The Smiling, Proud Wanderer (笑傲江湖) Chapter 35 – Vengeance

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The Smiling, Proud Wanderer (笑傲江湖) Chapter 35

[Moonlight poured on the wide and straight road like a stream. Light fog and mist shrouded the trees by the road. Sweet smell from wild flowers was heavy for a moment and then light for the next. Small breeze stroked people’s face. Linghu Chong hadn’t had any wine for a long time, but now he felt a bit tipsy like he just had some.]

Chapter 35 – Vengeance

The sky gradually got darker, and finally there was no one else around the place of worship besides the Heng-Shan School people. “Martial Brother Headmaster, are we also going down?” Yihe questioned. She was still calling Linghu Chong as ‘Martial Brother Headmaster’, which meant that she did not acknowledge the merging of the five schools nor accept Yue Buqun to be their headmaster.

“We’ll stay here for the night, is that alright?” Linghu Chong felt the further away he was from Yue Buqun, the better it was. Also, he did not wish to see Yue Buqun’s face again at the Songshan’s courtyard.

When he said this, the female disciples of the Heng-Shan School cheered happily. They all actually felt the same thing, and no one wished to go down. Back in Fuzhou, they had asked Huashan School to help their martial elders who were in trouble. But in spite of the motto ‘Five mountains sword schools, same root different branches’, Yue Buqun flatly refused to help them. Heng-Shan School’s disciples had always kept this matter in their hearts. At the moment, everyone was still feeling angry that Linghu Chong had gotten injured by Yue Lingshan. So from the combination of all these together, they all refused to accept the fact that Yue Buqun had snatched the leadership of the Five Mountains School. Thus, staying by the place of the worship for the night was agreeable to them.

“Martial Brother Headmaster can’t move too much, so staying here is best,” Yiqing said agreeing with Linghu Chong. “But, this big brother…” As she said this, she glanced toward Yingying.

“This isn’t a big brother,” Linghu Chong laughed. “She’s young lady Ren.”

Yingying had been supporting Linghu Chong all this time, but when she heard him divulging her identity, she became bashful and quickly stood up to flee for a few steps. Linghu Chong wasn’t guarding against this so his body tipped backwards. Yilin, who was standing besides him, quickly extended her hand to hold his left shoulder and called out, “Careful!”

Yihe, Yiqing, and the others all knew Yingying and Linghu Chong had a deep love for each other. One of them was willing to risk her life at Shaolin temple because of love, while the other led a group of Jianghu heroes to attack Shaolin temple because of her. When Linghu Chong became the headmaster of the Heng-Shan School, this young lady Ren came personally to congratulate him and she also defeated the scheming of the Devil Sect. It could be said she had done a big favour for Heng-Shan School. When they heard this big bearded man in front of them was young lady Ren, mixed feelings of happiness and surprise rose up. The disciples of Heng-Shan School had long regarded this young lady Ren to be their future Headmaster-Wife, so when they saw her, they felt very intimate towards her.

After Yihe and some of the other disciples took care of provisions such as clear water and meals, they lay down besides the place of worship. Because of his serious injury, Linghu Chong also felt sleepy and exhausted, so he fell into a deep sleep in a short time.

In the middle of the night, from somewhere far away, they suddenly heard a female voice shouting, “Who’s there?”

Even though Linghu Chong was heavily injured, his internal energy was still abundant. When he heard this, he promptly woke up and knew it was a Heng-Shan School disciple guarding the perimeter asking someone who was coming up the peak. He heard someone answered, “I’m a disciple from the same Five Mountains School. I’m Headmaster Yue’s disciple, Lin Pingzhi.”

“Why did you come here in the middle of the night?” the Heng-Shan School disciple who was on night watch duty inquired.

“I have an appointment underneath the place of worship,” Lin Pingzhi answered. “I didn’t know martial sisters are resting here. Sorry for the offence.” His speech was very polite.

“Little kid surnamed Lin, you’re trying to win by number concealing your Five Mountains School’s friends here,” an elder’s voice came from the west. “Are you trying to give me trouble?”

Linghu Chong recognised the voice to be Qingcheng School’s headmaster, Yu Canghai. He was startled and thought, “Martial brother Lin has an enmity with Yu Canghai for killing his parents. This appointment must be for repaying his blood debt.”

“I didn’t know the martial sisters from Heng-Shan are resting here,” Lin Pingzhi replied. “Let’s find someplace else to settle our business so we don’t bother their dreams.”

“So we don’t bother their dreams? Hey, hey, you’ve already disturbed them, but you’re trying to be the nice guy now. Like father-in-law, like son-in-law. What do you have to say? Quickly say it now so we can all go back to sleep peacefully,” Yu Canghai laughed loudly.

“I don’t think that you’ll be able to sleep peacefully ever again,” Lin Pingzhi coldly said. “When your Qingcheng School came to Mount Songshan, you brought thirty four people with you. I made an appointment with you only, how come three came?”

Yu Canghai looked up and laughed loudly. “Who do you think you are? Do you think you’re worthy to talk to me like that? Your father-in-law is the new headmaster of the Five Mountains School, so I came here to listen to what you have to say just to give him face. What do you want to fart about? Let’s hear it. If you want to fight then draw your sword and let me see your Lin family’s Evil Resisting Sword Art. Let’s see how much you’ve improved.”

Linghu Chong slowly sat up. Under the pale moonlight, he saw Lin Pingzhi and Yu Canghai facing each other at around thirty feet apart. Linghu Chong thought, “That day when I was injured in Hengshan, this shorty Yu wanted to kill me. Luckily Martial Brother Lin showed himself and interfered, and saved my life. If that shorty Yu had hit me on that day, how can Linghu Chong be alive today? Martial Brother Lin’s martial art has advanced greatly since he joined the Huashan School but he still won’t be at the level of this shorty Yu. He made the appointment here with shorty Yu; Master and Master-Wife must surely be behind him to help. But if Master and Master-Wife didn’t come then I can’t just stand by and do nothing.”

Yu Canghai laughed derisively. “If you got guts then come by yourself to Mount Qingcheng to get your revenge, instead of making a surreptitious appointment here with me while concealing a group of nuns here to ambush me. What a joke, what a joke!”

When Yihe heard this, she couldn’t hold back her anger and shouted, “Whatever love or hatred this kid surnamed Lin has toward you, what’s that got to do with our Heng-Shan School? You shorty priest, you talk nonsense! You can fight till you die, we’re just here to watch. I know you’re afraid, but don’t drag Heng-Shan School into it.” She was very resentful towards Yue Lingshan. When you like someone, you like everything associated with that person. When you don’t like someone, you don’t like anything associated with that person. So by this reasoning, Yihe also detested Yue Lingshan’s husband.

Yu Canghai and Zuo Lengchan had always been friends. Zuo Lengchan had personally written two letters to invite him to the monastery to strengthen the situation today. So when Yu Canghai came to Mount Songshan at this time, he expected Zuo Lengchan to become the Five Mountains School’s headmaster. That was why even though the Huashan School’s people had an enmity with him, he didn’t care about it in the least. But who could’ve thought this headmaster position of the Five Mountains School was unexpectedly snatched by Yue Buqun? Because of this unexpected event, the Qingcheng School didn’t feel like staying on Mount Songshan and was going to go down the mountain that very night. As the Qingcheng School’s party was going down from the Songshan mountaintop, Lin Pingzhi walked up besides him and whispered about the appointment. He wanted Yu Canghai to meet him tonight beneath the place of worship. Even though Lin Pingzhi spoke quietly, he was very rude in his expression and in his choice of words which made it hard for Yu Canghai to decline. At that time, Yu Canghai pondered, “Your Huashan School has just come into power as head of the Five Mountains School and yet you’ve become arrogant already. But you’re still green and the Five Mountains School might still split up, so I’m not afraid of you at all. But I must protect against your helpers attacking in numbers.”

With that thought in his mind, Yu Canghai deliberately came to the meeting a bit late to see if Lin Pingzhi had brought a large number of helpers with him. When he saw Lin Pingzhi had turned up to the peak all by himself, he was delighted. He then brought two of the Qingcheng School’s people to the peak with him, while the rest was dispersed around the waist of the mountain to alert him if anyone was coming up to the peak. But, when he reached the peak, he saw there were many people sleeping underneath the place of worship. Yu Canghai inwardly felt miserable and thought, “A thirty years old mother has been defeated by a little baby. I only checked if he brought helpers with him up to the peak. I never thought his helpers would already be waiting on top of the peak. I’ve walked into their ambush. Now I have to think of a way to get out of it.”

He knew Heng-Shan School’s martial art wasn’t below Qingcheng School’s. Even though three of their senior Shi Tai had passed away and Linghu Chong had also been seriously injured and the current stature of Heng-Shan School was on the wane as they were left with no master-hands, there were still a lot of them. If the hundreds of nuns form their sword formations to attack, the situation would be extremely dangerous. When he heard what Yihe said, he felt relieved even though she was being very rude to him and insulted him by calling him ‘shorty’. Her words made it clear that Heng-Shan School wouldn’t help Lin Pingzhi.

“It’s very good you are not helping each other,” Yu Canghai said. “There’s no harm for everyone to open your eyes widely and watch my Qingcheng School’s swordplay, and see how it compares to Huashan School’s swordplay.” He paused for a tick before continuing, “Everyone, Yue Buqun was lucky to defeat Martial Brother Zuo because I don’t think his swordplay is very good. Every family and every school in Wulin has its own unique skill. Huashan sword art isn’t necessarily able enough to rule the world. From what I see, Heng-Shan sword art is much better compared to Huashan’s.” Heng-Shan School’s disciples did not know whether his words had a double meaning or not. But Yihe didn’t care about it as she said, “Hey, you two, if you want to fight then fight. Quit yapping your mouth here in the middle of the night disturbing people’s sleep. How inconsiderate!”

Yu Canghai was fuming but he thought, “I have to deal with this kid Lin today, so I can’t settle my debt with you stinking nuns right now. But from today onwards, whenever I cross paths with your Heng-Shan School, I’ll make sure to give you a lot of trouble.” He was a petty person and was used to being arrogant. If the people of the generation below him didn’t show much respect and didn’t speak flatteringly when meeting him, he would become unhappy. If Yihe had said those words at any other time, he would’ve blown his top.

Lin Pingzhi walked up a couple of steps. “Yu Canghai, you’ve long coveted my family’s sword art and killed my parents for it. Even the dozens of people from my Fortune Prestige Escort agency were all killed by your Qingcheng School. Your blood with compensate this blood debt tonight.”

“My own son was killed by you, Pig!” Yu Canghai shouted in anger. “Even if you hadn’t come looking for me, I would’ve cut you into thousands of pieces and peeled your flesh off, Dog! Were you trying to hide by becoming a disciple of Huashan and getting Yue Buqun as your backer?” With a ringing sound, he drew his long sword out of its scabbard. It was the fifteenth of the month that day so there was a bright moon in the sky. Even though his body was short, the sword was long. The moonlight reflected off the steel like rippling water. The sword in front of his body was trembling. The situation was far from ordinary.

Heng-Shan disciples all thought, “This shorty’s reputation isn’t a small matter.” Lin Pingzhi still hadn’t drawn his sword as he walked up another two steps. He was now only around ten feet apart from Yu Canghai. His head was slightly turned while his eyes were full of fire observing Yu Canghai.

When Ling Pingzhi did not draw his sword, Yu Canghai thought, “You, little kid, are very reckless. If I use the ‘Flood Dragon Soaring from the Deep Blue Pool’ now, you’d have a new mouth two and a half feet long from your lower abdomen to your throat. But you’re a junior to me so I can’t move first.” Then he shouted, “Still not drawing your sword?” He was waiting for Lin Pingzhi to press his hand on his sword handle and start drawing his sword out. At the moment before Ling Pingzhi’s sword was completely out of the scabbard, he would use the move ‘Flood Dragon Soaring from the Deep Blue Pool’ to cut his stomach. Heng-Shan disciples would then only be able to say his hand was fast but not that it was a sneak attack. Linghu Chong saw the long sword trembling in Yu Canghai’s hand and he called out, “Martial brother Lin, be careful, he’s going to stab at your stomach.”

Lin Pingzhi laughed mockingly and suddenly rushed forward. His move was extremely fast, as in an instant, there was only a distance of less than one foot between him and Yu Canghai. Their noses were practically touching. This rushing move was so strange that no one could have imagined it, and it was so fast that it was very hard to describe. With this single rush, the long sword on Yu Canghai’s right hand was now behind his opponent’s body and there was no way for him to bend his long sword to stab the back of Lin Pingzhi’s body. Lin Pingzhi’s left hand was also holding Yu Canghai’s right shoulder while his right hand was pressing against Yu Canghai’s chest. Yu Canghai felt tingling pain on the ‘Shoulder Well’ acupoint on his shoulder and felt his right arm became weak and the long sword dropped from his hand. Everyone saw how Lin Pingzhi subdued his opponent in just one move and how his hand movements were strange. His movements looked exactly like the moves Yue Buqun used to defeat Zuo Lengchan, even the movement path he had taken was exactly the same. Linghu Chong turned his head around to look at Yingying. They stared at each other and cried out quietly at the same time, “Dongfang Bubai!”

Linghu Chong and Yingying were staring at each other and they both saw fear and dismay in each other’s eyes. It was obvious Lin Pingzhi’s move was the same as the martial art that Dongfang Bubai used on that day at Dark Wood Cliff. Lin Pingzhi didn’t force out the gathered energy in his right hand as he saw the dread on Yu Canghai’s face lighted under the moonlight. It couldn’t be said that Lin Pingzhi was feeling happy as he felt that death would have come too easily for Yu Canghai if he was killed in just one move.

In that moment, from somewhere far, they heard Yue Lingshan shouting, “Brother Ping, Brother Ping! Father told you not to bother him for now.” She was running up the peak as she shouted. When she saw Lin Pingzhi and Yu Canghai standing face to face, she was stupefied. She rushed forward a few steps and saw Lin Pingzhi was holding Yu Canghai’s fatal acupoint on one hand while his other hand was on Yu Canghai’s chest. She let out a sigh of relieve. “Father said Priest Yu is our guest today and we shouldn’t make any trouble for him.”

Lin Pingzhi snorted and added more internal energy into pressing Yu Canghai’s ‘Shoulder Well’ acupoint. Yu Canghai’s major acupoint became even more painful, but when he examined it closer, he found his opponent’s internal energy was ordinary and there was nothing special about it. It was only painful because it was pressing on his major acupoint. Otherwise according to the theory of internal energy cultivation, Lin Pingzhi was still far below him. In that realisation, he felt sadness and anger mixed together in his heart. Clearly, his opponent’s martial art was sloppy and ordinary. Even if Lin Pingzhi studied for ten more years, he still wouldn’t be his match. But Lin Pingzhi had now taken advantage of his negligence and his reputation would now be gone forever. Furthermore, Lin Pingzhi wanted to avenge his parents so most likely he wouldn’t listen to his master’s order and thus take his life right now.

“Father told you to spare his life today,” Yue Lingshan pleaded. “Are you afraid he’s going to run off to the edge of the world?”

Lin Pingzhi lifted his left palm and slapped Yu Canghai twice. Yu Canghai was furious, but his enemy’s right hand was still pressed against his chest. This youngster’s internal energy was not good but when he exerted his energy, it still shook Yu Canghai’s heart meridian. If this right palm were to kill him, it would have been the best thing for him. But the thing he feared most was Lin Pingzhi using a fourth or fifth class internal energy which would make him dead but not dead, alive but not alive, and make him very miserable. He weighed the importance of the matter in a flash and didn’t dare to move at all. After Lin Pingzhi had slapped him twice, he laughed long and hard before jumping back around thirty feet away. Lin Pingzhi turned his head slightly to regard Yu Canghai. Yu Canghai wanted to pick his sword up but he considered himself to be a senior and he was already subdued in just one move. If he foolhardily rushed forward to fight under the eyes of so many people, that could be said like a beggar fighting. Compared to losing the fight, he would be even more ashamed. So even if he took a step across to continue fighting, he wouldn’t have taken the second step. Lin Pingzhi sneered and walked away. He unexpectedly didn’t pay any attention even to his wife.

Yue Lingshan stamped her feet, and took a glance toward Linghu Chong who was sitting underneath the place of worship. She immediately walked towards him and said, “Big martial brother, your… your wound is alright?”

As soon as Linghu Chong heard her voice in the beginning, his heart was already racing. At this time he got even more excited, he stammered out, “I… I… I…”

“Don’t worry, he won’t die!” Yihe coldly said to Yue Lingshan.

Yue Lingshan heard her but didn’t listen to her. Her eyes gazed at Linghu Chong, and she quietly said, “When I lost my sword, I… I didn’t mean to injure you.”

“Yes,” Linghu Chong replied. “Of course I know, of course I know… I… I… of course I know.” He had always been open-minded and carefree, but in front of his little martial sister, he became very muddle headed. He said the word ‘of course I know’ for three times, not knowing what he was driving at.

“Your injury is very heavy, I’m extremely sorry, but I hope you won’t blame me,” Yue Lingshan apologetically said.

‘No, I won’t, of course I won’t blame you.”

Yue Lingshan silently sighed and lowered her head. She quietly said, “I’m going!”

“You… you want to go?” Linghu Chong’s disappointment was evident in his speech and expression.

Yue Lingshan slowly walked away with her head down. Just before she went down the mountaintop, she stopped and turned around. “Big martial brother, about the two martial sisters of Heng-Shan School who came to Huashan, father said we’re being impolite and we’re very sorry. When we return to Huashan, we’ll make up for our offence and accompany them down the mountain.”

“Yes, very good, very… very good!” Linghu Chong watched her as she went down the mountaintop until she disappeared behind a pine tree. He suddenly thought of the time on the Cliff of Contemplation when she delivered wine and meals to him every day. But when she left, he had always been reluctant to part and only managed to utter a few words, until finally she shifted her feelings toward Lin Pingzhi and her feelings toward him changed. When he pondered of the things that happened in the past, he was only making things difficult for himself. Suddenly he heard Yihe coldly laughed and said, “What’s so good about that girl? Her heart’s undecided, and she doesn’t treat people with the least bit of sincerity at all. Compared to our young lady Ren, she’s not even fit to carry her shoes.”

Linghu Chong was surprised and not until now did he think of Yingying who was besides him. He treated little martial sister in such an absentminded manner, of course Yingying had seen it all. His face couldn’t help becoming hot. But he saw Yingying leaning on the corner of the place of worship looking like she had dozed off. He thought, “It’s good that she’s fallen asleep.” But Yingying was so alert, how could she have fallen asleep at that time? Linghu Chong knew he was lying to himself. He tried to find a few words to say to her, but he didn’t know what to say. But to repay Yingying, he immediately thought of something. At this time, there were no words that could be said, and the best thing to do was not to say anything. However, the best way would be to lead her thought away from what just happened. So he lied down slowly and suddenly groaned lightly like he had hit his wound and it was feeling painful. Of course Yingying would be worried so she came over and quietly asked, “Does it hurt?”

“It’s alright,” Linghu Chong answered and extended his hand to hold Yingying’s hand. Yingying wanted to snatch her hand back but Linghu Chong was gripping it pretty tightly. She was afraid if she used too much force then it’ll hurt his wound so she just let him hold her hand. Linghu Chong had lost a lot of blood and was feeling very sleepy, so he slept deeply not long after that.

When dawn broke, the whole mountain was basked in crimson sunlight. Everyone was afraid to startle him into wakefulness so no one dared to say anything. Linghu Chong felt his hand was empty. He didn’t know how long it was before Yingying pulled her hand back. But both of her eyes were staring at his face looking very concerned. Linghu Chong smiled at her and sat up. “Let’s go back to Heng-Shan!”

At this time, Tian Boguang had already chopped a tree down and made a stretcher out of it. So Monk No Commandment and he carried Linghu Chong to go down the mountain peak. When their party passed by the Songshan’s courtyard, they saw Yue Buqun was waiting for them at the entrance with his face smiling, wanting to see them off. Madam Yue and Yue Lingshan weren’t besides him.

“Master, disciple can’t kowtow to bid you goodbye,” Linghu Chong said.

“No need, no need,” Yue Buqun smiled. “We’ll talk when your injury is better. I have no one to help me in my position as the Five Mountains School’s headmaster. Later on, I have to rely upon you in helping me with a lot of things.” Linghu Chong forced out a smile.

Monk No Commandment and Tian Boguang carried him and walked quickly like they were flying, and they walked very far in just a short time. On the mountain road, they passed by the groups that had come to the meeting at Mount Songshan. When they reached the foot of the mountain, they hired mule-drawn carriages and let Linghu Chong and Yingying rode in them.

When night fell, they came upon a small town and saw a teahouse shed with lots of people sitting inside. They were all from Qingcheng School and Yu Canghai was also among them. When he saw the disciples of Heng-Shan arriving, his face changed colour and he turned his back towards them. The small town had no other teahouse so the Heng-Shan’s people sat down on a rock step on the opposite eaves to rest. Zheng E and Qin Juan went inside the teahouse to get some hot tea for Linghu Chong to drink.

Suddenly, they heard the sound of galloping horses and two horses came over with dust flying behind them. When they arrived in front of the town, the two horses were reined in. There were one male and one female riding the horses; they were Lin Pingzhi and Yue Lingshan.

“Yu Canghai, you know I didn’t give permission for you to rest, why don’t you run away quickly? Are you waiting for death here?” Lin Pingzhi called out.

Linghu Chong was on the mule-drawn carriage when he heard Lin Pingzhi’s voice. He asked, “Martial brother Lin has caught up?”

Qin Juan was sitting inside the carriage waiting for him to drink his tea, she immediately rolled open the curtain on the carriage to let him observe the happenings outside the carriage. Yu Canghai was sitting on a stool sipping a cup of tea in his hand and did not pay attention to Lin Pingzhi. After he had taken another sip, he said, “I’m waiting here to send you to your death.”

“Good!” Lin Pingzhi responded. This word ‘good’ had just been spoken when he had already jumped down his horse, had his sword out, thrust it forward, leapt back on his horse and with a shout rode away with Yue Lingshan. A disciple of Qingcheng School who was standing on the side of the street had a gash on his chest sprouting blood, then he slowly fell over.

This attack done by Lin Pingzhi was strange and unpredictable. When he dismounted and had his sword out, it looked like he was going to attack Yu Canghai. When Yu Canghai saw him attacking, it was precisely what he wished for and he secretly felt happy. He expected that when they fight, he would be able to take Lin Pingzhi’s life to avenge for last night’s insult. If Yue Buqun later came for him, that was a matter for the future. But who could’ve thought the opponent’s sword would be able to change direction in midair, and fast as lightning killed a Qingcheng disciple, then got on his horse to run away. Yu Canghai was alarmed and angry at the same time as he leapt to chase, but his two enemies had ridden their horses very fast and there was no way for him to chase them.

The attack by Lin Pingzhi just then was immeasurably weird and unbelievably quick. Linghu Chong’s jaw dropped from seeing it and he thought, “If he used this attack on me, and I don’t have a weapon with me, then I’d have no way of fighting back and I would’ve been killed by him.” He pondered over the swordplay and knew Lin Pingzhi’s skill was far below him. But the move Lin Pingzhi used just then was so fast, even he wouldn’t be able to break it.

Yu Canghai was stamping his feet and angrily pointing at the dust left behind by Lin Pingzhi’s horse as he hurled abuses at them. But Lin Pingzhi and Yue Lingshan had gone very far, how could they hear his abuses? His whole body was filled with anger and there was nowhere to vent it. He turned around and scolded, “You stinking nuns, you knew that Lin was coming so you came here first to help him. Alright, that animal Lin, has run away. Whoever got the nerves, come and fight to the death with me.”

The number of Heng-Shan disciples was multiples that of Qingcheng School’s people. Furthermore they also had some good fighters like Monk No Commandment, Yingying, Peach Valley Six Fairies, and Tian Boguang. If they were to actually fight, Qingcheng School had no hope of winning. Yu Canghai knew the strengths and weaknesses of both parties, but he was in a rage, so even though he was experienced and careful, he couldn’t restrain himself. Yihe promptly pulled her long sword out and angrily replied, “If you want to fight, then come. Who’s afraid of you?”

“Martial Sister Yihe, ignore him,” Linghu Chong said.

Yingying whispered a few words to the Peach Valley Six Fairies. Peachtree Root Fairy, Peachtree Trunk Fairy, Peachtree Branch Fairy, and Peachtree Leaf Fairy suddenly flew towards a horse underneath the cool shed. That horse was Yu Canghai’s ride. A neighing sound was heard as the Peach Valley Four Fairies separately grabbed each of the horse’s legs and tugged hard at them. With a loud ripping sound, that horse was torn into four pieces and its internal organs and blood flew out everywhere. It was a big and strong horse, but with just their bare hands, the Peach Valley Four Fairies had unexpectedly ripped it apart. The four of them had such rarely seen powerful strength.

Qingcheng School’s disciples were startled and all their faces changed colour. Even the people from Heng-Shan School were frightened till their hearts were thumping loudly.

“Old priest Yu, that Lin has an enmity towards you,” Yingying said. “We’re not going to help any party and we’re just going to be spectators on the side, so don’t implicate us. If you really want to fight, you’re not our match so why don’t we all just save our strength?”

Yu Canghai was frightened and became timid. So with a hissing sound, he put his long sword back into its sheath. “River water doesn’t mix with well water. You go your own way and we’ll go our own way. Please go first.”

“That won’t do, we’re going with you,” Yingying replied.

“Why?” Yu Canghai scowled.

“To be frank,” Yingying explained, “that Lin’s sword art is really weird, so we must see it.”

Linghu Chong was surprised. What Yingying just said was exactly what he was thinking about. Lin Pingzhi’s swordplay was really weird, and ‘Dugu Nine Swords’ seemed incapable of breaking it, so he wanted to have a clearer look at it.

“You want to see that little kid’s sword art, what’s that got to do with me?” When these words came out of Yu Canghai’s mouth, he knew he had said the wrong thing. His enmity with Lin Pingzhi was as deep as the ocean, so Lin Pingzhi wouldn’t just kill one Qingcheng disciple and give up. He would surely come back to seek his revenge, and Heng-Shan School’s people wanted to see how Lin Pingzhi used his sword and how he would kill the people of Qingcheng School. Anyone who studied martial arts would wish to observe other peculiar martial arts out there, and everyone in the Heng-Shan School used sword so they weren’t willing to just let this opportunity passed them by. But they would be following the Qingcheng School who were like lambs going to the slaughter, and they would see how a butcher chopped them up. From among the people in the world who take advantage of other people, how could anything exceed this?

Yu Canghai was feeling angry and he wanted to say something sarcastic, but he held it in and only lightly snorted. He thought, “This little kid Lin is only using some weird moves and he despicably did sneak attacks on me, and on both attacks, my hand wasn’t fast enough. Could it be that he has no real skills? Otherwise, why didn’t he dare to fight me openly? Alright, you’ll follow and I’ll let you see clearly how I’m going to chop that little animal into little pieces.” He turned around and returned to his seat under the shed. He picked up the teapot to pour himself a cup of tea but he heard a ‘ta, ta, ta’ sound as his right arm trembled, and the teapot’s lid rattled. Just then when Lin Pingzhi was in front of him, he was calm and collected, slowly sipping his cup of tea, and wasn’t muddled when facing a strong enemy. But now, his heart couldn’t help thinking, “Why’s my hand trembling? Why’s my hand trembling?” He exhorted himself to be stronger and calm himself down, but the teapot lid kept on rattling. The disciples of Qingcheng School thought their master was being very angry. Actually, deep in Yu Canghai’s heart, he knew he was terrified. If Lin Pingzhi’s sword had been directed at him, he wouldn’t have been able to block it.

Even after Yu Canghai had finished a cup of tea, his heart was still troubled and he ordered the disciples to bury the dead disciple in the wilderness outside the town, while the remaining people rested underneath the cool shed. The inhabitants of the town were already scared when they witnessed a person who had killed another person from far away, so they all closed their doors tightly. Who would dare to take a peek?

The Heng-Shan School party scattered into the shop and under the eaves of other people’s houses to sleep. Yingying sat alone in her mule carriage, and was quite far away from the mule carriage that Linghu Chong was riding in. Even though the whole world already knew of the love between Linghu Chong and her, her bashfulness wasn’t the slightest bit lessened. Even when Heng-Shan disciples reapplied the medicine on Linghu Chong’s wound, she didn’t go to have a look. Zheng E and Qin Juan knew her heart, so they continuously told her the condition of Linghu Chong’s injury. Yingying only nodded her head and didn’t say anything.

Linghu Chong pondered about the sword move Lin Pingzhi used. There was nothing special about the sword move in itself, but the move was done too suddenly and there was no indication that it was going to be executed at all. No matter who was attacked by this move, even if that person was a master, that person would find it hard to counter the move. That day on Dark Wood Cliff, they besieged Dongfang Bubai and he was just holding a piece of embroidering needle to fight them. But the four of them, who were masters, had no way to resist him. When he thought about it at this time, it wasn’t because Dongfang Bubai had a high internal energy nor was it because his moves were extremely skilful, but it was because his movements were fast like lightning. His attack, defense, rush, and retreat were all completely beyond his opponents’ expectations. When Lin Pingzhi stopped Yu Canghai underneath the place of worship and when he killed that Qingcheng School disciple with his sword, his martial art was exactly the same as Dongfang Bubai’s and the thrust Yue Buqun had used to blind Zuo Lengchan’s eyes. Evil Resisting Sword Art and Dongfang Bubai’s ‘Sunflower Manual’ had the same source, so he guessed that the move that Yue Buqun and Lin Pingzhi used must be the ‘Evil Resisting Sword Art’.

When he thought till here, he couldn’t help shaking his head and mumbled, “Evil resisting, evil resisting! Resist what evil? This martial art is evil itself.” Then he thought, “At the present time, the only one who can go up against this sword art is probably only Grand Martial Uncle Feng. After my injury is healed, I must go back up to Huashan and ask for Grand Martial Uncle Feng’s advice on how to break this sword art. Grand Martial Uncle Feng said he doesn’t want to see people from the Huashan School, but I’m no longer from Huashan School at this time.” His thought then continued, “Dongfang Bubai is already dead. Yue Buqun is my master, Lin Pingzhi is my martial brother. The two of them wouldn’t use this sword art to go up against me, then why do I need to go research on how to break this sword art?” Suddenly he thought of something and sat up abruptly. As he moved, the mule carriage shook and his wound became really painful that he gasped.

Qin Juan was standing besides the cart and she quickly asked, “Do you want to drink tea?”

“No, little martial sister, please ask young lady Ren to come here.” Qin Juan acknowledged his request and went to get Yingying. After a while, Yingying followed Qin Juan back. She asked lightly, “What’s the matter?”

“I suddenly thought of something. Your father once said, your sect’s ‘Sunflower Manual’ was given to Dongfang Bubai. So I thought the martial art in ‘Sunflower Manual’ isn’t as good as the divine martial art your father is practising, but…”

“But my father’s martial art was shown to be not as good as Dongfang Bubai’s, is that right?”

“That’s right. I don’t understand why.”

For people who studied martial art, when they saw a wonderful book of martial art, if they didn’t learn it by themselves, they would give it to another person like their father, spouse, martial disciple, brothers, or their lovers, and they would probably study it together. To give up on it was really out of the ordinary.

“I’ve already asked my dad about this before,” Yingying said. “He said: One, the martial art in the Manual can’t be learnt; it’ll be harmful to learn it. Two, he also didn’t know that after learning the martial art written on the Manual, the result would be so powerful.”

“Can’t be learnt? Why?”

Yingying’s face turned red. “Why can’t it be learnt? How would I know?” After a pause, she went on, “What’s so good about Dongfang Bubai’s fate?”

Linghu Chong groaned and inwardly felt that his master was on the way in following Dongfang Bubai’s path. He had now defeated Zuo Lengchan and snatched the leadership of the Five Mountains School. Linghu Chong didn’t like this situation at all. ‘Long Live the Chief, unify the Jianghu’, those were the flattering words which were often said on the Dark Wood Cliff. In Linghu Chong’s heart, it seemed it would also gradually become Yue Buqun’s motto.

“Take care of your injury, don’t think too much,” Yingying quietly said. “I’m going to sleep.”

“Yes.” He lifted the curtain on the carriage and saw the moonlight shining down on Yingying’s face. Suddenly, he felt apologetic toward her. Yingying slowly turned around to go but suddenly she said, “Your martial brother Lin wears a flowery gown.” After she said this, she went toward her own carriage.

Linghu Chong thought it was strange. “She said Martial Brother Lin is wearing a flowery gown. What does she mean? Martial Brother Lin has just become a groom so he’s wearing the gown a newly-married groom wears. There’s nothing strange about that. This little girl, not paying attention to someone’s sword art, but instead paying attention to what someone else is wearing. How interesting.”

When he closed his eyes, he could see Lin Pingzhi’s sword moves in his mind, but he couldn’t remember what kind of flowery gown Lin Pingzhi was wearing. He slept till the middle of the night when he heard horses galloping towards them from somewhere far. Two horses were coming from the west. Linghu Chong sat up and lifted the screen. Out on the street, he saw Heng-Shan disciples and Qingcheng School’s people all awake. Heng-Shan disciples had formed groups of seven to form the sword formation and they were standing still by their position. Some Qingcheng people were rushing towards the end of the street while some were leaning their backs to the wall. They were far different from the calm and collected Heng-Shan disciples.

The two horses galloped through the big street. With the moonlight shining brightly, it was easy to see that it was the Lin Pingzhi husband and wife couple coming.

“Yu Canghai!” Lin Pingzhi called out. “In order to steal my Lin family’s Evil Resisting Sword Art, you killed my parents. Now, I’m going to execute the moves one by one to give you a look. Pay close attention!”

He reined in his horse and flew down from his horse. His long sword was still strapped on his back as he rushed towards the Qingcheng School’s people. Linghu Chong paid attention to what he was wearing and saw that he was wearing a green jade gown with seams threaded with gold, sleeves embroidered with deep yellow flowers, and a gold belt tied around his waist. With Lin Pingzhi’s lightning fast movement, the gown gorgeously glittered under the moonlight. Linghu Chong thought, “Martial Brother Lin was originally very plain. Once he became a groom, he has become very different. It’s no wonder youngsters are usually proud of themselves. He’s taken such a wife, of course he’s very happy and wanted to dress up a bit.”

Last night besides the place of worship, Lin Pingzhi made a surprise attack on Yu Canghai with his bare hand. Now, he was doing exactly the same thing. How could Qingcheng School let him do it again? Yu Canghai shouted and four disciples immediately went up to meet him with their swords up. Two swords were aimed at his left and right chest, and the other two swords swept at his left and right legs. Peach Valley Six Fairies were startled and they couldn’t help shouting. The three of them shouted, “Little kid, careful!” The other three shouted, “Careful, little kid!”

Lin Pingzhi extended his right hand and with a matchless speed, pressed on the wrists of the two Qingcheng disciples who were attacking his chest to turn their hands around and pushed on the elbows of the two Qingcheng disciples who were chopping at his lower body. Four miserable cries were heard as two of them fell over. These two people were originally attacking Lin Pingzhi’s chest, but when their wrists were pressed, their long swords turned around and pierced their own stomachs.

“Evil Resisting Sword Art, stance number two and stance number three! Did you see it clearly?” Lin Pingzhi called out. He then turned around and galloped off on his horse. The Qingcheng people were stunned and none of them gave chase. When they saw the other two disciples, they saw one of them had his long sword slantingly piercing the other’s chest from below, and the other person had done the same. These two people had stopped breathing but their right hands were still clutching on their sword handles making their bodies support each other and preventing them from falling down. Linghu Chong saw clearly the way Lin Pingzhi executed his press and push. He was astonished but felt admiration in his heart. He thought, “Brilliant, that’s really a sword art and not a hand seizing technique. It’s just that there was no sword in his hand.”

The moonlight illuminated the ground and showed Yu Canghai’s short body standing besides the four corpses lost in his thought. Qingcheng School’s people encircled him but gave him a wide berth. No one dared to say anything. After a long time had passed, Linghu Chong gazed outside of his carriage again and saw Yu Canghai was still standing there unmoving as his shadow gradually lengthened. This scene was extremely eerie.

Some of the Qingcheng disciples had walked away, and some had sat down on the ground, while Yu Canghai was still standing stiffly like a corpse. Linghu Chong felt pity for him. This master of Qingcheng School didn’t know what to do and was just waiting for death and that made Linghu Chong feel very sorry for him. He gradually became sleepy and finally went to sleep. While dreaming, he suddenly felt his mule carriage moving followed by some shouts. The sky had actually brightened and the people had started on their journey. He took a peek from the side of the carriage and saw they were on a very straight road. Some disciples of the Qingcheng School were riding on horseback and some were walking. Seeing their dejected and withered bodies from the back, Linghu Chong felt an unspeakable misery surrounding them. They looked like a group of cow and sheep walking to the slaughter house. He thought, “All these people know Lin Pingzhi will come again, and they also know they have no way of fighting back. If they scattered to run away, then Qingcheng School will be destroyed. Could it be, when Lin Pingzhi go up Mount Qingcheng, there will be no one to answer him at the Pine Wind Monastery?”

At noon, they arrived at a big town. The people of Qingcheng ate their meals in a wine shop, while the disciples of Heng-Shan School went to the opposite restaurant to eat. The Qingcheng people were eating quickly with big bowls and big cups, while the nuns all ate quietly. Everyone knew these people were only living from dawn to dusk and surviving from meal to meal.

At the hour of Wei (1-3pm), they were going along the bank of a river when they heard sound of galloping horses. It was the Lin Pingzhi husband and wife couple riding towards them. Yihe whistled and the disciples of Heng-Shan School stopped immediately. With the orange sun beating down on them, the two horses galloped alongside the river. When they got near, Yue Lingshan reined her horse in first, while Lin Pingzhi continued to come forward. Yu Canghai swept his hand across and his people turned around to rush south along the river.

“Shorty Yu, where are you running off to?” Lin Pingzhi laughed loudly as he rushed forward on his horse. Yu Canghai suddenly turned around with the sword in his hand. The reflection from the sword was like a rainbow as it thrust towards Lin Pingzhi’s face. This attack was unexpectedly very fierce and Lin Pingzhi was surprised as he hastily pulled his sword out to block. The disciples of Qingcheng started to encircle him. Yu Canghai attacked faster and faster, slashing high and low. This sixty years old man attacked with youthful agility and all of his stances were offensive. Eight Qingcheng disciples brandished their long swords and surrounded Lin Pingzhi on his horse, but they didn’t go forward to slash at the horse.

When Linghu Chong saw the situation, he understood Yu Canghai’s intention. The strong point of Lin Pingzhi’s sword art was in its immeasurable variations and lightning fast speed. As he was on top of a horse, this strong point was greatly reduced. If he wanted to attack, he would only be able to attack the person in front of him and the horse he was riding wouldn’t be able to retreat like a ghost to make people unable to grab him. The eight disciples of Qingcheng formed a sword net as they surrounded his horse to prevent Lin Pingzhi from dismounting.

Linghu Chong thought, “Qingcheng’s headmaster is really not someone ordinary. This method is very formidable.” Lin Pingzhi’s sword art changed irregularly, and it was fantastic. But because he was on his horse, Yu Canghai was able to match him. After looking at a few more moves, Linghu Chong’s eyes shot toward Yue Lingshan. Suddenly, greatly surprised, his whole body shook.

Six Qingcheng disciples had already surrounded her and were slowly crowding her towards the edge of the river. They had split open the stomach of her horse and as the horse fell down to the ground with a long neigh, she jumped up from her horse’s back. Yue Lingshan leaned to one side to dodge the incoming two attacks and stood firm. The six Qingcheng disciples exerted themselves in attacking as if their lives were at stake. Linghu Chong recognised Hou Renying and Hong Renxiong among these six people. Brandishing a sword in his left hand, Hou Renying’s movements were very fierce.

Even though Yue Lingshan had learnt the five schools’ sword arts engraved on the cave wall on the Cliff of Contemplation, she had not learnt the sword art of the Qingcheng School. The sword moves engraved on the cave were actually too brilliant, so she actually had not truly comprehended them. It was only her father who had taught her, and she knew the moves only. At the place of worship, she had used Taishan sword art to defeat the masters from the Taishan School, and Hengshan sword art to defeat the headmaster of the Hengshan School. This caused her opponents to be startled and she took advantage when they were intimidated. But she had no way of imitating that method to deal with these Qingcheng disciples. Linghu Chong had seen a few moves exchanged and he knew Yue Lingshan was unable to resist for long and was feeling anxious. Suddenly, he heard a long cry and saw a Qingcheng disciple had his left arm cut off by Yue Lingshan using a Hengshan sword art. Linghu Chong felt happy hoping that these six disciples would retreat in fear. But how could he have known that five of them didn’t even retreat half a step, while the one with his left arm cut off crazily charged forward instead. When Yue Lingshan saw his body was soaked in blood and his expression was terrifying, she retreated a few steps in fear. While retreating, her foot stepped on nothing and she fell down on the gravel at the edge of the river.

“Shameless, shameless!” Linghu Chong snorted.

Suddenly he heard Yingying said, “We also used this method to fight Dongfang Bubai.”

He didn’t know when she had arrived besides him. Linghu Chong thought what she said wasn’t wrong. That day on Dark Wood Cliff, their defeat was guaranteed already, but luckily Yingying attacked Yang Lianting and disturbed Dongfang Bubai’s concentration and this had enabled them to kill him. At this time, Yu Canghai was actually also using the same strategy. Of course Yu Canghai didn’t know how they defeated Dongfang Bubai, but through his wisdom, he had also come to the same idea. Linghu Chong expected Lin Pingzhi to have his concentration divided when he saw his wife in danger and to turn around to save her. But he never expected Lin Pingzhi to keep fighting Yu Canghai with all his strength and unexpectedly didn’t pay any attention to his wife being in danger.

After she fell down, Yue Lingshan quickly jumped up with her long sword dancing around. The six Qingcheng disciples knew Qingcheng School’s survival and their own lives depended on whether they were able to kill their enemies, so they all disregarded their lives and rushed forward. The one with his arm cut off had already abandoned his long sword, and he was now rolling around on the ground trying to seize Yue Lingshan legs with his right hand. Yue Lingshan was frightened and she called out, “Brother Ping, Brother Ping, come help me!”

“Shorty Yu wants to have a look at the Evil Resisting Sword Art, so I’m letting him have a good look. Let him have a good death!” Lin Pingzhi shouted loudly as he used his wonderful moves to suppress Yu Canghai from taking a breather. Yu Canghai had already researched the stances of Evil Resisting Sword Art and he knew all the moves by heart and decided that there was nothing special about those stances. Suddenly, at this moment, there were so many wonderful variations in the sword art and it was also done as fast as lightning making Yu Canghai roar again and again as he got more and more desperate. Yu Canghai knew his enemy’s internal energy was far below his so he kept on aiming his sword towards Lin Pingzhi’s long sword, hoping that Lin Pingzhi’s sword would be shaken off his hand when both swords clash. But from the beginning of the fight, he had not managed to get the swords to clash yet.

Linghu Chong was angered and shouted, “You… You… You…” In the beginning, he was thinking Lin Pingzhi was being stopped by Yu Canghai from going over to help his wife. But when he heard what Lin Pingzhi said, he realised Lin Pingzhi didn’t actually care about the safety of Yue Lingshan and he actually attached more importance to jesting with Yu Canghai.

At this time, the sun was fiercely shining down and Linghu Chong saw Lin Pingzhi sneering, showing his excitement and hatred. It seemed his heart was full of happiness in seeking this revenge. He was like a cat who had captured a mouse and was cruelly playing with it first before biting it to death. But when a cat plays with a mouse, it doesn’t have this kind of hatred and malice.

“Brother Ping, Brother Ping, quickly come!” Yue Lingshan called out repeatedly. She shouted till her voice was hoarse as the situation became gravely desperate.

“I’m coming. Hold on for a while. I’m showing the entire set of Evil Resisting Sword Art for him to see. Originally, Shorty Yu didn’t have any enmity with us, but he did all the things he did because of the ‘Evil Resisting Sword Art’. So I’m going to show him the entire set of sword art and let him see it clearly, don’t you think so?” Lin Pingzhi replied leisurely. It was apparent he wasn’t actually directing these words to his wife, but was directing them more towards Yu Canghai. He was afraid his enemy wouldn’t understand his meaning, so he added, “Shorty Yu, don’t you think so?” His body was elegant and he moved his sword gracefully. His movements were like the moves from ‘The Nineteen Stances of the Jade Maiden Sword’ that the female disciples of Huashan School learned. But this move Lin Pingzhi was using had a demonical aura around it.

Linghu Chong originally wanted to watch the stances of his Evil Resisting Sword Art. This was a really good opportunity to do just that as Lin Pingzhi was now revealing everything in front of Yu Canghai. But he was concerned about Yue Lingshan’s safety. Even if he was certain that in the future Lin Pingzhi would use this sword art to kill him, he still couldn’t look further as he heard Yue Lingshan continuously calling out for help. He couldn’t take it anymore and called out, “Martial Sister Yihe, Martial Sister Yiqing, quickly go and save Miss Yue. She… she can’t hold on any longer.”

“We already said we won’t help any party, I’m afraid it’s inappropriate for us to get involved,” Yihe replied.

The people of Wulin were especially fastidious about the word ‘Trust’. Some characters from the unorthodox path, despite their ‘no evil they won’t do’ attitude, once they gave their words, they wouldn’t go back on it. If anyone ate his own words, then people in Wulin would despise him. Even Tian Boguang who was such a notorious rapist would abide by his words. When Linghu Chong heard what Yihe said, he knew it was the truth. Last night, besides the worship place, she already said clearly to Yu Canghai that they wouldn’t be involved. If at this time they helped Yue Lingshan then it would damage the reputation of Heng-Shan School. He was still worried and quickly said, “This… This…” then he called out, “Monk No Commandment? Tian Boguang?”

“The two of them went together with Peach Valley Six Fairies last night,” Qin Juan answered. “They said looking at Shorty Yu is too gloomy, so they went to drink wine. Also, the eight of them are also Heng-Shan School…”

Yingying suddenly flew out towards the edge of the river and pulled out two short swords from her waist. She loudly shouted, “Look clearly, I’m Divine Sun Moon Sect’s Chief Ren’s daughter, Ren Yingying. I’m not from Heng-Shan School. Six men ganging up on a girl, this really makes people uncomfortable to see. Miss Ren thinks this is unfair so I’m going to interfere.”

Linghu Chong was happy to see Yingying going out to help. He let out a sigh of relief but his wound felt painful, so he sat down inside the carriage. When the six Qingcheng disciples saw Yingying coming, they unexpectedly didn’t pay any attention to her but continued attacking Yue Lingshan with total disregard for their lives. Yue Lingshan retreated a few steps, and with a ‘pu’ sound, her left leg treaded on the river water. She wasn’t accustomed to being around water, so as her foot entered the water, she became nervous and her swordplay became disorderly. Suddenly, she felt pain on her left shoulder as it was pierced by one of her enemies. That enemy with no arm took advantage of the situation and rushed forward and seized her right leg. Yue Lingshan chopped down with her long sword and struck him at his back as that armless person opened his mouth wide and bit her leg viciously. Yue Lingshan’s vision darkened and she thought, “I’m going to die like this?” She then gazed at Lin Pingzhi thrusting his sword out while his left hand made a sword form sweeping across the air to make an arch. The stance he was using was really elegant, it was a sword art which really looked leisurely. She felt a wave of bitterness in her heart and felt really dizzy. Suddenly, she saw a pair of short swords in front of her and she heard two splashing sounds as two Qingcheng disciples fell into the river. Yue Lingshan fell down feeling confused and lost. Yingying waved her short swords around, and after more than ten moves, the remaining three Qingcheng disciples had all retreated after being injured and disarmed. Yingying kicked away the dying one-armed Qingcheng disciple and pulled Yue Lingshan up. She saw Yue Lingshan’s lower half of the body was soaked in the river so her skirt was all wet while her gown on top was splashed with blood all over. She immediately supported her to go up the river bank.

Lin Pingzhi called out, “Have you had a good look at my Lin family’s Evil Resisting Sword Art?” The sword reflection flashed everywhere and surrounded a Qingcheng disciple standing besides his horse when the sword suddenly pierced that disciple between his eyes. Lin Pingzhi laughed out loud and cried out, “Fang Renzhi, you wicked thief, that death was too easy for you!” He lifted his rein and jumped over Fang Renzhi’s falling body and then galloped off. Yu Canghai was already exhausted, so how could he dare to give chase?

Lin Pingzhi reined in his horse and suddenly shouted, “You’re Jia Renda!” then galloped his horse over. Jia Renda had already stepped back far away some time ago, and when he saw Lin Pingzhi coming after him, he shouted and in a mad rush, turned around to run away. But Lin Pingzhi just patiently chased him, and when he caught up, he slashed his long sword and hamstrung Jia Renda’s right leg. Jia Renda fell down hard on the ground. Lin Pingzhi lifted his rein and his horse stepped on Jia Renda’s body. Jia Renda cried out miserably but he didn’t die. Lin Pingzhi laughed maniacally and turned his horse around to trample Jia Renda’s body again. After a few more passes, Jia Renda was finally quiet. Lin Pingzhi didn’t give the people of Qingcheng School another glance before going besides Yue Lingshan and Yingying. He said to his wife, “Get on the horse!”

Yue Lingshan looked at him angrily. After a while, she gritted her teeth and said, “You go by yourself.”

“You?”

“Why do you care?”

Lin Pingzhi took a glance at the Heng-Shan School’s disciples and laughed coldly. Then he put his heels on his horse and gave its head. Yingying couldn’t figure out why Lin Pingzhi was treating his newly-wedded wife so indifferently and she couldn’t help feeling surprised. Yingying said, “Madam Lin, come to my carriage to rest.”

Both of Yue Lingshan’s eyes were full of tears and she tried her hardest not to let her tears flow down. She chokingly said, “I’m… I’m not going. Why… Why did you save me?”

“I didn’t, it was your big martial brother Linghu Chong who saved you.”

Yue Lingshan felt sour in her heart and couldn’t hold back her tears anymore as it flowed down her cheeks. “You… Can I please ask you for a horse?”

“Alright.” Yingying turned around to lead a horse over.

Yue Lingshan stammered, “Thank you, you… you…” She jumped on the horse’s back and went towards the east, opposite of where Lin Pingzhi had gone before. It seemed that she was going back to Songshan. Yu Canghai was surprised to see her galloping past, but he didn’t pay her any attention. He thought, “After another night, that animal Lin will come and will kill a few of my men again. He wants to kill my disciples one by one till I’m left all by myself before he comes for me.”

Linghu Chong couldn’t bear seeing Yu Canghai looking like he had lost his mind, so he ordered, “Let’s go!”

“Yes!” the person at the driver seat answered. With a shout, the whip was cracked and the mule started to pull the carriage forward. Linghu Chong gasped in surprise. He saw Yue Lingshan was going to the east, so his heart automatically also wanted to go with her, but he didn’t expect the mule carriage would be going towards the west. His heart sank, but he didn’t order the mule carriage to turn around to go to the east. He opened the screen in the carriage and couldn’t see Yue Lingshan anymore. His heart was heavy as he thought, “She’s been injured and she’s going all by herself with no one to tend to her injuries, how’s she going to fare?” Suddenly, he heard Qin Juan said, “She’s going back to Songshan to her parents. She’s going to be safe there, you don’t need to worry.”

Linghu Chong felt relieved and replied, “Yes.” While he thought, “Martial Sister Qin is very observant, she even knew what I was thinking.”

At noon the next day, their party arrived at a small restaurant to eat their meals. This restaurant couldn’t actually be regarded as a shop. It only consisted of a grass shed besides the main road with many long tables placed underneath, and they offered tea and meals to the passer by. When Heng-Shan School people arrived, the shop didn’t have too much rice left. Luckily many people in the party were bringing rice with them as well as tools like bowl, chopsticks, and et cetera. So they immediately cooked the rice besides the grass sheds.

Linghu Chong had stayed in the carriage for a long time and it was getting stuffy in there. With the Heng-Shan School’s medicine taken internally and applied externally, Linghu Chong’s injury had improved by a lot. Zheng E and Qin Juan supported him to get down from the carriage and sit under the shed. He gazed towards the east and thought, “Will little martial sister come?” He then saw a cloud of dust as a group of people came from the east. They were Yu Canghai and his Qingcheng School who had come to the shed, and they also dismounted from their horses to take their meals there. Yu Canghai sat alone at a table unspeaking and with no expression on his face. He knew his life was doomed already and he didn’t even bother to avoid the people of Heng-Shan School. There really is no bigger matter than death. Regardless of how the Heng-Shan School people were going to see how he would die, he didn’t care about it.

Not long after, the sound of a galloping horse was heard coming from the west. The horse came slowly towards them and on top of the horse was a person wearing a flowery gown who really was Lin Pingzhi. He reined in his horse outside the shed and saw that the Qingcheng School people only gave him a look then ignored him. Every person who was cooking was cooking his meal, while the ones drinking tea were drinking their teas. This situation was really beyond Lin Pingzhi’s expectation. He laughed aloud and said, “Even if you’re not going to fight, I’m still going to kill you.” He jumped down from his horse and slapped the horse’s buttock to let it go eat some grass. He saw there were still two empty tables underneath the shed so he went to one of them to sit.

Once Lin Pingzhi had entered the shed, Linghu Chong sniffed a strong fragrance. Linghu Chong then observed the clothes Lin Pingzhi was wearing and realised that the fragrant scent was coming from it. On Lin Pingzhi’s hat was a piece of green jade, on his finger was a ruby ring, and on the tips of both of his shoes were two pearls. He was dressed just like a young master from a rich family and didn’t look anything like a warrior from Wulin. Linghu Chong thought, “His family opened up the Fortune Prestige Escort House, so he was originally a young master from a rich family. He has suffered a few years of hardships in Jianghu, so after he’s gotten some skills, he’s enjoying all those wealth now.” He then saw Lin Pingzhi taking a piece of snow white handkerchief out of his bosom and lightly dabbing his face with it. Lin Pingzhi’s appearance was delicate and pretty. The way he took out his handkerchief, dabbed his face, and shook his clothes; it was just like an actor on stage playing the role of a pretty young woman.

After Lin Pingzhi had sat down, he lightly said, “Brother Linghu, you’re well!”

“You’re well!” Linghu Chong nodded his head.

Lin Pingzhi turned his head slightly and saw a Qingcheng disciple holding a pot of hot tea to give to Yu Canghai. “You’re called Yu Renhao, aren’t you? Years ago when my whole family was killed, you were there too. Even when your face is ashen, I still recognise you.” Yu Renhao dropped the teapot on the table, turned around suddenly with his hand already on his sword handle, and then retreated for two steps.

“I’m Yu Renhao, what do you want?” His voice was rough, but it was trembling as he spoke and his face had turned ghostly pale.

“Ying Xiong Hao Jie, The Four Aces of Qingcheng!” Lin Pingzhi smiled. “You’re number three, but there’s no aura of a hero at all. This is funny, really funny.”

‘Ying Xiong Hao Jie, The Four Aces of Qingcheng’ was Qingcheng School’s four disciples with the strongest martial arts. They were Hou Renying, Hong Renxiong, Yu Renhao, and Luo Renjie. Among these people, one of them had been killed by Linghu Chong in the Huiyan Wine House, while the remaining three were present at that moment. Lin Pingzhi laughed mockingly and said, “That Brother Linghu once said: ‘Dumb Bear Wild Pig, the Four Asses of Qingcheng’. That’s too good for you to be compared to animals. In my opinion, hng, hng, you’re even worse than animals.”

Yu Renhao was afraid and angry, and his face had turned even paler, but he didn’t draw his sword out in spite of this.

At this moment, the sound of galloping horses from the east was heard. Two horses seemed to be galloping quickly coming over here. When they arrived in front of the shed, the person in front reined in his horse. Everyone turned around to have a look, and some people gasped in surprise at seeing that person. The person riding in front had a short and fat stature with a humpback whose nickname was called ‘Hunchback of the North’ — Mu Gaofeng. The person riding the horse at the back was unexpectedly Yue Lingshan. When Linghu Chong saw Yue Lingshan, his chest felt hot and his heart was happy. But Yue Lingshan’s hands were tied behind her back, and the rein to her horse was being led along by Mu Gaofeng. It was obvious she had been captured by him.

Linghu Chong couldn’t bear not doing anything and he was itching to do something. Then his mind thought, “Her husband is here, why do they need an outsider to get involved? If her husband doesn’t care, then I’ll think of a way to save her.”

When Lin Pingzhi saw Mu Gaofeng was here, it was just like he had seen treasures falling down from the sky. He was deliriously happy. Lin Pingzhi pondered, “The people who killed my father and mother also included this humpback. I never expected such a chance circumstance to happen today and he has unexpectedly delivered himself here. The heavenly gods really have eyes.” But Mu Gaofeng didn’t recognise Lin Pingzhi.

That day in Hengshan at Liu Zhengfeng’s house, even though the two of them had met, Lin Pingzhi was disguised as a humpback and his face was full of ointment. So compared to the beautiful and adorned youngster who was sitting there, the two characters were completely different. Later on, Mu Gaofeng found out Lin Pingzhi’s humpback was fake, but he never saw his real face at all.

Mu Gaofeng turned his head around to say to Yue Lingshan, “It’s very rare to have so many friends here. Let’s go.” When he saw the people of Heng-Shan School and Qingcheng School there, he felt quite afraid and expected there would be people who would come out to help Yue Lingshan so it would be better to remove himself from there as fast as possible. He shouted and led the horses to get out of there.

The day before, Yue Lingshan was injured and was on her way back to Mount Songshan alone to be by her father and mother. But not long into her journey, she met Mu Gaofeng. Mu Gaofeng was a narrow-minded person. He had lost to Yue Buqun when competing internal energy in the past, then the Lin Zhennan husband and wife were also rescued by Yue Buqun, so he felt disgraced and really insulted. Later on, he heard Lin Zhennan’s son, Lin Pingzhi, had joined the Huashan School and took Yue Buqun’s daughter as his wife, so he naturally thought the ‘Evil Resisting Sword Art’ was also taken into the Huashan School and he got really furious because of this. When the Five Mountains School was established, he of course heard of the news. But the people of the five mountains sword schools didn’t like him and Zuo Lengchan didn’t give him any invitation. So he got angry and hid nearby Mount Songshan to wait for the people of Five Mountains School as they came down the mountain. If they were in a large group, or if there was a senior, he wouldn’t show himself. But if someone was alone, he was planning to vent his anger on that person. But as he observed the groups of people coming down the mountain, all of them were in groups of tens or hundreds so he couldn’t do anything. So it was very convenient for him to suddenly see Yue Lingshan riding all by herself, and he immediately intercepted her.

Yue Lingshan’s martial art was never as good as Mu Gaofeng. Added to that, she was injured and because Mu Gaofeng ambushed her, he had the initiative. So at the end, she was captured by him. When Mu Gaofeng heard her making threats to him saying she was Yue Buqun’s daughter, he was ecstatic and a plan was quickly hatched in his head. He was going to hide her in a secret place and then exchange her with the ‘Evil Resisting Sword Art’. As he was hurrying along, he didn’t expect they would meet with Qingcheng and Heng-Shan Schools.

Yue Lingshan thought, “If I let him take me away now, who will rescue me then?” Without giving a thought to her shoulder injury, she slanted her body and let herself fall down from the horse’s back.

“What’s the matter?” Mu Gaofeng shouted and leapt off the horse. He then stooped down to grab Yue Lingshan’s body from the back. Linghu Chong thought Lin Pingzhi wouldn’t just stand aside on seeing his wife being insulted but would definitely go out to help her. But who would have thought Lin Pingzhi didn’t care at all? Lin Pingzhi took out a folding fan with a gold-painted handle from his left sleeve and lightly fanned himself. The jade-coloured fan continuously shook. It was currently the third month and the northern snow was just beginning to melt; who would use a fan at this time of year? But Lin Pingzhi was indeed using a fan and leisurely fanning himself.

Mu Gaofeng grabbed the back of Yue Lingshan’s body and said, “Be careful falling down again.” Then he lifted his hand and dropped her onto her horse’s saddle. He then jumped on his horse wishing to go on their way.

“Person surnamed Mu, someone here said that your martial art is ordinary, what do you say to that?” Lin Pingzhi said.

Mu Gaofeng was startled and saw Lin Pingzhi was sitting alone at a table. He didn’t seem to belong either to the Qingcheng School or the Heng-Shan School. He also couldn’t tell where he came from, so he asked, “Who are you?”

“Why do you ask me? The one who said your martial art is ordinary wasn’t me,” Lin Pingzhi smiled.

“Who said it?”

Lin Pingzhi slammed his fan closed and pointed it at Yu Canghai. “That Priest Yu from Qingcheng School. He just saw a really wonderful swordplay, the world’s number one sword art. I think it was called the Evil Resisting Sword Art.”

When Mu Gaofeng heard the words ‘Evil Resisting Sword Art’, he was excited. He peered at Yu Canghai and saw him holding a tea cup looking absentminded as if he was hearing but wasn’t listening to what Lin Pingzhi was saying. “Priest Yu, congratulations on seeing the Evil Resisting Sword Art. It’s not fake?”

“Not fake!” Yu Canghai answered. “I saw it from head to tail, every move and every stance, I saw all of them already.”

Mu Gaofeng was surprised and happy; he jumped down from his horse and sat at Yu Canghai’s table. “I heard this sword manual was taken by Yue Buqun. How did you see it?”

“I didn’t see the sword manual, I only saw a person using this sword art.”

“Oh, is that so? There’s real Evil Resisting Sword Art and there’s fake Evil Resisting Sword Art. Fuzhou’s Fortune Prestige Escort House’s descendants learned the useless type of Evil Resisting Sword Art. When people see them use it, their teeth will fall off from laughing too much. Is the one you saw real?”

“I also don’t know whether it’s real or fake. But the person who used this set of sword art was a descendant of the Fortune Prestige Escort House.”

Mu Gaofeng laughed loudly. “You’re the leader of a school but you don’t know whether the sword art is real or fake. Didn’t Lin Zhennan from the Fortune Prestige Escort House die under your hand?”

“Whether the Evil Resisting Sword Art is real or fake, I can’t tell. Hero Mu is brilliant and have a lot of experience, you’ll definitely figure it out,” Yu Canghai replied.

Mu Gaofeng knew this short priest was experienced in martial art, and that he was also a first class figure in Wulin. For him to suddenly say such a thing, there must definitely be a deeper meaning to it. Mu Gaofeng giggled and swept his eyes across. He saw everyone was looking at him strangely like he had said something really wrong. “If I have a look at it, I’ll definitely be able to distinguish it.”

“If Hero Mu wants to have a look, there’s someone here who can use that sword art,” Yu Canghai replied.

Mu Gaofeng’s heart shivered as if it was suddenly cold. He swept his eyes across again to look at each person. He saw Lin Pingzhi’s expression was the most uncaring, so he asked, “Is this the youngster who can use it?”

“Admirable, admirable! Hero Mu really has good eyesight, just one look and you’re able to figure it out,” Yu Canghai said.

Mu Gaofeng observed Lin Pingzhi from head to toe, and saw his gown was gorgeous like he was a young master from a wealthy family. He thought, “The way Shorty Yu said that, there must be a plot against me. The enemy has a lot of people. A good man doesn’t want to be disadvantaged so there’s no need to bother with them. I’ll just go with my plan. Since Yue Buqun’s daughter is in my hand, I don’t have to fear him not coming to exchange the sword manual for her.” So he laughed loudly and said, “Shorty Yu, I haven’t seen you for a long time but you still love to joke around. I have some matters to do today, so forgive me for not accompanying you. Evil Resisting Sword Art is good, Killing Demon Sword Art is also good but I don’t care about it, so goodbye.”

As soon as Mu Gaofeng finished saying these words, his body shot out and landed on his horse’s back. His body was very nimble. At the same instance, people there felt there was a blur in front of their eyes looking like Lin Pingzhi had jumped out and hindered Mu Gaofeng’s horse’s path, but then they saw he was still lightly fanning himself, sitting at his table looking like he had never left it at all. Everyone was greatly astonished but Mu Gaofeng shouted and urged his horse to go. Masters like Linghu Chong, Yingying, and Yu Canghai saw clearly how Lin Pingzhi had extended his hand to stab twice and done something to the horse. Sure enough, after a few steps, Mu Gaofeng’s horse suddenly ran into a pillar of the grass shed. The force with which the horse ran into the pillar was enormous and it brought half of the grass shed down. Yu Canghai leapt outside of the shed while the grass and hay fell on top of Linghu Chong, Lin Pingzhi, and other people’s heads. Zheng E extended her hand to remove the grass on Linghu Chong’s head. But Lin Pingzhi just kept on staring at Mu Gaofeng and was oblivious to anything else. Mu Gaofeng hesitated, dismounted the horse, and released the rein. That horse rushed forward a few steps and ran into a big tree. With a long neigh, it fell down on the ground with a bloody head. This horse’s movement was really strange and it became obvious both of its eyes were blinded because Lin Pingzhi had stabbed them with his unbelievably quick hand technique.

Lin Pingzhi used his fan to slowly wipe away the grass on his left shoulder. “A blind person riding a blind horse; that’s very dangerous you know!”

Mu Gaofeng laughed loudly. “You, little kid, really are arrogant. You must have real skill. Shorty Yu said you know how to use the Evil Resisting Sword Art. There’s no harm in letting grandpa have a look.”

“Alright, I’m going to give you a look. You killed both my parents and sinned deeply just because you wanted to have a look at my family’s Evil Resisting Sword Art. You’re just like Yu Canghai,” Lin Pingzhi replied.

Mu Gaofeng was stunned. He never expected this little master was Lin Zhennan’s son. He secretly thought, “You have the nerve to openly challenge me here, so you must be feeling secure. His five mountains sword schools have become one school. These Heng-Shan School’s nuns must all be his helpers.” At this thought, he turned his hand around to grab Yue Lingshan and thought, “The enemy is many and I’m alone. This little girl is his wife. Once I have her under my hand, what can this little kid do?”

Suddenly, he heard the sound of the wind whistling behind him as a sword was hacked down on him. Mu Gaofeng slanted his body to dodge it, and saw Yue Lingshan was the one wielding the sword. Yingying had actually cut off the ropes tying Yue Lingshan’s hands, opened up her sealed acupoints, and had also placed a long sword in her hand. After her attack was evaded by Mu Gaofeng, Yue Lingshan felt her injury flaring up again. Also, her acupoints had been sealed for a long time already so her limbs were aching. So even though she felt really angry, she didn’t chase after him.

Lin Pingzhi laughed derisively. “Your reputation in Wulin is already well known for many years already, but you’re actually so shameless. If you still want your life, crawl on the ground and give grandpa three kowtows while calling me ‘grandpa’ three times. Then I’ll let you live for one year. After one year, I’ll come and look for you again.”

Mu Gaofeng threw his head back and laughed out loud. “Little kid, that day in Hengshan at Liu Zhengfeng’s house, you disguised yourself as a little hunchback and kowtowed to me and called me ‘grandpa’. You even staked your life to become my disciple. Grandpa wasn’t willing, so you joined Old Yue’s school and swindled yourself a wife, isn’t this right?”

Lin Pingzhi didn’t answer. His eyes were filled with fires of anger, but his face was filled with excitement. He snapped his fan closed and put it on his left hand, while his right hand lifted up his gown as he stepped out of the grass shed to walk towards Mu Gaofeng. The breeze blew past and carried a sweet fragrance to everyone’s nose.

Suddenly, two cries were heard. The faces of Qingcheng School’s Yu Renhao and Ji Rentong changed colour, and blood was gushing out of their chests as they fell down. The people besides them couldn’t help calling out in fright. They saw clearly Lin Pingzhi was going forward to deal with Mu Gaofeng, but without knowing how, he unexpectedly drew his sword and killed those two people. After he killed them, he had promptly put his sword back into its sheath. Besides Linghu Chong and a few other masters there, the other people there only felt a flicker of cold light. They didn’t see clearly how he drew his sword out let alone how he used his sword to kill those two people. A thought flashed in Linghu Chong’s mind, “When I first met with Tian Boguang, it was also hard for me to fight against him. But after I’ve learned the Dugu Nine Swords, his fast knife was no longer fast enough in my eyes. But I’m afraid Tian Boguang wouldn’t even be able to take three moves from Lin Pingzhi’s fast sword. And me? How many moves would I be able to take?” All of a sudden, his palms were all sweaty.

Mu Gaofeng pulled out a sword from his waist. This sword of his was really strange as it was shaped in an arch. A hunchback using a sword which also had a hunchback; so the sword was called a hunchback sword. Lin Pingzhi sneered, and walked up to him step by step. Mu Gaofeng suddenly howled like a wolf and his body rushed forward with his hunchback sword slashing an arc at Lin Pingzhi’s lower body. Lin Pingzhi’s long sword left its scabbard and was thrust towards Mu Gaofeng’s chest. This sword move was executed later but it arrived first and was also very fierce and accurate. Mu Gaofeng let out a roar and his body shot back out. But there was already a big rip on the chest of his cotton-padded jacket exposing his hairy black chest. Lin Pingzhi’s sword only had to go two inches further forward to have cut Mu Gaofeng’s chest open. The crowd cried out in astonishment.

Even though Mu Gaofeng had just escaped from his death, he was very fierce and unexpectedly didn’t show any fear at all as he roared and charged towards Lin Pingzhi again. Lin Pingzhi stabbed out twice with his sword. With two ‘tang, tang’ sounds, he had blocked the hunchback sword twice. Lin Pingzhi laughed mockingly as his sword was getting faster and faster. Mu Gaofeng slashed high and low. The light from his hunchback sword was making up a wall of steel around his body. When Lin Pingzhi thrust out his long sword and clashed against the hunchback sword, his arm felt a burst of numbing pain. It was obvious Mu Gaofeng’s internal energy was much stronger compared to his, and if he weren’t careful, his long sword would be shaken out of his hand. After this, he didn’t dare to attack head on anymore and he observed for a crack in Mu Gaofeng’s defence before he would quickly attack that point with his sword. Mu Gaofeng didn’t care what his enemy was doing and was concentrating fully on revolving his hunchback sword around his body so that not even wind nor rain could penetrate, and it unexpectedly didn’t show any crack at all.

Even though Lin Pingzhi’s sword art was high, he didn’t know what to do. But with this kind of fighting, Lin Pingzhi was in an invincible position. Even if he couldn’t harm his opponent, there was no leeway at all for Mu Gaofeng to make a mistake. Every master there saw that if Mu Gaofeng wanted to attack then his sword net would reveal a weakness, and Lin Pingzhi’s quick sword would attack immediately and Mu Gaofeng would find it impossible to block. This kind of defending oneself with a flying sword was really taxing on the user’s internal energy. Each move had to be done with all your power, and only then would the movements be like unceasing flowing water covering your front and back continuously. But no matter how deep your internal energy was, you still couldn’t use it forever.

Within the sword net weaved by that hunchback sword, Mu Gaofeng kept on roaring. He slashed high and low with his earth-shattering roars accompanying each sword move. Lin Pingzhi had attacked a few times thinking he was going to get through the sword net, but every time it was blocked by the hunchback sword.

Yu Canghai observed this for a long time when he suddenly saw the circle of the sword net had decreased by around half a foot. It was apparent Mu Gaofeng was gradually exhausting his internal energy. With a howl, Yu Canghai lifted his sword forward and slashed out three times at Lin Pingzhi’s back. Lin Pingzhi turned his sword around to block. Mu Gaofeng’s hunchback sword sliced out at Lin Pingzhi’s lower body. Normally, Yu Canghai and Mu Gaofeng would’ve lost a lot of face in joining forces to attack a youth as they were both reputable seniors. But Heng-Shan School’s people had all seen how violent and cruel Lin Pingzhi was in killing the Qingcheng disciples, and they had also seen how Yu Canghai wasn’t his match. So at this time, when they saw the two masters joining forces, they all felt there was nothing strange about that but instead thought it was a natural thing to do. If the two of them didn’t join hands, how could they fight back against Lin Pingzhi’s lightning fast swordplay?

With Yu Canghai’s help, Mu Gaofeng’s swordplay had changed and he was now attacking as well as defending. The three of them had fought for more than twenty moves when Lin Pingzhi’s left hand circled around and turned his fan’s handle around to point it towards the ground. A half inch needle shot out from his fan’s handle and pierced Mu Gaofeng’s right leg’s ‘Huantiao’ acupoint. Alarmed, Mu Gaofeng quickly brandished his hunchback sword, but he suddenly felt the acupoint on his left leg was also numb. He didn’t dare to move anymore and wildly brandished his hunchback sword to protect his body. Both of his legs were gradually losing strength and finally he couldn’t help but to fall on his knees.

Lin Pingzhi laughed. “It’s too late for you to kowtow now!” Saying this, he attacked Yu Canghai with three moves.

Even though Mu Gaofeng was kneeling on the ground, the hunchback sword in his hand didn’t slow down at all as it quickly slashed and thrust. He knew he had lost so there was a sense of desperation in his fighting as he was trying to bring common ruin to his enemy. In the beginning, all his movements were defensive and there wasn’t a single attacking move at all. But at this time, he was sacrificing his life and he had changed his swordplay into full attack mode without any defence at all. Yu Canghai knew he didn’t have much time. If he couldn’t win within a few moves and Mu Gaofeng fell down, then he would be all by himself, so his sword was now moving like a violent storm. He suddenly heard Lin Pingzhi laughing long and loud, and his vision darkened making him unable to see anything any longer. Both sides of his shoulders then felt cool as both of his arms flew off from his body.

Lin Pingzhi was laughing madly and calling out, “I’m not going to kill you! I’m going to let you run around Jianghu with no arms and no eyes. Your disciples, families, I’ll kill them all and spare no one. You’re only going to have enemies in this world and no family.”

Yu Canghai only felt unbearable pain near where his arms were, but he understood in his heart, “What he has done to me is ten thousand times more merciless than killing me with his sword. Even though I still live, I don’t have any martial art at all, and he can just humiliate me as he wants.” Using Lin Pingzhi’s voice to locate him, he lifted his head to rush at Lin Pingzhi’s chest.

Lin Pingzhi laughed heartily and leaned his body to dodge. Now that his hatred had been avenged, he was lost in ecstasy and wasn’t being cautious anymore. He retreated for a couple of steps and arrived besides Mu Gaofeng. Mu Gaofeng swiped his hunchback sword but Lin Pingzhi blocked it with his sword. Mu Gaofeng suddenly lunged at him and hug both of his legs firmly. Lin Pingzhi was startled and then he saw dozens of Qingcheng disciples rushing at him from all directions. He struggled to free both of his legs, but he couldn’t get them free from Mu Gaofeng’s iron grip. He quickly stabbed his sword at Mu Gaofeng’s hunchback. As his sword pierced the hunchback, a jet stream of black smelly water shot out from it. Lin Pingzhi moved his legs to jump out of the way, but he forgot both of his legs were being firmly hugged by Mu Gaofeng so his whole face was sprayed by the smelly water, and he cried out in pain. This smelly water was actually poison. Inside Mu Gaofeng’s hunchback was a sack of leather concealing this poison water. Covering his face with his left hand and with both of his eyes closed, Lin Pingzhi randomly slashed and chopped at Mu Gaofeng’s body with his right hand. Lin Pingzhi’s attacks were done swiftly but Mu Gaofeng didn’t try to avoid them as he continued to hold onto Lin Pingzhi’s legs firmly.

At this time, Yu Canghai had distinguished the cries of those people and rushed to them with his mouth wide open. He managed to find Lin Pingzhi’s right cheek and clamped down tightly on it. The three of them were entangled into one group and they were losing their minds. Qingcheng School disciples were using their swords to randomly chop at Lin Pingzhi’s body.

Linghu Chong saw all these clearly from his carriage. In the beginning, he was startled, but when he saw Lin Pingzhi being surrounded by the Qingcheng disciples chopping with their swords, he hastily called out, “Yingying, Yingying, quickly help him!”

Yingying shot out with the short sword in her hand. ‘Tang, tang, tang’, the sounds of weapons clashing rang continuously, and the disciples of Qingcheng were kept at several steps away from the entangled mess of Lin Pingzhi, Mu Gaofeng and Yu Canghai. Mu Gaofeng crazed roaring gradually died off as Lin Pingzhi’s sword penetrated the back of his body again and again. Yu Canghai’s whole body was bloody and he was still biting down firmly on Lin Pingzhi’s cheek.

After some time, Lin Pingzhi gathered some strength in his left hand and pushed Yu Canghai away powerfully. At the same time, he cried out miserably as a chunk of flesh was torn off by Yu Canghai and blood dripped down fiercely from his right cheek. Mu Gaofeng had already died some time ago, but he was still holding both of Lin Pingzhi’s legs tightly. Lin Pingzhi used his left hand to feel around to trace where Mu Gaofeng’s arms were, then he raised his sword and chopped off the arms to free himself. Yingying saw the terrifying look on Lin Pingzhi’s face and she couldn’t help backing away from him. Qingcheng disciples crowded around their master to help him and they didn’t pay any more attention to their strong archenemy.

Qingcheng disciples then suddenly wept. “Master, master!” “Master’s dead, master’s dead!” They lifted Yu Canghai’s corpse and ran to a place somewhere further away, afraid that Lin Pingzhi would chase and kill them.

Lin Pingzhi laughed loudly and called out, “I’ve taken my revenge, I’ve taken my revenge!”

After seeing such a soul-stirring incident, Heng-Shan School disciples were startled and lost all colours from their faces. Yue Lingshan slowly walked towards Lin Pingzhi and stopped besides him. “Brother Ping, congratulations on your revenge.”

Lin Pingzhi was still laughing madly and crying out, “I’ve taken my revenge, I’ve taken my revenge!”

Yue Lingshan saw him with his eyes closed tightly so she asked, “What’s wrong with your eyes? Let’s wash the poison first.”

Lin Pingzhi was stupefied and his body swayed like he was about to fall. Yue Lingshan put her hand under his armpit to help him walk into the grass shed. Then she poured a tray of clean water on his head. Lin Pingzhi cried out miserably showing his unbearable pain. The Qingcheng disciples standing at a far away place were startled and they again ran for a few more steps.

“Little martial sister, take these medicines and give them to Martial Brother Lin. Bring him into our carriage for him to rest,” Linghu Chong said.

“Many… many thanks,” Yue Lingshan stammered.

“NO!” Lin Pingzhi cried out. “What’s so good about being betrayed by him! Whether I’m alive or dead, what does that have to do with him?”

Linghu Chong was startled, and he thought, “When did I offend you? Why do you hate me?”

“Heng-Shan School’s wonderful medicines are well known in the world, it’s hard to come by…” Yue Lingshan softly said.

“Hard to come by what?” Lin Pingzhi angrily retorted.

Yue Lingshan let out a long sigh and poured another tray of clean water on his head. This time, Lin Pingzhi only snorted and gritted his teeth to stop crying out. “He’s so worried about you. You’ve always talked well about him. Why don’t you go with him? Why do you still care about me?”

When the Heng-Shan School disciples heard this, their faces lost their colours. Yihe loudly shouted, “You… You… dare to say such shameless words?”

Yiqing quickly pulled on Yihe’s sleeve. “Martial sister, with his injuries, his mood isn’t good. Why must you argue with him?”

“Pei!” Yihe angrily replied. “I’m just angry…”

At this time, Yue Lingshan had taken out a handkerchief and was wiping the wound on Lin Pingzhi’s cheek. Lin Pingzhi suddenly pushed out forcefully with his right hand. Yue Lingshan wasn’t prepared for this so she was thrown outside and hit a stone wall outside the grass shed.

Linghu Chong was greatly angered and he shouted, “You…” But he remembered the two of them were husband and wife. When husband and wife disagreed on something and fought, it was inappropriate for other people to intervene. Furthermore, from what Lin Pingzhi had just said, it was obvious there was a bit of jealousy towards him. Lin Pingzhi definitely knew about the way he intensely loved his martial sister. Also, his own injury was serious so Linghu Chong couldn’t possibly get involved in this matter, so he quickly stopped from saying anything more. But the anger in him caused his whole body to tremble.

Lin Pingzhi laughed coldly. “I’m shameless in what I said? Who are actually the shameless ones?” He pointed outside the grass shed and said, “That Shorty Yu, Hunchback Mu; they were the ones who wanted my Lin family’s Evil Resisting Sword Art. They wanted to steal it and killed my father and mother for it. Even though they were ruthless and merciless, they were still gentleman enough to follow the rules of a scoundrel in Jianghu, unlike… unlike…” He then turned around and pointed to Yue Lingshan and continued, “Unlike your father, Gentleman Sword Yue Buqun, who used such a contemptible and sly method to obtain my family’s sword manual.”

Yue Lingshan supported herself on the wall as she slowly stood up, but when she heard Lin Pingzhi’s accusation, her body shook and she sat back down. She tremblingly said, “Did… did this really happen?”

Lin Pingzhi laughed coldly. “Shameless lowly people! Both of you, father and daughter, conspired very well to entice me. Huashan School’s Miss Yue is married to me, a little kid with nowhere to go with no family to return to. Why is that if it isn’t for the Evil Resisting Sword Manual? Once the sword manual is in your hand, why do you still bother with me?”

Yue Lingshan gasped and cried. She said sobbing, “You… you’re blaming a good person here, if I had that idea, then let me… let me be punished by heaven and earth.”

“You secretly set your traitorous plan up,” Lin Pingzhi said. “From the beginning, I’ve been kept in the dark and didn’t understand a single thing. Now with both of my eyes blind, I can see everything clearly. If the two of you, father and daughter, set all these up, then why… why…”

Yue Lingshan slowly walked towards him and said, “Don’t let your imagination run wild. My heart towards you is still the same as before.” Lin Pingzhi snorted in contempt. Yue Lingshan went on, “Let’s go back to Huashan and tend to your injuries. It doesn’t matter if your eyes get better or not. If I have any ill intention behind this, then let me… let me die more miserably than Yu Canghai.”

Lin Pingzhi laughed coldly. “I don’t know what kind of crafty idea you have for talking so nicely to me.”

Yue Lingshan didn’t pay anymore attention to him but she said to Yingying, “Sister, I’d like to borrow a carriage from you.”

“Of course you can. Would you like to have two Heng-Shan School’s sisters to accompany you on your journey?”

Yue Lingshan couldn’t stop whimpering as she replied, “No… no need, many… many thanks.”

Yingying pulled a carriage over and gave her the rein and whip. Yue Lingshan held onto Lin Pingzhi’s arm and said, “Let’s get on the carriage!” Lin Pingzhi wasn’t willing, but both of his eyes couldn’t see a thing and it was very hard for him to walk. After hesitating for a while, he finally went inside the carriage. Yue Lingshan bit her lip and jumped onto the driver seat. She nodded her head at Yingying to show her thanks, then cracked her whip urging the mule to draw the carriage towards the northwest. She didn’t give a glance towards Linghu Chong at all.

Linghu Chong watched the carriage disappearing into the horizon. His heart was sour and tears was about to flow down from his eyes. He thought, “Both of Martial Brother Lin’s eyes are blind, and little martial sister is also injured. The two of them has no one else to rely on while slowly going on their long journey, what would be best thing to do? If Qingcheng School’s disciples chased them to take revenge, how can they fight back?” He saw the disciples of Qingcheng had surrounded Yu Canghai’s corpse and then put it on a horseback before going southwesterly. Even though they went in the opposite direction to that of Lin Pingzhi and Yue Lingshan, how would he know if they turn north after going dozens of li into their journey and go after the Lin husband and wife? As he pondered over what Lin Pingzhi and Yue Lingshan said to each other, he felt there were still countless unsaid feelings associated with them. Even though other people wouldn’t be able to see the love and hate between a husband and wife, it was clear the two of them would definitely not have a harmonious marriage. He thought little martial sister was still so young, her parents loved her so dearly, and the martial brothers in the school cherished her deeply, but to be insulted so by Lin Pingzhi, he couldn’t help shedding his tears for her.

On the very same day, after they had gone for more than ten li, they rested inside the main hall of a broken down temple for the night. It was the middle of the night and Linghu Chong had been sleeping but his sleep had been interrupted by unsettling dreams for a few times already. In his sleep, he suddenly heard a soft voice calling him, “Brother Chong, Brother Chong!” Linghu Chong groaned and woke up. He then heard Yingying’s voice, “Come outside, I have something to talk to you about.”

Linghu Chong quickly sat up and walked outside the temple. He saw Yingying sitting on top of the stone steps with both of her hands cupping her cheeks. She was gazing at the moon which was half covered by the cloud. Linghu Chong walked towards her and sat besides her. The night was deep and everything was peaceful. After some time, Yingying said, “You’re concerned about your little martial sister?”

“Yes. There are many things which are hard to understand.”

“You’re worried she’ll be bullied by her husband?”

Linghu Chong let out a sigh. “That’s their own matter, how can other people meddle in it?”

“You’re afraid the Qingcheng disciples will go after them?”

“Qingcheng disciples are pained by the loss of their master, so when they see the two of them injured, they’ll want to go and harm them. That’ll be a reasonable assumption.”

“Why don’t you think of a way to save them?”

Linghu Chong sighed. “I heard what Martial Brother Lin said. He’s quite jealous of me. Even if I have good intention in helping him, I’m afraid I’ll ruin the harmony between the two of them even more.”

“That’s one. The other apprehension you have in your heart is that I’ll be unhappy, isn’t that right?”

Linghu Chong nodded his head and held her left hand. Her palm was very cold. He softly said, “Yingying, you’re the only person I have in this world. If a suspicion also aroused between the two of us, then what would that mean?”

Yingying slowly rested her head on his shoulder. “Since your heart already thinks like that, how can there be suspicion between us? It’s not too late yet, let’s go chase after them and don’t let suspicion keep us away and rouse a lifelong of hatred.”

Linghu Chong was startled and his eyes glazed over in fear. “Lifelong of hatred, lifelong of hatred!” He saw in his mind dozens of Qingcheng disciples surrounding the carriage Lin Pingzhi and Yue Lingshan was riding, and dozens of swords viciously thrusting and stabbing at it. He couldn’t stop his body from trembling when thinking about it.

“I’ll go wake sister Yihe and Yiqing up so you can order them to go back to Heng-Shan by themselves,” Yingying said. “We’ll secretly protect your little martial sister on her journey, then we’ll go back to the White Cloud Convent after that.”

Yihe and Yiqing saw that Linghu Chong’s injury had not completely healed yet, so they were quite worried. But since his mind was already decided and he was also anxious to save his little martial sister, it wasn’t appropriate for them to advise him otherwise. So they gave him a big bottle of medicine and put it in the carriage. When Linghu Chong gave the order to Yihe and Yiqing, Yingying stood on the side looking the other way. She didn’t dare to look at Yihe and Yiqing, thinking they would laugh at them for going together in one carriage at night. Not until their mule-drawn carriage had gone for a few miles that she let out a sigh and the blushing on her cheeks subsided.

She recognised the way they were taking. It was a major road going northwest towards Mount Huashan and it was unlikely for them to get lost. The mule drawing their carriage was healthy and it galloped quite fast. In the calm of the night, they could only hear the rumbling of wheels and the tick-tock sound of the hooves.

Linghu Chong felt appreciative towards Yingying and he thought, “For my sake, she agrees to do anything. She knows I’m very concerned about little martial sister so she comes with me to protect her. She really knows me well. I wonder from which of my previous lives did she come from?”

Yingying hurried the mule up and it went quickly for a few miles before it slowed down again. “We’ll protect your martial sister and martial brother in secret. If they meet with trouble along the way then we’ll go out to help. It’s best if we don’t let them know. I think it’ll be easier if we disguise ourselves.”

“That’s right. Disguise yourself as that big bearded man!”

Yingying shook her head. “That won’t do. Your little martial sister already saw me in that disguise besides the place of worship.”

“Then what should be our disguise?”

Yingying pointed to a farmhouse in front of them with her whip and said, “I’ll go and steal some clothing. We’ll change into a… a… two brother and sister from the farm.” She originally wanted to say ‘a couple’, but as it reached the tip of her tongue, she felt it was inappropriate and immediately changed her word. Linghu Chong guessed it but knew she was very shy, so he didn’t dare to make a joke about it and just smiled to himself. But Yingying was just turning her head around and caught a glimpse of his smile, and her face turned red.

“What’s so funny?”

Linghu Chong smiled. “Nothing. I was just thinking, if that family doesn’t have any girl, and there’s only an old granny and a young kid living there, then I’d have to call you granny again.”

Yingying giggled and remembered the days when she had just met Linghu Chong and he kept on calling her granny at that time. She felt warmth in her heart as she jumped down from the carriage to go towards that farmhouse. Linghu Chong saw her leaping lightly to go over the wall, followed by the sound of a dog barking. But after one bark, it became quiet again, he thought Yingying must’ve kicked it dizzy. After some time, he saw her coming out with some clothes in her hands. When she reached the side of the carriage, he saw that she appeared to be smiling and she had a funny expression on her face. She quickly threw the clothes into the carriage, jumped into the carriage, then started laughing loudly. Linghu Chong picked up some of the clothes and inspected them under the moonlight. They were the clothes of an old peasant and an old woman. The clothes of the old woman were particularly big, inlaid with green flower laces. It was in an old style and clearly not the clothes of a young farm girl at all. Among the clothes, there was also a man’s cap, a head cover for a woman, and a tobacco tube.

Yingying laughed. “You’re Linghu the half deity! You guessed right there was a granny in the farmhouse, but it’s a pity there’s no kid…” She said till here when she blushed furiously and stopped talking.

Linghu Chong smiled teasingly. “So they’re brother and sister. The two are really good to each other. One doesn’t want to take a wife, the other doesn’t want to get married, they live till seventy eighty years old and they’re still together.”

Yingying bit her lip smiling. “You know it’s not like that.”

“They’re not brother and sister? That’s really strange.”

Yingying couldn’t help laughing. Then at the back of the carriage, she put on the clothes of the old farm woman on top of her gown and she also put on the head cover on her head. Then she grabbed some dirt from the side and rubbed it on her face. After that, she helped Linghu Chong to change into the old peasant’s clothes. Linghu Chong was barely a few inches away from her cheek and when he felt her breath caressing his face, he couldn’t help feeling moved. He really wanted to just give her a hug and kiss her, but he knew she was extremely stern and wasn’t the least bit licentious. If he offended her and raised her ire, then it would be hard to say what would happen, so he quickly collected his thought and didn’t dare to move.

He suddenly looked quite strange as he was restraining himself from doing something. Yingying saw him and understood. She smiled. “Good kid, granny adores you.” She extended her palm and rubbed the dirt on his face. Linghu Chong shut his eyes closed and felt her warm and soft palm lightly massaging his face all over. He felt unspeakable comfort and hoped she could continue doing this forever.

After some time, Yingying said, “Done. Your little martial will definitely not recognise you at night, but be careful not to speak.”

“Rub the dirt on my neck too.”

“Who’s going to look at your neck?” Yingying asked with a laugh. But she quickly understood his meaning. Linghu Chong wanted her to massage his neck. With a bent middle finger, she knocked softly on his forehead and turned around to sit on the driver’s seat. With a whistle, she urged the mule forward and suddenly she couldn’t help laughing, and she laughed harder as she went on. She was actually laughing till she bent forward and was finding it hard to sit.

Linghu Chong smiled and inquired, “What did you see in that farmhouse?”

“I didn’t see anything funny. That grandpa and grandma are… are husband and wife…” Yingying laughed.

“So they’re not brother and sister, but husband and wife instead,” Linghu Chong smiled.

“You’re teasing me again, I’m not talking.”

“Alright, they’re not husband and wife, they’re brother and sister.”

“Stop interrupting me, can you not? I jumped over the wall, and a dog barked, so I gave it a slap and made it faint. But the grandpa and grandma were woken up because of it. The grandma said: ‘Amao must’ve seen a weasel coming to steal the chicken.’ Grandpa said: ‘Old black isn’t barking anymore, it can’t be a weasel.’ That old grandma suddenly laughed and she said: ‘I think that weasel must’ve followed your example from the past when you visited my home in the middle of the night. You always brought a piece of meat to give to my dog.’”

Linghu Chong smiled. “This grandma is really bad. She’s scolding you and saying you’re a weasel.”

He knew Yingying was very shy. She was talking about the private matter between the old husband and wife farmers, so he pretended not to understand. Then, perhaps, she would continue with her story. Otherwise, if he said something a little bit romantic, she would stop talking altogether.

Yingying laughed and continued, “That grandma was talking about the time before they got married…” She said till here when she straightened her body and lifted the rein high to urge the mule to quicken its run.

“So what happened before they got married? They must’ve adhered to customs really strictly. Even in the middle of the night, sitting all by themselves in a carriage, they definitely wouldn’t dare to hug or kiss.” Yingying snorted and stopped talking.

Linghu Chong continued, “Dear, darling, what did they say? Tell me please.” Yingying smiled but kept her silence.

In the middle of the night, they only heard the hooves of the mule hitting the road and the peacefulness was really pleasing to the ear. Linghu Chong looked out and saw the moonlight was like water flowing out into the straight and broad road, and the mist enveloped the trees on the side of the road. The mule-drawn carriage slowly entered the mist and everything outside couldn’t be seen clearly anymore, even the back of Yingying’s body was wrapped around a haze of mist.

It was just at the beginning of spring, so the fragrance from the flowers was sometimes thick and sometimes light as the wind carried it, the pleasure of it all was unspeakable. Linghu Chong had not drunk any wine for a long time, but with this feeling in his mind, it felt just like being intoxicated. Yingying was still carrying a smile on her face as her thought went back to what those two old husband and wife were talking: The old grandpa said: ‘That night I didn’t have any meat at all, so I killed a chicken from your neighbour and fed it to your dog. What’s that dog called?’ Old grandma answered: ‘Big Flower.’ Old grandpa said: ‘That’s right, Big Flower. It ate half a chicken and didn’t bark anymore. Your father, mother, all didn’t know. Our Amao must’ve have gotten the same thing tonight.’ Old grandma said: ‘You knew you’re merry, and paid no attention to others’ hard work. Later on, my tummy became big and father hit me viciously.’ Old grandpa said: ‘Lucky your stomach became big, otherwise why would your father agree to marry you to such a poor kid like me? That time, I was looking forward to your stomach getting big!’ Old grandma suddenly got mad and scolded: ‘You devil, so you did it deliberately and you’ve been hiding the truth from me. I… I won’t spare you now.’ Old grandpa said: ‘Don’t be noisy! Amao will also bear a kid. What are you noisy about?’

By that time, Yinying was afraid Linghu Chong would be worried, so she didn’t listen anymore and stole the clothes before leaving a big silver ingot on the table and going out. She was going around lightly and that husband and wife didn’t notice at all. It was because they were already old and slow, and they were talking excitedly, so they didn’t feel her presence at all.

When Yingying thought of the conversation between the two of them, her face and ears turned red. Fortunately, it was at night, otherwise if Linghu Chong were to see her face, she would’ve been totally embarrassed. She stopped urging the mule and the big carriage gradually slowed down to normal speed. They turned around a bend and arrived besides the bank of a large lake. There were willows hanging around the bank of the lake and in the middle of the lake was the reflection of the round moon flickering about as the surface of the lake moved.

Yingying softly asked, “Brother Chong, are you asleep?”

“I’m asleep, I’m dreaming.”

“What are you dreaming?”

“I’m dreaming I’m carrying a big piece of meat and going up the Dark Wood Cliff to feed your family dog.”

“You’re not a proper person. No wonder your dream is also not proper,” Yingying said smiling.

The two of them sat alongside each other inside the carriage, gazing at the lake. Linghu Chong extended his right hand and put it on the back of Yingying’s left hand. Yingying’s hand trembled slightly but she didn’t take her hand back. Linghu Chong thought, “If only we could be like this forever and not see the bloodshed in Wulin ever again. Even if I were to become a god, I still wouldn’t be as happy as right now.”

“What are you thinking?” Yingying asked and Linghu Chong told her what he was just thinking of. Yingying turned over her hand and gripped his hand. “Brother Chong, I’m really happy.”

“Me too.”

“Even though I appreciated you commanding that group of heroes to attack Shaolin temple, I wasn’t as happy as I am now. If I were your best friend, and I was trapped inside the Shaolin temple, you would’ve also tried to save me because of the code of righteousness of Jianghu. But right now, you only think of me, and are not thinking of your little martial sister…” As she mentioned ‘your little martial sister’, Linghu Chong’s whole body quivered and he blurted out, “Aiyo, let’s go catch up to her!”

Yingying softly said, “Only now I believe that in your heart, you finally thought of me a bit more, and thought of your little martial sister a bit less.”

She lightly pulled on the rein to turn the mule around. The mule-drawn carriage returned to the major road, and with a crack of her whip, the mule ran quickly. In just a short time, they had covered more than twenty li and their mule had become weary, so it slowed down. After turning a couple of bends, they saw a field of tall sorghum in front of them with the major road running straight through the middle of it. The pale moonlight on the ground looked like a piece of big green silk spreading throughout the ground. As they gazed far away, they saw a carriage at the other end of the road, which seemed to be still and unmoving.

“This carriage looks like Martial Brother Lin’s carriage,” Linghu Chong remarked.

“Let’s go slowly and take a look,” Yingying replied. She then urged the mule to go slowly as it got nearer to the other carriage. After they had travelled for a bit, they became aware that the carriage in front was actually still moving, but very slowly. They also saw there was a person walking besides the mule, who was unexpectedly Lin Pingzhi. From the shape of the driver’s body, they saw it was Yue Lingshan who was sitting on the driver’s seat. Linghu Chong was surprised and he extended his hand to the rein to stop their mule. “What are they doing?” he whispered.

“Wait here, I’ll go have a look,” Yingying said.

If they were to catch up with the other carriage, then the other party would have discovered them. So they must use qinggong to secretly peep in on them. Linghu Chong really wanted to go with her, but his injury had not healed yet so he couldn’t use his qinggong. He nodded his head and replied, “Alright.”

Yingying lightly leapt off the carriage and rushed into the thicket of tall sorghum on the side of the road. The tall sorghum had grown very thick so once someone entered it, they wouldn’t be seen even in the light of day. But these tall sorghum had not grown very tall yet and their leaves weren’t that dense, so your head would still be exposed outside. She stooped down as she went and followed the sound of the hooves, until she was finally alongside Yue Lingshan’s mule-drawn carriage.

She heard Lin Pingzhi said, “My sword manual was already taken by your father a long time ago, and I don’t have any other move he doesn’t know. Why must you insist on following me everywhere?”

“You’ve always been suspicious of my father having plans on your sword manual without any reason at all. Listen to your own conscience. When you first entered Huashan School, you didn’t have any sword manual, but I’ve always been… always been good to you, could it be, it all means nothing to you?” Yue Lingshan reasoned.

“My Lin family’s Evil Resisting Sword Art is well known throughout the world. Yu Canghai, Mu Gaofeng, they both couldn’t find anything on my father so they searched me. How do I know you didn’t deliberately treat me well because of your father’s and mother’s order?”

Yue Lingshan whimpered. “If you think that way, then what can I do?”

“Did I mistakenly blame you then?” Lin Pingzhi vehemently asked. “This ‘Evil Resisting Sword Manual’, didn’t your father finally take it from my hand? Everyone knows, if you want the ‘Evil Resisting Sword Manual’ then you must take it from this little kid Lin. Yu Canghai, Mu Gaofeng, hng hng, Yue Buqun, what’s the difference? The only difference is Yue Buqun succeeded, while Yu Canghai and Mu Gaofeng failed.”

“You’re slandering my father, who do you think I am?” Yue Lingshan angrily retorted. “If not for… if not for… hng hng…”

Lin Pingzhi halted his steps and shouted, “What are you going to do? If not for me being blind, injured, you’re going to kill me, isn’t that right? My eyes were blinded a long time ago.”

“So when you first knew me and treated me well, your eyes were already blind?” She reined in the mule and stopped the carriage.

“That’s right! How would I know you had planned everything? Because of this ‘Evil Resisting Sword Manual’, you actually went to Fuzhou to open up a small wine shop. When that kid Yu from Qingcheng School bullied you, actually your martial art was much higher than him, but you pretended not to know any martial art and made me helped you. Hng, Lin Pingzhi, you were one blind stupid kid, relying on your three legged cat martial art and actually daring to be heroic and be outraged by injustice,” Lin Pingzhi said. “You’re everything to your father and mother, if not for something big and important, why would they agree to let you show your face in public? Why would they agree to let you sell wine in such a humble shop?”

“Father originally sent second martial brother to go to Fuzhou,” Yue Lingshan replied. “It was me who wanted to go down the mountain to play, to follow second martial brother.”

“Your father controls the school’s disciples so strictly. If he believed it was inappropriate, even if you kneeled and implored him for three days and three nights, he still wouldn’t allow you to go. Naturally, it was because he couldn’t trust second martial brother that he also sent you to watch over things.”

Yue Lingshan was quiet, looking like she felt Lin Pingzhi’s conjecture wasn’t completely unreasonable. After a little while, she said, “You can believe me or not, but before I got to Fuzhou, I’ve never heard of ‘Evil Resisting Sword Manual’. Father only said, big martial brother had beaten up the disciples of Qingcheng so there’s a dislike between the two parties. At that time, the Qingcheng School was carrying out a large operation and was moving to the east. So he’s afraid it would be disadvantageous to our school. That was why second martial brother and I went to Fuzhou to investigate.”

Lin Pingzhi let out a sigh. It seemed he had softened up as he said, “Fine, I’ll believe you this time. But I’ve already changed into this. Why are you still following me for? You and I are only husband and wife in names only, we’re not real husband and wife. You’re still a virgin, you can just go back… go back to Linghu Chong!”

When Yingying heard ‘You and I are only husband and wife in names only, we’re not real husband and wife. You’re still a virgin’, she couldn’t help being surprised, and she thought, “What’s the reason for that?” She immediately became bashful and her whole face turned bright red. Even her neck was feeling hot. She thought, “For me to listen to the private conversation of a husband and wife of another family is already very inappropriate, but to think of a reason for that, that’s really… that’s really…” She turned around to go, but she only went for a few steps before her curiosity got the better of her and she halted to listen for more. But she was afraid of being discovered so she didn’t dare to return to her previous hiding spot, and now she was further away from the two of them. However, the conversation between them could still be clearly heard by her. She heard Yue Lingshan quietly said, “After we had been married for three days, I already knew you really hate me. Even though we were in the same room, you didn’t want to be on the same bed with me. Since you already hate me so, why did you… did you… marry me?”

Lin Pingzhi sighed. “I don’t hate you.”

“You don’t hate me? Then why did you pretend to be very caring towards me during the day, but at night when we got back to our room, you didn’t even want to talk to me? Father and mother have already repeatedly asked how you were treating me. I’ve always told them you treated me very well, very well, very well… sob…” She said till here when she suddenly bawled her eyes out.

Lin Pingzhi leapt up onto the carriage and holding both of her shoulders, he then severely said, “You said your father and mother asked you repeatedly wanting to know how I treated you, is this true?”

“Of course it’s true,” Yue Lingshan answered in sobs. “Why do I need to lie to you about this?”

“You know I didn’t treat you well, I didn’t even share the same bed with you. So how did you answer them?” Lin Pingzhi inquired.

“I was already married to you, so I belong to the Lin family. I was hoping you would have a change of feeling soon. I treated you genuinely, how can I… how can I lay out my own husband’s fault?”

Lin Pingzhi gritted his teeth and did not answer her for a long time. After a long time, he slowly said, “Hng, I thought your father was worried about you so he was showing mercy towards me. Who would’ve thought the entire thing was covered up by you? If you didn’t answer like you did, I would’ve died on Mount Huashan a long time ago.”

“How can that be?” Yue Lingshan sobbingly asked. “Newly married couples can be a little bit at odds with each other, how can the father-in-law kill the son-in-law just because of that?”

Yingying heard till here when she advanced forward a few more steps.

Lin Pingzhi said with hatred in his voice, “He wants to kill me not because I don’t treat you well, it was because I learned the Evil Resisting Sword Art.”

“I really don’t understand this. These last few days, the sword art that father and you have been using is really strange, but its power is incredibly powerful. Father defeated Zuo Lengchan and snatched the Five Mountains School’s headmaster position, while you killed Yu Canghai and Mu Gaofeng, could it be… could it be that sword art is the Evil Resisting Sword Art?”

“That’s right! That really is my Fuzhou’s Lin family’s Evil Resisting Sword Art! Years ago, my great grandfather Yuantu used this seventy two groups of sword moves to intimidate the demonical and created the ‘Fortune Prestige Escort House’ business. All the heroes in the realm respected and feared him because of this.” When he talked of this matter, his voice became louder and it was full of pride.

“But, you’ve never told me you’ve learned this set of sword art.”

“How could I dare? Linghu Chong tried to snatch that Buddhist robe in Fuzhou but he couldn’t do it, but this sword manual written on the Buddhist robe instead fell into your father’s hand…”

“No, it can’t be!” Yue Lingshan sharply interrupted. “Father said, big martial brother was the one who snatched the sword manual. I begged him to return it to you, but he wasn’t willing at all.” Lin Pingzhi snorted and laughed coldly.

Yue Lingshan continued, “Big martial brother’s sword art is very formidable and even my father isn’t his match, could it be the sword art he’s using isn’t the Evil Resisting Sword Art? That it wasn’t learned from your family’s ‘Evil Resisting Sword Manual’?”

Lin Pingzhi again laughed derisively. “Even though Linghu Chong is sly and deceitful, he’s nothing compared to your father. Also, his swordplay is a mess, how can it be compared to my family’s Evil Resisting Sword Art? During the fight besides the place of worship, he couldn’t even compete with you and was injured heavily under your sword, hng hng, so how can his sword art be compared to my family’s Evil Resisting Sword Art?”

“He deliberately let me win,” Yue Lingshan quietly mumbled.

Lin Pingzhi laughed coldly. “His love for you is so deep!” If these words were heard by Yingying the day before, she would’ve gotten enraged even though she knew already Linghu Chong deliberately lost that sword fight. But after spending the night together in the same carriage and talking clearly besides the lake, they knew each other’s hearts, and she now felt sweetness in her heart instead. “He treated you really well before, but right now, he treats me much better. You can’t blame him for this, it’s not because he had a change of heart toward you, but it’s because you’ve been bullying him too fiercely.”

“So big martial brother’s sword art isn’t the Evil Resisting Sword Art,” Yue Lingshan concluded. “Then why did Father always say he stole your family’s ‘Evil Resisting Sword Manual’? That day when Father expelled him from the Huashan School, he declared this to be one of his big crimes. Then, I’ve… I’ve been wrongly blaming him.”

Lin Pingzhi laughed mockingly. “What wrongly blaming? Linghu Chong also wanted to rob my sword manual. He had actually already stolen it. But that bandit met with the grandpa bandit, so after he got injured and fainted, your father took it from his body and took the opportunity to lay the blame on him to cover his track. This is called thief crying thief…”

“What thief crying thief!” Yue Lingshan angrily retorted. “You’re saying such a horrible thing!”

“The things your father did, aren’t they horrible? The things he did, am I not allowed to say them?”

Yue Lingshan let out a sigh. “That day in Xiangyang Lane, that Buddhist Robe was stolen by the bad people from Songshan School. Big martial brother killed these two people and took the Buddhist robe back. This is not necessarily because he wanted to get it for himself. Big martial brother is a very bighearted person. Ever since he was small, he’d never been greedy and never coveted other people’s things. When Father said he took your sword manual, I doubted it. But since Father said it, and I also saw how Big Martial Brother had suddenly advanced a lot in his swordplay to the level above that of my father, I believed everything was true.”

Yingying thought, “You can say these words now, then Chong-lang’s love for you wasn’t in vain.”

(Translator’s note: To call someone ‘lang’ has romantic connotation.)

Lin Pingzhi sneered coldly. “He’s so good, why didn’t you go with him?”

“Brother Ping, even until now, you still don’t understand my heart. Big martial brother and I have grown up together since we were little. In my heart, he’s just like my real brother. I love him dearly like a family member and regard him as my big brother. I’ve never regarded him as my lover. Ever since you came to Mount Huashan, you and I have matched really well. If I don’t see you for some time, then my heart becomes unhappy and uneasy. My feeling towards you will never change.”

“Your father and you are somewhat different, you’re… you’re like your mother.” His voice had become softer as he said this; it was clear his true feeling towards Yue Lingshan was being moved. The two of them didn’t speak another word for a long time before Yue Lingshan broke the silence, “Brother Ping, you have such a deep hatred toward my father, so it won’t be easy for the two of you to reconcile. I’m already married… I… I will definitely always follow you. Let’s go somewhere far and find somewhere secluded to pass our days happily there.”

Lin Pingzhi laughed coldly and replied, “What you thought is quite good. But the whole world would’ve known by now that I killed Yu Canghai and Mu Gaofeng, so your father naturally knows that I’ve learned the Evil Resisting Sword Art. How can he let me keep on living in this world?”

“You said my father sought your sword manual. Based on the fact, there’s nothing I can do to defend him,” Yue Lingshan dejectedly said. “But you keep on saying that he’s going to kill you after you’ve learned the Evil Resisting Sword Art. What’s the logic in that? The ‘Evil Resisting Sword Manual’ belongs to your family, so it’s perfectly justified and totally natural for you to learn this sword art. There’s no reason at all for my father to want to kill you, and he won’t kill you just because of this.”

“You can say this because you don’t understand what kind of person your father is. You also don’t understand what this ‘Evil Resisting Sword Manual’ really is.”

“Even though I’m totally devoted to you, I still don’t understand what’s in your heart.”

“That’s right, you don’t understand! You don’t understand! Why do you want to understand?” He became really irritable at this point.

Yue Lingshan didn’t dare to speak too much, so she said, “En, let’s go!”

“Go where?”

“Wherever you want to go, I’ll go with you. I’ll go with you even to the edge of the world.”

“What you’re saying is true? No matter what happens in the future, you won’t regret it?”

“I’ve made up my mind to be with you, to marry you. I’ve long ago decided to be with you forever. How can I regret it? Your eyes’ injury, whether it’s going to heal or not, I’ll accompany you always, attend to you, and be together until both of us died.”

These words were said sincerely, and Yingying was moved on hearing them. Lin Pingzhi snorted sounding like he didn’t believe her. Yue Lingshan softly said, “Brother Ping, you still don’t believe me. I… I… tonight I’m going to give you everything, you… so you will trust me always. Tonight will be our wedding night, and we’ll become real husband and wife. From today onwards, become… real husband and wife…” Her voice became softer and softer as she spoke, at the end it was barely audible.

Yingying became terribly embarrassed, and she thought, “If I still listen to what they’re doing now, how can I still be a person?” She slowly moved away while secretly scolding, “This Miss Yue really is shameless! They’re in the middle of a major road, how can… how can… pei!”

Suddenly, she heard Lin Pingzhi ferociously crying out. His voice was extremely sad and shrill, followed by him shouting, “Scram! Don’t come over!”

Yingying started and thought, “What’s going on? Why is this Lin being so fierce?” This was followed by Yue Lingshan weeping loudly. Lin Pingzhi shouted, “Go away, go away! Quickly go far far away, I’d rather be killed by your father, I don’t want you to come with me.”

“You’re being so mean to me… what… what did I do wrong…” Yue Lingshan cried.

“I… I…” Lin Pingzhi stammered. After a pause, he went on, “You… You…” But he stopped talking.

“Say what your heart wants to say,” Yue Lingshan said. “Did I do something wrong, or maybe you’re blaming my father and don’t want to forgive me. Just say it clearly once and then you don’t need to do anything, I’ll immediately kill myself with my sword.” With a hissing sound, she drew her sword. Yingying thought, “She’s going to be forced to die by Lin Pingzhi, I have to save her!” She quickly walked back and got very near to the carriage so she could rescue her.

Lin Pingzhi again stammered, “I… I…” After some time, he let out a long sigh and said, “It’s not your fault, it’s me who is no good.”

Yue Lingshan cried mournfully. Lin Pingzhi relented and said, “Alright, I’ll tell you.”

“You can hit me, kill me, but don’t leave me not understanding anything,” Yue Lingshan said between sobs.

“Since your feeling towards me isn’t fake, then I’ll tell you everything so your heart can die over this.”

“Why?” Yue Lingshan was perplexed.

“Why? My Lin family’s Evil Resisting Sword Art is very famous throughout Wulin. Yu Canghai and your father are both headmasters of a school, their own sword arts are already strong, but they still planned on stealing my family’s sword manual. But my father’s martial art is useless, and other people can just bully and humiliate him without him being able to fight back at all, now why is that?”

“Maybe because father-in-law wasn’t suitable to learn martial art, or maybe his body was weak,” Yue Lingshan guessed. “From among the school’s disciples in Wulin, it’s not necessarily true that every one of them has strong martial art.”

“You’re wrong. Even though my father’s swordplay was no good, it was only because he didn’t study it enough. His internal energy was weak, and his attainment of the sword art was also poor. But the Evil Resisting Sword Art that he taught me, the foundation was wrong, and from the beginning to the end, it wasn’t right.”

Yue Lingshan hummed deeply and said, “This… This is really strange.”

“Actually, it’s not strange,” Lin Pingzhi said. “Do you know what my great grandfather Yuantu originally was?”

“I don’t know.”

“He was originally a monk.”

“So he was a Buddhist. Some heroes of Wulin do a lot of outrageous things in Jianghu, but when they got older, they got quite worn out from all the things happening in the world, so they become Buddhists. This can happen,” Yue Lingshan said.

“No. My great grandfather didn’t become a Buddhist when he got old. He was a monk first before returning to secular life again.”

“There were also heroes who were monks when they’re young. Our founding ancestor of the Ming, Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang, he was a monk before he became the emperor.”

Yingying thought, “Miss Yue knows her husband is narrow-minded. Not only does she not dare to offend him, she keeps trying to reassure him.”

She then heard Yue Lingshan went on, “Father-in-law must’ve told you that your great grandfather Yuantu was a monk when he was young.”

“My father never talked about it, I don’t think he knew about it. My house at the Xiangyang Lane has a Buddhist hall in it; we went in there together on that night.”

“Yes.”

“Why was this ‘Evil Resisting Sword Manual’ recorded on a Buddhist robe? It was because he was originally a monk, and when he saw the sword manual, he quickly wrote it down on his Buddhist robe and got out. Once he returned to secular life, he built a Buddhist hall at home and didn’t dare to forget about Buddha.”

“Your guess is very reasonable,” Yue Lingshan agreed. “But, it’s also possible that the sword manual was given to Grandfather Yuantu by an eminent reverend, and that the sword manual was originally written on the Buddhist robe. So Grandfather Yuantu may have obtained this sword manual frankly and uprightly.”

“It’s not like that.”

“Your conjecture isn’t necessarily right.”

“It’s not my conjecture; it’s what Grandfather Yuantu wrote on the Buddhist robe.”

“Ah, so that’s how it is.”

“He wrote this at the end of the sword manual. He was originally a monk, but because of an especially lucky chance, he heard of this sword manual from other people’s mouth and wrote it down on the Buddhist robe. He warned that this sword art is too cruel and sinister, and once you learned it, you’ll die without an heir. It’s already unsuitable for even nuns or monks to learn as it violates the compassion of the Buddha, so for secular people, they shouldn’t learn this even more.”

“But he had already learned it himself.”

“At that time, I also thought the same thing as you. This sword art is said to be cruel and sinister, and inadvisable to be practised, but after Grandfather Yuantu studied it, didn’t he still manage to take a wife and get an heir?”

“That’s right. But it could be that he took a wife and got an heir first before studying this sword art.”

“It can’t be,” Lin Pingzhi said. “Everyone who studies martial art in this world, no matter how heroic you are, or how powerful your martial art already is, once you see this sword manual, you couldn’t possibly not practice it because you want to see how the first move goes. Once you’ve tried the first move, you’ll definitely try the second move. Once you’ve tried the second move, you cannot not try the third move. Even if you haven’t seen a sword manual before, once you’ve seen it then you’ll definitely go crazy about it and it’s very difficult to free yourself from it, and you’ll practice it from top to bottom. Even if you know there’s an enormous disaster tied to practising it, you still won’t care about it.”

Yingying heard till here when her thoughts turned to her father. “Daddy once said, this ‘Evil Resisting Sword Manual’ actually has the same root as our sect’s ‘Sunflower Manual’ and they have the same fundamental principle. It’s no wonder Yue Buqun’s and Lin Pingzhi’s sword art actually looks very similar to Dongfang Bubai’s.” She also thought, “Daddy said, there’s something harmful in the martial art contained in the ‘Sunflower Manual’. He knows that once a person who studies martial art sees the content of this martial art secret, he would definitely fall under its trap and would find it hard to free himself from it even if he knows it’d be disastrous to study it. So he simply refused to look at the Manual, which was the most sensible thing to do.” A thought suddenly flashed in her mind, “Then why did he give it to Dongfang Bubai?” She thought till this point, and she automatically deduced, “So at that time Daddy already saw Dongfang Bubai harbouring an ill intention, so he gave him the Manual to harm him. But Uncle Xiang didn’t know anything about this, and Dongfang Bubai was also ignorant of this and was still blissfully unworried. Actually, my father is such an astute and formidable person. How could he have been muddled headed for so long? It’s just that a person’s thought isn’t as good as the thought of heaven. Dongfang Bubai unexpectedly struck first, captured daddy, and imprisoned him under the West Lake. But his heart wasn’t especially bad. If at that time, he were to have killed daddy, or may have given an order not to give him food and drink, how could Daddy have the opportunity to take his revenge? Actually, it was a really lucky thing that we were able to kill Dongfang Bubai. If not for Chong-lang’s help, Daddy, Uncle Xiang, Shangguan Yun and me, the four of us would’ve been killed by Dongfang Bubai at that time. Also, if it weren’t for Yang Lianting messing with his heart, Dongfang Bubai would still be undefeated.” She thought till here, and she couldn’t help feeling that Dongfang Bubai was somewhat pitiful.

She thought, “After he captured my dad, he treated me generously and gave me a lot of gifts. When I was in the Divine Sun Moon Sect, I was no different from a princess. Today, when my own dad is the Chief, I instead, didn’t have the authority I used to have. Ai, now that I already have Chong-lang, why do I still need that authority for?” As her thoughts wandered to the past, she thought her father’s scheming was very deep and she couldn’t help be frightened. “Even now, Dad still hasn’t told Chong-lang the method of dispersing the internal energy. Chong-lang had already amassed several different qi from other people, and they still haven’t been dispersed yet. This disaster will get bigger and bigger as days go by. Sooner or later, he will definitely be in trouble. Daddy said he must join our sect and once he did, not only will he be imparted with this technique, he will immediately be sworn in as the heir to the Chief. But Chong-lang isn’t willing to submit and he will be in a great deal of trouble later.” She was half happy and half worried. As she quietly stood in the cluster of tall sorghum, her thoughts wildly went from here to there, but no matter what she thought about, it always returned to Linghu Chong.

At this time, Lin Pingzhi and Yue Lingshan were also quiet. After a long time, Lin Pingzhi said, “After Grandfather Yuantu saw this sword manual, he of course practised it straight away.”

“If there’s really a big trouble associated with this set of sword art, it wouldn’t just come out straight away,” Yue Lingshan reasoned. “It’s always after practising for ten years or so that the harm would come. Grandfather Yuantu must’ve taken a wife and gotten an heir before this trouble manifested itself.”

“That’s. Not. It.” Lin Pingzhi stressed each word without any hesitation. After a pause, he went on, “In the beginning, I also thought the same thing as you did. But after a few days, I found out it wasn’t so. My grandfather simply couldn’t be Grandfather Yuantu’s son. He’s most likely adopted by Grandfather Yuantu. Grandfather Yuantu took a wife and got an heir merely to fool everyone.”

Yue Lingshan gasped in surprise and said in a trembling voice, “Fool everyone? But… why?”

Lin Pingzhi snorted but didn’t answer her. After some time, he said, “When I first saw the sword manual, I was already very close to you. Several times, I thought I should wait till we get married and become a real husband and wife before I start studying the sword art. But it’s impossible for a martial art person to resist not studying what’s written in that sword manual. I finally… I finally… castrated myself to practice the sword…”

Yue Lingshan absentmindedly replied, “You… You… castrated yourself to practice sword?”

“That’s right,” Lin Pingzhi gloomily said. “The first sentence in the Evil Resisting Sword Manual is: ‘To dominate Wulin, swipe your sword and castrate yourself’.”

“Why… why?”

“To practise this Evil Resisting Sword Art, you must start with the internal energy first. If you don’t castrate yourself, once you practise it, you’ll immediately feel like you’re on fire, fire deviate, and die.”

“That’s how it is.” Her voice was like a mosquito and very hard to hear.

Yingying was also thinking, “So that’s why!” Now, she understood everything clearly why Dongfang Bubai, who was such a masculine man with the number one martial art of the world, was wearing woman’s clothes, embroidering, and was so crazy about Yang Lianting. So in order to practise this demonical martial art, he had become not a man and not a woman.

She then heard Yue Lingshan sobbed lightly and said, “Back then, Grandfather Yuantu pretended to take a wife and get an heir to fool everyone, you… you’re also…”

“That’s right, after I castrated myself, I still married you to fool people. But it’s only to fool your father.”

Yue Lingshan wept sorrowfully upon hearing this.

“I’ve told you everything now,” Lin Pingzhi said. “You must hate me to the bone now. Why don’t you go away?”

“I don’t hate you,” Yue Lingshan sobbed. “You were forced by circumstances and had no other alternatives. I only hate… only hate whoever wrote that ‘Evil Resisting Sword Manual’ back then. Why… why did he want to harm other people like that?”

Lin Pingzhi giggled. “This senior was a eunuch.”

Yue Lingshan groaned. “So… so my father… is also… is also like you…”

“Since he’s studied this sword art, how can he be different? Your father is the headmaster of a school, if anyone found out he castrated himself and then spread the word out, how can he not become the laughingstock of Jianghu? That’s why if he knew that I’ve learned this sword art, he must definitely kill me. He’s already asked several times how I treated you because he wanted to know whether I’ve castrated myself or not. If at that time you complained even a little bit, then my life would’ve been gone.”

“Now he knows.”

“I’ve killed Yu Canghai, killed Mu Gaofeng,” Lin Pingzhi was brimming with pride as he said this. “Within a few days, the word would’ve spread throughout Wulin and the whole world will know.”

“In that case, I’m afraid… I’m afraid my father won’t let you go then. Where should we run off to?”

“We? You already know what I am now, you still want to follow me?”

“Of course. Brother Ping, my feeling towards you will always be… always be the same. Your lot in this world is so pitiful…” She had not finished saying this when she suddenly cried out and jumped off the carriage as Lin Pingzhi pushed her out.

“I don’t want your pity! Who wants your pity?” Lin Pingzhi angrily retorted. “Lin Pingzhi’s swordplay is complete. I’m not scared of anything. Wait until my eyes are better. Lin Pingzhi will then rule the world. Yue Buqun, Linghu Chong, Monk Fangzheng, Priest Chongxu, they are not my match.”

Yingying inwardly got angry and she thought, “Wait till your eyes are better? Hng, have your eyes ever been good?” When Lin Pingzhi was injured, she originally felt quite sad for him. But when she saw how uncaring he was towards his wife, how ruthlessly he treated her, and also how conceited he was, she couldn’t help despising him.

Yue Lingshan sighed. “You must first look for a place to hide for a while. Wait till your eyes are better before doing anything else.”

“I have a method to deal with your father.”

“It must be horrible to hear and of course you can’t say what it is. Father also doesn’t need to worry about you for now.”

“Hng, I understand your father way more than you do. Tomorrow, I’m going to tell the first person I see about this.”

Yue Lingshan worriedly said, “Is that necessary? Aren’t you…”

“Necessary? This is the method to preserve my life. I’m going to tell every person I meet. In no time at all, word would’ve spread to your father’s ear. Then, since Yue Buqun knows it was me who said this, he cannot kill me to shut me up. On the contrary, he must protect my life.”

“Your idea is really strange.”

“What’s so strange about it? Whether your father has castrated himself or not, no one would be able to see it. When his beard falls off, he’ll glue them on and there will be people who will believe it and those who won’t. But if I suddenly die without any reason, everyone will say Yue Buqun is the one who did it. This is called wishing to cover it up but exposing it more instead.” Yue Lingshan sighed and didn’t say anything else.

Yingying thought, “This Lin Pingzhi has a very keen mind, and his method really is formidable. Miss Yue is in a very difficult position here, she’s trapped in the middle. Her parents’ reputation will unavoidably be destroyed, but if she thought of a way to prevent it from happening, then it’ll endanger her husband’s life.”

Lin Pingzhi went on, “Even if both of my eyes can’t see a thing from now on, I’ve avenged my parents and I will never regret it. Linghu Chong told me the last words of my father. He said there’s a relic in the old residence at Xiangyang and I should never take a look at it. This was the instruction Great Grandfather left behind. Now, I’ve taken a look at it. Even though I violated Great Grandfather’s instruction, I’ve taken revenge for my parents. If it weren’t like this, other people would’ve said my Lin family’s Evil Resisting Sword Art has an unearned reputation, and that the heads of the Fortune Prestige Escort House had been cheating people.”

“Back then, both father and you suspected big martial brother. You were both saying that he took your Lin family’s ‘Evil Resisting Sword Manual’, saying he fabricated Father-in-Law’s last words…”

“Just say I blamed him wrongly. What do you want to do?” Lin Pingzhi interrupted. “At that time, didn’t you suspect him too?”

Yue Lingshan softly sighed. “Big martial brother and you haven’t known each other for a long time, so it’s not surprising you suspected him. But father and me, we shouldn’t have doubted him. The only person in this world who truly believed him was only mother.”

Yingying thought, “Who said only your mother?”

Lin Pingzhi coldly laughed. “Your mother truly adores Linghu Chong. I don’t know how many times your parents argued because of this little kid.”

Astounded, Yue Lingshan asked, “My father and mother argued over big martial brother? My father and mother never argue, how do you know about this?”

Lin Pingzhi laughed coldly and answered, “Never argue? That’s only to put on an appearance in front of other people. For this matter, Yue Buqun put on his hypocrite mask. I heard it all with my own ears, could it be fake?”

“I didn’t say fake, but it’s really strange. How come I’ve never heard of it, but you heard of it?”

“I’ll tell you now, it’s all irrelevant. That day in Fuzhou, two people from Songshan School snatched that Buddhist robe away. These two people were killed by Linghu Chong, so naturally the Buddhist robe was taken by Linghu Chong. But at that time he was heavily injured and lost consciousness. I searched his body, but I didn’t know where that Buddhist robe had gone to.”

“So in Fuzhou city, you had already searched big martial brother.”

“That’s right, so what?”

“Nothing.”

Yingying thought, “If Miss Yue follows this cunning and irritable little kid, she’ll be miserable for the rest of her life.” Suddenly she also thought, “I’ve been here for so long, Chong-lang must be worried.” She tilted her ear to one side to listen but there was no noise at all, so she thought that he must be settled and everything was well.

She then heard Lin Pingzhi continued, “The Buddhist robe wasn’t on Linghu Chong’s body anymore, so it must’ve been taken by your parents. From Fuzhou till Huashan, I quietly observed things. But your father covered up really well and I didn’t manage to see anything wrong at all. Your father was sick at that time. Of course, who would’ve known that once he’s seen the ‘Evil Resisting Sword Manual’, he immediately castrated himself to practise the sword. During the journey, there were a lot people there, so I didn’t dare to peep in on your parents. Once we returned to Huashan, I hid on top of the precipice outside your parents’ bedroom every night to hear their conversations and to find out where my sword manual is.”

Yue Lingshan asked, “Every night you hid yourself on top of the precipice?”

“That’s right.”

Yue Lingshan again repeated her question, “Every night?”

Yingying couldn’t hear Lin Pingzhi’s answer. She thought he must’ve nodded his head. But she heard Yue Lingshan sighed and said, “You have a strong will.”

“For vengeance, I had to succeed.”

“Yes,” Yue Lingshan meekly agreed.

Lin Pingzhi narrated, “I listened in for more than ten nights, but I didn’t hear anything unusual. But one night, I heard your mother said: ‘Martial brother, I feel there’s something amiss with your appearance recently. Did you have some kind of trouble learning that Divine Art of Violet Twilight? Don’t seek perfection too much and invite trouble.’

Your dad laughed and replied: ‘No, my martial art practise is going smoothly.’

Your mother said: ‘Don’t hide it from me. How come your voice has changed recently? The pitch of your voice has become higher and sharper, just like a girl.’

Your dad said: ‘Nonsense! My voice has always been like this.’

When I heard him say these words, I heard his voice was really sharp just like a girl throwing a tantrum. Your mother said: ‘You’re still denying it? In your whole life, you’ve never said those words to me. In the years we’ve been together, when have you concealed anything from me when something’s troubling you?’

Your dad said: ‘What’s there to trouble me? En, the meeting at Songshan isn’t too far away and Zuo Lengchan’s intention to annex the four schools is very obvious. I’m troubled by this, that’s some of it.’

Your mother said: ‘I see that it’s more than this.’

Your dad got angry again and in his sharp voice said: ‘It’s your blind suspicion, what else is there besides this?’

Your mother answered: ‘When I say it out, don’t get angry. I know you’ve wrongly blamed Chong’er.’

Your dad said: ‘Chong’er? He and his Devil Sect people meddle together, he also has a relationship with his Devil Sect Miss Ren, everyone in the world knows about this already. How did I wrongly blame him?’”

When Yingying heard him narrating Yue Buqun’s words, mentioned her own name, furthermore mentioning ‘he also has a relationship with his Devil Sect Miss Ren, everyone in the world knows about this already’, her whole face slightly heated up, but a soft and tender feeling rose up from her heart. She then heard Lin Pingzhi continued, “Your mother said: ‘You didn’t wrongly blame him for making friends with people from the devil sect. I’m saying you wrongly blame him for stealing Ping’er’s Evil Resisting Sword Manual.’

Your dad said: ‘Could it be he didn’t steal the sword manual? His swordplay suddenly advanced tremendously, he’s even higher skilled than you or me, haven’t you seen that already?’

Your mother said: ‘He must’ve met with something else for that. I’m certain he didn’t take the Evil Resisting Sword Manual. It’s true that Chong’er likes to make trouble and he doesn’t listen to our teachings. But ever since he was little he’s always been frank, and he’d never steal anything. After Shan’er became fond of Ping’er and he was jilted, he’s still such a proud person. Even if Ping’er gave him the sword manual willingly, he still wouldn’t accept it.’”

Yingying heard till here and she felt an unspeakable happiness in her heart. She was hoping she could give Madam Yue a hug right then and express her gratitude. Yingying was thinking it wasn’t in vain that you’ve raised Chong-lang since he was little; from everyone in Huashan, you are the only person who truly understands him. She also thought based on Madam Yue’s words, if Linghu Chong had a chance someday, then he must repay her well for what she just said.

Lin Pingzhi went on, “Your dad snorted and said: ‘It looks like you regret expelling this little kid Linghu Chong from our school.’

Your mother said: ‘He violated the school’s rules, and you carried out our ancestor’s instructions and upheld the school’s principle, so no one can criticise you for this. But your accusation of him turning over to the unorthodox path is already enough, why did you have to wrongly blame him for stealing the sword manual too? Actually you know this much better than me. You know he didn’t take Ping’er’s Evil Resisting Sword Manual.’

Your dad shouted: ‘How would I know? How would I know?’”

Lin Pingzhi’s voice had also become high and acute imitating Yue Buqun’s sharp voice in shouting angrily. In the still and calm night, a sharp cry of an owl was heard frightening Yingying. After a pause, Lin Pingzhi continued, “Your mother slowly said: ‘Of course you know, because you’re the one who took this sword manual.’

Your dad angrily roared: ‘You… You’re saying… I…” But after saying these few words, he stopped. Your mother’s voice was completely tranquil as she said: ‘That day when Chong’er was injured and unconscious, I stemmed his bleeding. At that time, I saw a Buddhist robe on him on which many small words were written, looking like some type of sword art. The second time I replaced his medication, that Buddhist robe had disappeared. At that time, Chong’er was still unconscious. Within that time, there was no else who had entered the room besides the two of us. And I didn’t take that Buddhist robe.’”

Yue Lingshan choked and whimpered, “My dad… my dad…”

Lin Pingzhi said, “Your dad had already tried to interrupt a few times already, but after saying one or two words, he didn’t say anything more. Your mother’s voice gradually got softer and she said: ‘Martial brother, our Huashan School’s swordplay is made by our own school, and the Divine Art of Violet Twilight is an outstanding qigong to fight against other people. Our martial arts reputations have also been well spread in Jianghu, so there’s no need to learn another school’s swordplay. But recently, Zuo Lengchan’s wild ambition has become even more fervent and he wants to annex the four schools. The Huashan School is in your hand. Whatever happens it won’t be annexed by Zuo Lengchan’s hand. Let’s contact Taishan, Heng-Shan, and Hengshan Schools. When the time arrives, the four schools will fight against his school, and I think we’ll have a sixty percent chance of winning. If we didn’t win, then we’ll go out fighting and give our lives at Songshan. When we arrived at the Nine Fountains, we won’t have to be ashamed in front of the Huashan School’s ancestors.’”

Yingying heard till here and she secretly praised, “This Madam Yue really is an upper class heroine, she’s much stronger in spirit compared to her husband.”

Then she heard Yue Lingshan said, “My mother’s words are very reasonable.”

Lin Pingzhi coldly laughed and said, “But at that time your father had already taken my sword manual and had already started practising it. Why would he be willing to listen to Master-Wife’s advice?” He suddenly called her ‘Master-Wife’, showing his true heart that he still had not lost the respect he had for Madam Yue. Then he continued, “Then your father said: ‘What you said is from the point of view of a woman boasting the braveness of her husband. After we’ve given our lives, Huashan School will still be swallowed by Zuo Lengchan. And after we’re dead, it’s not necessary that we’ll still have enough face to see the ancestors of Huashan School.’

Your mother didn’t reply for a long time, then she sighed and said: ‘If you’re really anxious about this and wants to protect our school, then I won’t blame you. But… But practising this Evil Resisting Sword Manual will only bring harm. Otherwise, why did the descendants of the Lin family not learn this sword art and were forced by other people till they have no way out? I advise you to stop practising it before harm comes to you.’

Your father shouted: ‘How did you know I was learning the Evil Resisting Sword Art? You… You… are you spying on me?’

Your mother replied: ‘Why do I need to spy when I already know?’

Your father shouted: ‘Say it, say it!’ He was hissing at the top of his voice. Even though his shout was really loud, he seemed to be rather discouraged.

Your mother said: ‘Everyone already noticed that your voice has completely changed. Couldn’t you feel it yourself?’

Your dad was still denying it: ‘My voice has always been like this.’

Your mother said: ‘Every morning, lots of your beard fall off inside the quilt…’

Your father sharply shouted: ‘You saw it?’ His voice sounded terrified.

Your mother sighed and said: ‘I’ve seen it some time ago but I’ve never said anything. You can fool other people with your glued-on beard, but how can you conceal it from your wife who has shared your pillow for dozens of years already?’

Your father didn’t deny it anymore seeing that everything was exposed. After a long time, he asked: ‘Who else knows of this?’

Your mother answered: ‘No one.’

Your father asked: ‘Shan’er?’

Your mother said: ‘It’s unlikely that she knows.’

Your father said: ‘Then Ping’er naturally doesn’t know then?’

Your mother answered: ‘He doesn’t know.’

Your father said: ‘Alright, I’ll listen to your advice. This Buddhist robe, tomorrow, we’ll think of a way to return it to Pingzhi, and we’ll slowly think of a way to clear Linghu Chong’s name. I won’t study this sword art anymore starting from today.’

Your mother was jubilant and she said: ‘That’s for the best. But this sword art harms people, so how can we let Ping’er take a look at it? It’s best to just destroy it.’”

Yue Lingshan said, “Of course father didn’t agree. If he agreed to destroy this sword manual, then things wouldn’t have come to this.”

“You guessed wrong. Your father said: ‘Very good, I’ll destroy the sword manual immediately!’ I was extremely startled and wanted to say something to stop him. The sword manual belongs to my Lin family, whether it harms people or not, he has no authority to destroy it. At this time, I heard the window creaked open and I hastily pulled my head in. Then I saw a red item which was that Buddhist robe floating down, and the window was closed again. In a moment, that Buddhist robe floated besides me and I tried to grab it but it was outside my reach. At that time, I knew that whether I can avenge my parents or not depended on whether I can grab that Buddhist robe or not. So I disregarded my life and with my right hand I held onto the precipice, and I kicked out with my left feet. I felt the tip of my foot snagging the Buddhist robe and I quickly pulled it in. It was very lucky that I hooked that Buddhist robe in and it didn’t disappear into that bottomless Heavenly Gorge.”

Yingying was captivated listening to his narration. She thought, “The really lucky thing would be if you didn’t manage to hook that Buddhist robe in.”

Yue Lingshan said, “Mother knew Father had tossed that sword manual into the Heavenly Gorge. Actually, father was already familiar with that sword art and the Buddhist robe was of no use to him anymore. But because of this you managed to learn this sword art, isn’t that right?”

“That’s right.”

“That’s really Heaven’s will. The gods have arranged everything and they want you to avenge father-in-law and mother-in-law. That… That… That’s very good.”

“But there’s one matter. In the last few days, I’ve been racking my brains but I still don’t understand. How come Zuo Lengchan also knows how to use the Evil Resisting Sword Art?” Yue Lingshan groaned and her voice was indifferent. It was obvious she didn’t care if Zuo Lengchan knew how to use the Evil Resisting Sword Art or not.

Lin Pingzhi said, “You didn’t learn this sword art, so you don’t know its obscurity and cleverness. When Zuo Lengchan and your father fought on top of that place of worship, at the end of the fight, the two of them were using Evil Resisting Sword Art. But Zuo Lengchan’s sword art was completely false, each of his move was deliberately trying to lose to your father. His swordplay foundation is already very high, every time he was in a difficult situation, he quickly changed his move to avoid it, but at the end, he was finally blinded by your father. If… en… If he used Songshan sword art, and he was defeated by your father, then there’s nothing strange about that. Evil Resisting Sword Art is matchless under heaven and the Songshan sword art is a worthy opponent. Zuo Lengchan didn’t castrate himself so he didn’t complete his practise of Evil Resisting Sword Art; this is also not strange. What I don’t understand is, where did Zuo Lengchan learn his Evil Resisting Sword Art from, why was the one he learned was pleasing to the eye but false?” His last few words were said hesitatingly, revealing that he was still thinking deeply about this.

Yingying thought, “There’s nothing to be heard anymore. Zuo Lengchan’s Evil Resisting Sword Art is most likely stolen from my sect. He only learned a few moves, but he didn’t understand this shameless method. Dongfang Bubai’s Evil Resisting Sword Art is much more formidable than Yue Buqun’s. If you had seen it, even if you have three heads working together, you still wouldn’t have worked it out.” She was just about to quietly step back when she suddenly heard the sound of horses’ hooves coming from far away. There were more than twenty horses galloping quickly through the main road coming towards them.

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