used by Yue Lingshan were the moves made by the Devil Sect’s ten elders to break Hengshan School’s unique skills. But the engraving on the cave wall actually showed the use of a pair of copper hammer. Yue Lingshan used the two stones in lieu of the copper hammers. If she had wanted to use the stones while they were fighting, it was impossible for her to do so. But once she has acquired the stones, to toss one of them out and for it to fly back, as long as she had practiced the move, the stones and copper hammers can be treated the same.

Flying over, Yue Buqun entered the battlefield and slapped Yue Lingshan on the cheek. He shouted, “Martial uncle Mo Da has clearly let you off. How dare you to be rude to him?”

He then stooped down to help Mr. Mo Da up and said, “Brother Mo, my daughter doesn’t know what’s good or bad, I’m really sorry. Please forgive her.”

Mr. Mo Da smiled bitterly and said, “The female tiger of your school really is out of ordinary.” After he said these words, he again spouted blood from his mouth. Two disciples from Hengshan School came out to support him back to the group.

Yue Buqun stared angrily at his daughter for a while before stepping back to the side. Linghu Chong saw Yue Lingshan’s left cheek was swollen, and five finger prints were left on her cheeks. It was obvious her father didn’t hit her lightly. Tears were flowing from Yue Lingshan’s eyes, but her mouth was slightly turned down and her expression was steely. Linghu Chong remembered, “In the past when she and I were together at Huashan, when she was naughty and got scolded by Master and Master-Wife, she would feel wronged and she would look pitiful and cute. At that time, I would do anything to cheer her up. Little martial sister is most happy when she won a sword fight against me. I only have to do the same thing, appear as if I’ve negligently given her an opportunity, and not let her see that I deliberately let her…”

He thought till here when his previously elusive memory resurfaced and he suddenly thought clearly “Why would she be at the Cliff of Contemplation? It’s most likely that when she got married, she thought of the deep feelings we used to have, so she went up there all by herself to think of the old days. I’ve already sealed up the entrance to the back cave with rocks. It’s not easy to find if you hadn’t stayed up there for long. In that case, she must have stayed up there not just for a short time but probably went up there more than once.” He turned his head to look at Lin Pingzhi and thought, “Martial brother Lin and she just got married so they should be happy and ecstatic. But how come his expression is melancholic? Little martial sister was just slapped by her father, but he didn’t go and comfort her but acts like it has nothing to do with him. That’s very unreasonable.”

He thought Yue Lingshan went up the Cliff of Contemplation in order to chase after the feelings from the past, but it was only a one sided guess by him and in his mind’s eyes, he imagined how Yue Lingshan cried her eyes out on the cliff, how she regretted marrying Lin Pingzhi, and how she grieved incessantly for disappointing his deep feelings for her. He lifted his head and saw Yue Lingshan stooping down to pick her sword up while her tears dropped onto the grass below. A blade of grass bowed down under a bead of tear. Linghu Chong suddenly felt impulsive, “I must make her smile!” In his eyes, this Songshan mountaintop had suddenly became the Jade Maiden Peak at Huashan and the thousands of people there had turned into trees. In his heart, there was only lovesickness and his most loved person who had cried after being hit by her father. For his whole life, he had cheered her countless of time, so how could he just ignore her at this time?

He strode out and said, “Little martial… little…” He immediately remembered that to cheer her up, he had to fight for real. With his heart drumming, he said, “You’ve defeated the headmasters of Taishan and Hengshan; your sword art isn’t a small matter. My Heng-Shan School isn’t convinced you can use Heng-Shan School’s sword art. Why don’t you fight me?”

Yue Lingshan slowly turned around, but she didn’t lift her head and it seemed she was thinking of something. After a while, she slowly lifted her head and all of a sudden her whole face was blushing. Linghu Chong said, “Although Mr. Yue’s skill is high, I’m not convinced he’s proficient in each of the five schools’ sword arts.”

Yue Lingshan lifted her head and said, “You’re originally not from Heng-Shan School. Today, you’re the Headmaster of Heng-Shan. Are you proficient in Heng-Shan School’s sword art now?” Her face was still stained with tears.

Linghu Chong heard her words were soft and were quite friendly; he was delighted beyond measure. He quietly said to himself, “I must make it look real and don’t let her see that I deliberately let her win.” He then said, “This word ‘proficient’, I don’t dare say it. But I’ve already been at Heng-Shan for a long time and have practised Heng-Shan’s sword arts. So, we’ll both use Heng-Shan School’s sword art to fight each other. Whoever uses any other sword art will lose. What do you think?” He had already decided on a plan. His own sword art was much higher compared to her, which was a well known matter. If he pretended to lose, then other people would definitely see it and Yue Lingshan wouldn’t believe it also. But while fighting, if he accidentally use a move from the ‘Dugu Nine Swords’ or the Huashan School’s sword art, he would at the same time win but lose per agreement, and no one would doubt him.

Yue Lingshan replied, “Alright, we’ll have a fight!” She lifted her long sword and draw a half circle before thrusting at Linghu Chong.

Heng-Shan School’s female disciples gasped when they saw her movements. The crowd didn’t recognise the move as Heng-Shan School’s sword art, but when they heard the admiring gasp, they knew Yue Lingshan’s move was really Heng-Shan School’s sword art and that it was out of the ordinary.

The move she used was really one of the moves taken from the engravings on the cave wall at the back of the Cliff of Contemplation. Furthermore, it was one of the moves that Linghu Chong had imparted to the Heng-Shan School’s disciples.

Linghu Chong wielded his sword to block. He knew Heng-Shan School’s sword art had movements which shifted unceasingly in many circles and were very tight. Each movement of the sword art looked soft but actually contained powerful strength. When fighting an opponent, nine out of ten moves were defending and only one move would take advantage of a flaw to make a surprise attack. He had been together with the Heng-Shan School’s disciples for a long time, and he had also personally seen Dingjing Shi Tai fought a few times against the enemies. Now when he executed the sword moves, every move was circling with meticulous intention. It was obvious he had already grasped the essence of Heng-Shan School’s sword art deeply. Great Master Fangzheng, Priest Chongxu, Beggar Clan’s leader, Zuo Lengchan, and many other people who were familiar with Heng-Shan School’s sword art knew that Linghu Chong was really not from Heng-Shan School, but the Heng-Shan sword art he used was proper and right. Even the most common style still contained a secret attack which thoroughly fit the Heng-Shan’s martial art principle of ‘Needle in a Cotton’. They all inwardly praised him.

They all knew Heng-Shan School had been led by nuns for the last hundreds of years. For people of Buddhist faith, mercy is the foundation of everything. In particular, it was not suitable for women to use reckless movements, as they studied martial art primarily to protect themselves. This principle of ‘Needle in a Cotton’ was like concealing a needle in a wad of cotton. Provided that other people didn’t offend, then the cotton would be soft and wouldn’t harm them. But if you use strength to crush it, then the needle inside the cotton would pierce your palm. Whether it would pierce shallowly or deeply doesn’t depend on the strength of the steel needle, but depends on the power you apply to crush the cotton. If you crush it lightly then the injury would be light, if you use a lot of strength then the injury would be heavy. This kind of martial art principle is based on the retribution principle of Buddhism; you sow your own destiny and the good and bad come from your own heart.

After Linghu Chong had learned the ‘Dugu Nine Swords’, he came to understand the essence of set form martial arts well. He had learned to use sword arts with an emphasis on intention and not on set movements. So when he used the Heng-Shan sword art at this time, the changes at various places were quite different from the original form, but the sword intention of the Heng-Shan’s sword art was still clearly maintained. Even though the masters from other schools knew of Heng-Shan’s sword art, they only knew of the main points and didn’t know the finer points and changes in the sword art. So when they saw the sword intention displayed by Linghu Chong, they all thought, “This youngster didn’t get lucky in becoming Heng-Shan School’s headmaster! He’s actually the true heir appointed by Dingxian and Dingjing Shi Tai.” Only Heng-Shan School’s disciples like Yihe and Yiqing were able to see that the sword forms he used were different from the ones taught by their masters. Even though the forms were different, they realized that the meaning behind these sword moves were deeper than the original sword art. Linghu Chong and Yue Lingshan were both using Heng-Shan School’s sword arts engraved inside the cave at the Cliff of Contemplation. But Linghu Chong’s sword art was originally much higher compared to Yue Lingshan. Added to that he had also been together with Heng-Shan School’s disciples for many days, so he knew the scope of Heng-Shan School’s sword arts better than Yue Lingshan. As the two of them fought, if it weren’t for Linghu Chong deliberately giving way, he would’ve won in just a few moves. After fighting for more than thirty moves, Yue Lingshan had exhausted the moves she learned from the cave wall and was forced to repeat them. It was good that this set of sword art was very complicated and looked really pleasant with its circling movements. There was not much distinction evident between each move. From the first move to the thirty-sixth move, they looked just like one big move. Besides Linghu Chong who had also learned this sword art from the cave wall, no one else could tell that she was repeating the sword moves.

The sword moves Yue Lingshan used were very tight, and Linghu Chong followed the proper method to counter each one of them. The two of them had learned the same identical sword moves which contained the essence of the Heng-Shan School’s sword art. Their swordplays were very impressive and the movements were extremely pleasing to the eye. The spectators were watching happily and continuously applauded.

Someone said, “Linghu Chong is the headmaster of Heng-Shan School, it’s not unusual the sword art he’s using is so brilliant. But this Miss Yue is clearly a disciple of Huashan School. How can she also use Heng-Shan sword art?”

Someone else said, “Linghu Chong is originally Mr. Yue’s disciple too, and he was also the eldest disciple. Otherwise, how could he be this proficient in this sword art? If Mr. Yue didn’t personally pass it down, how can the two of them fight so harmoniously?”

There was also another one who said, “Mr. Yue is proficient in Huashan, Taishan, Hengshan, and Heng-Shan Schools’ sword arts. It seems he must also know the Songshan sword art well. There’s no one who fits this position of Five Mountains School’s headmaster better than him.”

Another person said, “That’s not necessarily true. Songshan’s Headmaster Zuo’s sword art is much higher than Mr. Yue. In the principle of martial art, it’s quality over quantity. Even if you know how to use all the martial arts in this world, what’s the use? You’ll only be a three-legged cat*. Headmaster Zuo’s single Songshan sword art can defeat Mr. Yue’s sword arts from five schools.”

(Translator’s note: Three legged cat is phrase that means a person who can do many things but specializes in nothing.)

The first person from before said, “How do you know? Shamefully blowing your own trumpet.”

The second person angrily said, “Blowing my own trumpet? Let’s bet fifty taels if you got guts.”

The first person replied, “What guts no guts? Let’s bet a hundred taels. Trade the silvers first, the loser will be under Heng-Shan School.”

The second person answered, “Alright, one hundred taels! What’s under Heng-Shan School?”

The first person said, “The loser becomes a nun!” And the second person spat.

At this time, Yue Lingshan’s moves became even faster. Linghu Chong saw her looking elegant and graceful. Remembering the old days when they practiced sword together at Mount Huashan, he gradually became absent-minded. When he saw her thrusting with her sword, he just followed it with a move of his own, not realising that this move wasn’t actually Heng-Shan School’s sword art.

Yue Lingshan was startled and whispered, “Plum Flower like a Bean!” She followed it with a slash at Linghu Chong’s forehead.

Linghu Chong was also stupefied and whispered, “Willow Leaf like an Eyebrow!”

Even though the two of them were using Heng-Shan School’s sword art, they didn’t know the names for them. But these two moves they just exchanged weren’t Heng-Shan School’s sword arts. These were actually from the sword art they created when they were practising together at Huashan: the ‘Chong Ling Sword Art’. The ‘Chong’ was from Linghu Chong’s name, and the ‘Ling’ was from Yue Lingshan’s name. This was the sword art they had playfully created together.

Linghu Chong was far more intelligent than his martial sister. In whatever he did, regardless of what it was, he would do it happily without a care for any rules and come up with new and creative ideas. Even though this group of sword art was created by the two of them, almost all of them were Linghu Chong’s ideas. At that time, their martial arts were still shallow that there was nothing formidable about these sword moves. But the two of them had often practised these set of sword arts at a secluded place and were very familiar with this sword art. When Linghu Chong accidentally used the move ‘Plum Flower like a Bean’, Yue Lingshan followed with the move ‘Willow Leaf like an Eyebrow’. The two of them had used these moves without any deep meaning originally, but now, all of a sudden, both of their faces turned red. Linghu Chong didn’t slow down as he followed with the move ‘See First in the Fog’. Yue Lingshan followed with the move ‘First Time after the Rain’. The two of them had practised this set of sword art for so many times during their time at Huashan, but they were afraid that Master and Master-Wife would scold them if they found out, so they didn’t tell anyone about it. But at this time, they couldn’t control themselves as they used these moves in front of all the realm’s heroes. In a short moment, they had traded about ten moves. Not only Linghu Chong felt he had returned to the former scenery at Huashan when they were practising sword together, even Yue Lingshan gradually forgot that she was already married and that she was in front of thousands of Jianghu’s people to fight for her father’s fame. In her eyes, only her carefree big martial brother was there practising the sword art they had created.

Linghu Chong saw the expression on her face becoming gentler and gentler, and there was a glint of happiness in her eyes. It was obvious she had forgotten the incident of her father slapping her before. He thought, “When I saw her earlier today, she looked melancholy and unhappy. But she’s finally feeling happy now. Ai, if only this Chong Ling sword art has thousands of moves and would never finish in a lifetime!” Ever since the time he heard Yue Lingshan humming a Fujian folk song at the Cliff of Contemplation, this was the first time his little martial sister treated him like in the past. His happiness was unbounded.

After another twenty moves, Yue Lingshan’s long sword slashed at his left leg and Linghu Chong lifted his left leg to kick at her sword. Yue Lingshan lowered her sword edge to chop at his leg. Linghu Chong’s long sword hurriedly attacked her right waist and Yue Lingshan circled her sword. The two swords met with a resounding clang and the points of both swords vibrated. Both of them immediately thrust forward at the same time towards each other’s throat. Their speed was unmatched. Looking at both swords thrusting forward at such speed, it seemed no one would be able to go up to save them and they would both meet common ruin. The crowd called out in surprise. But the crowd heard a sudden ringing sound and saw that the points of both swords pushed against each other in mid air, generating sparks and then bent together to make an arch. Both then sent their palms forwards, clashed palms, and floated down separating from each other.

No one could’ve guessed of this outcome; that the points of these swords could unexpectedly and opportunely meet in mid air like this. It was very hard for two sword points to come together like this just for once even after thousands of sword fights. But these two people had unexpectedly done this once in a lifetime deed. Nobody around there had ever seen such a unique incident of two sword points meeting in the middle of the air in the thousands of sword fights they had seen. But Linghu Chong and Yue Lingshan had actually practiced thousands of time to do just this, and they had accomplished what they had set out to do quite some time ago. This move must be done by the two of them simultaneously. When they started their moves, the positioning and power must be completely right. When both sword points met with enough speed behind them, they would bend and make an arch. This sword art was not useful in actually winning a fight against an opponent. But to Linghu Chong and Yue Lingshan, this was a very amusing and interesting thing to do though it was very difficult. After they had finished practising this sword move, they took it a step further and practised till the sword points would hit with sparks flying around. When they had finished practising this move on Huashan, Yue Lingshan asked what name they should call this move by. Linghu Chong answered, “What do you think we should call it?”

Yue Lingshan laughingly answered, “The two swords meeting together simply can’t take anyone’s life. How about we call it ‘Common Ruins’?”

Linghu Chong said, “Common Ruins, it sounded like you and I have absolutely irreconcilable enmity between us. How about we call it ‘You Die I Live’!”

Yue Lingshan pouted and said, “Why I die you live? You die I live is the correct one.”

Linghu Chong said, “I did say ‘You Die I Live’.”

“This you and I, it’s not clear. No one dies in this move so we should call it ‘Live Together Die Together’.”

Linghu Chong clapped and said it was a good name. Yue Lingshan thought this name of ‘Live Together Die Together’ was too intimate, so she dropped her sword and ran.

The crowd saw the two of them were on the verge of death before escaping from an extremely dangerous situation. Cold sweat was running down their hands, and they had even forgotten to cheer. That day in Shaolin temple, when Yue Buqun and Linghu Chong fought, even though Yue Buqun used the moves from Chong Ling sword art to urge him to return to Huashan School, he didn’t use this move. Though Yue Buqun secretly peeped into their practice and found out the moves from Chong Ling sword art, he didn’t devote his time into practising this nonsense and useless ‘Live Together Die Together’ move. That was why when Fangzheng, Chongxu, Zuo Lengchan and the other masters saw it, they were all greatly surprised.

Yingying was frightened and felt uneasy after seeing it. She saw they were both smiling as they separated and floated down. From their attitudes and postures, it seemed as if they were wrapped in a warm and gentle spring breeze. Both of them lifted their swords and fought again. When they created this sword art on Huashan, they were suited to each other and mutually loved each other. For this reason, the sword art they created contained a lot of playful elements and not much killing intention. Now as they fought, they unwittingly returned to their old scenery. Their swords were slow, their eyebrows were lifted, and gradually, the tender feelings from when they were childhood friends bursted forth. This ‘sword fight’, it would be better to call it ‘Dancing with Swords’, or better yet, a ‘Sword Dance’. This ‘Sword Dance’, however, was not for entertaining guests but rather for entertaining oneself. Suddenly, from among the crowd, she heard someone uttered a ‘Hey!” and sneered coldly. Yue Lingshan was startled when she realised it was her husband’s voice. She thought, “It’s not right for me to fight big martial brother like this.” She circled her sword, slashed upwards, and pierced it forward powerfully. This sword movement looked beautiful as it was a stance out of the Huashan School’s ‘Nineteen Stances of the Jade Maiden Sword’. Linghu Chong had also heard Lin Pingzhi’s cold sneer and saw how Yue Lingshan promptly changed her move afterwards. The coming attack wasn’t soft anymore and didn’t look anything like the Chong Ling sword art which was full of tangled up meanings.

His heart felt sour, and all of a sudden, all kinds of past events bubbled up in his minds. He remembered the days when he was being punished by Master on the Cliff of Contemplation to meditate. At that time, little martial sister came every day to deliver him his meals. One day, it snowed heavily and the two of them actually spent a night together inside the cave.

He also thought of the time when little martial sister got sick and the two of them did not met for many days. The pain of lovesickness blossomed in him then. But at that time, without knowing how, Lin Pingzhi unexpectedly gained her favour. From then on, the two of them started to misunderstand each other as days go by.

He also thought of the day after little martial sister had learned the ‘Nineteen Stances of the Jade Maiden Sword’ from Master-Wife. She came to the cliff to test the moves against him but he was feeling bitter at that time, and he unexpectedly didn’t let…. He thought of these things in just a blink of an eye. At this moment, Yue Lingshan’s long sword had almost arrived at his chest. As Linghu Chong’s mind was in confusion, he flicked out with a finger in his left hand. ‘Ring’, he flicked at her long sword resulting in Yue Lingshan being unable to hold on to her sword. It flew out of her hand and shot up into the sky.

After Linghu Chong had flicked out the sword, he gloomily called out, “Oops!” He saw Yue Lingshan’s expression had turned bitter looking like she wanted to smile, yet unable to smile. That day on the Cliff of Contemplation, Linghu Chong had also used a similar move to flick her treasured sword, the ‘Sword of the Green Pool’, down the bottomless abyss of a valley. From this incident, a wall had grown between the two of them. He never expected that today he would actually repeat what he did before. For these last few days, on calm nights, he had sometimes pondered on why he flicked away Yue Lingshan’s long sword and realised it was because he was jealous of Lin Pingzhi. When his feelings were bubbling forth inside him, it was hard for him to control himself, so he himself was to be blamed. How could he have known that his old jealousy would come out again when he saw how Yue Lingshan’s attitude changed on hearing Lin Pingzhi’s voice. That day on the Cliff of Contemplation, with a flick, he was already able to shake the long sword off Yue Lingshan’s hand. This time, with his current internal energy, he cannot say how far the sword would actually go as it soared high into the sky and actually didn’t come down for a little while.

His thought turned quickly, “I actually wanted to lose to little martial sister and make her happy. But I flicked her long sword away now and that’s really going to make her lose some face in front of all these heroes. How could I use such a despicable method to repay for little martial sister’s friendship?” He took a glance and saw that the long sword was now in mid air and coming down. He immediately shifted his body and called out, “Good Heng-Shan sword art!” He looked as if he had exhausted his energy. In fact he was positioning his body on the point where the sword was coming to. With a ‘pu’ sound, the long sword entered the back of his left shoulder. Linghu Chong threw himself forward and nailed his long sword on the ground.

This accident happened so fast that the crowd called out and was then stunned into silence. Yue Lingshan was alarmed as she said, “You… Big martial brother…” She saw a bearded man rushed up with his long sword up. The injury on the back of Linghu Chong’s shoulder was spouting blood, and more than ten disciples from Heng-Shan School encircled him. Some of them struggled to take their medicines out to apply it on him. Yue Lingshan didn’t know whether he would live or die, so she went up to see. With a flash, two swords barred her path. A female nun shouted, “Cruel woman!” Yue Lingshan was startled and retreated a few steps. She didn’t know what to do.

Yue Buqun laughed long and hard, then in a clear voice said, “Shan’er, you used the sword arts from Taishan, Hengshan, and Heng-Shan Schools to defeat the three headmasters from each respective schools. That’s very hard to do!”

Yue Lingshan dropped her long sword. The crowd saw that Linghu Chong had flicked her long sword away, but it was Linghu Chong who was then injured by her long sword. Those were the facts. But whether that move was Heng-Shan’s sword art or not, no one could say. When they were fighting using the Chong Ling sword art, the spectators couldn’t understand what they were seeing but they knew the moves were simple and artless, and completely useless. Only the dancing looked good. At the end, it turned into a mishap and everyone was surprised that it would end up like this. Now, when they heard Yue Buqun praising his daughter that she had used the each school’s sword art to defeat the three headmasters, they thought this move Yue Lingshan used of sword dropping down from the air was indeed Heng-Shan School’s sword art. Although some people had doubts because they felt this sword art was very different from Heng-Shan’s sword art and yet they couldn’t tell the origin of that sword art. So it was inconvenient to publicly debate this with Yue Buqun.

Yue Lingshan picked up her long sword and saw her sword was covered in blood. Her heart was drumming fiercely and she thought, “How is he? As long as he doesn’t die, I’ll… I’ll…”

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