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 A Martial Odyssey

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PostSubject: A Martial Odyssey   Sat Jul 27, 2013 5:28 pm

Chapter 1: The Mysterious Lady in Yellow 

The secular sect Eternal Ice Palace was one of the three most influential outer fraternity clans in the martial fraternity.

It was located on top of the misty mountains of the Heavenly Mountains in the far north of the northern fraternity. At the top of the Heavenly Mountains was a great lake and it was where the Eternal Ice Palace was said to be located.

The Eternal Ice Palace was forbidden to men and naturally, the Eternal Ice Palace consisted of only women.

The sectarian leader of the Eternal Ice Palace was the Celestial Fairy. It was not her beauty that lured Yi Ping to the Heavenly Mountains for the Celestial Fairy was said to be a ninety year old hag.

The Celestial Fairy was greatly feared in the vicinity and in the martial fraternity.  She was also highly accomplished in her martial skills; a single martial stroke from her would usually spell the end for her opponents!

It was rumored in the fraternity she had just passed away after leading the Eternal Ice Palace for the past twenty years.

When the news of her death broke out in the martial fraternity, it immediately caught the attention of the martial pugilists. The imagination of her wondrous secret martial arts caught on like wildfire among the pugilists.

Therefore pugilists from all over the fraternity had been making their way north to the forbidden Heavenly Mountains, hoping to lay their hands on the fabulous martial treasures of the Eternal Ice Palace.

Yi Ping had come for the very same reason.

There was another reason that drawn him into these desolate mountains; to witness a possible conflict between the martial exponents which to him, was even more exciting than the secret martial arts of the Celestial Fairy!

He was young and a roving swordsman. He was not from any major clans, orthodox or not. He was just a busybody and was like many pugilists took every opportunity to meddle into the affairs of the martial fraternity. Even if he was killed, he had to witness one of the most important events of the martial fraternity. Or at the very least, befriend some heroes of the martial fraternity.  It would be even better if he could gain some recognition in the fraternity!

Therefore with this in mind, Yi Ping had set off to the bitter cold and harsh lands of the north!

On the third day, while walking and whistling, he heard the sound of trees crushing onto the ground. At first, he thought nothing of it until the thunderous sound of the trees gets louder and louder.

Then an injured middle age man was running and tripping onto the ground. When he saw Yi Ping, he immediately cried out, “Young hero, help me!”

Yi Ping responded by drawing out his sword. He thought, “Is the man being chased by bandits?”

Yi Ping shouted at him as he ran towards him, “Get behind me!”

A foolish hero usually died young. Yi Ping was not even thinking of how many bandits were chasing him. Fortunately, there was only one and it was a lady dressed in yellow in a yellow veil.

She had appeared in the horizon and she did not even have a weapon in her hands. So then why did this man flee from her? From his expressions, he seemed to be terrified of her.

Even though that yellow dressed lady was veiled and Yi Ping could not see her face clearly but he could tell she must be a beautiful maiden. Her complexion was extremely fair and appeared flawless, her eyebrows were thin and delicate and her eyes were sparking and mesmerizing.

The yellow dressed lady walked elegantly in a straight line. Even though she appeared to be walking slowly but her paces covered was astonishing; Yi Ping had never seen anyone walked so swiftly yet she appeared to be taking a stroll!

But when a tree blocked her, she gently kicked the tree and the tree flew off in another direction! And she continued to walk towards them.

Yi Ping was astonished and he looked in disbelief!

An inner strength practitioner might take sixty years of practice to do what she did with considerable efforts. But she did that effortlessly.

Yi Ping looked into her eyes. She had beautiful and sharp eyes. When he looked into her eyes, she too paused in her tracks and looked back.

Yi Ping heart was pounding fast.

Yi Ping mustered his voice and said, “Lady, why are you chasing him?”

The yellow dressed veil lady replied, “Do you know who he is?” Her voice was unmistakably youthful.

Yi Ping was shaken by her reply, “I do know who he is. But a man in dire straits requires help, if I do not help, can I still be considered a man?”

The yellow dressed veil lady hummed coldly, “He is the Bandit King Yao Duo, a vicious killer of the innocents! And you still want to protect him?”

The Bandit King Yao Duo was the most brutal man in the martial fraternity in recent years. His martial accomplishments were high too. Even the renowned Eagle King Yin Tianzheng was not his match! He gained his renown through sheer notoriety! His victims were many and his evil deeds were too numerous to be accounted! Even the seven major orthodox clans dare not lightly offend him after a few attempts to get rid of him. And moreover, his evil cohorts were many too.

Yi Ping was shocked and he turned to the stranger and asked, “Are you really Yao Duo?”

The middle-age stranger laughed aloud, “Indeed I am! A true hero will never change their name…”

“Good and you can now be a dead hero!” All of a sudden, the yellow dressed veil lady kicked Yao Duo in his face and crushed his skull. That happened so fast that Yi Ping was unable to stop her at all.

Then the yellow dressed veiled lady turned around and said, “If you want a long life, don’t meddle into the affairs of others especially for those that you did not know.”

There was a weird expression in her eyes but at that moment, Yi Ping did not notice it. She said, “If you are thinking of going to the Heavenly Mountain, you are only courting your own death. Even if your martial skills are as good as the Bandit King Yao Duo, a cruel fate awaits you in the mountains. Turn back if you cherish your life!” With that, she started to walk away.

Yi Ping rubbed his nose and watched her disappeared into the background. It was as if she had never appeared.

He began to dig a hole into the ground as he said, “Even if you are a notorious man, how could I bear to let your body be food for the wild beasts and birds when you have tried to ask for my help? Since you have died, everything should be buried under the earth.”

Unfortunately, Yi Ping had already decided to proceed to the Heavenly Mountains despite the advice that he had been given. He was still young and he got nothing but courage in his heart.

It was not too long when he reached the foot of the Heavenly Mountains that he started to see dead corpses and abandoned emblems littered along the mountains route. There seemed to be a battle not too long ago and he hurried his pace.

All of a sudden, he heard menacing voices in the corner of the mountains. Out of curiosity, he sped towards it.

“It seems that this lovely damsel here is in distress and there is no one here to save her.”

“Who would expect that we can find such a beautiful woman here?”

“We did not make it to the Heavenly Mountains in time but we got ourselves a prize here. Hahaha.”

An extraordinary maiden of great beauty, dressed in silky white dress had her back against the cliff.  She looked badly shaken. She was teething with rage and fear. Even then, her grace was extremely enthralling.

Yi Ping was stunned at her beauty for she was like a fairy that had descended onto the mortal realm.

In front of her were three men, wielding swords and halberds. From the looks of it, they had already decided to devour this young maiden in their minds.

Yi Ping stepped in angrily and shouted, “What are three despicable men doing here?” He brandished his long sword and pointed at them.

The three men were taken by surprise. They quickly turned around and saw a young man. They looked at one another before roaring out loud.

One of the men with a long bushy beard stared at him and said fiercely, “So what are you going to do with us? Kill us? Do you know we are the Three Evils of the West?”

There was a glitter of hope in the eyes of the extremely beautiful maiden when Yi Ping first appeared but that hope was soon crushed at the mention of the Three Evils of the West.

Yi Ping was taken aback. The Three Evils of the West was renowned in the martial fraternity for their wickedness and brutality! Not only that, they had killed countless highly skilled pugilists as they rampaged the martial fraternity for twenty-years! That was why they were greatly feared.

Another man with the moustache laughed, “Or are you thinking of joining in the fun after we are done?”

This aroused Yi Ping anger. Even though he had to die, he could not abandon the righteousness in his heart. Yi Ping eyed them fiercely and smirked, “If you scram now, I will be forgiving.”

The third man with a short beard and wielding a halberd in his hands suddenly attacked him, “Outrageous! I will kill you today and cut your body into many pieces!”

Yi Ping was surprised at the speed and ferocious of his halberd attack. He barely managed to parry the attack but was knocked back. But before he could steady his footing, he was kicked again in his chest and was knocked down onto the ground.

The short beard man laughed, “I thought he is some daring hero. But he turns out to be an amateur. A sword in your hand is like a piece of worthless metal!”

Yi Ping coughed out blood and wiped his mouth, “This is not over yet!” All of a sudden, he lifted his sword and pieced the throat of the short beard man who was still laughing!

When the short beard man collapsed onto the ground, he was still staring in disbelief! What a swift sword!

Yi Ping had succeeded for two reasons; His opponent had underestimated him and let down his guard.

The other two men were experienced pugilists and after seeing one of their own had fallen, they dared not be careless and immediately attacked Yi Ping together with their swords! All their attacking strokes were lethal!

They immediately attacked Yi Ping in all directions! There was a saying; two hands were hard to beat down four hands. It was not long before Yi Ping had been pierced in his chest and hacked onto his back!

He soon collapsed onto the ground, barely taking ten strokes from them.

Now the man with the moustache, who was the more cunning and vicious of the two, stabbed Yi Ping in his heart again.

The man with the long bushy beard asked him angrily, “What did you do that for? He is already dead!”

The man with the moustache laughed wickedly, “I want to make sure that none disturb us later.”

The man with the long bushy beard paused and laughed wickedly, “True, true…” But before he could finish his laughter, he was grasping a dagger in his throat for breath! When he fell onto the ground, his eyes were still staring at the man with the moustache!

The man with the moustache turned and looked wickedly at the extremely beautiful young maiden, “Such an extraordinary beauty. You belong only to me and there is no one else to share in my enjoyment.”

The young maiden pursed her lips and there were now tears in her eyes. All of a sudden, her alluring eyes were staring in bewilderment.

When the man with the moustache saw her expressions, he quickly turned around and got a fright of his life!

The young man that he had just killed was standing in front of him! Before he could react, he felt a cold metallic length of a sword piercing through his stomach! When he died, he was still in disbelief!

The young and extraordinary beautiful maiden nearly fainted from fright as she asked, “Are you a ghost or a man?”

Last edited by Magic on Wed Dec 25, 2013 11:32 am; edited 4 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: A Martial Odyssey   Sun Jul 28, 2013 9:08 am

Chapter 2: The Celestial Fairy

When Yi Ping regained his conscious, he found himself in what seemed to be a dimly lit cave. His first thoughts were that he had already died and he was in hell. But when he saw that his wounds had already been dressed and that he was aching from pain, he knew that somehow he was still alive.

That was because a dead man would never feel pain.

Then he noticed there was a small bonfire in the cave which kept the cave warm.

He tried to sit up and that took all his efforts. As he looked in front of him, all of a sudden, he saw the young and extremely beautiful maiden that he had seen earlier. She appeared to be mediating but before he could say anything, the maiden moved her small alluring lips and spoke, “You should rest more. Your wounds are extremely severe and you may lose your life anytime.”

Yi Ping stared at her dreamily. He could not imagine it was real!

The alluring maiden soon flushed deeply as she interrupted gently, “Why are you staring at me? Don’t you know that is a rude gesture? And who are you?”

Yi Ping was snapped of his trance and he quickly bowed with his hands and said, “Maiden, I thank you for saving my life from The Three Evils! I, Yi Ping am in your debts! May I know my benefactor name?”

The alluring young maiden said coolly, “They are not the Three Evils of the West. They are imposters and their martial skills are mediocre. Or else even with your Icy Heavenly Tears Energy protecting you, you will still die.”

Yi Ping was bewildered and asked, “What Icy Heavenly Tears Energy?”

The alluring young maiden was silence for some time before she said, “You can call me Maiden Xian. Let me ask you. Who is your protégé master? Why did you come to the Heavenly Mountains?”

Yi Ping replied, “I have no protégé master. All my skills are self-taught…”

Maiden Xian opened her eyes and interrupted angrily, “Nonsense! I have examined your pulses earlier and your pulses emitted the Icy Heavenly Tears Energy Pulses. That is what protected your heart from harm. Or else even if you have ten lives, you still will not survive!”

Yi Ping was astonished and puzzled, “Maiden…this is the first time that I have heard of that name…”

Maiden Xian looked intently at him for a few moments before she said, “Do you know Shui Yichi?”

Yi Ping said, “Maiden, I do not want to lie to you. She is my late mother!”

Maiden Xian was momentarily stunned as she was heard saying in a low voice, “She is no longer in this world?” She seemed to be shaken by the news before she asked, “How long was that?”

Yi Ping was curious as he said, “She passed away when I was little…” His eyes were teething with tears as he recalled his sad childhood. “Maiden Xian, you know my late mother?”

Then he paused and almost punched himself. How could she possible know his late mother? She looked younger than twenty. Even he himself, was older than her!

Just as he was recovering from his foolhardy words, she gave him another shocker.

“Indeed! She was my protégé sister. She left the Eternal Ice Palace twenty-years because of one man. She must have imparted all her martial energy to you when you are born…that explains why I can find our sect intricate energy in your body meridians…”

Just as he wanted to ask her who she really was, a wicked laughter filled the cave; a large bulky man with red beard had just barged into sight.

The red beard man laughed, “If it isn’t for this bonfire here, I would never find this place! What have we here? A couple?”

Maiden Xian said, “He is Huo Fu the Flaming Fist, the sect leader of the Fire Tablet Sect. He must be here to look for an opportunity to loot the Eternal Ice Palace.”

The red beard man laughed, “I didn’t know I am so famous that even junior pugilists can identify me. Don’t we all have the same motives? I am getting cold and this fire is just nice!” But all of a sudden, he took a second look at the dress of Maiden Xian and said, “You are from the Eternal Ice Palace?”

Maiden Xian looked at him hatefully and replied coldly, “That’s right!”

Huo Fu laughed, “Good, good! You have two options. Either you show me the way to the Eternal Ice Palace or be subjected to my merciless torture. I can assure you  that I won’t let you die so easily.” He took a deep breath before laughing out again, “After all, I can see that you are a rare beauty and I won’t let you die so easily.”

Yi Ping was shocked as he stood up, “The Fire Tablet Sect may not be an orthodox clan but they do have some repute in the martial fraternity. How can you say such a thing?”

Huo Fu had a wicked smile on his face, “Who do not covet after the martial secrets of the Eternal Ice Palace? Now that the Celestial Fairy had passed away, countless legions of pugilists have already been making their way here. Among them, are several supposedly heroes from the orthodox clans. Naturally, they did not dare to use their real names. Some did not even dare to travel boldly and hid in the shadows for they are men of high repute in the fraternity! When it is time for them to strike, they will make all sorts of excuses like passing by and claimed that they are righting the wrongdoings of evil men!”

Yi Ping hummed coldly.

Huo Fu looked at him, sensing his hostilities. “I thought you are on my side. The Eternal Ice Palace is a forbidden ground for men. Surely, you can’t be from the Eternal Ice Palace too?”

Then Huo Fu clapped his right fist on his left palm as he said, “The intrigue of the martial fraternity is not to be underestimate!”

He pointed his finger at Yi Ping and said, “You must be trying to seduce this young maiden here and almost on the verge of succeeding. You are trying to be the first to sneak into the Eternal Ice Palace, am I right?”

Yi Ping was speechless. He replied coldly, “Senior, you think too much!”

Maiden Xian looked away. Her cheeks were momentarily flushed from his audacity.

Huo Fu laughed, “The young uses their wits while the old uses their strength!”

Yi Ping was indignant and he raised both his palms to attack Huo Fu, “Senior, be prepared for my attack!”

Huo Fu suddenly smiled as he raised both his palms and there was a thunderous clap when both palms impacted together. Yi Ping was thrown off and sent flying backward, knocking against the wall of the cave and crushing into it!

Maiden Xian tried to stop Yi Ping as she got up as she cried out, “Hold!”

But it was too late! It happened too fast! She could see that this Huo Fu was an experienced exponent. He had purposely provoked Yi Ping into attacking him so that he could see what stance his opponent would use. As Yi Ping was with her, and was still wary of the martial of the Eternal Ice Palace therefore he had used a ruse.

Huo Fu laughed, “Such simpleton! I was expecting some forms of secret projectiles. Despite knowing that I am the sect leader of the Fire Tablet Sect, he still dares to receive my Fiery Palms. When he attacks me, I already know the depth of his martial strength!”

He looked intently at Maiden Xian, “You seem to be smarter than him but unfortunately, your reaction is too slow. That speaks volumes of our martial strength differences. If your martial skill is to be on par with me, you will be able to intercept him.”

This Huo Fu, even though he was big and bulky, seemed to be clumsy and slow wit but he was actually a cunning and experienced exponent! If he was not, how will he be able to survive in the treacherous martial fraternity? He would have died a hundred times!

Maiden Xian had no choice but to nod slowly. Even though she looked composed, she was extremely upset now.

Huo Fu laughed aloud, “Now maiden, will you choose to tell me the location of the Eternal Ice Palace on your own accord or will you choose to die a slow death?”

Maiden Xian full name was Shui Yixian. Shui Yixian was none other than the Celestial Fairy and the sectarian leader of the Eternal Ice Palace.

But why was she here? She was supposed to have passed away already? Was she not a ninety- year old woman?

The Icy Heavenly Tears Divine Skill was a secret martial skill of the Eternal Ice Palace. When the practitioner reached the ninth and the last stage, they would cease to age. Unfortunately, every thirty-six years after reaching the last stage, the practitioner martial power would be lost for thirty-six days. In order to regain the lost martial power, the practitioner would have to relearn the intricate formula of the Icy Heavenly Tears again.

She had attained the ninth stage of the Icy Heavenly Tears when she was eighteen years old. That was why she had ceased aging and looked like eighteen! She was considered a martial prodigy. For hundreds of years, none of the past practitioners had ever reached the ninth stage of the Icy Heavenly Tears before they were fifty and half of them did not even reach the seventh stage of the divine skill. Even her martial protégé mistress attained the ninth stage of the Icy Heavenly Tears when she was only fifty-five.

There were only two exceptions. One was her and the other was her oldest protégé sister.

Her protégé mistress had two other direct protégés. She was in fact the youngest. The oldest protégé sister was Shui Yichi and her second protégé sister was Shui Yisi. Shui Yichi was also a martial prodigy. She had attained the ninth stage of the Icy Heaven Tears when she was thirty. At that time, she was only fourteen year old and had looked up to her.

Even though they all shared the same surname of Shui, they were not related for they were orphans who did not even know who their parents were. It was customary for the direct protégé disciples of the Eternal Ice Palace to use the clan surname of Shui.  

But when she had attained the ninth stage of the Icy Heavenly Tears through sheer hard work and self-cultivation, her second protégé sister was envious and she began to plot against her protégé mistress and her eldest protégé sister. Fortunately, her plot was discovered by her protégé mistress. Her second protégé sister had her martial skills disable and was driven out of the Eternal Ice Palace!

So this powerful enemy of hers knew that she would lose all her martial power during this period. Who else but her second protégé sister knew the timing of her martial weakness? Who else but her would spread rumors of her death and stirred up the passions of the pugilists in the fraternity of the glorious martial secrets of the Eternal Ice Palace?

Fearing for her life and in need of a secular place to regain her lost martial power, she picked a cave away from the Eternal Ice Palace to mediate as the location of the Eternal Ice Palace was known to her nemesis. In turn, she left the Eternal Ice Palace to her two protégé disciples, Beautiful Sword Fairy Shui Meijian and Jade Sword Fairy Shui Yujian to be in charge.

Unfortunately, her two young protégé disciples were not as highly gifted in martial skills. She was hoping that nothing would go wrong till she returned. But she knew that even if she returned, she would still have to battle countless number of pugilists who would not give up at this point.

The throngs of pugilists that seek to traverse the Heavenly Mountains did not know the exact location of the Eternal Ice Palace therefore they were randomly combing the mountains for clues and a route up to the mysterious Heavenly Mountains. Unfortunately, one group of pugilists found her and she was forced to flee. And that was when she first encountered Yi Ping.

She had only ten days more before she could fully regain her martial power but that day would not come. While Huo Fu was talking to her, she had already forcefully started to channel all her internal energies into her fingers. In this way, she would temporary regain half of her martial power but afterwards, she would surely die from the forceful exertion!

And she was already preparing to die!

When Huo Fu had just stopped speaking, she had attacked him with both her fingers! Her speed and the windforce that accompanied her fingers thoroughly caught Huo Fu by surprise as he quickly raised his Fiery Palms in retaliation!

There was a huge thunderclap sound as Maiden Xian’s fingers impacted upon Huo Fu’s palms.

Huo Fu could not believe his eyes as his large bulky body was sent flying backward and out of the cave! He simply could not believe that this young maiden here could be capable of such tremendous force!

Maiden Xian coughed out blood but her focus was still on her enemy. She staggered out of the cave to look for Huo Fu. But he had already escaped very far. She could see his large and bulky figure in the distance as he ran in a stagger manner; for he had been badly injured.

It was said that the swiftness movement skill of the Fire Tablet Sect, the Fiery Chaser was one of the epitome movement skills of the martial fraternity. Its claim was definitely not a boast. If Huo Fu was not injured, she might not even caught sight of him given the head start that he had.

As she had no strength left to pursue him therefore she returned to the cave.

She was now staggering. She had forcefully gathered her internal energy and expended her vital force. Voided of internal energy, it was only a matter of time before she died!

Her eyes were one of sorrows. She cared not that she died. But if she died, the lives of more than a hundred protégés of the Eternal Ice Palace would perish as well! Why was fate so cruel to her?

She staggered to the collapsed wall which Yi Ping had fallen.

When she had reached him, he was convulsing with blood in his mouth. She straightened him and put her palm onto the back of his head. She started to use the last of her vital energies in an attempt to clear his injured channels of any blood clogs.

Even though Yi Ping was severely injured and in a daze, he could see that this young maiden had sustained internal injuries and from the looks of it, her condition was gravely critical. She was very pale now. If she attempted to treat his internal injuries now, she would surely lose her life!

And that was something that Yi Ping did not want to see!

Looking at her, he had forgotten about Huo Fu. He could only remember after he got hit, he had lost consciousness for a while. When he regained his conscious, she was beside him.

Yi Ping said weakly, “Maiden, don’t expend your vital energies for me. It is futile. You and I are both dying. I don’t wish to see you die before me! Even if you expend all your vital energies for me, my injuries are really far too severe.”

Maiden Xian said gently as she looked curiously at him, “If it weren’t for me, you will not get yourself injured and in such a sorry state. Even if you cannot be saved, let fate decide alright? As for me, I am already dying. Nothing in this world can save me now. As for you, young hero, you still have a chance to live. So, don’t let it gone to waste…”

Yi Ping was shaking all over and his eyes were in tears, “I don’t want you to die! Why should a kind maiden like you die while I live? I don’t want to live if you died!”

Shui Yixian’s tears flowed down her cheeks as she smiled weakly, “Silly boy! You sound as though we are a…” Her cheeks began to redden for a quick moment as she added, “couple.”

She added quickly, “If you only know how old I am, you will not want me. Moreover, the only reason why I am saving you is because you are the son of my eldest protégé sister….”

Yi Ping turned and looked at her gently, “You are you. I like you when I first look at you.”

That came from the bottom of his heart and was his honest thoughts.

When a person was dying and in a daze, they tended to speak only the truths. At this moment, Yi Ping had already casted away the painful severity of his injuries and was speaking from the bottom of his heart.

Shui Yixian looked at his eyes with a thousand affections. She burst into tears again as she cried, “Yi Ping…” All of a sudden, she began to cast away her iron shell, forgetting that she was the sect leader of the renowned Eternal Ice Palace. She was now a young maiden again, undoing her years of emotionless cultivation that had made her cold and emotionless! To her protégés, she was always the stern protégé mistress.

How could she forget how touched and grateful she had been when Yi Ping saved her from the three wicked men? Just when she thought that she had escaped from an evil fate, another one had suddenly befall her?

Yi Ping grabbed her hands and said gently, “Since we are both dying, why don’t we be man and wife here?”

Yixian nodded without hesitation as she wiped the tears in her eyes with her sleeve, “My husband…”

Yi Ping said gently, “My wife…”

Yi Ping held her hand as he bowed onto the ground, “Heavens above, I, Yi Ping, is willing to take Maiden Xian as my wife, be it through joys or woes, she will always be in my heart!”

Shui Yixian bowed onto the ground too and said, “Heavens above, I, Shui Yixian, is willing to be Yi Ping’s wife, be it through joys or woes, through all crisis, I am forever his wife!”

They bowed again onto the ground three more times after they said together, “Heavens and Earth be our witness!” Then they collapsed into embrace together.

Even though they did not exchange a word more, they knew that they were now the most blissful couple and that content to die in one another embrace.

All of a sudden, Yi Ping pointed to the same carvings and drawings of the wall, “What are those?”

Shui Yixian opened her eyes and she began to look at the wall that Yi Ping had indicated. There were many words and drawings on the wall as Yi Ping had said.

Shui Yixian’s eyes shone as she grasped, “These are the intricate formulas of our sect Icy Heaven Tears and the Emerald Divine Skill. Someone must have carved it into the walls of this cave and then sealed it afterwards. And we have accidentally barged into this sealed section.”

That sealed wall section was revealed earlier when Huo Fu had sent Yi Ping crashing onto it.

All of a sudden, Yixian used all her efforts to stagger to the wall as she examined it, “This ninth stage of the Icy Heavens Tears is slightly different from what I have practiced…This one, this one…” Her eyes were beaming with tears.

Yi Ping was curious as he asked weakly, “Something is amiss?”

Shui Yixian nodded, “This one version is more polish than the one that I have been practicing and it seems that someone from our sect have rewritten the intricate formula here.” She immediately pointed to the carving and words on the wall for Yi Ping.

Yi Ping could not understand the meanings of the carvings of the wall therefore he replied wryly, “We are dying now. Even if there is a divine skill in front of us, we don’t have the lives to practice it.”

Shui Yixian said gently, “Others maybe can’t but I can!”

While speaking, she had already memorized and organized all the minute details of the intricate formula in her mind. Normally it would take years of dedicated efforts to even grasp the intricate formula and put it into use but Shui Yixian effortlessly did it.

She had immediately identified the true essence of the intricate formula and found a solution to her loss of martial power state. She immediately proceeded to sit down in a mediation pose and soon there was three wisp of smoke arising from her head.

She opened her eyes once more and wiped away her beads of perspiration before saying, “Yi Ping, I have recovered half of my internal strength. Let me lend you a hand first!”

Before Yi Ping could protest, she had flown to his back and was channeling her vital energies into his body!

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PostSubject: Re: A Martial Odyssey   Sun Jul 28, 2013 1:24 pm

Chapter 3: The Icy Heavenly Tears

Yi Ping said to Shui Yixian, “Xian’Er, now that we have almost recovered from our injuries, we should leave the mountains and head south. There are many top exponents like Huo Fu that have gathered here. You are from the Eternal Ice Palace and the way home is no longer safe for you. If the pugilists know that you are from the Eternal Ice Palace, they will not let you off.”

Shui Yixian exclaimed, “Do you really don’t know who I am?”

Yi Ping said, “You are from the Eternal Ice Palace and is a protégé of the Emerald Mistress.”

Shui Yixian sighed. It seemed that he really did not know that she was the Divine Mistress of the Eternal Ice Palace. But it was not surprising. Very few people in the martial fraternity knew her real name.

She asked, “Surely you have heard of the Celestial Fairy?”

Yi Ping smiled, “She is the Emerald Mistress of the Eternal Ice Palace. That is her fraternity name.”

Shui Yixian said, “The Celestial Fairy is me. I am the Celestial Fairy!”

Yi Ping was shocked, “That can’t be. Xian’Er, you must be playing a joke on me, right?”

Shui Yixian was solemn and she looked intently at him.

Yi Ping embraced her and said, “It doesn’t matter who you are. You are you. That is what matters.”

Shui Yixian was touched as she grasped, “Yi Ping…”

Yi Ping said, “Even if we were to die in the Heavenly Mountains, I will still follow you!”

Shui Yixian said lovingly, “The Eternal Ice Palace is renowned for these three skills, the Jade Icy Finger, the Emerald Divine Skill and the Frosty Icicle Swordplay. These skills are not suitable for you. Even though your internal strength is our sect Icy Heaven Tears, it is not suitable for men. I can however teach you how to utilize your martial skills…”

Over the next few days, Shui Yixian helped Yi Ping to refine his martial skills. Yi Ping was a quick learner.

He had not met a renowned master and most of his martial skills were picked from the streets and from fighting with thugs.

Shui Yixian explained the meanings behind the stances and taught him to look at various martial strokes in different perspective. Even though it was only for a few days, it was like a sudden enlightenment to him!

Shui Yixian was surprised at how fast Yi Ping could absorb her teachings. He was studious and could practice hard while she mediated upon the Divine Emerald Skill.

Three days later, she could completely circulate her vital energies in her meridian channels and had completely regained her martial power.

At the end of three days, Yi Ping saw a rainbow halo on her head. He was astonished and asked, “Xian’Er, are you alright?”

Shui Yixian smiled and opened her eyes, “Ping’Er, don’t you worry. Not only have I completely regained my martial internal strength, I have also figured out the tenth stage of the Icy Heavenly Tears intricate formula.  I have never dreamed that such a stage could exist. This crucial stage could be the key to unlock the mysteries of the Divine Emerald Skill. The master that left behind these cravings must be closely related to our sect.”

She got up and demolished the carvings on the wall with her palm force. In a few moments, the carvings on the wall were unrecognizable!

Yi Ping asked, “Xian’Er, why did you do that for?”

Shui Yixian said, “This martial knowledge is too dangerous to be left behind especially with so many pugilists in this vicinity. If it falls into the wrong hands, then it will be a disaster for the martial fraternity.”

Yi Ping nodded in agreement.

Last edited by Magic on Fri Aug 09, 2013 3:52 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: A Martial Odyssey   Sat Aug 03, 2013 8:17 am

Chapter 4: The Windless Swordsman

At the lofty peaks of the Heavenly Mountains, more than fifty pugilists from different sects and clans had gathered. There were sect emblems and heraldries of all kinds. After many difficulties, they had gathered together and there seemed to be an uneasy alliance if it exists at all.

Their goals were identical and it was the Eternal Ice Palace.

Unfortunately, to reach this point, there been many bloody encounters and only the fittest of the remnants survived. And these pugilists knew it and were wary of one another.  

A yellow dressed maiden in a veil was standing loftily alone. From her visible eyes and enthralling confident posture, everyone was guessing that her beauty must be extraordinary.  No one knew who she really was and quite a few pugilists had tried to hook up to her and they got more than what they had asked for.

One of them was Young Master Qiu Wufeng the Windless Swordsman. Who had never heard of the Windless Swordsman? He was in his early thirties yet he was now ranked as one of the four most prominent young men of the martial fraternity.

Of course this had to do with the fact that his father was the Master of the Qiu Martial Clan. The Qiu Aristocracy Clan had been recognized as one of the four most powerful martial clans in the fraternity.

Naturally, the other three renowned young men of the martial fraternity were also from renowned aristocracy or major orthodox clans of the martial!

They were Gongsun Jing the Benevolent from the Gongsun Aristocracy Clan, Zuo Tianyi the Heartless Sword from the Infinity Sword Clan and Nangong Le the Joyous from the Nangong Aristocracy Clan.

As for Young Master Qiu, his Silence Swordplay was one of the most feared swordplay in the martial fraternity, able to come in any direction without a slight movement; his swordplay was silent and windless!

Not only that, in his company today were three equally formidable exponents; Ye Lu the Lightning God, Qiao Feng the Shadow Kicker and Lu Baiyun the Heartless Scholar!

Ye Lu the Lightning God and Qiao Feng the Shadow Kicker were old men who had found fame a long time ago. That they chose to be in the company of Young Master Qiu Wufeng was proof of his clan prestige and renowned!

Lu Baiyun the Heartless Scholar was in his early forties. Even though he was younger than the Lightning God and the Shadow Kicker, he was a prominent swordsman even at the age of eighteen when he defeated the clan protégé master of the Ironclad Clan, one of the seven major orthodox clans!  

Young Master Qiu Wufeng approached the yellow dressed maiden and greeted her, “I am Qiu Wufeng the Windless Swordsman. Maiden, may I have the honor of knowing your name?”

What followed was a slap across his face!  It happened so fast that he could not react!

The yellow dressed maiden said softly, “If you do not want further humiliation, I suggest you move away from me.”

Young Master Qiu Wufeng was stunned. He was a handsome and dashing man. Few women could ever resist him, let alone embarrassed him like that! And he showed his displeasure with his eyes! He swore that he would make her pay!

But the Heartless Scholar stepped in and said, “Maiden, you have offended our young master. Do you think you can get away with this so easily?”

The yellow dressed maiden hummed coldly and she seemed that she did not care.

There was strong malevolent aura coming from the Lightning God and the Shadow Kicker as well. No matter who offended any one of them, it was not an easy matter to get away scotch free. Much less the three of them at the same time!

The Heartless Scholar laughed, “Either you apologize to our young master and accompany him for a few days or you be terribly sorry.”

The yellow dressed maiden looked at the Heartless Scholar in his eyes and said, “What if I don’t?”

The Heartless Scholar said sternly, “Then forgives me for what I will do next!”

All of a sudden, he was interrupted by a laughter that came from the Clan Chief of the Six Rivers, Long Wudi. “You are a renowned figure in the martial fraternity. If this matter gets out that you uses your martial skills to harass a young lass, won’t you be a laughing stock? I am not worry about you but for the repute of the Qiu Clan!”

Even though Long Wudi might not be able to defeat the Heartless Scholar, what he said was like an arrow piercing through the heart.

Young Master Qiu thundered sternly, “Let’s us go!”

A young man from among the pugilists laughed coldly, “To think that the reputable Qiu Martial Clan is also interested in the treasures of the Eternal Ice Palace. What laudable action. He is also a womanizer…”

But before he could finish, the Heartless Scholar had sprint next to him and given him two tight slaps!

His swiftness skill was so astonishing that more than half of the pugilists could not help but grasped in awe of it!

The Heartless Scholars said, “Know this, our young master had originally wanted to visit the Emerald Mistress to receive her instructions and to pay her a visit! This is a small lesson for insulting our young master!”

All of a sudden, an old man attacked the Heartless Scholar with his fists.

The Heartless Scholar was startled by the windforce of the fists as he quickly stepped aside.

The Heartless Scholar could not recognize him and he asked, “Senior, who you are?”

The old man laughed, “I have long retired from the pugilistic fraternity. However, I am not afraid to say that I intend to demolish the Eternal Ice Palace on my own!”

Quite a few pugilists from the crowd laughed at his boast.

The Lightning-God sighed, “Maybe we shouldn’t be here. Only Tian Kui is able to execute the Beholder Hands and pushed back the Heartless Scholar with a single strike.”

The faces of the pugilists turned ashen at the mention of Tian Kui.

Tian Kui was the number one heretic exponent ten years ago. The bloodshed that he had caused were too numerous to be counted. During his time, there were three more powerful major orthodox clans, the Divine Sword, the Hexagon Spear and the Hyperion Clan. These clans had since been completely annihilated by him.

It was said that ten years ago, he took his rampage to the Eternal Ice Palace. But no one knew the result of that secret duel with the Emerald Mistress.

Everyone assumed that he had lost and had been killed! But it seemed otherwise now.

Tian Kui laughed, “I must be getting old. Even a junior can avoid my strike so easily!”  

The Heartless Scholar pay respectfully with his hands and said, “That is because Senior, you have stayed your hand or else I will not even have the chance to back off.”

Tian Kui roared with laughter, “Good! At least you respect your elder. I am actually spoiling for a fight.” It was true. When he saw the Heartless Scholar displaying his martial skills, he had the interest to spar with him.

The Heartless Scholar turned ashen, “Senior, you….”

Tian Kui pointed at the Lightning God and the Shadow Kicker, “You and you, all of you can fight me at the same time. I want to see if my martial skills have any improvements…”

But before he could finish, he had suddenly frozen.

Everyone looked in the direction that he was looking at and caught sight of two strangers walking towards them.

One was a young man. He was handsome and had a refine and noble air. The other was a young maiden with long black flowing hair. She was so beautiful that she was like a heavenly fairy that had decided to grace the mortal realm. When she saw the pugilists and smiled slightly, all the pugilists’ heart skipped a beat and thought, “Did she just smile at me?”

When the yellow dressed maiden saw Yi Ping, her heart too skipped a beat as she thought, “Why is he here? And why is he with her?” That day after they had met, she had secretly stayed away from his view and saw him burying the villainous bandit king. She had observed him for a while before she left. With his martial abilities, she had doubted he could even cross the lofty peaks of the Heavenly Mountains. She had never been moved by a man before and was constantly worried if he could survive the trek. But now when she saw him, she was comforted but she was also none the pleased. That was because…

Tian Kui was shaking all over. Why was he trembling? Was it because he was trembling with joy and moved by the sight of this heavenly maiden?

Quite a few pugilists immediately thought that even though Tian Kui was old enough to be her grandfather, he was still a lecher after all.

Tian Kui looked at Shui Yixian and asked, “Is that really you?”

Shui Yixian alluring eyes looked at Tian Kui and said softly, “Yes I am!”

Everyone was taken aback. Was Tian Kui acquainted with her?

Tian Kui trembled uncontrollably, “All these years, you have not changed. I have grown even older. Since then, I have trained my martial skills non-stop. I practiced twelve hours daily and now my level of martial expertise has reached a level that even you could not have imagined!”

Tian Kui paused for a while before saying, “I have come for you. Today no matter what, I have to take you for my wife and if you lost to me, you must come with me!”

Ten years ago, Tian Kui challenged the Celestial Fairy and he was soundly defeated by her. His spirits was crushed and since then, he had trained every single day, hoping to meet her again and to defeat her!

He had never seen any maiden as elegant and noble as her. It was love at first sight. When he was defeated by her, he was thoroughly shamed. Unable to cope with the defeat, he thought of ending his own life. But when he thought that he might still have a chance, he resolved to train his martial abilities to perfection so that he could once again challenge her and win her heart.

But when he had heard that she had passed away, he was so upset that he had to go to the Heavenly Mountains and had a look.

He had trembled uncontrollably because she was still alive! And he could still fulfill his desires that he had dreamed for every single night!

All of a sudden, Tian Kui roared aloud and he was filled with martial power. His shout was so terrifying that the pugilists were all forced to take a couple of steps back!

As soon as he had quieted down, he had suddenly attacked the heavenly maiden!

Everyone was stunned and confusion immediately broke out from among the pugilists! They had thought that Tian Kui and the heavenly maiden were acquaintances! They immediately feared for the heavenly maiden.

Every punch, every fist by Tian Kui had so much martial force that he could easily smash the rocks into powder!

But the heavenly maiden instead of dodging his attacks, received his attacks with her hands. She countered his fists with her palms and his palm with her fingers!

In that single moment, Tian Kui had struck at least twenty times and each blow of his could have incapacitated his target! But the heavenly maiden had countered all his blows and retaliated. She had struck Tian Kui on his head with her finger and she had struck her palm on his chest!

It happened so fast that most of the pugilists could only see Tian Kui flunking backwards and he had coughed out blood! There was a red mark on his forehead and his chest seemed to have been burnt by the heavenly maiden!

The result was a shocker as no one had expected Tian Kui to be beaten back in split second!

Tian Kui wiped the blood from his mouth as he got up, “This is not over yet. I have not yet used my best martial skills…” However his voice was shaken. He had never expected himself to be beaten back in such an effortless manner! It was exactly what had happened ten years ago…

Young Master Qiu Wufeng too, had been captivated by this heavenly maiden and was eager to be acquainted with her. Therefore he stepped in and asked Tian Kui, “Old Senior, surely there must be a misunderstanding here. Why are you attacking this maiden?”

Tian Kui laughed, “You still do not know who she is? All of you are here today to attack the Eternal Ice Palace and yet you do not know who she is? What a joke!”

Then he turned and said to Shui Yixian, “Only I am the exception!”

Qiu Wufeng asked, “Can Old Senior please enlighten us? I really do not know.” He too, was curious about her.

Tian Kui laughed, “She is the Celestial Fairy! She is none other than the Emerald Mistress of the Eternal Ice Palace!”

Everyone was taken aback. How was it possible? She was supposed to be dead and she was supposed to be an old woman?

Shui Yixian smiled coldly at the pugilists, “That is right. Under the gaze of the Celestial Fairy…” She paused and all of a sudden, there was a cold, malevolent killing aura that radiated in her presence as she said slowly, “There…is…no…survivors!”

All of a sudden, she swung her sleeves and multiple secret projectiles flew in all directions! Those who were unable to dodge were either killed or maimed on the ground!

Young Master Qiu Wufeng had barely dodged her secret projectiles when the Lightning God and the Shadow Kicker sprint in front of him.

The Lightning God shouted to everyone, “If we don’t fight her now, sooner or later, we’ll be killed!” With that he raised his fists at the Celestial Fairy.

All of a sudden, the pugilists remembered the legend of the Eternal Ice Palace. The Celestial Fairy spared no one that dared to intrude upon her forbidden grounds. If they want to live, they had to fight! But some of the pugilists who had survived her secret projectiles were secretly waiting for the others to attack her while they seized the opportunity to run!

However, when Yi Ping saw the Lightning God and the Shadow Kicker approaching attack upon Shui Yixian, he stepped in and interrupted them!

The Shadow Kicker said to Yi Ping, “Outrageous! If I don’t incapacitate you within ten moves, I am not the Shadow Kicker!”

The Lighting God said to Qiao Feng the Shadow Kicker, “You alone, is more than enough for this lad! I will go and help the Heartless Scholar!”

Shui Yixian hastily cried out to Yi Ping, “Ping’Er, be careful.”

Even before she had barely finished speaking, she was attacked in all directions by the Heartless Scholar, Tian Kui, Long Wudi and the rest of the pugilists.

Only Young Master Qiu and the yellow dressed maiden did not make any move yet.

Qiao Feng the Shadow Kicker was renowned for his powerful shadow kicks. He gave Yi Ping a series of kicks with in one continuous attack. Yi Ping had never seen so many kicks moving so fast in his life before. He tried to parry with his sword but he could not avoid the many kicks that struck him on his forearms and legs.

Qiao Feng was kicking relentlessly. He knew that no one could survive his powerful kicks if they kept defending. They would only get themselves seriously injured and had their strength quickly drained away!

Yi Ping barely avoided having his face smashed by Qiao Feng’s kick. Yi Ping was already fighting frantically while Qiao Feng was relaxed and it only appeared that he had kicked five times.

Qiao Feng said, “This is the sixth move!”

Yi Ping was faltering and he could felt his strength draining away. Yet at the same time he was wholly fascinated by the martial abilities of Qiao Feng.

All of a sudden, Yi Ping started to display the Shadow Kicks too as he kicked back at Qiao Feng!

Qiao Feng was momentarily stunned, “Where did you learn that?”

Yi Ping hummed coldly, “I just learnt it!”

Qiao Feng shouted angrily, “That is impossible!” He was now kicking faster and faster, even displaying several secret kick techniques that hid a kick within a kick. In an outburst of few strokes, he had unleashed dozens of shadow kicks!

But Yi Ping heart was pounding as he got more and more fascinated with the Shadow Kicks Skill. He had never known a renowned master and much less had the personal experience of witnessing an epitome upper martial skill like the renowned Shadow Kick! Unconsciously, he had begun to practice the Shadow Kick as though someone had just been instructing him!

Yi Ping began to kick more and more furiously, improvising the Shadow Kicks as he got along.

Qiao Feng was now breaking into cold sweat even in the cold weather. He had expended a huge amount of martial power and was surprised that an inexperienced pugilist like Yi Ping could hold on for so long and was even matching his kick with a kick, with some moves that were even better than his own!

Before long, Qiao Feng legs were hurting! He could not believe that this young man could even match his decades of dedicated martial foundation! Moreover, how was it possible for this lad to know the Shadow Kick Skill? Even an experienced pugilist could not kick as well as him; much less repeat the kicking feat of his shadow kicks!

Qiao Feng said suddenly, “The Mirror Reflection Skill? You are using the Mirror Reflection Skill?!”

The Mirror Reflection Skill was a skill that could replicate the martial skills of others according to the rumors of the fraternity.

But Yi Ping was not listening.

Yi Ping eyes were glowing as he looked intently at Qiao Feng’s kicks! A normal young man would have fallen long ago even if he could parry a kick from Qiao Feng! But Yi Ping was so fascinated with the Shadow Kick Skill that every conscious of his was in it.

So engross was he that he was not aware that he was in pain; nor was he aware that with his present fortitude and martial limitations, he could not possible accomplish these kicks without practicing. Because he was not thinking, he had done the impossible and transcends his limits.

And of course, this had to do with the fact that Yi Ping had a natural ability to memorize any moves. Indeed, most of his martial moves that he had picked up were from looking at the fights of others.

This had also to do with the superb martial instructions received from Shui Yixian while in the cave and he was also somewhat protected by the Icy Heavenly Tears coupled with his natural flair for enduring pain.

Shui Yixian had said, “A fist for a fist, a kick for a kick. That is basic martial basis. Fighting is about dismantling stroke for stroke until you can find a solution to completely overcome your opponent. When an opponent attacks, they will expose themselves to opening. Most pugilists in the martial fraternity are more eager to prove their martial superiority by attacking. Adopting defense is also the best offense to defeat these opponents.”

She added, “I am going to teach you the intricate formula of the Listening Rhythm. This will allows you to follow the breathing and movements of your opponents much easier.”

Shui Yixian was delighted that Yi Ping was able to learn the Listening Rhythm without any trouble. Normally, this skill requires years to master and perfect…

Yi Ping did not know how to overcome Qiao Feng. Instead of utilizing the Listening Rhythm Skill to follow the moves of the opponent and awaited an opportunity to attack, Yi Ping used his natural flair for memorizing to kick back at Qiao Feng.

If Qiao Feng was not so powerful, Yi Ping would never be forced to the desperate act of pushing his own limitations to keep himself alive.

When Qiao Feng saw him repeating his Shadow Kicks, he changed his kicking stances to breech his kicks. But h was also unwittingly showing Yi Ping how to counter his very own Shadow Kicks with each new move!  

Yi Ping was also unconsciously learning the Shadow Kicks and using his gut feeling to look for an opening. Then when he saw an opening, he kicked Qiao Feng on his face directly with a tremendous impact!

Both Qiao Feng and Yi Ping fell onto the ground at almost the same time. Qiao Feng was the one being struck? What about Yi Ping? It was because even though he had not taken a direct hit from Qiao Feng, he had taken serious injuries in his non-vital areas. Moreover, the pace of following Qiao Feng drained him both mentally and physically. And he fell onto the ground, drained of all his strength.

With Qiao Feng martial prowess, if he could stay calm and restraint from anger, it was impossible for Yi Ping to gain an upper hand over him. But when he saw Yi Ping replicating his kicks with familiar moves to his Shadow Kicks, he was indignant. So when he got a hit, his rage emotions attacked his heart and he fainted!  

Even though Shui Yixian was fighting several opponents at the same time, she had kept a watchful eye for Yi Ping. Because of that, her martial movements were restricted and only the weaker pugilists had fallen.

When Yi Ping won the duel with Qiao Feng, she was relieved and was also glad. It was because with Yi Ping present martial progression, it was not possible to defeat a top martial exponent like Qiao Feng. But he had done the impossible!

But her distraction had made her opponents bolder!

The Lightning God said, “We can win her!”

Even though Shui Yixian was fighting more than ten top exponents from the martial fraternity at the same time, including Tian Kui, her martial movements were still graceful as she met strokes for strokes and moves with moves. No one could imagine she could manage against so many martial moves in so many different directions at the same time!

But any experienced pugilists could see that she was now on the defensive and in no time, she would be exhausted and beaten! That was why the Lightning God encouraged the others to make more efforts in attacking her!

Tian Kui just got another blow in his chest. He took a deep breather and raised his martial power again before joining in the battle fray again!

The pugilists were using a wolf pack tactics to bring her down as they attacked and retreated at the same time.

Because Shui Yixian was being attacked in all directions, her martial power was not sufficient enough to deal a much more serious impact on stronger exponents. Moreover, she had no chance to take a breather!

The Lightning God raised his martial power to its zenith and unleashed the Lightning Hand Skill with his palm but he was knocked when Yixian struck his palm with her finger.

The Lightning God shouted, “I have finally witnessed the Jade Icy Finger. Excellent! The martial skills of the Eternal Ice Palace are indeed powerful!”

Long Wudi stepped back from the battle fray and said, “This is not a real duel at all. There so many of us against a lone woman. That is not honorable to me. I bid my farewells! Today, I have witnessed the martial skills of the Eternal Ice Palace and still live. That is something that I shall be proud of!” With that, he left.

No one could spare any strength to say a formal goodbye to him or to force him to stay. That was because this duel was required all their attention. A moment of distraction would mean instant death!

The Heartless Scholar displayed his Whirling Sword Techniques while cursing silently. He could not believe that an unarmed person could avoid his whirling sword techniques so easily.

Shui Yixian was astonished at the sudden speed and intricate strokes of the Whirling Sword Techniques. This forced her to raise the Divine Emerald Skill with her left finger as she deflected the on-slaughter of the attacks of the Heartless Scholar as she evaded at the same time.

All of a sudden, the Celestial Fairy reached out to the tip of his sword blade with her fingers and broke his sword into halve! The Heartless Scholar hastily took a few steps behind. He could not believe anyone could break his precious sword with their fingers!

It seemed that the martial power of the Celestial Fairy had suddenly increased!

Everyone was expecting the Celestial Fairy defense to break down soon as Tian Kui was still attacking her relentlessly.

But the weird thing had happened. Instead of waning, the Celestial Fairy’s martial strength appeared to have suddenly increased. Why was that?

It was because Shui Yixian could not focus on the fight while worrying for Yi Ping. So when Yi Ping had defeated his opponent, she was now able to put all her attention on the duel at hand!

All the pugilists were astonished and another three pugilists fell in the battle. Only seven pugilists were still standing. Among then, only Tian Kui, the Heartless Scholar and the Lightning-God had suffered fewer injuries while the remaining four were seriously injured!

More than twenty corpses were now lying on the ground!

Young Master Qiu was watching the fight intently. He saw how a group of thirty pugilists had surrounded and attacked her in all directions. Very slowly, the number of pugilists dwindled down to less than ten. The pugilists in the fight did not take note of their dwindling advantage as their attention was completely in the fight. It was because any small distraction could be fatal!

No matters how intrigue and powerful her opponents’ attacks were, the Celestial Fairy would patiently dismantle and neutralize it without any expressions.

So when the Celestial Fairy attacks increased, Young Master Qiu immediately noted the number of dead and feared for the Lightning God and the Heartless Scholar. It was because if the Celestial Fairy were to win, they might not live. If Tian Kui were to win, this merciless villain might not let them live too!

When he heard of the rumors that the Celestial Fairy had passed away, he had assumed correctly that quite a few pugilists might seize the opportunity to give the Eternal Ice Palace some troubles. At the end of the day, it would be better if the secret martial arts of the Eternal Ice Palace were to fall into his hands than to some villainous hands. Therefore he asked his father to lend him three top martial exponents that were guests at the Qiu Martial Clan.

The Lightning God, the Shadow Kicker and the Heartless Scholar were considered as the very top fighters of the martial fraternity. Moreover there were three of them. But he had not expected to find Tian Kui here. Nor did he anticipate that that the passing of the Celestial Fairy to be just a rumor; unless of course this maiden had been lying.  

But her martial executions and finesse were all seasoned moves. Only someone who had years of martial practice and progression could do it.

All of a sudden, Young Master Qiu shouted, “Uncle Lu, Uncle Ye. Let us go now!”

Why did he order a sudden retreat?

It was because he had suddenly seen a dozen maidens approaching from afar! Those maidens looked beautiful in the distance but they were like roses with thorns. They could only be from the Eternal Ice Palace. With the number of top pugilists dwindling to just a few, any hope of assaulting the Eternal Ice Palace was no longer possible. Moreover, the Celestial Fairy might not be the only top exponent from the Eternal Ice Palace.

Young Master Qiu was still young and a lot wiser than most. He did not want to die from either the hands of the Eternal Ice Palace or from Tian Kui. So what else could he do?

He turned to the yellow dressed maiden and said, “Maiden, I suggest that you escape with me too! Things are not looking good and you’ll be safe in our company till we reach somewhere safe.”

The yellow dressed maiden looked at him with her beautiful eyes and whispered softly, “How do you know that I am not from the Eternal Ice Palace myself and that I will not kill you myself?”

All of a sudden, Young Master Qiu turned ashen and he immediately fled! However the yellow dressed maiden made no move.

The Heartless Scholar and the Lightning God heard the commands issued by Young Master Qiu. They were sweating and breathing heavily. This fight had been a tough one for them. So when they heard that Young Master Qiu had ordered them to retreat, they had already made up their minds to seize an opportunity to leave the battle.

The Lightning God was the first disentangle from the battle and his first thought was his friend, the Shadow Kicker. Had he fallen?

The Lightning God was dismayed to see the Shadow Kicker onto the ground. He inspected him for signs of vital life and was glad that he was still breathing. He said, “Old friend, you are still alive! Hold on!” He picked the Shadow Kicker and carried him onto his shoulder.

The Heartless Scholar was next but not after he had taken a crashing blow on his chest! He thrown up blood and barely avoided a second blow. Tian Kui had indirectly saved his life when he attacked the Celestial Fairy with a vicious claw! The Celestial Fairy simply flung him onto the side with the windforce generated by her sleeves!

With just two opponents left, the Celestial Fairy was able to regain her vital breath now and with that, her martial internal strength! Her strokes became more and more intricate and powerful, growing in complexity and harder to avoid!

He barely fled from the Celestial Fairy and when he took a second look at the battle scene, only Tian Kui and the Celestial Fairy was still fighting. His body was now trembling with fear. This was the first time he had known fear! Only when he had left the battle, did he realize how frightening the martial levels Celestial Fairy had been!

At the same time, Yi Ping had barely regained his conscious and was struggling to get on his feet as he was still being gripped with aching pain. His body had taken a lot of punishment from being hit and he had extended over his physical limits.

Tian Kui laughed and said to Shui Yixian, “Very good. Now there are just two of us left!” All of a sudden, his body seemed to grow even more muscular and bigger as he struck the left and right accupoint channel on his chest.

Shui Yixian raised her thin eyebrows slightly, “The Unholy Possession Skill?”

Tian Kui laughed, “That is right! I didn’t think that you can recognize it!”

The Unholy Possession Skill was used by the heretic sects three hundred years ago. It was an evil skill that could sap away the martial power of the opponents while boasting one’s martial power.

Tian Kui was reserving the use of this epitome skill to the very last. That was because while this skill could boast his martial power by many folds, it was also a skill that could drain away all his internal power. He had waited until the Celestial Fairy had expended considerable internal strength as she fought the pugilists. Now it was the time to use it.

Shui Yixian had no choice but to raise her martial power to fight against Tian Kui. She raised the martial power of the Divine Emerald Skill to the ninth level, her highest. Even with the invisible force generated by the Divine Emerald Skill, she could still feel her strength being sapped away as Tian Kui landed blows after blows on her. Each time when she met his palms with her fingers, her fingers would tremble slightly.

Tian Kui was surrounded by a martial force that rendered normal strikes useless. This battle could not be decided by martial techniques and strokes but by sheer martial power!

Yi Ping saw that Shui Yixian and Tian Kui were fighting one another so furiously that they were like shadowy images moving all over the place. He wanted to go over to help her but there were constant burning windforce that were generated by their attacks that wept everything onto the ground! There was simply no way to approach the two of them!

Tian Kui attacked even more furiously than ever before as he gained more and more strength. All of a sudden, he turned his palm strikes into claws as he torn away Shui Yixian’s sleeves. He laughed, “Even though the martial arts of the Eternal Ice Palace are epitome, it is not without their weakness! I will like to see you fighting without clothes!”

Shui Yixian was indignant but she kept her cool. Instead of trying to land a strike onto her, Tian Kui was aiming at her long dress and sleeves, attempting to outrage her modesty which was a lot easier!  

Soon Tian Kui had ripped her sleeves, revealing her white porcelain skin. Tian Kui could feel her attacks falter as she was concerned about her modesty. He could see that her ears had turned red even though she was still without any expression.

Tian Kui grabbed her dress and torn part of it away.

Shui Yixian cried out, “You are a beast! Outrageous!” All of a sudden, Shui Yixian took a few steps back and had coughed out blood. She was really upset and that caused her blood to reverse.

To the practitioners of the Icy Heavenly Tears, emotions were a taboo. That was why the Eternal Ice Palace had no men and its protégés spend their time refining their mediation.

Tian Kui knew that he had succeeded and he quickly sprint towards her to disable her. He muttered, “I have finally won…”

All of a sudden, the yellow dressed maiden who had been watching had appeared from behind him and gave him a fatal blow on his head!

Tian Kui simply could not believe that anyone could approach him without him knowing! Moreover, the burning inertia windforce generated by the epitome skills of the Divine Emerald Skill and the Unholy Possession Skill were still present and had not died down yet. It was not possible for anyone to interfere in the duel, unless that person possesses uncanny martial power!

It was precisely that Tian Kui did not believe anyone else could possess their level of martial power and it was precisely why he was not on guard. That was when the yellow dressed maiden had approached him from the back and had succeeded in dealing him a fatal blow!

Even more astonishing, Tian Kui was protected by a huge amount of tremendous martial force. Even if he was hit by the Celestial Fairy, he could still continue fighting.

So when he had died, his eyes were still open and staring in disbelief!

Yi Ping was astonished too even though he had witnessed her martial power before.

Shui Yixian had seen the yellow dressed maiden approaching Tian Kui and was surprised that she could move though the burning windforce with ease and what was more, she could not believe her eyes too that the yellow dressed maiden had actually killed Tian Kui with just one blow!

Shui Yixian said gratefully, “Maiden, thank you. If not for you, my modesty will be outrage…” Indeed she was extremely grateful to her. She had almost thought that it was all over.  “May I know your name, maiden?”

The yellow dressed maiden replied coldly, “You don’t have to be grateful to me. This beast fight dirty and I don’t want you to die in such a pathetic manner…”

All of a sudden, the yellow dressed maiden had dealt Shui Yixian a blow on her heart! That sent her flying backwards!

Shui Yixian was completed caught off-guard. She had never expected someone who had just assisted her to attack her! When she had raised her fingers to raise the Divine Emerald Skill, it was too late. The force that struck her heart was the same as the one that she had used on Tian Kui!

Even though the battle between Tian Kui and the Celestial Fairy had stopped some time ago, the burning winds from the battle did not cease yet. Yi Ping had to crawl toward Shui Yixian as he cried out, “Xian’Er! Are you alright?!”

Yi Ping caught hold of Shui Yixian’s hands as he asked again, “Xian’Er, are you alright?”

Shui Yixian could not reply but she smiled weakly. She knew that this blow had been fatal and that she could feel her very life seeping away.

Yi Ping pointed at the yellow dressed maiden, “We are not your enemies. Why did you suddenly attack Xian’Er for?!”

The yellow dressed maiden said, “You know her well? Do you know that she is the Celestial Fairy?”

Yi Ping laughed aloud, “How will I not know? She is Xian’Er, my wife!”

The yellow dressed maiden was startled, “Your wife? Do you know that she is actually a ninety-year woman? That is because she has reached the highest epitome of the internal arts that she cannot age.”

Yi Ping said hatefully to her, “How would I know? Why should I care? I love her and her alone. I don’t care about any other things! How vicious are you!”

The yellow dressed maiden was startled as she answered coldly, “I am vicious? Do you know this woman in front of you is capable of killing anyone without batting an eyelid? If I am vicious then she is even more vicious!”

Yi Ping cried out, “No matter if she is the most vicious woman under the heavens, in my heart she is an angel. She is the kindest hearted maiden that I have never known. She is my dear wife and we swore to go through woes and joy together!”

Shui Yixian was crying now as she grasped, “Ping’Er…”

Even the yellow dressed maiden seemed to be moved as her eyes turned watery. But she said coldly, “Before you die, I will tell you the truth so that you will die peacefully. I am the grand-daughter of Shui Yisi!”

Yixian was startled even though as she had expected her enemy to be Shui Yisi, “Where is Shui Yisi?”

The yellow dressed maiden replied coldly, “She had died five decades ago. You have no idea when she had died, she was still bitter and filled with hatred towards you. That curse did not end with her. My mother was also afflicted by her bitterness that her whole life was to pursue means to end your life. That bitterness did not end with her death. She had passed on that bitterness to me. All my life, I have only known a purpose. That is to kill you.”

Shui Yixian could sense her cold bitterness in her tone. Indeed, she could imagine her sufferings. If she had not suffered a great deal of ordeal, she would never have reached her level of martial accomplishments to injure her. She could imagine that her mother went through an even greater ordeal to realize her daughter martial accomplishments.

Therefore she could only say weakly, “Yi Ping, when I am gone, don’t avenge for me. You are not her match.” She looked at the yellow dressed maiden and said weakly, “I hope that you can spare him…”

The yellow dressed maiden said coldly, “My target is only you.”

Shui Yixian said, “Good…may my death bury all these feuds between us.”

Suddenly, a dozen maidens in light blue dressed descended around them and they were crying, “Protégé Mistress! What exactly has happens?”

The yellow dressed maiden hummed coldly and began to walk away.

Shui Yixian said weakly and said to a young maiden who was holding her, “Yu’Er. I am dying now. When I am dead, bury me in the ice casket at the inner sanctuary that I have prepared…”

Yu’Er, who was also the Jade Sword Fairy Shui Yujian, cried out, “Protégé Mistress, you will never die! Who did that to you? I will slice him into a million pieces!” 

She turned and looked at Yi Ping as she said coldly, “This is the filthy man that did it?” She was about to stab him with her sword when Shui Yixian interrupted panicky, “He is…my husband.”

Shui Yujian was shocked and so were the others.

Shui Yixian said, “He is to be the next protégé master of the Eternal Ice Palace, Mei’Er and you, are to serve him faithfully in my stead…”

She smiled weakly and closed her eyes, “Ping’Er, you have to live on…”

Yi Ping cried out, “Xian’Er! Xian’Er...Don’t leave me!”

But Shui Yixian did not and could not reply anymore.

Yi Ping trembled and fainted; the shock of witnessing his wife died right in front of him was too much to bear for him…

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PostSubject: Re: A Martial Odyssey   Sat Aug 03, 2013 2:08 pm

Chapter 5: Jade and Beautiful Sword Fairies

When Yi Ping regained his consciousness, he found himself in a large feathery bed. The bed was fragrant and comfortable. He could not believe such a comfortable bed could actually exist. He was feeling so relax in the bed that he did not want to wake up.

“Protégé Master, you have awakened?” A sweet voice was heard.

Yi Ping had a sudden shock. He had suddenly remembered the events that had taken place at Mt. Heavenly. He called out panicky, “Xian’Er, where are you?”

He looked around him and saw two young beautiful maidens standing in front of the bed who were smiling at him. He blinked his eyes. He had recognized Shui Yujian voice but there were two ‘Yujian’ now!

Yi Ping said, “Yujian?”

The exquisite young beautiful maiden that had just spoken laughed softly, “No, that is my sister. I am Shui Meijan. We are twins! You can also call me the Beautiful Sword Fairy.”

Shui Meijian was delighted that Yi Ping had awakened. When she looked at him, her heart was fluttering. She was a little disappointed that he had called out her sister first. But she soon forgot about her disappointment as she introduced herself.

Shui Yujian sighed in her heart. She was more reserved than her twin sister. She pursed her lips and wished that she could respond quicker than her sister.

Yi Ping nodded and asked, “Where is Yixian? Is she…”

Shui Yujian burst into tears, “Protégé Mistress had passed away. We have laid her body into the inner sanctuary.” This time, she was quicker than her sister.

Yi Ping was silent for a long time while Shui Meijian and Shui Yujian looked at him for they did not dare to disturb his thoughts.

Yi Ping was suddenly aware that he was clothed in a new and clean garment. He muttered, “My clothing…?”

Shui Yujian said, “Protégé Master, Sister Mei and I have showered for you and help you get dressed. As for your old clothing, it is too dirty and too difficult to mend. So we have thrown it away. Protégé Master, don’t be upset with us...”

Yi Ping turned flustered, “It is not that…I am a man, the two of you are still young maidens…I…”

Shui Meijian giggled softly, “Protégé Master must be shy! You are our master now and we are all your properties. It is our duty to serve you and to take care of your daily needs.”

Yi Ping tried to change the topic by asking them, “You are Beautiful Sword Fairy Shui Meijian and Jade Sword Fairy Shui Yujian?”

Yujian and Meijian said at the same time, “That is right, Protégé Master!”

Yi Ping said, “Take me to the inner sanctuary. I want to take a look at Yixian.”

Shui Yujian appeared to be panicky, “Protégé Master, the ice casket has already been sealed! We can only bring you to the inner sanctuary chamber.”

Yi Ping sighed, “Is that so? It’s alright. Just bring me there.”

Shui Meijian and Shui Yujian bowed respectfully, “Yes, Protégé Master!”

Yi Ping said awkwardly, “Disperse with this ‘Protégé Master’ formalities. Err…I don’t feel comfortable with it.”

Shui Meijian and Shui Yujian took a look at each other before saying, “Yes, Master!”

Yi Ping sighed and said, “That Master word too.”

As they walked along the passageways, Yi Ping noticed that it was colder than usual and asked out of curiosity, “The Eternal Ice Palace seems to be a cold place. How can the two of you bear this unbearable cold?”

Shui Meijian laughed softly, “Mas…We are used to the cold. The Eternal Ice Palace is situated beneath the Heavenly Lake. That is why none of the pugilists can find this place.”

Yi Ping was astonished, “We are under a lake?” He looked around him and admired the marbles of the passageway. “This must have taken a lot of effort and time to construct…”

He imagined the hardship of the laborers and wondered if anyone of them would be allowed to leave the Eternal Ice Palace alive. It was because even though the Eternal Ice Palace was not an unorthodox clan, it was a mysterious place which is off-limits to outsiders and shrouded in secrecy.

Shui Meijian smiled, “I do not know. It has been here when we are here. And the Eternal Ice Palace is centuries old. But we do have sisters that are skilled in masonry here. I will ask them later.”

Yi Ping replied, “Oh. That won’t be a necessary. I am just being curious...”

But as they walked along the passage, Yi Ping saw many more maidens that were dressed in refinery, he could not resist commenting. “These maidens are all so young and beautiful; to think that they have to spend all their eternality here. It is really such a pity.”

Shui Yujian had misunderstood and said shyly, “We are all your women. If Master desires any one of us, please feel free to summon us to your presence…”

Yi Ping was startled and he quickly said, “This is not what I mean. And can you imagine the boredom of staying here all your life? All of you deserve to find a partner, have a family and knows what is happening to the fraternity at large.”

All of a sudden, both Shui Yujian and Shui Meijian burst into tears.

Yi Ping was at a loss as he asked, “I…I am so sorry. What has happened?”

Shui Meijian sobbed, “Master, you may not know that the Eternal Ice Palace does releases our older protégés when they are twenty-five so that they can get married. But their fates often ended in misery. The outside fraternity is crude and fraught with dangers. If they were discovered to be from the Eternal Ice Palace, they would be tortured by the pugilists for our clan martial secrets. ”

Shui Yujian added, “As Sister Mei and I are the direct protégés of our late Protégé Mistress the Celestial Fairy, we the only exceptions and we cannot leave the Eternal Ice Palace. However, the rest of our sisters have to leave the Eternal Ice Palace when they are twenty-five. This is an unbroken rule. Unless Protégé Master is willing to accept them as direct protégés, they are not allowed to stay.”

Yi Ping asked, “Why not allow those who want to stay to stay and let those who want to leave to leave?”

Shui Yujian replied, “It had been like this in the distant past. But some protégé sisters either regret their decisions to stay or leave, so it was finally made into a clan golden rule that all non-direct protégé disciples have to leave when they reach twenty-five. Since then, there have been no exceptions.”

Yi Ping asked, “The clan rule can’t be changed?”

Shui Yujian said, “It cannot be changed. It is considered a great disrespect and dishonor to past venerable leaders to do so.”

Yi Ping nodded for he understood that clan honor means everything to the people of the martial fraternity. But he added defiantly, “The Eternal Ice Palace is off-limits to men. I am sure that it is a clan golden rule as well. That I am here, does it mean the clan rule has been broken?”

Shui Meijian laughed and interrupted cheekily, “That is not entirely true. We do have men guests from time to time. Moreover, the first founder of the Eternal Ice Palace is a man!”

Yi Ping was taken aback, “The Eternal Ice Palace is founded by a man?!”

Shui Yujian giggled. “That is right! In fact, several of our past Eternal Ice Palace leaderships were helmed by men. But because our past few protégé mistresses had been women and it not convenient for men to be in the Eternal Ice Palace, so it is generally off-limits to men.”

Shui Meijian added, “Moreover, the skills of the Eternal Ice Palace are not wholly suitable for men. So generally, the leadership of the Eternal Ice Palace is often passed to a woman.”

Yi Ping asked, “I don’t understand. Since the founder of the Eternal Ice Palace is a man, how is it possible for him to invent the Icy Heavenly Tears and the Divine Emerald Skill among many which are more suitable for women?”

Shui Yujian laughed softly, “That is because the martial origins of the Eternal Ice Palace come from his wife! The founder was said to be a scholar who did not know any martial skills.”

Yi Ping rubbed his nose for warmth and looked at Shui Yujian and Shui Meijian directly for the first time. Only a blind man would fail to see how beautiful and appealing they were.

Indeed, other than Shui Yixian, he had never seen anyone else as beautiful and captivating as them. To think that just a few days ago, he had been so fearful of the reputation of the Eternal Ice Palace.

Shui Meijian raised her alluring voice, “Master! Are you alright?”

Yi Ping woke from his trance and quickly replied, “I am alright. You really shouldn’t keep calling me Master…”

Shui Meijian giggled, “Master…alas I forget so fast. I’m so sorry!”

Yi Ping awkwardly replied, “Never mind…”

Shui Yujian laughed softly, “Master, you are looking at us so intently just now. Is there something wrong?”

Yi Ping said quickly, “No, nothing is wrong. I am just day-dreaming. You also, alas I am not your Master…”

Shui Meijian teased, “Master, you been sleeping for two days and you still feel sleepy?”

Yi Ping had completely given up on correcting them as he sighed in his heart. It seemed that they were too mindful of their manners and found it hard to adjust their etiquettes.

Shui Yujian gave Shui Meijian a quick tug and she quickly kept quiet. When Shui Yujian had tugged her, she realized that she was acting inappropriately and forgot that Yi Ping was their protégé master.

Yi Ping soon realized that Shui Yujian was more refined and careful in her speech while Shui Meijian was quick in speech and would say anything she thought of.

While walking to their destination, Shui Meijian began to hymn softly as she began to sing in a low voice.

Yi Ping was startled. Her voice and music was very beautiful. Yi Ping asked, “Xiaomei, you know how to sing too?”

Shui Meijian was startled and asked panicky, “Something wrong, Master?” She hoped that she had not offended him. She was almost in tears as she asked fearfully, “Did I disturb you…”

Even Shui Yujian was startled.

Yi Ping quickly said, “Oh no. Your lyrics and the melodies that you have just hymn, is just too beautiful. I enjoy music too.” And he began to whistle beautifully too.

Shui Meijian was delighted as she happily clapped, “My sister and I love to sing too!”

Shui Yujian was also absolutely delighted that Yi Ping also appreciated music as she hymned a quick melody.

Yi Ping praised her, “This tune is so unique. I have never heard of it. It is simply too heavenly. If I can hear this every day, I will be content.”

Shui Yujian flustered as she lowered her face, “We can play the zither, pipa and the erhu too.”

Yi Ping grasped, “That is not easy. The two of you must be really talented in your musical accomplishments.”

Shui Meijian laughed captivating, “Our Protégé Mistress does not really encourage us, and thinks it is a waste of time…”

Shui Yujian tugged her hard and said, “Let us continue now. We are reaching soon.”

Yi Ping nodded.

It was not long before they had reached the inner sanctuary chamber.

Shui Yujian said, “Master, we have reached.”

The chamber was large and freezing cold. In the middle of the chamber was a white marble casket.

Yi Ping immediately ran to the casket and fell onto it. He muttered, “Yixian, Yixian…why have you left me…”

Yi Ping was clearly inconsolable for a long time. Shui Yujian tried to console him but he had not heard her.

Yi Ping was too sorrowful. He wailed to heavens for separating Shui Yixian and him as he replayed his memories of her.

It was not long before tears appeared in the sisters’ eyes as well as they watched him expressed his sorrows for their late protégé mistress.

Shui Yujian could feel her heart aching. Her impressions of men were generally not impressive until she had met Yi Ping. Even though she had only known him briefly, he already had a place in her heart.

Shui Meijian was clenching her hands together onto her bosoms as she held back her tears. She had secretly fallen in love with him. At first when she was notified by her sister that they got a new protégé master, she was in shock. When she had saw Yi Ping, she was even more startled with his noble air and looks. It was love at first sight for her…

Yi Ping suddenly stood up and said tearfully, “I got to leave this place now.”

It was because he had a sudden realization what he was going to do next. If he could not avenge for his wife’s death, then his wife would never be put to rest.

Shui Meijian hastily asked, “Master, where are you going? You can’t just leave the Eternal Ice Palace.”

Yi Ping said, “I am going to avenge my wife’s killer and I am going to find her no matter where she is!”

Shui Yujian asked, “Master, you know the killer?”

Yi Ping hummed coldly, “Even though I did not see her face but I will never forget her martial display! I will find her and offer her blood to my dear wife!”

Shui Meijian said, “Master, then let us accompany you!”

Yi Ping shook his head, “I have no idea how long it is going to take. Moreover, the Eternal Ice Palace needs someone to take care of and to protect it from external threat. As the most senior protégés, that responsibility will be yours.”

Shui Yujian cried, “Don’t we have the same responsibility to avenge our late protégé mistress too?”

Yi Ping had already made up his mind. And moreover, Shui Yujian and Shui Meijian had never been to the outside fraternity. They had no idea how dangerous and treacherous the people of the martial fraternity could be. Besides, with two beautiful maidens accompanying him, it could be more of a hindrance.

But he had no idea how much he had hurt them. It was because they had thought that he did not like them and did not want them to be in his company.

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PostSubject: Re: A Martial Odyssey   Sat Aug 03, 2013 4:06 pm

Chapter 6: Gongsun Jing

Yi Ping did not know how long he had been wandering since he had left the Eternal Ice Palace. Was it days, weeks or months? He could not really remember.

That was because all he could remember on the eve of leaving the Eternal Ice Palace, was that he got very drunk; Very dead drunk. When he was awake, he was in bed naked; and so were Shui Yujian and Shui Meijian besides him.

That was why he left the Eternal Ice Palace in haste and he was in a daze for a long time. What did he actually do? He could not believe what he had done and what had happened.

“Yixian, Yujian, Meijian…forgives me…”

He cursed himself for hurting Shui Yujian and Shui Meijian and losing their trust in him. He could not imagine that he had actually destroyed the lives of two innocent maidens in his drunken state. After that he was in low spirits for a really long time and was often in a daze as he thought of Yixian, Yujian and Meijian.

Yixian had entrusted her two protégés to him and yet he did something so unthinkable to them. He could never forgive himself for what he had done.

He thought of taking his life on numerous occasions but when he remembered that he had not found his wife’s killer yet, he reluctantly pulled himself together again.

He was Yi Ping of old again. It was as though he was still a wanderer and had never been to the Eternal Ice Palace. Everything was just a beautiful dream. No one would ever believe him even if he tells anyone.

But he could not forget the fact that Shui Yixian was his wife and that she had died in his embrace. He could not forget the blood feud that he had with the yellow dressed maiden. He had no idea where she was. He did not even know her name! It was as though she had never existed.

He was confused. Was everything just a dream?

He was drinking wine as usual in a tavern. He did not have a habit of drinking before he went to the Eternal Ice Palace. But because drinking was the only way for him to forget his unhappiness and the tragic death of his wife, he retorted to it. That was another reason why he could not remember how long he had been wandering or the passage of time as he was drunk most of the time.

He thought he had a purpose but he had since lost that purpose. Even if he could find his enemy, could he be able to defeat her?

All of a sudden, someone greeted him, “Young hero, why are you drinking alone? Do you mind if we sit beside you?”

Yi Ping looked up and saw a handsome young man. He was the one that had greeted him and he looked like a refine scholar. There were two others with him; one was a one-arm old man but he was anything but old for he exudes strength and vitality. The other was a middle age monk with a thick white eyebrow.

The refine scholar added, “I apologize for not properly introducing myself. I am Gongsun Jing.”

Those with the clan surname of Gongsun were few and only one martial family carried that clan name. This refine scholar was none other than Gongsun Jing the Benevolent from the Gongsun Aristocracy Clan. He was said to be a highly regarded and won the respect of the pugilistic heroes for his kindness and thoughtfulness.

Even Yi Ping had heard of his renown and had once wished to be acquainted with him! But that was in the past and all he wanted now was to be left alone.

Gongsun Jing had seen a handsome young man drinking alone. Judging by the sword that he had besides him, he garnered that this young man must have come from a renowned martial clan. He was eager to recruit the likes of him as his friends and followers. The younger they were, the easier to be acquainted with!

It was not a one sided friendship. Likewise, the pugilistic heroes from the martial clans would also like to befriend Gongsun Jing for he had the renowned and would be a powerful backer in the future.

Unfortunately for Gongsun Jing, Yi Ping was not from any martial clan. The sword that he had with him was just a sword that he had grabbed from the Eternal Ice Palace on a whim as he had lost his own sword. And today, he was only interested in drinking and had just started.

The sword that Yi Ping had randomly grabbed was one of the four most precious swords of the Eternal Ice Palace, christened the White Emerald Phoenix.

Gongsun Jing was eying Yi Ping’s sword and said, “Do you mind that I take a look at your sword?” He had said so casually as the white emerald sword that Yi Ping had on him caught his attention. He was a swordsman and interested in all kinds of swords.

To his surprise, Yi Ping simply said. “You can take a look.” He placed the sword onto the table.

In the martial fraternity, the pugilists regard their weapons dearly and would never allow strangers to inspect their weapons. A weapon weight and its characteristic would often give their opponents’ clues on how best to counter it.

And moreover, a swordsman would never part with his sword unless he was dead.

Therefore Gongsun Jing had not really expected this young man to surrender his sword so readily. He had expected the young man to either reject him nicely or rudely and he would have a good idea if he was a friend or foe.

Gongsun Jing took the White Emerald Sword and inspected it. There was a ‘White Phoenix’ and an ‘Emerald’ inscription on it. The emeralds that adorned the white long were real and the blade of the sword was exceptional sharp!

Even the one armed old man who did not appeared to be interested in the sword at first, was exclaiming when Gongsun Jing had just unsheathed the sword, “What a good sword! It is surely one of the few top tier swords in the fraternity!”

When the White Emerald Sword was unsheathed, the brilliant chilling malevolent aura of the sword was brilliant and everyone could feel its chill piercing through their bones!

Gongsun Jing was bewildered. The owner of this sword had to be from a renowned martial clan in order to protect this sword and would be zealous of it.

But this young man did not seem to care very much for his sword.

And he did not seem to be very interested in acquainting with him even after he had reported his name aloud in an attempt to awe him. Yet he was generous enough to show him his sword.

Even in the Honor Manor, there were no swords of this quality and Murong Jing was secretly covetous of the White Emerald Sword.

He reluctantly returned the White Emerald Sword to Yi Ping, who took back the sword without saying anything.

Gongsun Jing smiled and said, “I am interested to be acquainted with heroes from all over the martial fraternity. Do you mind telling me your name and your martial clan of origin, young hero?”

But Yi Ping was too despondent and disheartened to say anything. And moreover he was just a nameless nobody while Gongsun Jing was a renowned figure in the martial fraternity.

Gongsun Jing was embarrassed by his silence and added, “I can buy you all the drinks that you want, young hero.”

Pugilists in the fraternity were mostly lovers of wines and would hardly reject such a generous free offer.

But still, Yi Ping continued to ignore him.

This enraged the one-arm old man who shouted, “What insolence! You have no idea what is good for you, young man!” He threw a punch at Yi Ping.

Yi Ping saw the incoming punch and barely blocked the attack. This seeming innocuous move was like an unstoppable force and had actually pushed him backward and he was forced to get off his seat! The one-armed old man was a more powerful opponent than he had looked and his martial level was not beneath Tian Kui!

Gongsun Jing exclaimed aloud and praised Yi Ping, “Good! To think that he can actually block Uncle Gu attack!”

This rejuvenated Yi Ping fighting spirit and he began to attack the one-armed old man with his fists and palms.

The one-armed old man blocked his attacks easily and without any effort. The one-armed old man laughed and shouted, “Do you know who I am? You dare to raise your fist against me? Let me tell you. I am Gu Tianle the Warrior-God!”

Yi Ping was startled. Who had never heard of Gu Tianle before? He was the only one that deserved the title of Warrior-God. His martial abilities were renowned throughout the martial fraternity for the past twenty-years! Twenty-years, he had single-handedly stormed into the most powerful heretic sect in the martial fraternity, the Holy Hex Sect and defeated the most powerful heretic martial exponent leader Ji Yunzhong. That earned him the title of Warrior-God!

From then on, the various heretic sects and unorthodox clans began to lie low. This was the result of his resounding act!

Gu Tianle shouted, “If you still do not display your true martial origin, don’t blame me for not warning you!”

Yi Ping knew that Gu Tianle was only playing with him and he could sense that his incoming blows were getting more and more furious and more intricate.

He decided to display the Shadow Kick Skill that he had picked up from Qiao Feng the Shadow Kicker. But to his surprise, Gu Tianle simply blocked his shadow kicks with his forearm and all of a sudden, he became enraged, “Who is Qiao Feng to you?”

This time, he was no longer teasing with Yi Ping and struck him on his chest. This sent Yi Ping violently backward with a crushing sound. Yi Ping was stunned that despite the Shadow Kicks and the frontal defense that he had positioned, Gu Tianle could punch through him so easily!

Yi Ping rubbed away the blood off his mouth and spat, “I have nothing to do with Qiao Feng!”

Gu Tianle hummed coldly, “If you are not related to Qiao Feng, where did you learn the Shadow Kick Skill from?”

Yi Ping said coldly, “I do not need to explain to you!”

The reason why Gu Tianle had been so upset with Qiao Feng was because he had lost his arm in an ambush by Qiao Feng the Shadow Kicker and his sworn brother, Ye Lu the Lightning God.

Gu Tianle raised the martial power in his palm and shouted, “Let see if you can withstand this!”

Yi Ping stood up defiantly and raised all his martial power in both his palms to accept the incoming attack.

Gongsun Jing shouted, “Young hero, it is dangerous for you. You risk death by…”

But Yi Ping paid him no heed. There was a crashing force and a thunderous clapping sound as Yi Ping was flung all the way till he crashed onto the wall!

Gu Tianle had only use miniscule strength but he was surprised that Yi Ping had so much martial power for a young man like him. He thought, “Isn’t he the old freak’s disciple?” It was because at the moment of impact, he had felt the cold negative radiance force of his internal strength.

Gu Tianle did not know that Yi Ping internal strength was the Icy Heavenly Tears or else he would surely be in a greater surprise.

Most internal strength forces displayed by the martial fraternity were positive types. Only a few such as the Eternal Ice Palace, the Holylight Sect and the Southern Sword Sect used the negative types. It was because negative type progressions were generally slower and dangerous to practice alone.  That was why these sects were usually seclusion sects and rarely interfere in the affairs of the martial fraternity.

But before Gu Tianle could ask him further, Yi Ping had jumped off from the second floor of the tavern!

They were astonished that Yi Ping still had the strength to escape.

Gongsun Jing sighed, “We have injured him and if he dies, I will not feel good. All I want is just to befriend him…”

The Monk who real name was Jue Yuan said, “He is severely injured and cannot go too far away. Let me get him to the residence to recuperate so that we can show him we do not mean him any harm.”

With that, Jue Yuan jumped down from the second storey of the tavern as well!

A crowd had already gathered when the commotion started. They began to praise Gongsun Jing, “Young Master Gongsun is a compassionate hero that is kind even to his enemies!”

Someone cursed Yi Ping, “It isn’t Young Master Gongsun fault. I witness the act. That young man was just an insolence and arrogant thing. He is probably an enemy of the Gongsun Residence in the first place!”

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PostSubject: Re: A Martial Odyssey   Sat Aug 03, 2013 8:04 pm

Chapter 7: The Divine Horizon Hands

Yi Ping had run outside the town. He struggled with his injuries till he got out of town. He knew that he was being pursued but his pursuer did not seem to be in a hurry.

He sat down to recuperate and waited for his pursuer to appear.

Sure enough, a monk appeared in the horizon.

Yi Ping hummed coldly, “You have come.”

Jue Yuan laughed, “Yes, I have come. It seems that you been expecting me.”

Yi Ping said, “We are now in an isolated place. This place is the perfect place for you to kill me.”

Jue Yuan laughed, “Indeed! I, Jue Yuan the merciless, will send you to the heavens today!”

Yi Ping said coldly, “What a name! And I thought that a monk is someone merciful!”

Jue Yuan said proudly, “Not me. To be merciful to the enemy is to be merciless to ourselves, am I right to say so?”

Yi Ping replied, “Indeed.”

He added, “I will never think that the Gongsun Jing the Benevolent will be someone who is malicious to a stranger.”

Jue Yuan said, “You have made two mistakes. Firstly, you have rejected the friendship of our Young Master Gongsun and secondly you are the protégé of Qiao Feng the Shadow Kicker. Any of these deserves the death penalty, don’t you think so?”

Yi Ping got up and drawn his long sword, “So this is martial fraternity justice! Those who are not on your side are your enemy! What a joke! Even a nameless nobody like me deserve to have the great monk Jue Yuan to dirty his hands!”

Jue Yuan laughed as he rubbed his prayer beads that were in his hands, “You are not a nameless fellow. The fact that you can withstand a blow from Gu Tianle and still survives proves that. Even if you are not a threat now, you will be one in the future when my Young Master Gongsun wants to unite the martial fraternity.”  

All of a sudden, Jue Yuan broke his prayer beads and each of the beads sped towards Yi Ping with tremendous speed and force!

Yi Ping was surprised and he quickly raised his sword in defense.

But the weirdest thing happened. All twenty of the prayer beads fell onto the ground right in front of Yi Ping as though it had all struck an invisible barrier!

Both Yi Ping and Jue Yuan were surprised!

Jue Yuan was dumbfounded. He was famous for his killing prayer bead projectiles. At this distance, no one could ever dodge all twenty of his prayer bead projectiles.

To suppose that this injured young man with his current martial level could do so was highly improbable. Moreover, this young man had not even begun attempting. His prayer beads seemed to strike an invisible wall!

“A monk bullying a wounded man and attempting to kill him, this is humph interesting…”

Yi Ping and Jue Yuan looked up and saw a young maiden with black flowing hair sitting on top of a tree branch. It was not her exquisite beauty that caused them to hold their breath even though her beauty was impossible to describe and her looks was peerless! The fact that someone could move within their sight and yet they were not aware was simply too extraordinary!

Yi Ping heart was pounding fast. At first he had thought she was Shui Yixian but when he looked carefully, he realized his mistake. Both of them shared the same unparalleled beauty and were extremely beholden to gaze upon!  

Yi Ping heart sunk immediately in disappointment.

The extraordinary beautiful maiden jumped onto the ground. Her descend was unhurried and she landed on the tips of the grass gently.

She said, “I didn’t want to interfere in your affairs but the conversation is too much for me to bear.”

Jue Yuan could not believe his eyes. This ‘Tipping on Grass’ like the ‘Walking on Grass’ was the highest epitome of any levitation skills. That she was just hovering on the tip of the grass spoke volumes of her breathing technique and martial progression. He simply could not believe that this young maiden would be capable of such a feat!

Jue Yuan asked, “Who are you?”

The extraordinary beautiful maiden said coldly, “It seems that you are not only a merciless monk but also a lecherous monk. Not only a lecherous monk but a shameless monk to ask a maiden her name in broad daylight!”

She did not mince her words at all. This instantly angered Jue Yuan.

Jue Yuan angrily said, “No matter. I know who you are soon!” He unleashed his Triple Merciless Palms at the young maiden!

Jue Yuan was famed for his deadly Triple Merciless Palms and had killed countless number of pugilists.

Yi Ping warned the maiden, “Be careful, maiden…”

She had interfered because of him and he did not want anything to happen to her.

The Triple Merciless Palms were indeed extraordinary and deadly. No wonder it was ranked so highly in the martial fraternity! The extraordinary beautiful maiden was taken by surprise as she barely avoided the first three strokes of the Triple Merciless Palms.

Jue Yuan was surprised as well. He had never seen anyone evading the likes of her before. When he attacked with the Forceful Bale Stroke from the Triple Merciless Skill as he charged, it could be followed by any strokes. This forces his opponent with no other choices but to fight him in close quarter.

This caused him to waste his ingenious stroke and to end the combat quickly.

Jue Yuan however, did not hesitate at all and rained down blows after blows on her.

The extraordinary beautiful maiden displayed a variety of martial strokes to counter his blows. Therefore, Jue Yuan was not able to guess her martial origins. It seemed that she was intentionally hiding it.

He wryly mocked, “It seems that you are intentionally hiding your martial origin. Even if you are a charming lady, you will soon learn that I, Jue Yuan am like no others before you. That is why I am known as the merciless monk!”

And he increased his strength and the martial power of his palms. “I will take you down in under thirty moves! I like to see if you are still able to hide your martial origin!”

The extraordinary beautiful maiden was aware that Jue Yuan meant what he had said. All of a sudden, there was a sudden shriek and her smooth silken right hand was imbued with an extraordinary force that projected a mighty tremendous force onto Jue Yuan!

Jue Yuan was struck by that mighty projected force and was flung backward!

Even Yi Ping was exclaiming aloud, “What an extraordinary martial skill!”

It was because projected force would get weaker away as the distance increases. But this extraordinary palm technique extended the projected force of the palm by a short distance. Even though the projected distance of this palm technique was extremely short, it was this aspect that was truthfully frightening! Normal pugilists could not block against it and this palm technique could also weaken the strength of the opponent before a clash.

As Yi Ping was standing behind the extraordinary beautiful maiden, he could see that she had withdrawn her right hand to her back and her fingers were trembling!

Jue Yuan could not believe what he had just seen. He shouted madly as he escaped, “The Divine Horizon Hands, the Divine Horizon Hands! That is impossible!”

It seemed that Jue Yuan was not seriously injured by the projected force. Rather, he was more afraid of this palm skill.

The extraordinary beauty did not give chase as she heaved a sigh of relief, “Whew. Lucky! I don’t know how to handle him if he is to persist further.”

Yi Ping was looking intently at her.

The extraordinary beautiful maiden said, “Hmph! Instead of thanking me, you stared at me. You should at least tell me your name, yes no?”

Yi Ping shook his head and muttered, “You are not her…”

This puzzled the extraordinary beautiful maiden, “I am not her?”

The extraordinary beautiful maiden was none the pleased and it was all written in her expressions and Yi Ping could keenly feel it. She looked intently at Yi Ping. Wordlessly, it seemed that she was warning him not to compare her with other maidens.

Yi Ping said, “I am looking for someone. Sorry I am just muttering. I am Yi Ping. I am grateful to you, maiden. How do I address you maiden?”

The extraordinary beautiful maiden smiled, “You are in luck today. It is because I have decided to tell you my name. My name is Ji Lingfeng.”

Yi Ping said, “Maiden Ji, I will repay you in the future.”

Ji Lingfeng asked, “It seems that you have some issues with that monk. Why is he after you?”

Yi Ping shook his head, “I am not really sure. I was drinking in town when Gongsun Jing, Gu Tianle and Jue Yuan approach me suddenly…”

He began to relate the day happenings to her.

Ji Lingfeng smiled, “It is well known that Gu Tianle had a blood feud with the Shadow Kicker and the Lightning God for the loss of his left arm. Why did they accuse you? Is there really no relationship between Qiao Feng and you?”

Yi Ping said, “We duel at the peak of the Heavenly Mountains some time ago. I just unconsciously pick up his kicking style. I really do not know any Shadow Kick Skill…”

Maiden Ji said doubtfully, “That is amazing, isn’t it?”

All of a sudden, Yi Ping stepped forward and displayed the strokes that she had displayed in the duel with Jue Yuan and even the Triple Merciless Palms!

Ji Lingfeng grasped and was amazed, “You can really remember every detail of the fight vividly! I thought that only happens when top exponents reached the level of ‘Martial Unifying’. At that level, they would be able to display any martial strokes that they had seen or observed with the martial unifying principle. But that won’t happen to someone as young as you. Mere copying is useless I must warn you first and there will be too many openings for your opponent to exploit.”

Ji Lingfeng did not know that Yi Ping had indeed reached the ‘Martial Unifying Level’. Any martial skills that he had picked up after he had observed for a time were not mere copying and in actual combat, he was also able to improvise and grasp the martial principles fairly quickly as though he had actually practiced the martial art for years.  

But for now, Yi Ping was really merely replicating what he saw without polishing it as he had no flexible opponents to practice upon. He did not know that the Triple Merciless Palms that he had observed would be able to aid him tremendous in the future as he had observed sufficient strokes from it to grasp some of its principles.

However, he could not grasp Ji Lingfeng martial skills as she was using a mixture of strokes from different clans and sects.

She laughed, “I better remember to get away from you when I am using my secret techniques. You must know that pugilists in the martial fraternity are hostile to people that steals their martial skills. Therefore even if you can remember all their strokes and moves, you must not display it. This is for your own good! That is why top exponents always duel in a secret place, away from prying eyes. Those who are extremely proficiency in martial arts are able to remember their secret skills or use it to their own advantage. “

She added, “The advantage lies in seeing and learning; not recklessly displaying any half-pick skills. You got to have your own set of martial skills so that you will appear to be unfathomable and able to continuously improve your own skills. Only then can you be a true master.”

She said, “That is why the seven major orthodox clans have existed for hundreds of years. They are not afraid of the pugilists attempting to steal their skills. But rather, their martial skills lie in continuous refining and improving to reach the epitome. The changes, the flexibility and the complexity of their martial skills caused their clan skills to withstand the test of time. ”

“Even though their skills can be identified quickly and their strokes may be a common knowledge, countering it is a totally different matter. Because they know others know their strokes’ weakness, they are able to react with even more unfathomable changes to your counter.”

When Ji Lingfeng saw his despondent look, she changed her tune and encouraged him, “Martial foundation can be built. One day, you may be able to defeat Jue Yuan. Even I am not his match. Sometimes we got to use our wits.”

Yi Ping was astonished that a young maiden that was younger than him would know so much. He was suddenly enlightened and bowed respectfully to her, “Maiden, your advice is golden and I am forever grateful!”

When Ji Lingfeng saw his grateful eyes, she was delighted.

Ji Lingfeng smiled, “You…you did not bow to me when I save your life. When I am merely imparting to you about the common taboo of the martial fraternity, you give me a bow. You are indeed strange!”

Yi Ping said, “I have longed to look for a good martial master but I am unfortunately not to find any. Just now, when I see the palm technique that Maiden had displayed, I am truly impressed. May I know the name of that palm technique?”

Ji Lingfeng said, “Oh that. I believe it is called the Asper Horizon Hand. That what the old man said. I learnt it a few days ago when I am passing through a valley. He took the wine that I have on me and insist on repaying me by teaching me a technique from the Divine Horizon Hands. As the old man had meant me no harm and I got nothing to do anyway, I learnt just one technique from him.”

She added, “This skill is hard to master. It requires a good foundation in internal strength. Just now after I have used it, my blood almost reverse its flow. If Jue Yuan persists in fighting with me, I do not know what will happen next.”

She smiled and blinked her eyes at Yi Ping, “It seems that you are interested to learn the Horizon Hands?”

Yi Ping said earnestly, “Maiden, it is actually as you said. Can you tell me where this Old Senior is? I will like to pay him a visit.”

Ji Lingfeng sighed, “My brother warns me not to meddle in the affairs of the martial fraternity or I get myself into endless trouble. I should really have listened to him…”

Yi Ping asked, “Maiden, will you help me?”

Ji Lingfeng sighed again, “Since I have nothing to do for the next few days, I will help you. But first you have to go town first!”

Yi Ping was startled, “Go to the town? What for? Aren’t we going to the valley?”

Ji Lingfeng smiled, “That old man is a weirdo but he likes to drink. If you can go to the town and get some jars of good wine, he may consider you accepting you as his disciple!”

Yi Ping said excitedly, “Why didn’t I think of that? Maiden, you are most helpful. Let us go now!”

Ji Lingfeng said, “I will wait for you here.”

Yi Ping was startled, “You are not coming with me?”

Ji Lingfeng smiled, “If I go into that town, very soon, everyone will be after you and me. Therefore it is better for me to be staying put.”

Yi Ping asked, “You have enemies in the town?”

Ji Lingfeng sighed, “Do you think that a beautiful lady like me will go unnoticed in the town? Very soon, Gongsun Jing’s men will know our every single movement. You have better leave your sword with me too. Their eyes and ears will be after someone with a white precious sword.”

Yi Ping was startled.

What she had said made sense. What astonished Yi Ping was that she was able to calmly analyze the situation and advise him.

He handed his sword to her, “Maiden, wait for me. I will be back in a short while!”

Ji Lingfeng asked, “This sword has an inscription onto it, the ‘White Phoenix’ and an ‘Emerald’ inscription. Is this long sword from the Eternal Ice Palace?”

Yi Ping said, “That is right. I have picked this sword from the Eternal Ice Palace.”

Ji Lingfeng laughed softly, “This is a precious sword that is only used by the leadership of the Eternal Ice Palace. It is amazing how you can obtain this sword unscathed. Does it mean that it is unsafe to travel with you? I don’t want to antagonize those bitches from the Eternal Ice Palace. “

Yi Ping said, “Maiden, don’t you worry. I am assured you that no one will be after this sword for a long time!”

Ji Lingfeng asked, “Hmph, you can assure of it?”

Yi Ping had already started running as he shouted in the distance, “I will explain to you when I am back!”

Ji Lingfeng laughed captivating, “Hey! Don’t exert yourself and run so fast. You…have not recovered from your injuries yet!”

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PostSubject: Re: A Martial Odyssey   Sun Aug 04, 2013 2:35 pm

Chapter 8: The Treachery of the Martial Fraternity

When Yi Ping got back with two jars of the best wine that he could purchase, tossed around his shoulder, it was nearly nightfall.

Yi Ping could not find Maiden Ji anywhere in the vicinity. His heart sunk. Had she lied to him? Not only was she not here, he had also lost his precious sword to her.

It was said that the pugilists of the martial fraternity were full of wiles and trickery. The first rule was always, never to trust anyone. Some pugilists meant no malice but would not hesitate to make a mockery out of others. And it seemed that Maiden Ji had helped him in order to trick him into giving her his precious sword on his own free will.

After shouting for some time for her, his heart sunk. He was crestfallen and cursed, “Her name….her name is probably not her real name! How foolish I am. This is an important lesson!”

He composed himself and after a while, he said to himself, “I have only lost a sword but has acquainted with an extraordinary lady. She has saved my life and I have yet to repay her. If she likes that sword, I would have given it to her even if she has not asked for it. She has asked me to go to the town to buy some wines. Isn’t that a good idea too? I can’t drink in peace in the town but now I can drink peacefully in this serene place!”

He started to uncork a jar of wine and began to appreciate the wine. The feeling was soothing and he was comforted.

But once again, he was interrupted.

“I have asked you to buy some wines for the old freak yet you have taken to drinking all by yourself? I have thought that you have the sincerity to find that old freak to be your martial master? Hmph, you are really…” A familiar voice could be heard scolding him gently.

Yi Ping had a skip in his heart. He looked up and saw Maiden Ji walking towards him. He rubbed his nose and was secretly overjoyed to see her again. He said, “I thought that you are gone and so I decide to drink alone.”

Ji Lingfeng smiled, “You thought that I am gone? Do you not miss me? If I am gone, why didn’t you search for me then?”

Yi Ping was speechless and said, “I didn’t think so far. If you want to leave, who am I to stop you?”

Ji Lingfeng smiled, “It seems that you are really a heartless fellow. Here, take this back!” She threw the White Emerald Phoenix precious sword at him.

Yi Ping caught the sword in mid-air and placed it on his side. He said, “I really thought that you are gone...”

Ji Lingfeng sighed, “It is your entire fault!”

Yi Ping asked, “My fault?”

Ji Lingfeng unhappily said, “I am waiting for you and playing by the waters. All of a sudden, two identical young beauties attacked me just because I had that sword of yours. They kept accusing me of stealing their sword. From their martial origins, it is obvious that they are from the Eternal Ice Palace.”

She added sarcastically, “So that is your assurances earlier that no one would be after this sword?”

Yi Ping was startled and he asked hurriedly, “They are twins? Are they alright? What did you do with them?”

Ji Lingfeng was clearly displeased and she replied coldly, “Shouldn’t you have asked if I am alright first before you ask of them? Or are you acquainted with them?”

Yi Ping said, “You are standing right in front of me now. It is obvious that you are unharmed. Hurry and tell me what happens to them?”

Ji Lingfeng hummed coldly, “I didn’t do anything to them. We duel for a while but their Divine Emerald Skill and swordplay are too unfathomable. They are even harder to deal with than that Jue Yuan. I didn’t want to waste my time fighting and messing with the protégés of the Eternal Ice Palace so I fled from them. I took a detour back here again and yet you are not worried about my safety?”

Yi Ping sighed solemnly, “They are my friends. You are my friend too. I don’t wish for anyone of you to be harmed.”

Ji Lingfeng said coldly, “The Eternal Ice Palace is a forbidden ground for men and they had strict rules on that. It is unlikely that they are your friends. It must be your wistful thoughts. They seem to care more about this sword. Did you steal it from them? Like all men, you are dishonest! I have thought that you are different but now, I know otherwise!”

Yi Ping panicked and said, “Maiden, I don’t want to lie to you. I am the new Master of the Eternal Ice Palace. As for the twin sisters, they are Yujian and Meijian.”

Ji Lingfeng was equally startled and she asked, “How can it be? Isn’t the Eternal Ice Palace a forbidden ground for men? With your mediocre skills, you aren’t even fit to be their opponent!”

Yi Ping sighed and said, “It is a long story…”

Ji Lingfeng was saddened in her heart. It was because she did not want to be associated with a liar and the young man that she had saved was just a common thief. If Yi Ping had said that he had stolen the sword, she would not mind. But a liar was a person that could not be trusted.

Ji Lingfeng said coolly and there was mocking in her eyes, “I have the time. Go on, convince me.”

Even though she was beginning to distrust him but she had decided to give him a final chance to explain.

He began to relate to her what had happened to him during his sojourn to the Heavenly Mountains. How he had met Shui Yixian and how he had accidentally become the new leader of the Eternal Ice Palace.

After Ji Lingfeng had heard his accounts, her expression of disbelief did not go away.

Even though she had prided herself on her superb intellect, yet she could not tell if Yi Ping was telling the truth. When he was talking about Shui Yixian, his eyes were emotional and he seemed to be in a place far away. A liar would not possible display such sentiments unless he was really an experienced actor. She was deeply moved.

She sighed in her heart, “He must have taken a great deal of beating. That is why he is now delusional. What a pity…”

His accounts had too much inconsistency in it for her to believe. It was because his martial level was too weak to inherit the helm of the Eternal Ice Palace. That was as good as destroying the repute of the Eternal Ice Palace, something that a rational leader of the Eternal Ice Palace would never do.

Moreover, even though she knew nothing much about the Eternal Ice Palace, it was well known in the martial fraternity that there was currently no men in there and the Emerald Mistress Celestial Fairy sworn herself to celibacy a long time ago! And she was said to be a ninety year woman now if she was still alive.

Yi Ping virtually told her everything except the part where he had to leave the Eternal Ice Palace in a hurry.

Ji Lingfeng looked away and said, “No matter if you are telling the truth or not. Let’s us pay that old freak a visit. He is an erratic fellow. I dread to visit him so soon but because you are asking for it and I have no heart to say no to you, consider it my bad luck.”

She had never expected that the first man that she took a liking to was a broken down wanderer and was a delusion fellow that had lost his mind. She had not really expected her first possible romance to be so screwed up.

Yi Ping was overjoyed and he said, “Good, let us hurry now!” He immediately started to walk rapidly.

Ji Lingfeng looked at his back view and sighed in her heart.

She immediately said, “Hmph. That is the wrong way, you know…”

Yi Ping immediately froze in his tracks and he looked awkwardly, “If that is the case, may maiden lead the way.”

Ji Lingfeng said, “So I am your tour guide now?”

Yi Ping was stunned by her question. He fumbled and said, “I don’t know the way…”

Ji Lingfeng sighed, “Actually I don’t really remember the way very well too.”

Yi Ping was startled, “You don’t remember?”

Ji Lingfeng averted her eyes and said, “It somewhere in that direction. I don’t have a map and I was eager to travel to the main road. I didn’t really pause to observe my surroundings for any landmarks as I was traveling too rapidly.”

Yi Ping asked, “You really don’t remember? Surely you can’t have forgotten the paths that you have taken. We can just back track. It is really a simple matter. We can look for your old tracks once we are there.”

Yi Ping had been a wanderer for a long time. He was a superb pathfinder and had rarely lost his way even when he had no maps.

Ji Lingfeng pondered for a while, “I don’t think we can find an easy path.”

Yi Ping asked, “Explain?”

Ji Lingfeng sighed as she pointed to the stretches of mountainous hills in front of them, “I…crossed at least seven hills and had jumped down at least twenty times on those steep cliffs. Jumping down is easy but can we fly up? Can you fly up?”

Yi Ping blinked his eyes in astonishment. He finally said, “What can we do then?”

Ji Lingfeng asked him, “You asking me what to do? It is you that want to go to that accursed place. I don’t even want to go there.”

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PostSubject: Re: A Martial Odyssey   Tue Aug 06, 2013 6:38 pm

Chapter 9:  Ji Lingfeng

Ji Lingfeng adjusted her long white sleeves and put on a veiled straw hat behind her back.

Yi Ping asked, “Why did you do that for? It is not as if you cannot be recognized by anyone. I surely will be able to recognize you even if you turn into ashes.”

Yi Ping had said that because he had a blood feud with the maiden in yellow and anyone with a veil irked him.

Ji Lingfeng did not seem to mind. In fact, her thin eyebrows had a mischievous expression. She soon chuckled softly, “You will soon know. Is it true that even if I am turned into ashes, you will still be able to recognize me? I didn’t know you are paying so much attention to me. If you are a pile of ashes, I surely wouldn’t be able to recognize you.”

Yi Ping did not want to argue with her. He said hurriedly, “Let us set off now. It is getting dark soon. You don’t have to keep adjusting your attire and grooming yourself by the river.”

This time round, Ji Lingfeng was none too pleased. She murmured, “It just a few minutes. Why are you being so impatient?”

Yi Ping heard her and he said, “I have been waiting for you for the past two hours. First, you start mending your dress and now you tidying your attire. Isn’t that enough already?”

Ji Lingfeng said, “During the ruffle with the bitches from the Eternal Ice Palace, they have torn parts of my clothing. Of course I have to mend my clothing to look presentable. Don’t you think so too? After all, I am a girl and I should protect my modesty.”

Yi Ping said, “They are not what you think. And please don’t use vulgarities on them.  A pretty maiden like you wouldn’t mouth profanities.”

Ji Lingfeng laughed softly, “Unfortunately, that is my mouth and not yours. If you do not want to listen to me, you can simply go far away from me.”

Yi Ping had never met a maiden the like of her before. He was speechless and he began to sit down onto the grass patch. He did not know how long he got to wait for her.

Actually he had felt bad arguing with her. That was because she had saved his life and instead of being grateful, he was now arguing with her. It was just that he could not help feeling that she was trying to make a fool of him.

All of a sudden, he had a thought, “What if she has made up that old master? Who would impart anyone their secret martial skills just like that?”

Just as he was about to question her again, she said. “I am ready. Let’s us go now.”

Yi Ping was about to question her when he noticed that she was already very far. What an astonishing swiftness movement that she possessed!

Therefore, he had no choice but to run after her.

Yi Ping soon realized why she had been so mindful about her attire. In this wilderness, there was plenty of biting insects. Now he knew why her eyes were secretly beaming with laughter. In no time, he was bitten by numerous insects. He quickly took out some extra clothing from his bundle and turned it into a makeshift cloth to wrap around his face.

Ji Lingfeng was a unique lady. It seemed that her expressions portrayed her emotions. Even if she did not speak, her body mannerism and facial emotions tells it all. She had very thin eyebrows, her eyebrows and forehead had numerous expressions all the time.

When Ji Lingfeng turned back and saw Yi Ping hastily covering his face and looking for a robe with long sleeves, she was seen clasping her hands onto her mouth as she bent to and fro. She was obviously enjoying what had happening to Yi Ping.

Yi Ping was covered in perspiration from the running as he complained aloud, “You…did not warn me!”

But he had no strength left to complaint further for she had turned around and danced away again. He had no choice but to follow her white figure in the distance.

From time to time, she would pause briefly for him to catch up but as soon as he was near, she would continue to move again.

Yi Ping was astonished at her swiftness movement and her breathing techniques. He thought, “How long did she train in order to reach this level of expertise?”

He was immediately ashamed of his own martial achievements.

He did not know how long he had been running. There were a few times that he had lost her and he was panicky. But each time, she would appear in front of him.

It was night now. Yi Ping was thankful that there was a full moon tonight and thousands of stars illuminate the darkness. But even with the full moon, he could barely see any foot path. On several occasions, he tripped and fell down.

When he had lost his footing again and slipped down a treacherous slope, Ji Lingfeng had suddenly appeared on top of him and gripped him on his shoulder.

Her grip was surprising strong and Yi Ping was pulled up from the slope.

Yi Ping was instantly grateful to her as he said, “Thank you!”

Ji Lingfeng rebuked him gently, “Don’t misunderstood. I am only worried for the wine jars.”

His thankful eyes soon turned gloomy as he said breathlessly, “Maybe you can help to carry the wine jars…”

But before he could finish speaking, she said coolly. “Inhale deeply and follow me.”

Immediately, Yi Ping could feel a powerful force pulling him forward alongside with her as she caught hold of his hand. This time round, his runs became a lot easier even though it was still as hell as ever.

Ji Lingfeng was waiting for him to collapse onto the ground or to beg her to stop. But he did not. Worried about his injuries and guilty about misleading him, she supported his runs with her martial power and pulled him along with her.

Even then, it was not going to be easy for Yi Ping as he had to run at her pace even though the pressure on his breathing had eased considerably.

Yi Ping’s heart skipped a beat when she touched and held him with her left hand. He began to flush deeply as his ears turned terribly red as he felt her silken smooth hand. Even her scent was so intoxicating so up close to him.

This was the first time that Yi Ping really looked at her closely even though it was at her back view.

She had looked relax and it was as though she was taking a stroll while he was half dead from climbing up and down the hills! But looking at her, made him forgot about his exhaustion…

Ji Lingfeng almost messed up with her breathing regulation as she was distracted by thoughts of him; she could feel the warmth of his right palm in her hand. It was an assuring palm, strong and comforting. This was the first time she had held a man hand other than her brother. It was a wonderful feeling yet she could not describe it…

After running for some time, Ji Lingfeng was secretly amazed at his endurance even though his breathing techniques and swiftness skill were mediocre. She really could not believe that he had endured till now even though he looked as though he would collapse at any time!

Astonished by his inhuman endurance, she thought, “Is he human?”

Yi Ping was in a daze and he already seeing stars as he thought, “Is she even human? How is it possible for her to run up and down the hills for this long…?”  

Ji Lingfeng was already feeling the stress of expending her internal strength to support him and she was worn-out.

Yi Ping did not even realize the passage of time when Ji Lingfeng coolly said aloud to him, “It seem that I have found the valley. Lucky us!”

As soon as she had released her grip off his hand, Yi Ping fell onto the ground in sheer exhaustion.

Yi Ping nearly died of exhaustion. Now he really knew what she had meant by she was traveling rapidly! He silently sighed, “I never want to travel with her ever again.”

Ji Lingfeng suddenly gave a long sigh, “We have climbed ten hills and got lost. This valley was actually just besides the third hill that we had passed. We really are lost.”

When Yi Ping heard that, he did not know whether he should laugh or cry. He felt like banging his head onto the ground in misery.

Ji Lingfeng said, “This path leading down should lead us to the valley. Let us go now. This time round, I am not going to walk you there.”

She began to move on but when her sharp ears did not pick up any sign of movements from behind, she turned back instantly.

Yi Ping was still lying on the ground.

She asked softly, “Hmph, are you there?”

There was no response.

She asked again, “Are you alright?”

Still, there was no response.

She was panicky, “I have killed him…?”

Drain of all his strength and having reached the limits of his endurance, Yi Ping was knocked out cold.

All of a sudden, he began to recall a time when he was a five year old child again. His mother was frail. At that age, he was already helping her to gather woods among many other menial tasks...

Shui Yichi looked dreamily as she stared out of the window, wishing every day that she could see her husband again. She was frail and her health worsened every day. She feared that she might not live for long.

If there was anything that she could not let go in this world, it was her only child, Yi Ping.

Even though she was once Emerald Mistress of the Eternal Ice Palace before she passed the leadership to her younger protégé sister Shui Yixian, she did not miss her previous glorious position. She had no attachments for her protégé sisters or anyone in the Eternal Ice Palace. Even though she was once close to Shui Yixian and they had spent five decades together, their affections toward one another cooled over the years.

Maybe it was the Emotionless Rhythm that they had been practicing that made them indifferent to one another even though they were in the same sect together. Or maybe it was because they were both the best in many generations and not wanting to disappoint their protégé mistress, they strove to perfect their skills.

It was also precisely why she did not have any protégé disciples.

Shui Yixian was striving for the ninth level of the Divine Emerald Skill and was in her final stage of breaking through the eighth level of the Divine Emerald Skill. As for her, she stopped her Divine Emerald Skill at the eighth level and focused on the Jade Icy Fingers. With her intimate understandings of the Jade Icy Fingers, her Icy Heavenly Tears was even more intricate than Shui Yixian, even though they had both attained the ninth level of the Icy Heavenly Tears.

In time to come, she had even evolved her Jade Icy Finger into the Jade Icicles Finger. So intricate was her later understanding that she was able to prolong the backlash of the Icy Heavenly Tears and was even able to choose an opportune time herself. Even the time that she needed to recover her martial level was more than halved!

Even though Shui Yixian was a martial prodigy and had achieved the ninth level of the Heavenly Tears when she was eighteen while she only achieved the same level when she was thirty, her Icy Tear Heavenly Tears energy had always been purer.

She took on the challenge of mastering the jade Icy Fingers to perfection. It was an extremely arduous and monument task but eventually she had overcome all difficulties and she had even created the Jade Icicle Fingers. When she had achieved the Jade Icicle Fingers, her Icy Tear Heavenly Tear energy became so pure that she could even neutralize the defensive force of Shui Yixian Divine Emerald Skill!

But it was also the creation of the Jade Icicle Fingers that caused her much harm. Through the Jade Icicle Fingers, eventually she found a possible way to resolve the weakness of the Icy Heavenly Tears and started to look for another way for a breakthrough in the current state of her icy Heavenly Tears. Therefore she started to experiment with another skill that she created with the pure negative energy of the Icy Heavenly Tears and the Jade Icicle Fingers, the Eternal Heavenly Tears.

By this time, she had already handed over the leadership of the Eternal Ice Palace to Shui Yixian because she had found the love of her life, Yi Tianxing, a man that dared to challenge the Eternal Ice Palace.

When she thought of Yi Tianxing again, her eyes were tearful again and her heart began to ache terribly with great sorrow.

After leaving the Eternal Ice Palace, Yi Tianxing had imparted to her the Divine Revelation, an intricate formula and mediation skill similar to the Emotionless Rhythm. She was inspired by it and began to write with her fingers in a cave near the Eternal Ice Palace on her untested theories on the ultimate Icy Heavenly Tears and even on the hidden stages of the Divine Emerald Skill that she meant to practice once she had fully mastered the Jade Icicle Fingers and the Eternal Heavenly Tears.

Because she was afraid that outsiders might found her inscriptions, she sealed the cave as a precaution even though only a direct protégé of the Eternal Ice Palace might be able to understand it. Moreover, she deemed the theories too dangerous to impart. She herself would not practice the theories as she had found a safer way in the Eternal Heavenly Tears.

And with her protégé sister, Shui Yixian present martial level, there was also no need for her test her unproven theories and wasted years of her time.

She did not know that more than twenty years later, her protégé sister Shui Yixian was still not been able to progress much further because she had been too hasty in her Icy Heavenly Tears in her earlier years. In fact, she was forced to spend the next twenty years researching the Icy Heavenly Tears over and over again in order to combat the forthcoming Divine Calamity that had killed their protégé mistress.

And Shui Yixian in a lucky happenstance had found the inscriptions that she had left behind…

When she was eight months heavy with child, her husband Yi Tianxing was betrayed by his sworn brother. That vile sworn brother of his had even tried to outrage her and harm her. As she was in a heavy stage of pregnancy and because she had not fully mastered her Jade Icicle Fingers yet, she had overtly exerted herself and irrevocably damaged her health, losing much of her internal strength that she had painfully gained over the years.

Her thoughts were suddenly interrupted by little Yi Ping who had accidentally scalded himself. She grasped weakly upon seeing it but Yi Ping did not say anything or cry.

She looked at Yi Ping, her beloved child who was boiling hot water for her with the fire woods that he had gathered in the woods. Her heart ached for him when she saw his numerous bruises and knew that that he was bullied by the neighboring children again. But he would never cry in front of her.

It was as though her child could sense her sadness and grief even at a very young age.

All of a sudden, five men broke into the house. When they had entered the house, they were stunned at her enchanting beauty. It was because they had never expected to find such a beauty in this desolate countryside.

The strongest of the five, who appeared to be the leader, broke the silence, “Brothers we are in luck. We have heard that there is a beautiful widow here but I have never expected to find a peerless beauty here.”

The other four began to laugh wickedly. Their laughter was full of malice and ill-intent.

Little Yi Ping began to shout and charged at the leader.

Shui Yichi grasped aloud, “Child, don’t!” But it was too late…

But the leader just laughed and he kicked Yi Ping real hard. This kick was so powerful that it sent Yi Ping flying backward and he was flung against the wall with a loud bang!

Shui Yichi eyes turned red and teary. She leaned her hands onto the side of the wall as she walked as soon as she could towards her child. She was so weak and her movements were limited.

But before she could walk to her child, the five men had surrounded her and began to seize her in all directions.

All of a sudden, the five men could feel a bitter cold that pierced through their spines. It was so cold that it felt that their skins had been burnt. They could feel their bones cracking and when they fell down dead onto the ground; their eyes were wide-opened in disbelief.

In that swift instant, Shui Yichi had struck them with her Jade Icicle Fingers. Even though she had lost much of her internal strength, her Jade Icicle Fingers was still an extremely potent skill against ordinary men.

Shui Yichi comforted her child, “Child, are you alright?” She sobbed and held little Yi Ping into her embrace.

Little Yi Ping muttered, “Mum, I am alright. Are you alright?”

Shui Yichi wept even louder, “Child, your mum is alright. Don’t you worry about me…”

Little Yi Ping was bleeding from his nose and mouth but he said, “Mum, you know how to fight? Can you teach me how to fight?”

Shui Yichi held him tightly, “I will. Child, you must be strong…you mustn’t die…”

Little Yi Ping said, “Mum, I won’t die. I don’t want mum to die too…” He had turned completely white but still he refused to cry.

Shui Yichi wept, “Look, my child.”

She sketched her hands in front of him. Immediately, the air around them turned bitter cold.

It was so chilly that the tiny flies around the house began to drop dead onto the ground.

Shui Yichi wept as she laid her hands on her child’s small body, “My child, you will feel terrible pain, even awful terrible pain but you mustn't be afraid. You will not die. But it is going to be very painful.”

Indeed, little Yi Ping must be feeling terrible painful because he was now shedding tears and his body was trembling nonstop. But he did not cry aloud or plead to his mother to stop. He simply did not want to make his mother sad and fearful.  

Negative energy, especially negative cold internal energy like the one that Shui Yichi possessed was ill-suit to treat internal injuries. Moreover, hers were the extreme cold negative energy. If the receiver was seriously injured, their body would not able to take it. It would be so agonizing that it would only worsen their injuries.

But Shui Yichi had no other choice as she began to transfer all her internal strength into her child in an attempt to save his life.

When she had finished imparting her entire Icy Heavenly Tears energy into him, little Yi Ping eyes were still opened even though his face had turned entirely white.

Little Yi Ping shivered and bit his purple lips, “Mum, I am alright. Teach me how to fight…I want to protect you…”

Shui Yichi smiled weakly as she got up. She immediately displayed seventy gestures, eighty stances and ninety strokes. All these movements were the most ingenious fighting movement that Shui Yichi had ever known; it was collected from the vast martial scrolls of the Eternal Ice Palace and the numerous opponents that she ever fought with in her entire life.

After Shui Yichi had finished displaying those profound fighting moves, she collapsed onto the ground, never to awake.

And these fighting movements were to be ingrained deeply into little Yi Ping’s mind. In time to come, he would slowly intuitively remember it again…

Last edited by Magic on Wed Dec 25, 2013 11:37 am; edited 3 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: A Martial Odyssey   Fri Aug 09, 2013 3:49 am

Chapter 10: Aspire Invocations Intricate Recite

When Yi Ping opened his eyes with a sudden jerk, he had just broken into a cold sweat! He seemed to have fallen into a deep slumber and had a nightmare. This nightmare was always the same, haunting him constantly. He could not forget how his mother Shui Yichi had died yet he must live in constant denial.

He dreaded to lie but he had lied to Shui Yixian. Even though he was honest about his mother maiden name to Shui Yixian, he had lied to her that she had passed away shortly after giving birth to him. It was because he still had to search for the people that had harmed his parents.

Even though he was a five year old boy back then, he could remember his father name was Yi Tianxing and his mother maiden name was Shui Yichi. His father had a sworn brother and it was this sworn brother that had betrayed his father and harmed his mother.

He did not know that his mother was from the Eternal Ice Palace therefore when Shui Yixian questioned him about it, he told her a half-truth. That was before he knew that his mother was actually her older protégé sister.

No wonder he found himself drawn irresistible to Shui Yixian, she indeed had many similarities to his mother…

Before he could confess to her on the truth, Shui Yixian had passed away…

Yi Ping thought, “Am I destined to lead a lonesome life?”

An alluring voice was heard calling out to him, “You have awakened? I have thought that you have died. Your pulses are so weak. I…I am so sorry…”

He had not heard her apologies for he was still in a daze. When he saw it was Ji Lingfeng, he stared at her and turned as white as sheet. He was instantly panicky and got the fright of his life as he tried to flee from her!

Seeing her again was worse than the terrible nightmare that he just had!

Ji Lingfeng called her to him, bemused by his actions. “Why are so afraid of me? Do you really think I will eat you up? What am I? A demoness? Have you forgotten that it is you that want to pay that old freak a visit in the first place?”

After Yi Ping had heard her, he began to turn back. He asked hesitating, “Are we really reaching?” He was really afraid of her.

Ji Lingfeng laughed softly, “Of course, it is just down this path. Quickly, follow me!”

Yi Ping sighed and walked staggeringly behind her, “If I know that this trip will be so difficult and nearly cost me my life, I would never agree to come. Even before I can find the martial master, I would probably die in her hands first…”

This time, Ji Lingfeng was just taking a gentle stroll. When she saw that he was struggling to even walk, she immediately took him by his arm to support him.

All of a sudden, Yi Ping felt she was not that bad after all.

They were now walking very close. Both Yi Ping and Ji Lingfeng averted their eyes and were awkward.

There was a few times that Ji Lingfeng or Yi Ping wanted to say something but they could not find the courage to say a word. It was as though they were afraid of disturbing the tranquil air between them.

Soon after, Yi Ping saw a small broken down hut. He was astonished that someone had actually built a dwelling here in this desolate forested valley.

Ji Lingfeng smiled, “We are here! Go on and go in.” The way she had said it, was like it was none of her concern and that she was only a speculator waiting to see what would going to happen next.

But before Yi Ping could walk into the hut, a voice was heard saying, “Young lass, you are back so fast? You didn’t forget me? I catch the sniff of the fragrant of the Bamboo Leaves Wine. Excellent! But you seem to have brought someone here. I don’t like strangers. You can ask him to leave!”

Ji Lingfeng laughed gently, “I am not the one that bring you the Bamboo Leaves Wine. This young man did. If you don’t want to see him, he can simply leave.”

An old man with a cane opened the door of the hut. He had a cane with him and he seemed to have difficulty in walking.

The old man growled and said, “Lass, why did you bring him here for?”

Ji Lingfeng replied, “He would like to learn superior martial arts from you.”

The old man looked at Yi Ping from head to toe as he said, “He looks like he is almost dead and he still wants to learn martial arts from me? Anyway, I won’t accept any disciples. He can leave immediately. I don’t have the habit of coaching strangers anything.”

Ji Lingfeng said, “Oh? Did you not teach me the Asper Horizon Hands just a few days ago? Am I not a stranger?”

The old man said, “I also have another habit. When I take something from a stranger, I will never owe them anything. You are just lucky that I have a craving for good wines that day.”

Ji Lingfeng said coolly, “Do you know that in order to find you, he has run throughout the night, searching hills by hills for you? Does this not prove his sincerity and willingness to shoulder hardship?”

Yi Ping was touched that she had actually stepped in to persuade the old man for him. He knew that he was asking for the impossible and that this would likely be a futile trip. He was just trying his luck.

In the fraternity, the martial masters would never reveal their martial secrets easily. Even if they would want to find a successor, it was likely to be someone that they had raised since young. That was so in order to reduce the odds of their skills from falling into the wrong hands.

Yi Ping was expecting a reclusive martial hermit and the sight of this old man disappointed him. But nevertheless, he truly believed that this old man was the one that could help him in improving his martial advancement.

So he respectfully said, “Old Senior. I, Yi Ping, pay my respects to you. I have the wish to meet a worthy master…”

The old man muttered, “Yi…” All of a sudden, his expressions changed. “What is your name again?”

Yi Ping replied weakly “Yi Ping.”

The old man stumbled backward. He looked at Yi Ping carefully and when he saw the White Phoenix Emerald precious sword, he trembled. How this young man got hold of the White Phoenix Emerald precious sword that was once used by Shui Yichi? He remembered very vividly that this sword had been passed to Shui Yixian…

He asked, “Who your mother?”  

Yi Ping was puzzled that this old man had suddenly asked of his mother. He asked, “Why did you ask me that?”

The old man gripped his shoulders and asked again, “Your mother, where is she?”

Yi Ping could feel the strong grip of the old man that was upon him. He could not breathe and his face had turned purple. But he refused to say anything. It was because this old man might well be the very enemy that he had been searching for!

Ji Lingfeng was panicky as she attacked the old man with her palms. She said aloud, “Old freak, what you think you are doing?”

In three successive attacks, she had forced the old man to release his grips off Yi Ping as he took a few steps backward.

In her panicky state, she had just used the ‘Moonlight Cut’ stroke of the Sacred Heart Skill. The Sacred Heart Skill were her real skills. Unless she had no other choice, she did not want to use it. She tried to hit the old freak on his shoulder and face at the same time, followed by another attack but he had evaded it all!

Yi Ping fell onto his knees weakly.

Ji Lingfeng was besides Yi Ping in an instant as she voiced her concern for him, “Are you alright? If he did not want to teach you anything, I will teach you!”

Yi Ping was too weak even to reply her. His vision had gone blurry. He felt really unlucky today. Three times in a single day, he had almost died. The first time was by Gu Tianle, the second time it was by Maiden Ji and the third time was by this crippled old man.

The old man said sternly to Ji Lingfeng, “Surrender him to me or else I will be ugly. I don’t want to lay my hands on you.”

Ji Lingfeng replied coolly, “Funny! You did not want him as your protégé disciple, so why are you asking for him now?

The old man said, “Now I have changed my mind and decided to make him my martial protégé!”

Ji Lingfeng stepped in front of the fallen Yi Ping regally as she displayed a defensive posture as she answered icily, “What if I am not willing to allow this to happen?”

The old man raised his cane and said, “Then I will surely teach you a lesson that you will never be able to forget.”

Ji Lingfeng said coldly, “A martial master like you will raise your hands on an unarmed junior and a weaker sex? It is indeed very laudable. Why don’t you tell me your name so that I can tell everyone in the fraternity what you have done?”

The old man said, “In a real fight, there are no senior or junior, nor men or women and only fighters. Only survival matters. Moreover I have been a hermit for so long. What do I care for the honor of the martial fraternity?”

Ji Lingfeng hummed coldly as she prepared her forthcoming strikes. This old man was a crippled and had difficulty walking. Even though he was an experienced opponent, she might not lose to him with her superior swiftness skill and with some luck.

The old man added, “And you are definitely not unarmed. From your top to bottom, there are at least three hundred secret projectiles that you can use. Others may be fooled by your deceptive outlook but not me.”

Ji Lingfeng was stunned that he could see through her. This would make her surprise attacks difficult. Was he simply guessing? Therefore she replied calmly, “You think too much. I have no secret projectiles.”

The old man said coolly, “Is that so? What about the dozens of needles in your straw hat? What about the crystal wrist beads in your wrists? What about the poisonous polish in your smallest finger nail on your left? What about the three hairpins on your head and the dozens of secret projectiles underneath your outer garment?

Ji Lingfeng could not hide her startled expression as she took a step backward. This old man had extremely sharp eyes.

The old man said, “If I still fail to see that you are from the Holy Hex Sect after using the Sacred Heart Skill, then I am surely blind. The Holy Hex Sect is famed for its poisonous secret projectiles and techniques, especially the ‘Consecrated Meteor Shower’ technique and the Meteor Rain needles.”

Yi Ping was startled that Ji Lingfeng had so many weapons on her. He disapproved of using secret projectiles, seeing it as an underhand means in a fair fight.

No wonder she was intentional hiding her martial origins. It was because the Holy Hex Sect was an unorthodox heretic sect and in recent years was at odds with the general orthodox fraternity!

In his dizzying state, he muttered, “How vicious!”

Ji Lingfeng lifted her right foot backward and kicked Yi Ping. She exclaimed in displeasure, “Shut up. My secret projectiles may well save very your life.”

Even though the kick was not hard, in Yi Ping current condition, it was more than enough to knock him out cold. Yi Ping was heard muttering before he was knocked out, “Why… did… you… kick… me… for…”

Ji Lingfeng said coolly, “Serves you right! Whose side do you think you are on?!”

The old man said angrily, “Why did you hit him for?”

Ji Lingfeng said, “Because he is rude!”

The old man said angrily, “You don’t have the right!”

Ji Lingfeng said coldly, “Hmph, does it matter? If I don’t have the right, you have the right?”

The old man said angrily, “I have the right. I am his father!”

Ji Lingfeng said coldly, “If you are his father, I am his mother then!” Then she lifted her right foot again and kicked Yi Ping, not once but twice. “See!”

All of a sudden, the old man attacked her with his cane furiously, forcing her to somersault backward as she did not want to use her bare hands against his cane.

Just as she was about to attack him with her Meteor Rain Needles, the old man was already besides Yi Ping, shaking him and examining his pulse, “The Icy Heavenly Tears energy pulses! Yichi must have imparted to him the Icy Heavenly Tears! He is really my son!”

The old man was wailing, “Son, who cause you to be in this dire straits? Who is that heartless fellow?!”

Ji Lingfeng grasped in shock, “You are really his father?”

The old man said, “I am! Tell me, who is the heartless fellow that had injured him and caused him to be in such a bad shape?”

Ji Lingfeng said sheepishly, “Err…it is Jue Yuan. We are no match for his Triple Merciless Palms and were pursued by him throughout the night.”

The old man sighed, “More than twenty years ago, I have actually spared his life. I should have ended his life long ago. His Triple Merciless Palms is indeed extraordinary and could be ranked among the top skills in the fraternity.”

But he was secretly thinking, “You really think I am an old fool. At first, you say you searching hills by hills for me and now, you saying you are being pursued.”

Ji Lingfeng tried to distract him, “Is Yi Ping going to be alright?”

The old man said solemnly, “Come with me! If he dies, I am going to hold you accountable too.” The old man carried Yi Ping on his back and had walked into the hut.

Ji Lingfeng protested, “What has it got to do with me?”

The old man turned and said sternly, “Because you just claim to be his mother and has given him three kicks!”

Ji Lingfeng sighed deeply as she said, “Those kicks are not even real kicks at all…” But because she was concerned for Yi Ping, she followed the old man into the hut.

When Yi Ping opened his eyes again, he saw the old man smiling at him. “Son, are you alright?”

Yi Ping was startled and quickly looked at his surroundings. He was in a small room with this old man. He also saw Ji Lingfeng.

Ji Lingfeng was sitting on a chair, looking serenely as she looked back at him. She was even smiling at him.

‘Are you alright?” she said with genuine concern.

But when he saw her smiles, he was terrified. It was because he remembered the torturous runs with her and the kick that he had received from her…

Yi Ping had plenty of courage. He was not afraid of death and pain. In fact, fear was always the last thing in his mind and he had almost got himself killed many times in the past.

But when he saw her, he was truly terrified of her. It was because Maiden Ji was at times warm and at times cold towards him. He did not know when she would suddenly be cold again.

Even though her kick was not hard, it was so suddenly that he was startled and he could still remember it vividly. Stunned by her sudden kick, he was knocked out cold.

Yi Ping thought, “They are supposed to be fighting with one another. Why are they now together in the same room? Are they putting on an act or has Maiden Ji sold me out to this old man? She is after all, from an unorthodox clan and is capable of anything. Alas heavens, I am so pitiful…”

The old man was shaking him and shouting excitedly, “Son, I am your father Yi Tianxing! Your mother is Shui Yichi! Son, I have thought you had died many years ago. Heavens have eyes!”

When Ji Lingfeng heard his name, her smiles had sudden vanished. It was because her father, Ji Yunzhong the previous protégé master of the Holy Hex Sect had died because of Yi Tianxing. In that moment, her facial expressions underwent a tremendous change…

Even though Yi Tianxing was a late comer to the martial fraternity and disappeared just as quickly, he had gained fame as one of the top swordsmen in the fraternity with his Horizon Swordplay as well as his numerous chivalrous acts.

Yi Ping was stunned as he stammered, “You know my mother…You…are really my father?”

Yi Tianxing nodded sadly, “Son, where is your mother? Is she still well?”

Yi Ping shook his head sadly, “Mum passed on when I was five…”

Even though Yi Tianxing had expected the worst, he was still emotional. He said, “Son, it must be hard on you all these years.”

Yi Ping asked, “Father, where have you been all these years?  If you are with us, maybe mum would still be alive today.”

Yi Tianxing sighed deeply, “It is a very long story. Let me start from the beginning first.”

He said, “Twenty-five years ago, with just an iron sword with me, I went up the Heavenly Mountains to challenge the Eternal Ice Palace. It was there that I first met your mother, Shui Yichi. At that time, she was the Emerald Mistress of the Eternal Ice Palace. We fought over a three days period.”

He paused for a while as he recalled the past, “On the first day, we fought with our martial power and were evenly matched. On the second day, it was a contest on who had the superior swordplay. Again, we were evenly matched. On the third day, we decided to contest which of us had the superior willpower, the one that moves first on the icy peak of the Heavenly Mountains would be the loser!”

Ji Lingfeng interrupted, “Then you must be the one who had lost! She could probably mediate for days without moving, even in the snow.”

Yi Tianxing laughed, “You are wrong! The contest was in fact over in less than a day!”

Ji Lingfeng grasped, “That is impossible. The mediation technique of the Eternal Ice Palace is well known and I don’t think Shui Yichi would be afraid of the cold.”

Yi Tianxing laughed, “That was true but after the contest went on for six hours, Yichi, she opened her eyes as she thought I was dead. So I won.”

Ji Lingfeng was astonished.

He added, “It turned out that she was not concentrating on her mediation but was worried that I got frostbite. Truthfully, I was freezing and my limbs had already turned purple. I was already injured by her Icicle Fingers on the first day and did not realize the severity of my injuries. However I was stubborn and refused to say a word. She saved my life and brought me back to the Eternal Ice Palace to recuperate.”

Yi Tianxing laughed merrily, “I may have won the contest but I lost my heart to her. We would have retired peacefully and freed from the affairs of the martial fraternity.”

Yi Tianxing said, “Son, do you know why your name is Ping?”

Yi Ping was startled, “You know my name even before I was born?”

Yi Tianxing nodded slowly as his eyes were brimming with tears, “We have already decided to name you Ping no matter if you are a girl or boy. It was because we want you to lead an ordinary life unlike us…”

His eyes seemed to be in a far off place.

He finally spoke again after a few moments of silence, “At that time, Yichi knew her days were probably numbered and she wanted to lead an ordinary life with me and our unborn child. So we decide to name you as Ping, which mean ordinary and peaceful.”

Yi Ping was startled, “My mum was ill?”

Yi Tianxing shook his head, “Not at all. Her health was fine. It just that those high level practitioners of the Eternal Ice Palace knew the end of their days through the Divine Calamity, just like practitioners of our Divine Horizon Hands knew ours too. That was the reason why she forced herself to train so hard in order to avert the Divine Calamity.”

Ji Lingfeng curiosity was aroused. It was the first time she had heard of such a thing as the ‘Divine Calamity’. What was that?

Yi Ping too asked, “What is the Divine Calamity about?”

Yi Tianxing seemed to be reluctant to discuss it as he changed the topic, “I used to have a very good sworn brother. He was the first person that I have met when I left the mountains…”

Yi Ping was silent. He only knows that much for his mother used to murmur to him that his father had been betrayed by his best sworn brother. “What is his name?”

Yi Tianxing looked at Yi Ping’s eyes and asked, “You knew?”

Yi Ping nodded bitterly, “Mum only tells me this much but she had never told me his name!”

Yi Tianxing sighed deeply, “That is because this sworn brother of mine, Gongsun Bai, has great influential in the fraternity. He has many powerful friends and many exponents under his wing. Your mother did not want you to waste your life.”

Both Ji Lingfeng and Yi Ping were stunned to hear that his sworn brother was Gongsun Bai.  Gongsun Bai was from one of the major martial clans in the martial fraternity, the Gongsun Clan and it was also one of the four major aristocracy martial clans in the martial fraternity.

Yi Ping said, “Gongsun Bai is the father of Gongsun Jing. I have met Gongsun Jing and he is as crafty as his father! Father, I swear that I will avenge you!”

Yi Tianxing shook his head, “I am afraid that Gongsun Bai may now be too formidable. It is best that you avoid the Gongsun family.”

Yi Tianxing sighed, “I never expected Gongsun Bai to turn upon me. Of all my friends, he is the only one that I could trust the most for he was a benevolent man and held in high regard in the martial fraternity. Also he was from a respectable and rich clan but alas he…”

He added, “One day, Gongsun Bai tricked me by telling me that the Three Evils of the West were back in the fraternity and that only I could stop them. Wanting to prevent a catastrophe from happening to the martial fraternity, I left Yichi who was heavy with child and rushed with Gongsun Bai to stop the Three Evils of the West. I promised her I will be back in no time…”

“I trusted him because he was my sworn brother but he laid a trap for me and ambushed me. I fell down into this valley, breaking my back and legs. For a long time, I could not move. Maybe I was lucky. The mud that was in this valley seemed to have a healing properties and my broken back slowly recovered. Till now, I have not fully recovered and my movements are severely limited.”

He sighed, “As soon as I could move again, I went back to the village to look for your mother but I could not find anyone. No one stays there anymore. Disappointed and aimless, I came back to this valley as my back was aching badly. Only the mud here can ease my pain.”

Yi Ping said, “The village was destroyed by a flood many years ago and since then everyone had evacuated. Moreover, Gongsun Bai had gone after my mum; she had since fled the village even before that great flood.”

Everyone was silence. That was because no one could imagine what exactly happened and what ordeal Shui Yichi was forced to go through during that dark period. Gongsun Bai was a wolf in disguise and there was no better way to harm someone other than pretending to be a friend.

Ji Lingfeng asked, “What was his reason for betraying you?”

Yi Tianxing went silence for some time before he slowly said, “He told me he was envy of me. He wishes to take Yichi as his wife and to take possession of her martial secrets. Therefore he tried to kill me so that he could get close to my wife.”

All of a sudden, Ji Lingfeng said coldly, “Great Hero Yi, do you know who I am?”

Yi Tianxing laughed aloud, “How would I not know? You are from the Holy Hex Sect and must be related to Ji Yunzhong.”

Yi Tianxing said, “I knew when you first come into this valley with. Even though you did not make a sound but I recognized the Fairy Breezes weightlessness skill of the Holy Hex Sect. You may not see me but I had already seen you from afar!”

Ji Lingfeng was startled, “You knew back then?”

She said coldly, “You know who I am from the first day and you even taught me the Asper Horizon Hand?”

Yi Tianxing laughed, “Who you are is another matter. I only want to drink the wine that you had on you then.”

He added, “Moreover, even though I have taught you the Asper Horizon Hand, I didn’t really expect you to be able to use it so soon. When you are able to use the Asper Horizon Hand, you will have to visit me again with more wines.”

Ji Lingfeng said coldly, “Why? Do you think I really want to learn more of your martial skills?”

Yi Tianxing laughed, “Oh no. That is because if you have used the Asper Horizon Hand a few more times, your vital energies will be erratic. And the only one that could help you is me! The Asper Horizon Hand is not suitable to be used by anyone. Without my Aspire Invocations Intricate Recite to control the vital force of your Asper Horizon Hand, it will only harm the body. If you don’t believe, you can feel free to press against the accupoint that was five fingers below your heart.”

Ji Lingfeng did as she was told and could feel a pressing pain! She said coldly, “I thought you are a pugilistic hero and yet you use this despicable means to harm me!”

Yi Ping said, “Maiden, I think this may be a misunderstanding. Please calm down. My father is not an evil man.”

Yi Tianxing said, “I only want you to pay me a few more visits and get me some good wines to ease my boredom. I can lift your alleviations and impart to you the basic intricate formula of the Aspire Invocations. After all, I won’t really harm you.”

Yi Ping knew nothing about the risks of internal martial intricate formulas. He exclaimed happily for her, “Maiden, congratulations! My father is going to teach you the Aspire Invocations. He is not going to harm you.”

Ji Lingfeng smiled bitterly. It was not a joyous thing that she got to learn the Asper Invocations Intricate Recite. It was because imparting to her the Asper Invocations Intricate Recite could actually harm her more.

All internal martial intricate formulas had an unbroken rule, the practitioners must master it and able to utilize it in the shortest time as possible to the best of their understandings. That was why the same intricate formula could end up differently and affected the purity of the resultant vital internal energy for different practitioners.

Even though internal martial intricate formulas were able to realize the martial advancements of the practitioners, it was not to be recklessly learnt.

If the practitioner advanced too fast without first fully grasping the essence of the intricate formula of the previous level, they would suffer in consequent levels and also affected the purity of the internal energy. If the practitioner got struck for too long in the lower levels of the intricate formula, it would affect their future martial progression and the strength of their internal energy.

Therefore, many practitioners of the martial clans would spend years building up their martial foundation and their martial understandings, even taking years to ponder and research a particular internal martial intricate formula!

But of course, once they lay their hands on a precious internal martial intricate formula, they might not be able to resist the temptations.  The martial masters of the major martial clans in the martial fraternity knew the risk of the internal martial intricate formula. That was why they only imparting it to suitable protégés or even only the next leadership candidate.

This led to envy and many pugilists would ignore the risks for practicing the internal martial intricate formula as everyone wanted to be more powerful than their rivals, believing that they were the ones who had the intellect and the talent for the skill.

And as the time passed by, due to the numerous conflicts in the fraternity, many internal martial intricate formulas were lost; it became a covetous thing for the pugilists to lay their hands upon. Even the previous warning of old was lost on most pugilists in their pursuit for more powerful skills.

If Ji Lingfeng got struck with the Asper Invocations or if it was in conflict with her existing internal martial formula the Holy Amalgamate Intricate Recite, the backlash would be terrible.

She had to find a way to merge the Holy Amalgamate and the Aspire Invocations first. It would possible take many weeks and even years for her to safely even start practicing on the Aspire Invocations.

Once she had begun on the Asper Invocations Intricate Recite, she could not turn back anymore. And this old freak could only teach her the basic intricate formula of the Aspire Invocations as a solution to her internal injury. Without looking and knowing what contained in the later stages of the Asper Invocations, it would be a dangerous practice.

Therefore, she would never have believed that this old freak was not trying to harm her.

Perhaps Yi Tianxing had seen what was bothering her. He laughed, “Don’t you worry so much.”

If she was not worried, that was impossible. She nearly fainted by those dreadful thoughts and afraid that she might lose or cause her martial power to deteriorate!

All of a sudden, Ji Lingfeng said coldly, “Since you already know that I am related to Ji Yunzhong then do you know that you are the one that caused him his death? How vicious are you. Now you are trying to harm me!”

Yi Tianxing was startled, “Your father is no longer in this world? Young lass, surely there must be some misunderstandings? I didn't kill your father.”

Ji Lingfeng began to tremble as she said, “He was killed by Gu Tianle twenty years ago and because of this victory, the pugilists in the fraternity gave him the title of Warrior-God. That was what everyone had thought. The real cause of his death was his injuries that you have caused him twenty-five years ago from which he had never recovered.”

Yi Tianxing asked, “So you wish to avenge your father?”

Yi Ping was shocked at the revelation that her father was indirectly killed by his father.  

He remembered that his mother had indirectly died when she was trying his life. The real perpetrator was Gongsun Bai who had caused her to sustain severe injuries previously. That was why he had secretly sworn to find the real perpetrator behind the disappearance of his father and the indirect death of his mother…
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PostSubject: Re: A Martial Odyssey   Sat Aug 10, 2013 3:01 pm

Chapter 11: The Martial Secrets of the Mysterious Yellow Dressed Maiden

Ji Lingfeng had ranted at Yi Tianxing in a moment of ire.

Yi Tianxing had asked, “So you wish to avenge your father?”

Ji Lingfeng shook her head, “My brother and my mother told me, even though that you have caused him to be injured but my father had never blamed you. The duel had been honorable and you had even saved his life by teaching him the Divine Revelation Skill so that he would never need to be plagued by the curse of the Holy Amalgamate Skill that caused his internal organ injuries.”

She added, “My father had never expected you to teach him your clan most secret skill to him. Your righteousness touched my father. But even though he had retired from the martial fraternity, the Holy Hex Sect had never had a moment of peace. Pugilists like Gu Tianle were always organizing attacks on our sect to gain renown for themselves.”

Yi Tianxing gulped down the wine that Yi Ping had brought as he sighed, “So did I. Your father Ji Yunzhong was the number one top exponent of the heretic sects. I challenged your father in order to gain fame too.”

He added, “Even though I have defeated your father, I realized that he was suffering from internal injuries that impaired his ability to fight optimally. Even though his skills were powerful enough to defeat most first rate exponents but when two equally top exponents fought with one another, it would determine the vanquished and the victor!”

He said, “Not wanting to take advantage of your father, I imparted to him the Divine Revelation Skill and no one else knew of the secret duel that we had.”

Ji Lingfeng had a tear in her eyes, “That is why my father had been grateful to you. You have helped him to prolong his life.”

Yi Tianxing said, “It is undeniable that I have caused your father internal injuries to worsen.”

Ji Lingfeng said, “However, my father was glad to have you as his worthy opponent. He often said that if he had met you a few years ago, things might be differently. Even when he was defeated by Gu Tianle, he still said that the one that defeated him was you and not Gu Tianle.”

Yi Tianxing sighed, “His martial skills must have deteriorated a lot during those five years.”  

Ji Lingfeng said, “Since then, the Holy Hex Sect disappeared from the martial fraternity. Only in recent years was it revived by my brother.”

Yi Tianxing said, “I remembered your brother…”

Ji Lingfeng’s brother was a full twenty years older than her. When her father died, she was only a three year old baby.

Yi Ping did not know that Ji Lingfeng had such a tragic past as he begun to empathize with her. He asked, “How old are you back then?”

Ji Lingfeng sighed softly, “I was only three…”

Yi Ping looked at her with great empathy, “It must be hard on you all these years. That means you are now twenty-three of age now.”

All of a sudden, Ji Lingfeng kinked her eyebrows as she looked back coldly at him.

When Yi Ping saw her cold stares and her sudden change of expressions, he began to be fearful and thought, “Why is that every time I say something, she will be so cold to me? It not as if I say something awful? Or is it because she doesn’t want me to take pity on her?”

When Ji Lingfeng heard him saying to her, “It must be hard on you all these years” she was deeply touched. But when she heard him describing her age, she was displeased. Like many young maidens in the fraternity, they were sensitive about their age once they were past eighteen. If she was near to him, she would definitely kick and slap him.

Yi Tianxing sighed deeply, “Why bother returning to the martial fraternity? Your family should lead a life of seclusion and retreated from the intrigues of the fraternity. There are simply too many bloodshed.”

Ji Lingfeng said, “Even if we want to, the pugilists would not spare us. Over the years, we had been betrayed and pursued numerous times. The blood of our elders and our clan protégé, we must definitely avenge upon. Old Senior, you don’t have to worry for us. Thanks to your Divine Revelation, my brother, Ji Wuzheng has now perfected the Holy Amalgamate Skill.”

Yi Tianxing was startled, “He has?”

Ji Lingfeng said, “Completely. Without your Divine Revelation Skill, my brother would have suffered internal injuries as he progressed. In fact, my brother had defeated the Sword Saint, the top exponent of the orthodox clans last year!”

Yi Tianxing was even more startled, “Old Man Zuo of the Infinity Sword Clan?”

Ji Lingfeng said, “That is right!”

Even in his time, Old Man Zuo was renowned for his Infinity Swordplay and was already conferred the title of Sword Saint by the martial fraternity for his superior swordplay. His twenty-two infinity sword strokes were renowned throughout for its offensive stances and extraordinary strokes.

The Infinity Swordplay was unusual in the sense that the weakest sword stroke started from the twenty-two stance, the Infinity-Twenty-Two. When the stance numbering dropped, the infinity swordplay got more intricate and powerful.

Most senior protégés of the Infinity Swordplay rarely got past the eleventh stance of the Infinity Swordplay. Even then, those that had reached the eleventh attainment stance of the Infinity Swordplay were top swordsmen that very few exponents in the fraternity would be able to match.

It was said that Old Man Zuo was the first person in the Infinity Sword Clan that could attain the Infinity-First of the Infinity Swordplay. He was closed to unravel the full mysteries of the Infinitude Recite and it was rumored that he had already achieved the Infinity-Zero, a swordplay that was so supernatural that it was out of the world.

Yi Tianxing muttered, “Even with my Horizon Swordplay and your sect Hexagon Swordplay combined, it cannot even come close to the Infinity-Two. I know because my grand protégé master was a bosom friend of Old Man Zuo’s protégé master and they had sparred on numerous times. So how did your brother manage to defeat Old Man Zuo?”

Ji Lingfeng said mysteriously, “Of course it cannot be compared. Or else my brother would be dead many times over.”

Yi Ping could not resist interrupting, “Why do you beat around the bush. How did your brother defeat the Sword Saint?”

Ji Lingfeng said, “Old Man Zuo knew that my brother would never be his match and he is a junior. Therefore they contested with their inner martial arts. After a titanic fight, my brother’s Holy Amalgamate Skill emerged victorious over the Sword Saint’s Infinitude Skill. Again, your Divine Revelation Skill played a huge part in the victory.”

Yi Tianxing blinked his eyes and said, “I am sure your brother will not stop till he dominates the martial fraternity?”

Ji Lingfeng smiled coldly, “Old Senior, you do not have to worry about this. You only have to know that my clan is forever grateful to you that we are able to revive our sect. I can ask my brother to wipe out the Gongsun clan for you. I have heard that Gu Tianle is now a guest of the Gongsun clan. Our enemies are the same.”  

Yi Ping said, “This blood feud is only between Gongsun Bai and us. We don’t need outside help to kill Gongsun Bai.”

Ji Lingfeng said coldly, “Hmph you…I am just trying to help you. Do you know that killing Gongsun Bai is not easy? His martial level is way out of your league! Or else, my brother will have already led his men to lay waste to the Gongsun Manor.”

Yi Ping said, “I don’t need you to worry for me, I can…”

Ji Lingfeng said, “Did you forget that I have helped save your life? If…if something happens to you, how do you repay me this debt? Is this the righteousness that you have in mind?”

She added, “Don’t forget that without me, you would never have united with your father. So you owe me two debts.”

Yi Ping was speechless and said, “Maiden…”

Yi Tianxing laughed, “Son, this maiden obviously cares for you and wants to help you. Yet, you keep rejecting her overtures.”

Ji Lingfeng flustered and said, “No, I am not obviously cares for…him! He is just a rascal that does not know what is good for him!”

Yi Ping thought sadly, “In her eyes, I am only a rascal?”

Yi Tianxing said, “That is why he is admirable, isn’t it?” Even though he was an old man now but the passionate eyes that Ji Lingfeng had for Yi Ping could not escape from his eyes.

He added, “The two of you are like a little couple. Why don’t you get married right now and I will be your witness?”

All of a sudden, Yi Ping kneeled onto the ground, “Father, your son is already married!”

Yi Tianxing was startled and he asked, “Who may she be?”

Ji Lingfeng trembled lightly in shock, “He is really married?”

Yi Ping said, “She is Shui Yixian.”

Yi Tianxing was taken aback and asked, “Shui Yixian? He knew Shui Yixian as the third protégé sister of his wife, Shui Yichi. But there were many people with similar names in the fraternity.

Yi Ping said, “You know her too. She is the Celestial Fairy.”

Yi Tianxing received a jolt in his head.

Yi Tianxing roared with laughter, “Like father, like son. You married her with your mediocre skills? This is unbelievable.”

Yi Ping began to relate his accounts with Shui Yixian.

Ji Lingfeng began to tremble as she thought, “He really is not lying to me. I am the one that does not believe him…That means he is not delusion and is of sound mind?”

When Yi Ping had finished related the accounts, he added, “My wife had just passed away. I should observe a three year of mourning for her. I shouldn’t get married at this time.”

Ji Lingfeng turned away as she coldly said, “Even if you want to marry me, I may not agree too. I don’t want ever to be your guardian for life.”

Yi Tianxing looked on with an interesting expression on his face. Sometimes, a lady meant entirely the opposite of what she had said. It would be a pity to give this fine lady up, even if she was not from the orthodox clans.

Yi Tianxing roared with laughter, “So Maiden Ji, do you still want to learn the Aspire Invocations?”

At the mention of the Aspire Invocations, Ji Lingfeng expressions turned sour.

She said coldly, “Why are you still trying to harm me?”

Yi Ping defended his father, “Maiden Ji, why do keep saying that? My father has only good intentions towards you.”

Ji Lingfeng looked coldly at Yi Ping and almost threw a secret projectile in his direction, “Why don’t you keep quiet for a while?” She wanted to say shut up to him but decided to soften her tone at the last moment.

Yi Ping did really keep quiet, afraid to even look at her.

Yi Tianxing began to recite the Aspire Invocations Intricate Recite and said, “This is the basic Aspire Invocations Intricate Recite.”

Ji Lingfeng was startled after hearing it, “This is the intricate formula of the basic Aspire Invocations? Why does it sound like it is a dissolution skill? It doesn’t seem to be related to the Asper Horizon Hand?”

Yi Tianxing laughed, “You are so smart. It is a dissolution skill but it is used only to neutralize the erratic vital energies for the practitioners of the Asper Horizon Hands. Our clan uses it to test the martial advancements of our protégés before imparting the real staging of the Aspire Invocations. If you really want to improve the prowess of the Asper Horizon Hand, you have to learn the Aspire Invocation Intricate Recite and the Divine Horizon Hands.”

He paused for a while before continuing, “So, are you willing to be my protégé disciple and learn my Aspire Invocations?”

Yi Ping said to his father, “Since Maiden Ji thinks father is trying to harm her and unwilling to learn it, let don’t force her. If she doesn’t want to, I want to! Moreover the Aspire Invocations Intricate Recite is our clan martial secret and shouldn’t be taught to outsiders.”

Ji Lingfeng was excited. It was because the Holy Amalgamate Skill was a type of dissolution skill too. If Yi Tianxing could explain to her the dissolution intricate formula of the Aspire Invocations, it would further her understandings of the Holy Amalgamate Skill and helped her in her martial progression tremendously!

Moreover, Yi Tianxing had explained that to her the basic Aspire Invocations was a standalone skill that could help her control her erratic vital energy and would not require her to practice it as another inner martial intricate formula.

Therefore she flew to Yi Tianxing and said alluringly, “I want to learn. Alas, protégé master! Your protégé disciple Ji Lingfeng pays my respect to you!”

Yi Tianxing laughed, “That is my good protégé disciple!”

Yi Ping was left bewildered, “Didn’t you say you won’t learn the Aspire Invocations?”

Ji Lingfeng turned back and smiled alluringly, “Hmph, when did I ever say so? It seems that your hearings are bad.”

Indeed, she had never said so. She was just giving the impression that she did not want to learn it.

Yi Ping was speechless.

Ji Lingfeng had a mysterious look in her eyes as she said to him, “From now on, you have to address me as your older protégé sister and listens to me.”

Both Yi Tianxing and Yi Ping were stunned.

Yi Ping asked, “When… did you become my older protégé sister? You are younger than me…”

Ji Lingfeng said proudly, “Just now. Hmph, didn’t you just hear from your father that he has just accepted me as his protégé? You haven’t even joined yet. Since I am the first to join, then I am your older protégé sister.”

That was the rule of the martial fraternity; the one that joined first under the same protégé master was to be the most senior.

Yi Tianxing recovered from his surprise and said, “True, true…”

Ji Lingfeng batted an eye at Yi Ping and said, “Quick, address me as your older protégé sister.”

Yi Ping was amused, he began to rub his nose as he pondered, “Actually it is a good feeling to have an older protégé sister.” All of a sudden, he felt that he was no longer alone.

So he said, “Greetings older protégé sister!”

Ji Lingfeng smiled alluring, “Greetings my younger protégé brother!”

Ji Lingfeng was secretly joyful for she now had someone to talk to. It was because as the Holy Maiden of the Holy Hex Sect, she had no friends and no one to talk to except for her brother.

When she had heard of a upcoming major congregation that was going to be held by the Gongsun Clan for a punitive action against her brother, she was panicky and decided to take actions into her own hands to visit the congregation against her brother wishes.

It was because her brother had not yet recovered from his internal injuries from his duel with the Sword Saint even though it had been nearly a year now.

It was no coincident that she had met Yi Ping. She was aware that Gongsun Jing was in that particular town and was waiting for an opportunity to teach him a lesson but as he was always in the company of top exponents like Jue Yuan and Gu Tianle, the opportunity that she been waiting for never came.  

When Jue Yuan had attacked Yi Ping, she decided to interfere even though it would mean exposing her true identity and bring her plans to disrupt the congregation futile.

Yi Tianxing said to them, “Our clan is renowned for the Horizon Swordplay, the Divine Horizon Hands, the Aspire Invocations Intricate Recite and the Divine Revelation Skill.”

Yi Tianxing said, “The Divine Revelation Skill is a breathing technique that controls the breathing and vital energy in the body. What makes it special from other breathing techniques is its ability to re-energize the breath and allowing practitioners to hold on to the vital breath as long as possible.”

“When used together with the Aspire Invocations, it is able to unleash the full potential of the Divine Horizon Hands and our secret techniques, the Asper, the Asper Continuum and the Asper Divinity Horizon Hand.”

“When top exponents fight, the first breathe is always the most important as well as the most powerful. That is the essence of vital energy and the key to release our martial force in the forms of internal energy. As a fight continues and consumes more and more martial strength, breathing becomes harder and harder.”

He paused for a while before adding, “In a real fight, your foes will not give you rest and will seek to overpower you through exhaustion and fatigue. There are no respite and chance to rest. The Divine Revelation retains unused vital energy and reconverts it back as vital breath.”

He said, “As proficiency in the Divine Revelation Skill grows, the practitioner will be able to retain the vital breath in the body channels to be used later. This is unlike the breathing technique of the Emotionless Rhyme of the Eternal Ice Palace that tries to retain the vital breath as long as possible.”

Yi Ping suddenly recalled that when Shui Yixian fought with her opponents, she rarely spoke and was entirely composed. All of a sudden, he recalled the killing stance of the yellow dressed maiden.

Yi Ping asked, “The yellow dressed lady that killed my wife has the ability to muster her martial power in a short confine of time and her killing power is lethal. What type of martial arts is she using? If she had lifted her vital breath, Yixian would have notice and would not be surprised by her.” And Yi Ping described her moves.

Yi Tianxing was surprised, “A sudden burst of martial power? It is true that most offensive martial skills required the practitioner to muster and gather their vital energies for the offensive. That is why it is impossible to surprise top exponents like Yixian.”

He clapped his hands, “I got it now. She must have known the Emotionless Rhyme too! You said that her grandmother was Shui Yisi, the second protégé sister of Yixian. If she does not know the Emotionless Rhyme, then it really is a weird thing. Therefore she must have slowly re-energized her vital breath and muster her martial power in secret, unnoticeable by anyone.”

The Emotionless Rhyme was a breathing technique that could allow the practitioner control over their heart-beat and kept the opponents from knowing if their vital energy was truly spent and also muster martial power in secret.

Ji Lingfeng suddenly said, “That is the Penetrating Hand. Unlike most other martial arts, this unique skill is able to display the most power at point blank, without any hint. So if she knows the Emotionless Rhyme of the Eternal Ice Palace, then these two techniques when used together is a deadly combination.”

Now it was Yi Ping turn to be surprised. He quickly asked, “Do you know that yellow dress maiden?”

Ji Lingfeng shook her head and said, “Two years ago, my brother fought with a young maiden on a chance occurrence. The duel was a draw but my brother told me that in a few years’ time, that lady martial progression may surpass him and he warned me to be wary of this type of martial art and described it to me.”

Ji Lingfeng said coolly, “Accordingly to him, her Penetrating Hands were extremely swift to execute, she could actually displayed six to ten strokes of it in the blink of an eye. Every strike executed by her was lethal and filled with martial power. My brother took a few hits due to carelessness and the internal injuries suffered by him were not light!”

Yi Tianxing said, “Even though this type of martial art may be mustered at a short notice, it is likely to restrict her movements too. If she cannot land her hits, surely your brother can overcome her?”

He pointed out, “It is highly incredible that your brother would not be able to overcome her. There aren’t many exponents in the fraternity that can match his Holy Amalgamate Skill in terms of technique and martial power. Why is the fight a draw?”

Ji Lingfeng nodded, “My brother had noticed as well but it was only after he had been surprised by her Penetrating Hands and were almost killed by her. He had actually wounded her with the full martial power of his Holy Amalgamate Skill.”

Yi Tianxing was astonished, “She survived that?”

Ji Lingfeng said, “That is because besides the Penetrating Hands, she has another powerful defensive skill.”

Yi Tianxing’s eyes started to glow as he wished that he had not lost his martial power. He almost wished that he could try out her Penetrating Hands versus his Divine Horizon Hands.

He asked, “Is it because she learnt a protective energy aura skill or iron shroud type of skill that can deflect physical attacks?”

Ji Lingfeng smiled, “Protégé Master, you are right. It is not an energy impervious skill that protects her but something else that is subtle. My brother is able to identify the skill as the ‘Golden Impervious Skill’. That is why even though my brother had dealt her fatally, it was still not fatal enough.”

Yi Ping sighed. He had never expected his enemy to be an even more frightening opponent that he had thought. But his will was absolute and his wife had to be avenged.

Ji Lingfeng added, “If my brother was not surprised by her and was not injured, that lady would never be able to survive a duel with my brother. “

Yi Ping interrupted her, “That was two years ago. If your brother was surprised by her two years later, he might not survive too. Yixian and Tian Kui were killed by her with a single hit. Her martial progression within these two years must be astonishing.”

Ji Lingfeng said coolly, “I think you are overrating her martial abilities. She relied on the element of surprise to bring forth her strikes to the greatest effect. Since my brother knew of her techniques, it is difficult for her to succeed again.”

Yi Tianxing said, “Nothing is sure in a duel. But it is a lucky thing we are able to learn so much. When top exponents fight, they always conceal their best techniques unless they have no other choices. It seems that your brother is able to force her to display more than necessary.”

But he was already sighing in his heart, “The Golden Impervious Skill. A young maiden has actually mastered this long lost epitome skill?” He really found it hard to believe.

Yi Tianxing said, “We have side tracked and let us continue on the introduction. The Divine Horizon Hands is our clan most powerful skill. It contains three hidden secret techniques, the Asper, the Asper Continuum and the Asper Divinity.”

He said, “Normally, to even begin the first secret technique of the Divine Horizon Hands the Asper Horizon, the practitioner will need forty years of martial power.”

Both Yi Ping and Ji Lingfeng grasped, “Forty years?!”

Ji Lingfeng immediately recalled that after she had used the Asper Horizon Hands, her fingers were trembling and she felt as though all her strength had been drained from her executing arm!

Yi Tianxing said, “That is right. I practiced for forty-years before I am allowed to descend from the mountains by my master.”

Ji Lingfeng said, “Didn’t I manage to use the Asper Horizon Hand already?”

YI Tianxing said, “I was surprised that you can use it so soon. It may be because you have been practicing the Divine Revelation Skill for a long time to enhance your Holy Amalgamate Skill therefore you already have a certain foundation in internal strength. That is why you are able to pick up the Asper Horizon Hand fairly quickly”

Ji Lingfeng blinked her eyes at Yi Ping and smiled.

Without exchanging a word, Yi Ping was annoyed by her. She was gleeful that her martial strength was higher than him.

Yi Tianxing quickly added, “However, without the Aspire Invocations Intricate Recite to refine the Asper Horizon and knowledge of the Divine Horizon Hands, it is almost impossible to fully realize the full power of the Asper Horizon. Not to mention the Asper Continuum and the Asper Divinity.”

Yi Tianxing continued, “The Asper Continuum Horizon Hand requires sixty years and the Asper Divinity Horizon Hand requires eighty years of solid internal strength to use.”

Yi Ping sighed and muttered, “Isn’t that too hard?”

He would be an old man by then.

Ji Lingfeng said, “At most I will take a few more years, compare to you know who.”

Yi Ping unhappily said, “Only time will tell. Your clan has so many enemies. You are probably too busy avenging your clan to practice as much as I do.”

Yi Tianxing held him in his wrist and examined his pulse, sighing. “Son, because you have the Icy Heavenly Tears energy in you, it may be difficult for you to even begin on the Aspire Invocations. Therefore you won’t be able to wield the Divine Horizon Hands to its full potential. If you try to begin on the Aspire Invocations, the risk of deviation phenomena is great. You will end up paralyze or dead.”

Yi Ping nodded and replied, “Father, it doesn’t matter to me. I am so glad to see you again. Even if my skills are mediocre, I will avenge on Gongsun Bai even if it takes me years of hard work.”

When Ji Lingfeng glanced at him, she could see the determined look in his eyes and the mesmerizing righteousness air around him. She felt herself drawn irresistible to him and believed in him…

All of a sudden, Yi Tianxing grasped, “Even though you have the Icy Heavenly Tears in your pulse but your heart pulse seem to be devoid of it at the same time. How is it possible?”

Ji Lingfeng grabbed Yi Ping wrist too and examined his pulses, “That is weird. Sometimes I can feel a cold piercing negative pulse but sometimes I cannot feel it.”

Yi Tianxing muttered, “Don’t tell me it is Yichi… she had purposely left Ping’Er internal strength in a clean slate? How is it possible? Don’t tell me she had finally grasped the mysteries of the Eternal Heavenly Tears in her last final moments? That is just the remnants of her Eternal Force in Ping’Er pulse and not the Icy Heavenly Tears that I think it is?”  

He needed more time to ponder over it. But for now, it might be possible for Yi Ping to practice on the Aspire Invocations under his watchful guidance.

All of a sudden, he turned solemn and said, “I must warn the two of you first. In the future, should you have the opportunity to grasp the mysteries of the Asper Divinity; you must not practice or use it. If you pass it to future generations, remember to forewarn them as well.”

Yi Ping asked, “Father, what do you mean? If the skill cannot be used, what is the use of it being there?”

Yi Tianxing sighed deeply before he said painfully, “That is the warning left behind by our grand protégé master. If you manage to learn this forbidden skill, in three years’ time, you will surely die!”

Both Yi Ping and Ji Lingfeng grasped at the same time, “How come?”

Yi Tianxing said solemnly, “The Divine Calamity.” But he refused to say a word more.

Yi Ping and Ji Lingfeng exchanged looks before Yi Ping mustered his courage and asked, “Father, what exactly is the Divine Calamity? You mentioned that mum was fearful of it and even our clan must be wary of it.”

All of a sudden, he seemed to be muttering to himself and he was making no sense.

The only legitimate words that they could decipher were, “…bloodsuckers…Celestial Palace…”

Ji Lingfeng and Yi Ping looked at one another. They seemed to be thinking of the same thing. There was only one place in the entire fraternity that was called the Celestial Palace…

The Celestial Palace was located in the western fraternity. Like the Eternal Ice Palace and the Virtuous Palace, it was one of the three most forbidden places in the entire martial fraternity.

Even though many of the powerful unorthodox clans were situated in the western fraternity, few dare to intrude on the forbidden grounds of the Celestial Palace. Those that did never returned.

The Celestial Palace was said to be situated in the Nirvana Mountains and was so mysterious that no one had ever seen a single protégé from that place, yet it continued to exist for centuries. No one really knew if the Celestial Clan really did exist.

In the western fraternity, mere mention of the Celestial Palace among the older pugilists would bring great fear and a great silence.

Ji Lingfeng was even more startled than Yi Ping.

It was because the Holy Hex Sect had a brief but stern warning not to mention its name and to visit that place. The Holy Amalgamate Skill was said to be a secret skill that was derived from the Sacred Celestial Skill of the Celestial Holy Clan. That warning and the origin of the Holy Amalgamate Skill was passed down only verbally to the members of the Ji Clan.
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PostSubject: Re: A Martial Odyssey   Wed Aug 14, 2013 5:46 pm

Chapter 12: Nangong Le

The streets of the town were noisy and filled with many activities. The town was more crowded than usual. It was because the Gongsun Martial Aristocracy Clan, who controlled the town and its vicinity areas, had invited heroes from all over the fraternity to participate in a rare fraternity assembly.

The death of Old Man Zuo the Sword Saint had sent a shockwave throughout the fraternity and emboldened the heretic sects; there were at least a hundred clashes between the orthodox clans and the heretic sects in the past year alone.

The main purpose of the congregation was to seek a solution to the current martial affairs and to select a new orthodox leader from among the major orthodox clans.

Nangong Le looked bored and was looking for entertainment in the streets of the town. He had come to this town at the invitation of Gongsun Bai. Accompanying him were two renowned tranquil middle-age swordsmen Priest Liu Qingcheng the older protégé and Priest Ling Kongquan the younger protégé of the Tranquil City who acted as his escorts as well as his friends.

Priest Liu Qingcheng was also the protégé master of the Tranquil City.

The Tranquil City was one of the oldest martial clan in the fraternity, famed for its Tranquil Swordplay and the Tranquil Fists. Even though the Tranquil City was famed for its swordplay, the most powerful skill in the clan was actually their Dual Inertness Intricacy, a divinity state of ‘Exchanging spirit intricate from a thousand miles, sensing from a million miles’, and ‘Absorbing the essence of Heavens and Earth’.

Also, Priest Liu Qingcheng and Priest Ling Kongquan were also top inner martial experts and their martial skills were not beneath any of the major orthodox clans’ skills.

Nangong Le did not want to go to the Gongsun Manor so early and deliberately stayed in the town to find interesting entertainments. That was typical of his usual style and action.

Priest Liu Qingcheng and Priest Ling Kongquan may look like they were lofty priests that would never partake in such meaningless pursuit, it was actually the opposite.

Also their Dual Inertness Intricacy was all about sensing the emotional elations of others to elevate their state of divinity further. There no better ways than to follow Nangong Le to advance their cultivation!

That was exactly why they were Nangong Le’s friends.

Priest Ling Kongquan asked, “Is it good to keep our orthodox friends waiting? I know that many had left early this morning for the Gongsun Manor. Surely the congregation will be crowded and it is even more interesting there.”

Priest Liu Qingcheng laughed aloud, “The orthodox clans have always belittled and looked down on the Tranquil City. Even though they did not say that, their hearts tells otherwise. It will only affect our cultivation if we associate ourselves with such negative emotions.”

Priest Ling Kongquan smirked, “Alas, I still derive so much pleasure from their hypocrisy.”

Nangong Le laughed aloud, “The pugilists of the orthodox will only look up to the influential and not the weak. In their eyes, only the seven major orthodox clans and the Gongsun Martial Clan deserve their true respect. Small clans and inactive clans like us are just small fries in their eyes.”  

Priest Liu Qingcheng said, “You are really too humble, Young Master Nangong. You are now one of the four young masters of the martial fraternity and you even got a gold invitation for this congregation. That unruly Gongsun Bai only sent us a silver invitation.”

Nangong Le shook his head, “My martial skills are beneath you. I really do not deserve to have the gold invitation. The only reason that I am one of the young masters of the martial fraternity is only because they are short of one person for that honorific to make it sound more pleasant and only because of the wealth of the Nangong Clan.”

Indeed, the Nangong Clan was the wealthiest clan in the entire fraternity and well-known for their immerse holdings and banks.  

All of a sudden, Nangong Le, Priest Liu Qingcheng and Priest Ling Kongquan halted their steps. It was because they had suddenly heard the most enchanting music that they had ever heard in their entire lives!

Even though the streets were busy and full of a great multitude of different noises that overshadowed the enthralling music, their sharp ears were able to pick it up.

The melody of the music was slow, enchanting and extremely moving to the listeners but it also carried a sad melancholy to it.

They were stunned that such an intricate melody actually existed, despite having listened to hundreds of music from all over the fraternity.

Nangong Le muttered in awe, “What beautiful heavenly music. It is too out of the world.”

Priest Liu Qingcheng was so enthralled by the music that he dared not say a word but closed his eyes as he was afraid to miss it.

He had a tear in his eyes; the music was so heart wrenching that he was trembling uncontrollably! All of a sudden, he gained a new inspiration for the Dual Inertness Intricacy…

Priest Ling Kongquan was stammering and trembling, “It comes…from around the…alley!”

Priest Ling Kongquan grabbed Priest Liu Qingcheng and said, “Eldest Protégé Brother, let’s us take a look!”

Priest Liu Qingcheng was startled from his stupor as he quickly replied “Yes, let’s take a look!”

They soon turned into an alley saw a high wall that blocked them.

Luckily, this high wall was not too high for them to display their wall scaling skills and they soon scaled over it.

They were soon stunned at the sight of the other side after they had scaled over the high wall.

This was so unlike the dirty and confine alley that they were in earlier.

This courtyard was large and very beautiful. It was clean, decorated with all kinds of trees and fragrance flowers.

There was a small artificial large pond with a bridge over it and the enchanting music comes from beyond the courtyard.

Nangong Le muttered, “Did we arrive at the Gongsun Manor by mistake?”

Priest Ling Kongquan smiled weakly, “That is in the other direction?”

Priest Liu Qingcheng said, “That appear to be so.”

Nangong Le too smiled weakly, “Who else but Gongsun Bai can afford such magnificent place in this desolate town. Even if this place is not the Gongsun Manor, the owner must be related to him.”

The enchanting emotional melancholy music seemed to have come from beyond the courtyard. Therefore, they continued to walk through the courtyard while admiring the beauty and grandeur of the place.

When Nangong Le, Priest Liu Qingcheng and Priest Ling Kongquan came to another courtyard, they could see two exquisite beautiful maidens playing the zither and the pipa with white curtains in the background.

The melancholy and enchanting music had come from them. What astonished them was that these two young maidens had looked exactly alike!

Nangong Le thought, “They are twins?”

Nangong Le was immediately attracted by them and started to appraise them silently. They were in black velvet silk dresses and he was fascinated by their dedicated eyes.

He noticed that they had a long sword besides them. Normally, only pugilists and nobility would carry a long sword with them although there were many exceptions; they could be using it for sword dances and sword plays as it was a popular pastime with many.

He had never seen anyone as beautiful as them in black as it was an ominous color and was not a color of choice for most maidens.

He could only grasped, “So beautiful.” And he was instantly hypnotized by them.

All of a sudden, when he saw the translucent jade bangles on their left wrists, he was stunned.

It was because these translucent jades could only be found in the Heavenly Mountains, was extremely rare and priceless. Even if someone had those translucent jades, they would never dare to wear or carry it for fear of damaging it.

When he saw their musical instruments that were made of red purple sandal wood, which was so highly prized and rare that it was worth its weight in gold, he was dumbfounded.

At first, he thought he could use his wealthy background to entice them but now he knew that if he had tried that, it was a terrible mistake for they had no material lack! He began to smile bitterly for he realized he had spent most of his gold in the last few days and was terribly poor at the moment to offer them a decent gift.

The few jewelries and gold that he had were too embarrassing to be taken out as a first time social gift. And he might be looked down upon and lost their first good impressions of him. This was the first time that Nangong Le had felt that he was poor.

Ling Kongquan was solemn as he said, “Be careful. For them to appear in such a place, they may be vixens. We should leave immediately now that we got the chance…”

Nangong Le said, “Even if they are thousand year old vixens, I must still know their names!”

Priest Liu Qingcheng was taken aback, “Brother Nangong…you…”

But before he could stop him, Nangong Le had immediately mustered his courage to introduce himself, “I am Nangong Le. These two are Priest Liu Qingcheng and Priest Ling Kongquan. May we have the honor of knowing the names of both mistresses?”

The two sisters stopped playing and looked into their direction; their dedicated eyes were looking at them intently.

When Nangong Le saw their eyes looking intently at him, his heart began to beat very fast as he thought, “Both of them are so beautiful and so beholding. So which one should I woo? Which one should I woo first? Or shall I woo the two of them at the same time?”

The young maiden on the left asked in a soft voice, “Do you know that you are trespassing?”

Priest Liu Qingcheng hurriedly replied, “Maiden, please forgive us for trespassing. We really meant no harm at all. When we are outside, we suddenly heard an enchanting melody. Out of curiosity, we have come to take a look.”

The young maiden on the left said softly, “Now that you have already taken a look, what do you want to do now?”

Priest Ling Kongquan was the first to reply, “Nothing but are…are you both humans?”

The young maiden on the right laughed softly, “Do we look like we are not humans to you?”

Priest Ling Kongquan managed a weak smile, “No…”

Nangong Le smiled, “You are both like heavenly fairies and not humans.”

The young maiden on the right seemed to be flattered as she replied, “Is that so?”

Nangong Le said, “That is so!”

Then she looked intently at him, “We can also be vixens and we like to feast upon your blood.”

Nangong Le laughed, “Maiden you must be joking. Even if you want to eat me, I will not struggle at all.”

The young maiden on the right said, “Really? You will not struggle?”

Nangong Le laughed, “I won’t struggle, not even once!”

The young maiden on the right smiled, “What if we are not joking?”

These two young maidens in black velvet were looking at them intently.

Nangong Le, Priest Liu Qingcheng and Priest Ling Kongquan broke into cold sweat. They could not really tell if they were joking.

It was indeed strange that two extraordinary beautiful young maidens would appear in a small isolated town that only pugilists would bother to visit and they were staying in a place with such splendor that seemingly out of place. Moreover they were exactly the same and had so much finery on them yet there were no servants anywhere. And their enthralling music was too supernatural to be found in the mortal realm. Was everything just an illusion?

The young maiden on the left added, “Unfortunately, it is real and we need blood to maintain our youthful appearances, especially men with such vitality such as you.”

Priest Ling Kongquan turned ashen as he stammered, “Who…who are you…?” He wanted to run but his legs had grown soft.

Even Nangong Le had turned completely white as he thought, “I have toyed with numerous women in my life and now my life is going to end in their hands. I swear if I can survive this, I will surely turn over a new leaf. Alas Heavens, please help me…”

Priest Liu Qingcheng roared aloud with laughter, “For a moment, I am almost fooled. They are not vixens.”

Nangong Le and Priest Ling Kongquan looked at Priest Liu Qingcheng with startled expressions. They were not vixens and they were joking?

Priest Ling Kongquan asked, “Eldest Protégé Brother, you can tell?”

The young maiden on the left smiled, “Of course we are not vixens. Do we look like foxes to you?”

Nangong Le heaved a sigh of relief when he heard that they were not vixens as he slowly recovered his composure.

Priest Ling Kongquan smiled weakly, “I have never seen any vixens in my life but I know that they can take human shape.”

The young maiden on the right sighted softly, “Unfortunately we are really not vixens.”

Priest Ling Kongquan said nervously, “Vixens are also liars and would never admit they are not vixens.”

Nangong Le was alarmed. What Priest Ling Kongquan had said made sense. Only a priest would be able to identify a supernatural being such as a vixen.

The young maiden on the left smiled, “We are actually waiting for a real vixen and were in fact baiting her but you have come instead. If you want to see a real vixen, you can stay here and wait. Maybe you get to see a real vixen real soon.”

Priest Liu Qingcheng smiled, “Vixen or not, I don’t care. I am Priest Liu Qingcheng, the master of the Tranquil City. I am thinking if both maidens are willing to be my protégés, I would like to impart to you our clan most extraordinary skill, the Dual Inertness Intricacy.”

The two young maidens, even Priest Ling Kongquan and Nangong Le were startled!

Priest Liu Qingcheng was straightforward and had declared his intentions.

It was startling because even direct protégés of the Tranquil City may not get the chance to learn the Dual Inertness Intricacy. And he was offering them the Dual Inertness Intricacy if they were willing to be his protégés. Was it not astonishing?

Nangong Le had been acquainted with them for five years. Even though he was always pressing Priest Liu Qingcheng to reveal some of the secrets of the Dual Inertness Intricacy to him in exchange for fabulous wealth and other martial treasures but he would never indulge even an intricate word to him. But today, he was offering it for free to these two maidens?!

Nangong Le smiled bitterly, “Brother Liu, are you sure that you are not spellbound by them? You know that I am willing to be your protégé…”

Even though he had asked to be his protégé on many occasions, Priest Liu Qingcheng would always kindly reject him.

All of a sudden, Nangong Le was alarmed as he thought, “Don’t tell me Brother Liu had been bewitched by them already?”

Even Ling Kongquan was taken completely by surprise by his protégé brother as he said, “You are for real? That is our clan secret skill and we know nothing about their backgrounds…”

When the young maiden on the left recovered from her surprise, she smiled faintly. “You don’t even know who we are or our names and yet you talk about wanting us to be your protégés?”

The young maiden on the right added, “He is really a weird guy.”

Priest Liu Qingcheng did not seem to mind as he asked, “Then may I know your names?”

Perhaps because he was courteous, the maiden on the left said coolly, “I’m the Lady Yu.”

The maiden on the right said, “I’m the Lady Mei.”

The Lady Yu was in fact Shui Yujian the Jade Sword Fairy and the Lady Mei was Shui Meijian the Beautiful Sword Fairy.

They still refuse to divulge to him their full names but Priest Liu Qingcheng did not mind.

Priest Liu Qingcheng asked again, “Will you be my protégés?”

Shui Yujian answered amusingly, “Unfortunately we already have a protégé clan. It is impossible for us to be in your protégé clan. You can leave now.”

Priest Liu Qingcheng said, “You can quit your protégé clan. I can assure you that there are no other martial clans that are better than the Tranquil City. The intricate heart formula of the Dual Inertness Intricacy is unique in the fraternity and is considered one of the most sought skills. You won’t regret learning it and joining the Tranquil City!”

Shui Meijian looked at her sister before she said, “If we can betray our protégé clan, then we can betray yours too. You will not want us as your protégés if we are such a person, right?”

Priest Liu Qingcheng said, “With this level of musical accomplishments, it is unlikely that you can be easily tempted by greed or else you wouldn’t possible achieve it. Maidens, please reconsider…”

Priest Ling Kongquan interrupted, “Eldest Protégé Brother! Since they do not appreciate your gestures, it is pointless to say anymore to them. Let us go now. We have trespassed long enough.”

Priest Liu Qingcheng ignored him and continued to say, “Maidens, please reconsider. It is a rare opportunity…”

Shui Meijian was bewildered, “You…you are begging us to take up your offer? Shouldn’t it be we are begging you to take us in?”

Priest Liu Qingcheng said, “It doesn’t matter who take who in as long as you are agreeable to be my protégés, I will teach you the Dual Inertness Intricacy.”

It was getting comical and even Priest Ling Kongquan felt embarrassed while Nangong Le was feeling awkward.

Nangong Le and priest Ling Kongquan had even forgot the tense situation that they were in just a few moments ago!

It really seemed that Priest Liu Qingcheng wanted them to be his protégé disciples and he was absolutely serious.

Priest Liu Qingcheng said. “What about this? You can remain in your protégé clan and you still join my protégé clan, I will still teach you the Dual Inertness Intricacy!”

Priest Ling Kongquan was shocked, “Eldest Protégé Brother, you can’t do that. There isn’t such a thing in the fraternity! Are you nuts?”

Priest Liu Qingcheng said solemnly, “I am sane of course. You have no idea on their latent potential. They may be the only ones that can advance the Dual Inertness Intricacy. Our clan has been on a decline for a long time and they may be the ones that can revive the position of our martial clan in the fraternity.”

Priest Ling Kongquan said, “Even if they can advance the Dual Inertness Intricacy but can they fight? They are just good in the musical instruments and when the clan is in crisis, it is pointless to just have internal strength. They don’t look like the types that can take hardship therefore their martial abilities will be limited.”

Shui Yujian kinked her eyebrows and said, “That is enough. Just leave or you will be sorry.” In fact, she had already drawn her long sword.

Nangong Le, Priest Ling Kongquan and Priest Liu Qingcheng grasped at the drawn out long sword; its blade was so shiny and its sound was tingling that they knew instantly that it was a very good sword. What was more, they could feel the cold piercing sword energy of that precious sword at this distance!

All of a sudden, Priest Liu Qingcheng said. “The person behind the white curtain, can you say something? What do you think?”

Both Priest Ling Kongquan and Nangong Le were startled. There was a person behind the white curtains?

Priest Ling Kongquan was stunned. His mastery of the Dual Inertness Intricacy was on the same level as his eldest protégé brother, yet he could not sense any breathing or heartbeat behind the curtains. Was his eldest protégé brother suffering from delusions? There was obviously no one behind the curtains.

But Priest Liu Qingcheng continued to say to the curtains, “What do you say?”

Nangong Le was unhappy with Priest Liu Qingcheng for causing him to be driven out of the place even before he could have the opportunity to exchange a meaningful dialogue with these two extraordinary exquisite maidens. He was about to rebuke Priest Liu Qingcheng when he heard a gentle feminine voice from behind the white curtain.

“How did you know that I am behind the curtains?” A soft gentle feminine voice was heard from behind the curtains.

Only when Nangong Le and Priest Ling Kongquan had heard her voice, they were jolted! There was really someone behind the white curtains!

Priest Liu Qingcheng said honestly, “Actually I do not know and is making a lucky guess. I can neither sense any breathing nor heartbeats behind the curtain. At this distance, no one can remain undetected by me, except for you.”


Priest Liu Qingcheng explained, “But when I saw Maiden Mei took a quick glance at the curtain and hesitating, I immediately sense that she seems to be awaiting instructions from someone. So I made a lucky guess.”

Nangong Le smiled, “So there is another person behind the curtain. Let me take a look at you!” He too, was intrigued by the person behind the curtains, especially since he knew it was a lady.

Immediately, he began to sprint past Shui Yujian and Shui Meijian towards the white curtains.

What an astonishing swiftness movement speed! Even Shui Yujian and Shui Meijian grasped softly in astonishing surprise as they tried to intercept him but they were unable to stop him!

As soon he touched the white curtains, he could sense a force slowing him down. He was caught by surprise by the invisible force and before he could muster his martial power to push through the force, his chest was struck by a small porcelain cup and he was flung back!

Priest Ling Kongquan immediately caught of Nangong Le and said, “Brother Nangong, are you alright?”

Nangong Le was caught totally by surprise and his chest was now bursting with pain. He clasped his chest and was terrified. In all his years in the martial fraternity, he had never felt such an unfathomable presence before! When he was struck on his chest by the porcelain cup, he thought he was going to die!

Priest Ling Kongquan said, “It seems that you have broken one or two ribs…”

Nangong Le turned ashen as blood foamed from his mouth.

When Priest Liu Qingcheng saw how easily Nangong Le was defeated by an awkward shaped cup that was ill-suited to be a secret projectile, he immediately knew that the lady behind the curtains was a super exponent.

Even though he may not lose but he was not here to fight.

So he said, “You must be their protégé mistress or elder? What do you say?”

“The Dual Inertness Intricacy is indeed a formidable skill. If Yu’Er and Mei’Er are able to learn the intricate heart formula of the Dual Inertness Intricacy, it will be useful for their future martial progression. I have no objections to it if you are willing to impart to them.”  

Priest Liu Qingcheng was delighted as he clapped his hands, “Good! Brother Kongquan, can you take Brother Nangong Le to recuperate first? I won’t be long and will look for you shortly.”

He had asked Ling Kongquan to take Nangong Le away because he did not want Nangong Le to eavesdrop on the Dual Inertness Intricacy.

Priest Ling Kongquan sighed as he muttered, “I hope you did not make the wrong decision…” He began to support Nangong Le up to his feet and departed together with him.

Priest Liu Qingcheng said, “Before I impart the intricate heart formula of the Dual Inertness Intricacy, may I know who you are and which protégé clan are you all from?”

“Indeed you should know. I’m the Celestial Fairy of the Eternal Ice Palace.”

Accordingly to the protocol of the fraternity, because Shui Yixian was his senior generation, there was no need for her to reveal her name to him. Few people in the fraternity actually knew her by her true name.

Priest Liu Qingcheng was taken aback as he took a step back, “I…have heard that the Celestial Fairy had passed on. You are really the Celestial Fairy?”

Shui Yujian interrupted softly, “You don’t believe my protégé mistress? If you don’t want to impart to us the Dual Inertness Intricacy, we do not mind at all.”

She really did not mind at all.

Priest Liu Qingcheng laughed aloud, “Don’t be mistaken. I am just surprised that I have the honor to talk to the Celestial Fairy today. It is said that the martial skills of the Eternal Ice Palace are profound. Today I have seen it, I am truly convinced. The Eternal Ice Palace may not be an orthodox clan but it is also not an unorthodox clan. I can now feel assure that I did not impart the Dual Inertness Intricacy to the wrong hands!”

The Celestial Fairy nodded and said gently, “But you mustn’t tell anyone who we are and where we are from, including the two men that are with you earlier.”

Priest Liu Qingcheng said solemnly, “I give you my word.”

The Celestial Fairy said gently, “It is not proper that I should stay while you are imparting your clan most secret skill…”

Priest Liu Qingcheng interrupted, “Old Senior, you can stay. I am certain that with your martial cultivation, you won’t hanker over anything. If you stay, I may even get some useful advice.”

The Celestial Fairy replied, “That is because you are thinking that I am already too old and already hovering at death’s door. If I stay and listen to the intricate formula, do I have to be your protégé disciple too?”

Priest Liu Qingcheng smiled awkwardly as Shui Yujian and Shui Meijian chuckled softly. He quickly replied, “Of course not!”

The Celestial Fairy said, “Since you are generous to impart the Dual Inertness Intricacy, I will impart the Tranquil Spirits to you then.”

Priest Liu Qingcheng was stunned. This Tranquil Spirits was one of the secret intricate formulas of the Tranquil City and was actually a crucial key to understand the Dual Inertness Intricacy and many of the skills of the Tranquil City but had been lost for several centuries!

He stammered excitedly, “How did you get hold of the Tranquil Spirits?”

She simply said, “It has been with the Eternal Ice Palace for centuries. How it ends up in the Eternal Ice Palace, I really do not know.”

When she stepped forth from the curtains, Priest Liu Qingcheng got the shock of his life and nearly got a heart attack.

It was because the Celestial Fairy was anything but old!

When she had appeared in front of him, in her light blue long sleeve silk dress, he thought he had seen a goddess. Even though Shui Yujian and Shui Meijian were already extraordinary beautiful, they were at least human. The Celestial Fairy was so breathtaking, so awe-inspiring yet her presence was so forbidding that she was anything but human!

Even with his Dual Inertness Intricacy, he could not even sense any mortal emotions from her. Was she delighted that he was going to impart the Dual Inertness Intricacy to her and her protégés? He got no hint at all and she was like an impassable wall. It was like she was standing on top of the world, looking at everything loftily.

At this distance, he was surprised that he could sense no breathing and heartbeats from her even though she was just standing in front of him. He had once heard that a person could actually solidify themselves and blend with the surroundings once their internal strength developed past a certain point of cultivation. This was the first time that he had actually witnessed this feat and moreover she was in full visible view!

He thought, “No wonder Nangong Le cannot avoid her secret projectile, she was in front of him all along. It is just that he did not see her…”

Top exponents like Nangong Le, were trained to detect and avoid missile projectiles in their early martial trainings; it was almost impossible to succeed with an open attack using missile projectiles against them.

He was suddenly embarrassed that he was going to impart an intricate formula that may be of no use to someone like her.

Perhaps she could see his discomfort, she smiled gently and said, “Yu’Er and Mei’Er, bow to your new protégé master. From now on, you must also listen to Priest Liu, got it?”

Shui Yujian and Shui Meijian immediately greeted courteously, “Respects to protégé master!”

Shui Yujian said, “I am Shui Yujian and this is my sister, Shui Meijian.”

Priest Liu Qingcheng exclaimed aloud, “Good, good! I have only a simple request. I hope that once you are able to discern the mysteries of the Dual Inertness Intricacy, you can let me know. Alas, I have been struck for so long that I am growing more and more disheartened every day. This intricate formula is really too profound for me.”

Shui Meijian said curiously, “Is that why you want us to be your protégé disciples?”

Priest Liu Qingcheng said, “That is right! When I heard your music, I know that you are the ones that can break through the intermediate stage of the ‘Linking Spirits’ progression of the Dual Inertness Intricacy.”

The Celestial Fairy smiled gently, “Let me begin first. The heart of the intricate formula of the Tranquil Spirits is ‘Absolute Defense through Tranquil’. To reach this stage, tranquil your divine state with absolute emptiness, when formless, from nothing, there something. It is partitioned into three portions, the beginner stage of ‘The Defense Harmony, the intermediate stage of ‘The Infinity Folds’ and the advanced stage of ‘The Infinity becoming One and One becoming the Void’…”

Priest Qingcheng was trembling as he said, “This is really the Tranquil Spirits. I only know the stage. The exact intricate heart formula has been lost…”

The Celestial Fairy had not only recited the entire intricate formula to him but also explained to him many new principles that could help him understand the Tranquil Spirits quickly.

After he memorized the Tranquil Spirits, he began to recite the Dual Inertness Intricacy.

Shui Yixian was astonished that there was such an extraordinary dual intricate formula that existed in the world as she muttered, “The spirit exchanges but not the shape, the affection exchanges but not the look, the vital energy exchanges but not the body, the divinity exchanges but not the physical…the essence of heavens and earth as my vitality, the divine state of heavens and earth as my divine state, the changes of heavens and earth as my changes…”

She muttered, “The Dual Inertness Intricacy is really an unfathomable skill… this is indeed a superior intricate heart formula…”

Shui Yujian said, “If even protégé mistress cannot fathom it, we have no hope…”

Shui Yixian smiled, “Everyone has their fates. I cannot but you may be able to. It may take days, months and years but as long as you put your heart into it, you may unravel the secrets one day.”

Priest Liu Qingcheng laughed, “Yes, take it slowly.  I am already struck for so many years, I don’t mind waiting a few more years…”

Shui Meijian sighed in misery, “Now I know that I got two irresponsible protégé masters that expect their protégés to know everything yet refuse to spend the trouble to teach us.”

Shui Yixian rebuked her gently, “Mei’Er, I haven’t punished you yet for giving me away. Your Emotionless Rhyme has not reached the stage that I have required of you. You know what your punishments will be right?”

Shui Meijian turned ashen with fright, “Protégé Mistress, I…”

When Priest Liu Qingcheng left the place after imparting the Dual Inertness Intricacy, he was shaking his head and thought, “I have thought that with my current level of Dual Inertness Intricacy, I cannot be tempted by lust in any forms. Alas, my cultivation is ruined…”

When Priest Liu Qingcheng had left, Shui Yujian said to her protégé mistress. “It does seem that the protégés of the Virtuous Palace are not in this vicinity and may not be attending the congregation that is hosted by Gongsun Bai. We have been lying in wait for several days now and the only persons that turned up are those three.”

Shui Yujian was close to tears, “Master will be alright. We had met a maiden in white a few weeks ago. Even though she had our white emerald precious sword, it did not mean anything…”

Shui Yixian averted her eyes quietly…

She had recognized the Penetrating Hands of the mysterious yellow dressed maiden as a secret skill of the Virtuous Palace. While the Virtuous Palace was renowned for their swordplay, only a few had exactly known that they were equally deadly in close quarters. This combination was extremely deadly and fatal to most of their enemies who were not in the known.

Shui Yixian had thought she was going to die when she was surprised by a direct struck on her heart. That blow was calculated to kill her. She was only saved and fell into an animate dead state because the maiden in yellow had made two mistakes; her first mistake was that she did not know that her Icy Heaven Tears had already progress to the tenth staging at that time. Her second mistake was that she had been too confident.

When she had recovered from her state of animate dead, she did not know what to make of her affections for Yi Ping. Therefore she continued to pretend to be dead and instructed Yujian and Meijian to take of him instead.

Perhaps it was heaven’s will that they should be together. But when this love was placed in front of her, she did not cherish it.

Indeed, she had chosen to hide from him as she thought it was just at a spur of a foolish moment. It was because she did not know what love was and was even afraid of it. She simply had too many considerations and hesitations.

But when Yi Ping had insisted on leaving the Eternal Ice Palace to seek vengeance for her, she panicked.

She could tell that although Yujian and Meijian had only known Yi Ping briefly, they had already developed took a liking to him.

In order to keep Yi Ping in the Eternal Ice Palace, they had decided to use an unorthodox method and drugged his drink, making it appear as though he had got himself drunk and did something foolhardy. But they had never expected that Yi Ping reaction would be the opposite of what they were expecting and he had actually fled from the Eternal Ice Palace.

That was when Shui Yixian had decided to leave the Eternal Ice Palace to look for Yi Ping so that he would not get himself killed by the yellow dressed maiden. If she failed to find Yi Ping, she had to find her and killed her first.

Unfortunately she had no news of him till now except for a young maiden in white that had their clan emerald white phoenix precious sword that was last seen in the vicinity.

She hoped that Yi Ping had not been killed by that maiden in white yet…

Because she had suspected that the Virtuous Palace might be secretly monitoring the congregation that was hosted by Gongsun Bai, they setup a trap to bait the Virtuous Palace. If there was any clan in this town that could find the Eternal Ice Palace, it had to be the Virtuous Palace! Moreover, they were already very obvious!

But it seemed that the Virtuous Palace was not here.

Shui Yujian suddenly asked her sister, “Why are you so quiet?”

But still Shui Meijian did not reply to her and she was looking stoned.

Shui Yujian was panicky, “Sis, are you alright?”

Even Shui Yixian was looking at her in surprise. It was because Mei’Er would never keep quiet if she had an opportunity to say something.

Shui Meijian looked somewhat sad as she suddenly said, “I am doing my wordless exchange with my mouth. But it is a pity that none of you could hear me at all.”

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PostSubject: Re: A Martial Odyssey   Sun Aug 18, 2013 3:36 pm

Chapter 13: Gongsun Manor

Nangong Le was looking pale as he walked in the streets. Even though Priest Ling Kongquan wanted to support him but Nangong Le refused.

Priest Ling Kongquan was surprised that Nangong Le could continue to walk so dignifiedly despite breaking his ribs.

He asked, “Are you really alright?”

Nangong Le smiled bitterly, “What do you think?”

Priest Ling Kongquan managed an awkward smile, “You really can smile. I have heard that you been practicing the Exuberant Divine Skill for more than ten years now. That is indeed a most extraordinary inner martial skill.”

Actually Nangong Le was feeling real awful and miserable now. But he had to maintain his refine mannerism and his dignity for the congregation. He did not want his enemies and opponents to know that he was injured.

All of a sudden, Nangong Le began to increase his walking pace much to the surprise of Priest Ling Kongquan. It was as though his injuries had suddenly vanished!

Nangong Le was heading towards a handsome young man and an alluring beautiful lady in white. In fact, it seemed that the entire street was also looking in their direction!

A handsome young man with a charismatic aura with a white long sword walked down the street. If anyone were to look into his face, it seemed to be glowing and untainted with malice. He was pleasing to look at and caused everyone to remember that there was still righteousness and goodness in the world.

As for the alluring maiden that was beside him, was like a fairy maiden that had descended upon the mortal realm. She was extremely beautiful and graceful. Even though she was very pale and white, she was filled with vitality. Her smiles were wondrous and piercing, everyone instantly thought she was amicable and intimate, an illusion that caused everyone to think that she alone was smiling and friendly to them alone.

They were indeed Yi Ping and Ji Lingfeng.

When Yi Tianxing had left the valley to visit the grave of his late wife Shui Yichi, he warned them not to look for Gongsun Bai and instead spent the time to practice hard on their martial skills until he was back.

Yi Ping and Ji Lingfeng knew that he would be away for at least six months.

So when Ji Lingfeng had said to him, “In a few days, there will be a huge gathering hosted by none other than Gongsun Bai himself. With so many people, there is no better time than this to sneak into the Gongsun Manor amidst the confusion. What more, we can take the opportunity to embarrass him in front of the heroes of the martial fraternity.”

He had asked her, “How did you know and what is your purpose of going there?”

She said, “I was already aware of it three months ago. Moreover, this gathering is not a secret and almost everyone in the fraternity knows about it. I want to attend the gathering and if possible, to disrupt it. However I am acting alone as my brother disapproves of it. The orthodox pugilists would probably fight for leadership and it is an excellent opportunity for me to witness their martial skills so that I can forewarn my brother.”

With that in mind, they had set off hurriedly for the Gongsun Manor.

He turned to ask her in a low voice, “You say that today is the day the Gongsun Clan will host a grand congregation that invites the majority of the orthodox fraternity. And it is the best time to infiltrate into the residency of the Gongsun Clan and to kill Gongsun Bai. Why is that as soon as we entered the town, we seem to be monitored? Have they already known of our plans or because they know who you are?”

Ji Lingfeng smiled and said endearingly, “I have never walked in the martial fraternity before. It is not possible for anyone to have ever seen or heard of me. Look at you, getting nervous even before we are there. To be honest, we don’t have any invitations. Even though the number of pugilists and renowned people that have been invited are numerous, the Gongsun Clan will be vigilant against strangers and will not allow any heretic and unorthodox exponents into the gathering.”

Yi Ping growled softly, “You are the one that says that there will be confusion with so many people and there is no better opportunity to sneak in than this.”

Ji Lingfeng was smiling at him endearingly, “I have thought that we may be able to sneak into the Gongsun Manor but look at all the attention we are getting. Now I don’t think it is possible now.”

Yi Ping asked, “Then how?”

Ji Lingfeng said, “We just have to try our luck and look for an opportunity.”

All of a sudden, Yi Ping halted his steps. It was because he suddenly saw a refine man approaching him. Behind him was a middle age priest in his fifties.

The refine man bowed respectfully with his hands and asked, “I apologize for interrupting. Are you going to the Gongsun Manor as well?”

Even though he was bowing respectfully, his eyes had never left Ji Lingfeng.

Yi Ping was forthright and he answered without hesitation, “That’s right.”

Perhaps the refine man sensed that he was not being recognized or being look upon favorably by Yi Ping and Ji Lingfeng, so he quickly said, “Alas, what a coincident! I too, am going there. I apologize again for intruding all of a sudden. I, Nangong Le, enjoy making friends from all over the fraternity. May I have the honor of knowing your name and this maiden?”

Who had never heard of Nangong Le the Joyous from the Nangong Aristocracy Clan? He was one of the four most influential and renowned young masters of the martial fraternity and was destined for greater things in the future. Among the four young masters of the martial fraternity, he was said to be the richest and his wealth rivaled that of the imperial treasury.  

Nangong Le pointed to Priest Ling Kongquan and said, “This is Priest Ling Kongquan. He is a prominent elder of the Tranquil City.”

Priest Ling Kongquan was startled at how spirited Nangong Le was. Just a moment ago, he was looking so pale and weak. He sighed to himself, “Is that how he got his nickname of Nangong Le the Joyous?”

Yi Ping simply said, “I am Yi Ping.” He did not introduce Ji Lingfeng or appeared to be interested in the conversation.

Nangong Le was slightly startled. Usually when he announced his name, everyone would be trying to flatter him and be acquainted with him. But this young man did not appear to be interested.

Nangong Le awkwardly said, “Young hero must be someone who comes from a renowned clan or an established orthodox clan to be invited to the Gongsun Manor. May I have the honor to know your illustrious background?”

Ji Lingfeng smiled and said, “My younger protégé brother Yi Ping is the son of the Yi Tianxing. We don’t have any invitations from the Gongsun Clan. But because Gongsun Bai was the sworn brother of our protégé master, we thought of paying him a visit. That is all.”

Nangong Le was startled that Yi Ping was the son of the Great hero Yi Tianxing who had seemingly disappeared from the martial fraternity twenty-five years ago. His exploits were many and till today, was often mentioned by many. He was even more startled that this maiden took the initiative of talking to him.

So he thought, “Is she also interested in me? That is excellent! So she is the older protégé sister of this Yi Ping. This must be their first time that they are traveling in the fraternity. They seem to lack caution.”

So he said amicably, “I have heard of the exploits of the Great Hero Yi Tianxing. In all my life, I have only admired him!”

When he noticed that Yi Ping’s eyes had shone, he quickly added, “Today I can be acquainted with his descendant, I am greatly honored! If I am born twenty years earlier, I might have the opportunity to be acquainted with this legendary hero…alas!”

Yi Ping said respectfully, “My father will be pleased to know that!”

Even Priest Ling Kongquan had heard of the renown of Yi Tianxing and he quickly said, “Young hero, you are the son of Great Hero Yi? I am Priest Ling Kongquan. I enjoying making friends and if young hero did not feel I am unworthy, we can be friends too.”

Yi Ping quickly said, “The Tranquil City is a renowned clan in the fraternity. It is my honor to be acquainted with you instead.”

Ling Kongquan smiled and said, “That is my honor as well.  Is your father well? The martial fraternity has not heard of him for a long time.”

Yi Ping sighed, “It is a long story. Maybe I can share with you later.”

Ling Kongquan said, “I am not a nosy parker. If it is not convenient for Young Hero Yi to share, I understand.”

Ling Kongquan could sense his sorrows but he kept it to himself.

As for the maiden that was with him, he had never seen anyone as beautiful as her. Even though the twin sisters were extremely beautiful, they were icy cold. It was their coldness that reduced their attractiveness to him. But this maiden was personal and was smiling happily while they were talking. It was as though she was a close friend who was paying a great deal of attention to them.

Nangong Le said, “You must definitely come with me so that I can have the honor of befriending you. Since Brother Yi did not have any invitation and I have, I can easily invite you as my entourage and bring you into the Gongsun Manor!”

Yi Ping was surprised at his magnanimity, “Brother Nangong you are too kind to me. I apologize for my rudeness earlier!”

When Yi Ping knew that Nangong Le was his father’s admirer, his attitude towards him changed and he began to regard him as a friend!

Ji Lingfeng sighed in her heart, “He is so gullible! This Nangong Le has his eyes on me. He may have fooled Yi Ping but he cannot fool me.”

Indeed, Nangong Le quickly said, “I forget to ask for your older protégé sister’s name?”

Yi Ping replied, “Her name is Lingfeng.”

Ji Lingfeng glanced fiercely at him but in a blink of an eye later she was smiling again.

She had almost fainted from incredulity! How could he have given her name to anyone just like that? Normally, when the pugilists roamed the fraternity, they would use a fraternity name to hide their clan of origin or identities.

It was not that Yi Ping was not aware of this pugilist practice especially with a dubious background like Maiden Ji. But when she had intentional introduced him as her younger protégé brother and even revealed his father name, he was none too pleased about it even though he knew that she was trying to get an invitation from Nangong Le to enter the Gongsun Manor.

He did not want to make use of anyone to enter the Gongsun Manor. Even if he had to barge into the Gongsun Manor to confront Gongsun Bai, he would do it.

Nangong Le remarked to Ji Lingfeng, “What an enchanting name! I have also never seen anyone as beautiful as you. May I know if maiden is married?”

Ji Lingfeng said, “Even though I want to but unfortunately I am not.”

Nangong Le pretended to be disappointed and said, “Why is that so? With your wondrous beauty, I can imagine you surely have hordes of suitors and admirers?”

Ji Lingfeng sighed and she was instantly sad, “I hate to mention this but none of my suitors ever lived long enough to even engage to me. They all died of mishaps after they had sent the engagement gifts. It is like a deadly curse to me.”

Her sad countenance caused everyone to feel sad too. It was as though her emotions could affect everyone and the first thought was to comfort her.  

Nangong Le was secretly pleased that she was still unmarried and he said, “Even if there is a curse, it is my privilege to die for you.”

Ji Lingfeng smiled alluringly, “We have just met and yet you are willing to die for me?”

Nangong Le laughed, “What I say is the truth!”

All of a sudden, Yi Ping could feel a boiling jealousy in his heart. He gritted his teeth and thought, “Maiden Ji has the right to choose her suitor. I cannot stop her. Moreover, my first priority is to avenge my parents and Yixian! Moreover, Nangong Le is rich and is compatible with her… ”

Yi Ping thoughts were disrupted when Nangong Lei said, “Brother Yi. Then, let us settle it. We shall go to the Gongsun Manor together! I am sure to be given a good seating position in the hall!”

Yi Ping bowed with his hands and said, “Let’s us go then!”

Priest Ling Kongquan whispered, “Brother Nangong, are you sure that in your current state, you can still go to the Gongsun Manor?”

Nangong Le laughed it off, “Do I look like I am injured to you?”

Yi Ping asked, “Brother Nangong, you are injured?”

Ji Lingfeng looked concerned at the same time as she asked, “You are injured?”

Nangong Le said, “Earlier I had a fight with someone. It is just a small ruffle and I sustain a slight injury.”

Ji Lingfeng smiled, “For that someone to pick a fight with the renowned Young Master Nangong of the Four Martial Young Masters fame, his injuries may be even worse.”

Nangong Le laughed merrily, “Of course, of course! It is a one side victory for me!”

Priest Ling Kongquan could not believe his ears as he sighed deeply, “He does anything to impress…”

When he looked at Nangong Le again, he was back to chatting merrily with Maiden Lingfeng and Yi Ping.

The Gongsun Manor was not an ordinary residence. It was located in the middle of the town and it had high walls around it. It was more like a fortress and there was a large moat at the entrance.  

The Gongsun Clan ruled this town. This town had been built by the Gongsun Clan over the centuries. Most of the people in the town were actually associated with the Gongsun Clan.

There were guards everywhere, from the steps of the Gongsun Manor and to the top of the castle walls.

Because Yi Ping and Ji Lingfeng were the guests of Nangong Le, they made it through the gates of the Gongsun Manor without any hassle.

As they went through the gates and into the manor, one of the guards said to the other, “That Nangong Le is really something. I have never seen such a beautiful maiden in my life and probably never will. He is famous as a womanizer and it is said that everywhere that he goes, he will be always be companied by beautiful ladies. Now I truly believe!”

The other guard said, “Look at us. When we saw that maiden, we have actually forgotten to record Young Master Nangong Le’s guests’ names.”

The steward also sighed, “I too, have forgotten about it. I can recognize Priest Ling Kongquan. As for that young man and young maiden, I do not know.”

The first guard that spoke earlier said, “Surely, the guests of Nangong Le will not be troublemakers and none would be from the unorthodox clans. Let’s close an eye and get over it. There are still many more guests that are waiting.”

The steward nodded and signaled for the next group of guests to be brought in.

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PostSubject: Re: A Martial Odyssey   Sat Aug 24, 2013 12:50 pm

Chapter 14: Zuo Tianyi

The grand hall of the Gongsun Manor was huge and majestic. It was divided into three colored walls, gold, silver and bronze colors. And the pugilists were partitioned within these walls according to their clan repute in the martial fraternity.

Gongsun Bai was the most powerful and most influential man in the entire martial fraternity for the past ten years. The Gongsun Martial Clan under his leadership had attracted many top martial exponents into the clan. Even top exponents like Gu Tianle the Warrior-God and Jue Yuan the Merciless was now in his protégé clan, the Honor Manor.

As the Grand Master of the Honor Manor, Gongsun Bai was also well-known for his martial abilities, the Ironclad Claw Skill and the Invincible Divine Force Skill.

In the martial fraternity, there was no one else other than Old Man Zuo the Sword Saint and Gu Tianle the Warrior-God that could rival his martial level. Old Man Zuo the Sword Saint had passed away last year and Gu Tianle the Warrior-God had joined the Honor Manor.

Now Gongsun Bai was not only the most powerful man in the entire martial fraternity, he was also the martial fraternity number one top exponent.

To be invited to the Honor Manor, even for those at the bronze seating, was a great prestige and honor. There were countless pugilists that were denied this opportunity and because of this, hundreds of small fights broke out in the martial fraternity to seize the invitations.

Needless to say, all the pugilists here presented today were fearsome exponents and experienced pugilists.

Nangong Le had a gold invitation. Naturally he was supposed to be a seated in the golden section, the closest to the host.

When he had entered the grand hall, he was instantly recognized by many. Unlike the other three young masters of the martial fraternity, Nangong Le spent most of his time in the martial fraternity and was acquainted with many.

Nangong Le fraternity name was ‘The Joyous’ for he was always smiling and in light spirits. And today he had reasons to smile.

When he first entered the grand hall, there was a sudden silence. Everyone seemed to turn their attentions to him. Even though his role in this congregation was minor, he seemed to be stealing the limelight and that he was causing great envy among many of the guests.

When Yi Ping and Ji Lingfeng entered the grand hall with him, the pugilists had never seen such a matching couple in terms of looks and magnetism. They had instantly captivated the attention of everyone, causing them to be awestruck.

Young Master Qiu Wufeng and the Heartless Scholar were among the guests presented. Even though they had met Yi Ping before but they failed to recognize him. It was because the Yi Ping they had briefly known then was a rugged traveler and this Yi Ping was clean and had a noble air around him. Moreover the Yi Ping then was just a nameless nobody. No one would pay him scant attention.

But today, he was in the company of Nangong Le and the opponents of Nangong Le would naturally be interested in anyone that was with him.

Ever since Young Master Qiu Wufeng retreated from the Heavenly Mountains, he had been thinking of the Celestial Fairy. He began to lose interest in his food and in other ladies. It was because he had never seen anyone as mesmerizing as the Celestial Fairy, until now.

Gongsun Jing recognized Yi Ping immediately. He wanted to recruit him to be his follower but a fight broke out between them. He thought, “No wonder he rejects my overturns. It is because he is already Nangong Le’s follower. What a pity!”

Jue Yuan had recognized both Yi Ping and Ji Lingfeng. He had tried to kill Yi Ping back then and had thought that Yi Ping was a protégé disciple of Young Master Qiu Wufeng. The Qiu clan had always opposed the Gongsun Clan. His first thought was, “Have the Qiu Clan and the Nangong Clan forged a secret alliance already?”

Gu Tianle the One-Arm Warrior-God had recognized Yi Ping and was relieved that this young man was well. He did not know that instead of helping Yi Ping that day, Jue Yuan had actually tried to kill him. Even though he had a grudge with Qiao Feng the Shadow Kicker, his intent was not to hurt him. He had thought that Qiao Feng was nearby and had wanted to settle a score with him.

Yi Ping however recognized them all. He thought, “Good! Even though I am being outnumbered today, I am not afraid of death. Let settle our scores once and for all today!”

He scanned his eyes for Gongsun Bai but it seemed that the host had not arrived yet.

He took a quick look and saw that only six out of the seven leading major orthodox clans were presented in the golden wall section. Judging from their colorful banners, the six major orthodox clans that were presented were the Infinity Sword Clan, the Zen Sect, the Monument Monastery, the Divine Sword Martial Clan, the Universal Truth Clan and the Traverse Clan.

The Ironclad Clan was inconspicuously absent from this meeting.  

It was well known that the Ironclad Clan and the Heartless Scholar who was a follower of Young Master Qiu had a feud with one another and the Ironclad Clan would often be absented from any meetings that involved the Qiu Aristocracy Martial Clan.

There were at least thirty other clans that were seated in the silver and the bronze sections of the hall.

Yi Ping thought, “This Gongsun Bai is indeed influential. He is able to invite so many martial clans to this congregation. But where is he? Why is that I can only see Gongsun Jing? Maybe it is not the time for him to show up yet? His status must be really prominent to keep the martial congregation waiting for him.”  

Gongsun Jing laughed gently and walked over to Nangong Le respectfully, saying. “Welcome, welcome Young Master Nangong! We have been waiting for you to start the meeting.”

Nangong Le laughed, “I am so honored. I don’t think I am so important to keep everyone waiting.”

Gongsun Jing smiled, “Not at all, Brother Nangong. We are honored that you have decided to grace the congregation with your presence.”

Nangong Le smiled bitterly, “Not at all. Unless I am really weary of living, I would never think of not attending the congregation.”

Gongsun Jing asked quietly, “What do you mean by that? ...”

But before he could finish, he was interrupted by Priest Bai Chongzhen, who was the protégé master of the Traverse Clan, “Brother Ling, how are you?”

Priest Ling Kongquan smiled awkwardly, “Not as well as the Traverse Clan for sure. Look at the Tranquil City, we only got a silver invitation.” He purposely looked at Gongsun Jing for a second.

Gongsun Jing smiled, “Next time, we are sure to issue the Tranquil City a gold invitation.”

Jue Yuan the Merciless smirked, “It still depends if the Tranquil City is fit to deserve a gold invitation from the Honor Manor.”

Priest Bai Chongzhen stared at Jue Yuan and questioned, “What do you mean?”

Jue Yuan said, “If the Tranquil City thinks that it deserves a golden seat, then its protégés must be able to prove that they are deserving of the honor.”

Jue Yuan looked at Yi Ping, Ji Lingfeng and Priest Ling Kongquan before saying, “Just because they are acquainted with Young Master Nangong Le, they think they deserve a seat in the golden section? Is it fair to the other pugilists?”

He deliberately said it aloud and aroused the attention of many of the pugilists.

Gongsun Jing smiled awkwardly, “Master Jue Yuan…”

But Jue Yuan ignored the awkwardness of Gongsun Jing and continued to say aloud, “Do you think you deserve the honor?”

There were muttering among the pugilists and quite a few were shouting, “Prove to it that you are deserving of the honor!”

Gongsun Jing continued to smile awkwardly. It was because Jue Yuan was his protégé master and as his disciple, he had to pay due respect to him even though he had a higher status than him in the Honor Manor.

Gu Tianle knew immediately that Jue Yuan had wanted to embarrass Nangong Le and his acquaintances.

But of course, he did not know the Jue Yuan was still sore that Yi Ping and this beautiful mysterious maiden had escaped from his fists. No matter, he would teach them a harsh lesson that they would never forget today!

Priest Bai Chongzhen smiled wryly, “Have you forgotten that the Tranquil City and the Traverse Clan hail from the Emei Clan?”  

Jue Yuan said unhappily, “There are so many Emei Clans in the Western Fraternity. Just because the Tranquil City is also an Emei Clan, they deserve the golden seating? Fat hope! I afraid the Priest Ling Kongquan still has to prove it!”

Priest Ling Kongquan was really upset, “You stupid monk! Are you really picking a fight with the Tranquil City or just me?”

Yi Ping was amused. It was obvious that Jue Yuan was intentional provoking them. Just when he was about to step forward, Ji Lingfeng inconspicuously pulled his sleeve and he stayed his cool.

Zuo Tianyi, the young protégé master of the Infinity Sword Clan and also one of the four young masters of the martial fraternity fame, was staring at Ji Lingfeng with bewildered eyes. He had taken over the mantle of the leadership of the Infinity Sword Clan when his grandfather the Sword Saint had passed away last year after a deadly duel with Ji Wuzheng, the Holy Sect Leader of the Holy Hex Sect.

In fact, besides Zuo Tianyi, many other pugilists were also staring at her mesmerizing beauty. Only a blind man would fail to notice her. Only the protégés of the Monument Monastery did not stared at her.

It was because the clan protégés of the Monument Monastery were all monks. When they saw Ji Lingfeng, they lowered their heads and looked the other way. The younger monks who were accompanying their elders were blushing all of a sudden and began to chant softly.

The Monument Monastery was famous for its seventy-two epic martial skills, with each warrior-monk practicing at least one epic martial skill in their lifetime.

But the real reason why Zuo Tianyi was looking at Ji Lingfeng was because he had recognized her!

His father died in a duel when he was still very young and he was brought up by his grandfather. And now, his grandfather, Old Man Zuo the Sword Saint had died because of her brother!

The reason that Zuo Tianyi had recognized her was because they were both presented at the duel between the Sword Saint and Ji Wuzheng, the Holy Sect Leader of the Holy Hex Sect!

Zuo Tianyi’s fingers began to twitch and tremble slightly…

One year ago at the summit of the Lofty Green Mountains, Ji Wuzheng had the tenacity to challenge the Sword Saint. At that time, he was with his grandfather and Maiden Ji was with her brother.

The Sword Saint asked, “You have come to challenge me?”

Ji Wuzheng said coolly, “I dare not!”

The Sword Saint asked again, “Then why did you send me an invitation to come here for?”

Ji Wuzheng smiled, “It is not me that is looking for a challenge but you are.”

The Sword Saint said, “Oh?”

Ji Wuzheng said, “You are a peerless swordsman and there are none in the fraternity that is your match. Don’t you feel lonely at the very top?”

The Sword Saint said, “Indeed. No one else understands my feeling. There were once two super exponents during my time that could be my match. One was Yi Tianxing and the other one was your late father.”

Ji Wuzheng asked, “You seem to have forgotten about the renowned Gongsun Bai and Gu Tianle the Warrior-God. In the martial fraternity, they are ranked among the very top.”

Old Man Zuo the Sword Saint stroked his long white beard and said, “Indeed they are but not twenty years ago.”

Ji Wuzheng said, “And yet you did not mention them?”

The Sword Saint answered, “Twenty-years ago, they are nowhere near my martial level and I didn’t notice them.”

Ji Wuzheng said, “Don’t forget that Gu Tianle had killed my father.”

The Sword Saint said, “Even though I was not there, I know that your father had a secret duel with Yi Tianxing that worsened his existing internal injuries. To say that Gu Tianle had really defeat your father, is an overstatement.”

Ji Wuzheng said, “You know that my father had internal injuries?”

The Sword Saint nodded slowly, “I was there when Yi Tianxing and your father fought against one another. It was just that they did not notice me.”

Ji Wuzheng and Ji Lingfeng were both stunned as they both asked together, “You are there?”

Old Man Zuo the Sword Saint looked at the drifting clouds and said, “I too, want to challenge your father with my Infinity-Two. After watching that duel, I knew how unfathomable their martial levels had been. Inspired by that duel, twenty years later, I have finally achieved the Infinity-One.”

Ji Wuzheng said, “In the present fraternity, Gongsun Bai and Gu Tianle are formidable fighters and their martial levels are unfathomable. They have few worthy opponents too. Are they worthy to be your opponents?”

The Sword Saint said, “They are now.”

Ji Wuzheng asked, “What about me?”

The Sword saint said, “I presume that you have sent me an invitation is because you have mastered the Holy Amalgamate Skill?”  

Ji Wuzheng said, “Indeed I have.”

The Sword Saint laughed, “Excellent! I have waited for over twenty-years to find a match.”

Ji Wuzheng said coolly, “Unfortunately, I am still not your match in swordsmanship. I have long heard that you have fully mastered the Infinite Swordplay. I am still young and have no wish to experience your invincible Infinite-First.”

The Sword Saint said, “What do you propose?”

Ji Wuzheng said, “I have heard that you are seeking a breakthrough for the Infinite-First. But without meeting a worthy opponent, no matter how long you mediate upon it, it is extremely difficult for you to unravel the Infinite-Zero.”

The Sword Saint stroked his long white beard and said, “Indeed! And this is my greatest regret.”

Ji Wuzheng said, “You are so close yet so far from it.”

The Sword Saint nodded sadly, “Indeed!”

Ji Wuzheng said, “The secret to unraveling the Infinite-Zero lies with the Infinitude Recite Skill. The Holy Amalgamate Skill and the Infinitude Recite are two of the top epitome skills in the fraternity. If there is a skill that can help you to gain a new understanding of the Infinitude Recite, it has to be another unfathomable skill like the Holy Amalgamate Skill.”

The Sword Saint said, “Indeed. You are not afraid to die?”

Ji Wuzheng said, “If I am afraid to die, I won’t be here.”

The Sword Saint roared with laughter, “Marvelous! Let us go then.”

Ji Wuzheng laughed, “Good! Let us go now!”

Zuo Tianyi and Ji Lingfeng were the only ones that were left behind. It was because it was a secret duel between Old Man Zuo the Sword Saint and Ji Wuzheng.

They had left at dawn and returned at dust.

Needless to say, Zuo Tianyi and Ji Lingfeng had spent a full day together.

When Ji Wuzheng and Old Man Zuo had returned, they were both seriously injured and were supporting one another as they walked towards Zuo Tianyi and Ji Lingfeng. But their eyes were beaming and they were laughing aloud.

Zuo Tianyi could still remember that day very well; his grandfather had gripped him very hard as he was exclaiming excitedly, “I have finally deciphered the last intricate word of the Infinitude Recite! I no longer have the mental strength to unravel the Infinity-Zero but you can!”

Not long after, his grandfather the Sword Saint crumbled to his injuries and passed away. The Sword Saint had never blame Ji Wuzheng and the Holy Hex Sect even in his final hours. In fact, he was grateful and hoped that Ji Wuzheng would survive his injuries and be a worthy opponent for his grandson, Zuo Tianyi.

It was because even though Zuo Tianyi knew the final intricate formula now but it would still be many years of hard work and mediation before he could even grasps the true essence of the Infinite-First and Infinite-Zero. The final intricate formula was just a clue and would still change depending on the martial progress of the practitioner. But it was a huge step forward.  

Zuo Tianyi was a prodigy since he was young. At the age of twenty, he had grasped the Infinity-Five and by the time he was twenty-eight, he had attained the Infinity-Two. His grandfather, the Sword Saint had only grasped the Infinity-Two when he was forty and the Infinity-One when he was sixty.

In this fraternity, no one other than his grandfather knew the progress of his Infinity Swordplay. It was rumored that he had mastered the Infinity-Nine but none had dared to try.

When Ji Lingfeng saw Zuo Tianyi looking at her intently, she immediately averted her eyes and Yi Ping noticed it immediately.

Yi Ping thought, “They know one another? Isn’t that the insignia of the Infinity Sword Clan? This man, he should be the Zuo Tianyi, one of the four young masters of the martial fraternity and is also the clan leader of the Infinity Sword Clan. Does Maiden Ji know him as a friend? Or does he recognize her as his enemy?”

He really wished that it was the latter.

All of a sudden, Jue Yuan was shouting angrily, “He can stay but they must not stay!” He was pointing at Yi Ping and Ji Lingfeng.

This did not make Nangong Le, Priest Ling Kongquan and Priest Bai Chongzhen glad at all.

It was like Jue Yuan was giving Priest Ling Kongquan the honor of sitting in the golden seat because of Priest Bai Chongzhen.

Nangong Le said solemnly, “They are my guests and I have personally invited them. Moreover, do you know this young man Yi Ping is the…”

Jue Yuan interrupted, “I know this young man. He is nothing but a trouble-maker. If he wants to sit in the golden seat, he must prove his martial abilities first!”

Jue Yuan began to display his merciless strokes which he had innovated against Yi Ping.

Yi Ping could feel a flurry of windforce raining down against him. He immediately raised his hands to counter-attack. Judging down by the downward poise of his attacker and after exchanging a few blows, he knew that Jue Yuan was using a type of martial arts that could neutralize his opponent strength.

As he had already been forewarned by his father of this deadly martial art that could neutralize the strength of the opponent and its devastating effect, Yi Ping did not dare to move lightly but focus on exchanging blows with Jue Yuan with his forward fists.

Jue Yuan was confident that in less than twenty strokes, this young man would be subdued by his merciless subduing stances. But to his surprise, Yi Ping was able to block, disengage and to counter attack against him no matter how fast his strokes were!

Jue Yuan was mystified. How was it possible for this young man to fight like an experienced exponent and the speed that Yi Ping had disengaged from his blows were startling!

All of a sudden, Yi Ping rolled his hands together and struck hard into the face of Jue Yuan! Jue Yuan was forced immediately to take five steps backward!

Jue Yuan was not injured seriously but he was enraged. He immediately mustered his martial power and thought, “If he dares to accept my blow, then I can overpower him with my martial power. If he dodges it, then I have an opening to subdue him. Either way, it will be advantageous to me!”

Yi Ping knew that Jue Yuan incoming blows had been charged with his martial power and if he did not dodge it, the consequences might be fatal. But he raised his martial power to accept the incoming blow…

All of a sudden, there was a huge clashing thunderclap and Jue Yuan took six steps back before he could steady himself while Yi Ping took three steps back.

As they steadied themselves, both were coughing out blood. The clash of martial power drained the practitioners of strength and could cause the vital energies in the body to be erratic, leading to death.

Jue Yuan could not believe that this young man had the internal strength foundation to withstand his attacks.

Rather than taking time to restore his vitality channels to prevent further internal injuries, the enraged Jue Yuan mustered all his martial power and charged towards Yi Ping once more!

When Yi Ping saw that Jue Yuan was charging towards him with all his martial power, he quickly displayed the Asper Horizon Hand and there was a shrieking explosive power in his palm as he met Jue Yuan’s two hands with his right hand!

Again, Yi Ping took three steps back as he coughed out more blood while Jue Yuan was sent flying back across the hall, much to the astonishment of the crowd!

Jue Yuan was one of the top exponents of the martial fraternity and was greatly feared by many! But today, a young man from nowhere had defeated him; it was truly unbelievable!

Gongsun Jing was stunned that Jue Yuan, a top exponent and his martial master was defeated by Yi Ping. He trembled and quickly said to the men behind him, “Quickly check on Master Jue Yuan condition.”

Gu Tianle was enraged and shouted, “You dare to go against the Honor Manor with your insolence?!” He immediately attacked Yi Ping.

But before he could land a hit on Yi Ping, he was intercepted by a shadow that dashed from the entrance of the hall. He immediately parried the attacker blows and retreated five steps backward!

Who had dared to fight with Gu Tianle the One-Armed Warrior-God?

It was Priest Liu Qingcheng, the Protégé Master of the Tranquil City!

Many of the pugilists had recognized him.

Yi Ping was grateful for the sudden help as he had not recovered his strength yet.

Ji Lingfeng had wanted to intercept Gu Tianle but Priest Liu Qingcheng was even swifter.

Gu Tianle smirked, “You dare to fight with me?”

Priest Liu Qingcheng said, “I dare not!”

Gu Tianle took it as a challenge, “But you have. And those that dare to challenge me will end up dead or crippled. Surely, you know my rule.”

Nangong Le quickly said, “Calm down. This is just a misunderstanding. This is only a matter of seating positions. I…we can sit in the silver seats. There is no need for us to harm our harmony.”

Gu Tianle said, “You are given a golden invitation and chooses not to sit in the golden seat. By not respecting the seating arrangements of the Honor Manor, you are not respecting our Master. Are you thinking of going against the Master of the Honor Manor?”

All of a sudden, Nangong Le felt a chill in his spine and he broke into a sweat. He began to take two steps backward as he could not stand straight. He had suppressed his injuries with his internal strength and the chilling speech of Gu Tianle broke his concentration and he had felt extricating pain from his injuries. He stammered, “Easy, I don’t mean that.”

Gu Tianle stared at Yi Ping, Nangong Le, Priest Ling Kongquan, Liu Qingcheng and Priest Bai Chongzhen before he said, “So the Nangong Martial Clan, the Tranquil City and the Traverse Clan intend to go against the Honor Manor?”

All of a sudden, Yi Ping took a giant step forward even though Ji Lingfeng had caught hold of his sleeves, “So what if I am?”

All of a sudden, uproars erupted from the hall as the pugilists were talking among themselves. It was because no one had dared to challenge Gu Tianle the One-Armed Warrior-God so openly before. And this young man had dared to!

Nangong Le turned ashen immediately. He had thought he could savage the situation and he was now in a real dilemma!

Ji Lingfeng nearly fainted from his imbecile actions. He was lucky enough to overcome Jue Yuan but Gu Tianle was on a different league altogether.

Yi Ping had thought that if he could win Gu Tianle, then he was one step closer to avenge his father. Therefore he did not think much. That was his intention today and he saw no point in disguising his purposes.

Gu Tianle stared at him and said slowly, “Then you have to pay for your audacious words today. You will regret for every single word that you have muttered and wish that you have never said it.”

Nangong Le was feeling awkward and at a loss. If he back off now, the Nangong Martial Clan would lose their honor but if he helps Yi Ping, the Nangong Martial Clan may risk extermination by the Honor Manor. And moreover, this was their territory and they were surrounded by numerous top exponents.

Gu Tianle said to Yi Ping, “You can make the first move first.”

Yi Ping said coolly, “Then I won’t be courteous anymore.”

Ji Lingfeng grasped and her eyes were beaming, “Let us go now…”
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PostSubject: Re: A Martial Odyssey   Sun Aug 25, 2013 12:28 pm

Chapter 15: The Grand Master of the Honor Manor

Just when Yi Ping had taken a step forward, Liu Qingcheng said gravely to him. “The first challenger should be me. My fight with Gu Tianle has not ended yet. You should wait a little while longer, young man.”

Liu Qingcheng stepped forward and raised his fists.

Many of the pugilists in the hall shook their heads. 

Priest Bai Chongzhen said, “Brother Qingcheng, you are not his match. It not worth it to lose your life over a small matter…”

Priest Ling Kongquan said, “It is really not worth it, let us go now…”

Gu Tianle said, “You should use your long sword.”

But Priest Liu Qingcheng had already attacked Gu Tianle with his Tranquil Fists as he said, “No need!”

Gu Tianle dodged the intricate strokes of the Tranquil Fists and raised his palm forward and struck Priest Liu Qingcheng hard! 

Priest Liu Qingcheng parried in time but he lost his footings and he was forced to take seven steps backward!

The martial difference between the two of them was too great. 

Gu Tianle had displayed his famous ‘Ultrapowerful Force Hand’ and it was all it was required to push back Priest Qingcheng! 

Yi Ping saw that stance before when he first met Gu Tianle. It was like an irresistible attack and he remembered he had to parry it three times to steady himself, only this time Gu Tianle was not showing any mercy at all. 

Gu Tianle immediately seized the attack opportunity and he flew to Priest Liu Qingcheng again with another strike!

All of a sudden, Priest Liu Qingcheng had counterattacked with his Tranquil Fists again.

Gu Tianle was surprised that his martial force seemed to be neutralized by Priest Liu Qingcheng Tranquil Fists! 

Everyone had thought that Priest Liu Qingcheng was a goner but all of a sudden, Priest Liu Qingcheng and Gu Tianle was suddenly on par and had exchanged more than thirty strokes nonstop!

Priest Ling Kongquan was stunned as he thought, “When did older protégé brother becomes this good? This is still the Tranquil Fists but it seems to be alive now. It appears as if he has become the Tranquil Fist and the Tranquil Fists is him.” 

Even Priest Bai Chongzhen grasped, “This is the true strength of the Tranquil Fist? It is too amazing!” 

Actually Priest Liu Qingcheng had no confident. But when he had successfully parried Gu Tianle’s ‘Ultrapowerful Force Hand’, his doubts disappeared and his confidence grew. 

With the Tranquil Spirits intricate formula that he had earlier learnt from the Celestial Fairy, his Tranquil Fists seemed to improve and grow more and more intricate as he fought even though he did not have the martial power of Gu Tianle!

Gu Tianle was astonished. He really could not understand why each time he was so close to sound the death knell for Priest Liu Qingcheng, his very attacks would seem to be neutralized at the last moment! 

Yi Ping was staring at the fight with excitement. This was a rare fight between two top opponents! Their attack moves, their defending moves, their swiftness skills and evading skills were all too intricate and extraordinary! 

Not only Yi Ping, all the other pugilists were awed into silence as more than three hundred moves had passed between Gu Tianle and Liu Qingcheng. Whoever could endure to the very last would win! 

All of a sudden, Gu Tianle struck Priest Liu Qingcheng with an explosive force on his chest and he was sent flying away!

Priest Bai Chongzhen and Priest Ling Kongquan immediately executed their swiftness movement skills and caught hold of Priest Liu Qingcheng! 

Priest Liu Qingcheng muttered before he fainted, “I hope I didn’t disgrace the Tranquil City…”

Priest Ling Kongquan said gravely as he trembled, “Older Protégé Brother, you did very well…”

In the end, the martial power between Gu Tianle and Priest Liu Qingcheng was still too great a difference. 

Yi Ping prayed that Priest Liu Qingcheng condition was not critical as he stepped forward, “Now it is my turn!”

Ji Lingfeng sighed silently, “Yi Ping you…As much as I want to extract vengeance on Gu Tianle, he is really above our league. Moreover, there are other top exponents in this hall too. You are really too impatient…” 

All of a sudden, there was a malevolent aura that seemed to come from Zuo Tianyi. 

Everyone seemed to have sense his malevolent aura and turned to look in his direction.

Zuo Tianyi had unsheathed his long sword and he was walking slowly towards Yi Ping as he said slowly, “Old Senior Gu needs a small rest first. Why don’t we spar for a while first?”

Yi Ping looked at Zuo Tianyi and said, “I don’t mind.”

Gu Tianle said solemnly, “I don’t need a rest.”

But Zuo Tianyi had already walked in front of Yi Ping and there seemed to be a forbidden killing malevolent around him.

Gu Tianle thought, “This is a good opportunity to see how good this new protégé master of the Infinity Sword Clan is.”

So he said, “If I fight with this young man, I afraid I will be mocked by everyone in the fraternity and accused of bullying him. But since Young Master Zuo wants to teach him a lesson, I will relent.” 

All of a sudden, there was loud earth-shaking laughter coming from the end of the hall! The internal strength of the person was astonishing powerful! The weaker pugilists immediately felt dizzy and their vital energies were disrupted! 

Who else possessed such almighty internal strength? 

It was Gongsun Bai! 

When Gongsun Jing saw him, he immediately said respectfully. “Father!”

The grand hall was filled with a resounding shout by the protégés of the Honor Manor, “With great respect to the Grand Master of the Honor Manor, with great honor to the Grand Master of the Honor Manor!”

Yi Ping looked hatefully in his direction. 

Gongsun Bai was an imposing bearded man in his fifties and he was dressed in finery. He was heavily muscled and of strong build. 

He began to look at everyone in the grand hall; everyone could feel the piercing gaze of his sweeping stares! 

The legs of many of the pugilists became jelly and many looked to the ground in discomfort. 

Gongsun Bai said imposingly, “Who has dared to injure a member of the Honor Manor. Don’t you know this is my domain? Do you know my rule?”

All eyes turned and looked at Yi Ping, who remained standing relentlessly without flinching. 

Zuo Tianyi said, “I am about to teach this insolent fellow a lesson on behalf of the Honor Manor.”

Gongsun Bai stared fiercely at Zuo Tianyi and said, “Who do you think you are that you think you can act on behalf of the Honor Manor?”

The pugilists immediately feared for Zuo Tianyi. It was because no one made any decisions for Master Gongsun Bai. He was always the master and the rest were his subordinates! 

Zuo Tianyi smiled bitterly and said, “I am who I am. The enemy of the Honor Manor is my enemy as well. The friend of the Honor Manor is my friend.”

Gongsun Bai stared at Zuo Tianyi for a while before he said, “Very well. You are indeed a righteous knight errant like your grandfather. This congregation is partly held in honor of the Old Sword Saint. You may teach this young man a lesson on behalf of the Honor Manor.”

He then proceeded to sit on the golden throne. 

Even though the majority of the pugilists were uncomfortable with Gongsun Bai arrogance but there were nothing they could do. It was because Gongsun Bai was the most powerful man and the Honor Manor the most powerful martial clan in the martial fraternity for the past ten years!

While the Old Man Zuo the Sword Saint was still alive, the seven major orthodox clans could still stand on equal footing with the Honor Manor. But now, they were no different from a second tier martial clan, which had almost all submitted to the Honor Manor! 

Zuo Tianyi said, “Then I thanks Master Gongsun for this honor.”

He turned and looked at Yi Ping before saying coldly, “I am Zuo Tianyi. What is your name? I do not kill nameless fellow.”

Yi Ping looked at everyone and said aloud, “I am Yi Ping.”

Zuo Tianyi looked past Yi Ping and looked at Ji Lingfeng. 

When Ji Lingfeng saw Zuo Tianyi looking at her, she averted her eyes again. 

Zuo Tianyi said to Yi Ping, “I will like to see how outstanding you are.”

Yi Ping drew out his long sword without hesitation. He thought, “Even if I were to die today, I must never disgrace my father.”

Ji Lingfeng looked at Yi Ping and seemed to want to say something but she hesitated. 

Zuo Tianyi displayed his sword stance, the Infinity Pose Stance and pointed his sword towards Yi Ping from the top of his head while his left fingers were posed and readied with the sword finger stance. 

Yi Ping readied his sword to the top of his head too and lifted his palm in front of him, with the Divine Horizon Hand Stance.

Both stances were similar but had a subtle difference. 

The weird thing was that both continued to stand in this tiring pose for some time.

Zuo Tianyi was waiting for an opening to strike against Yi Ping but his opponent stance surprised him. It was similar to his. This type of stance was the perfect defensive sword stance, able to defend from the top to the feet at the quickest time. 

Moreover, Yi Ping’s stance had no opening for him for an instant win. 

Therefore he waited for Yi Ping to be tired and soften his stance or to attack him. But that did not happen. Zuo Tianyi thought, “This young man is a practicing swordsman too? It looks like this battle is not going to end fast.” 

Yi Ping broke the silence and said, “Are you going to attack or not? I am still waiting! I have never heard of a challenger who is a tortoise!”

Zuo Tianyi had recognized Ji Lingfeng and he could tell that she had her eyes only on Yi Ping. 

If Yi Ping were to fight against Gu Tianle, he would surely lose his life. Therefore he had decided to interfere so that he could find a way to get him out of this awful situation. 

He had thought, “This young man did not know his limits. He dares to offend the Honor Manor? Even the Infinity Sword Clan dare not offend the Honor Manor…interesting.”

But Yi Ping’s sword stances intrigued him more and aroused his interests…

Zuo Tianyi was amused, “I have never known a person that can’t wait to die.” And he instantly displayed a dancing barrage of sword strokes. 

Yi Ping attacked with the Horizon Swordplay and met stroke for stroke!

When Gongsun Bai saw that Yi Ping had displayed the Horizon Swordplay, his stares turned murderous and this was noticed by Ji Lingfeng. 

Ji Lingfeng sighed softly and she could feel a terrible ache in her heart, “Yi Ping, Yi Ping…perhaps we shouldn’t be here at all. I am so sorry. I shouldn’t have brought you here…”

It was not wrong to say that Zuo Tianyi was one of the top swordsmen in the martial fraternity and his swordplay was extremely fast and lethal! No one expected Yi Ping to hold his ground against Zuo Tianyi but he did! 

Everyone began to hold their breath as their sword techniques became faster and more extraordinary! 

However the older and experienced pugilists were able to see that Zuo Tianyi was attacking more and that Yi Ping was defending more. Therefore it was not wrong to say that victory would eventually belong to Zuo Tianyi! 

Yi Ping was amazed at Zuo Tianyi swordplay and he almost lost his focus. 

The duel amazed the pugilists. Zuo Tianyi swordplay was steady and calculating. It was as though there was no weakness in his swordplay while Yi Ping swordplay was so fast like lightning that the sword tip of his sword vanished from sight! 

The Infinity Swordplay was a swordplay that split from one stroke to a great multitude of sword strokes, with each splinter hiding additional strokes and secret techniques. That was how it got its name. Those that did not know the origin of the Infinity Swordplay would not be on guard against it and would often lose, the price of losing was often heavy; death or maimed. 

Few pugilists in the fraternity had recognized the Horizon Swordplay. The meaning of the Horizon was to strike beyond the horizon and out of the blue from somewhere. Only a few pugilists presented like Gongsun Bai, Yue Yuan and Gu Tianle had recognized it!

Gu Tianle expressions turned deadly solemn. It was because twenty years ago, Gongsun Bai, Jue Yuan and he had ambushed Yi Tianxing together. They had thought that he was dead and had no more descendants. And this young man had the same surname Yi as him. 

Zuo Tianyi was secretly surprised that he had used more than sixty strokes and yet to defeat Yi Ping. This was a huge loss of face in front of the crowd and a loss of prestige among the swordsmen that were presented. 

Few opponents had rarely forced him to use beyond the Infinity-Seven and this Yi Ping had forced him to use too many of his secret techniques in front of the crowd. 

As soon as he got the opportunity and the opening that he needed, he immediately displayed the Infinity-Three sword stroke!

Just when Yi Ping swung his sword to parry it, there was a burst of cold energy from the tip of Zuo Tianyi sword. 

Yi Ping was caught by surprise by the sudden cumulative brilliant flare of Zuo Tianyi’s sword stroke and reacted slower. He was instantly sent flying backward by the tremendous martial force of the Infinity-Three!

Just when Zuo Tianyi had thought that he had won, he was stunned to see Yi Ping was on his feet again! 

He immediately raised the martial power of his Infinitude Recite to its zenith and developed it into multitudes of sword energies that charged his long sword!

The pugilists could feel the chilling cold energy that was radiated from Zuo Tianyi and they were all forced to take several steps backward! 

Shangguan Qingyun, the Old Protégé Master of the Divine Sword Martial Clan was stunned. He had dedicated all his life to the sword and could yet he could not breech through the physical forms of his swordplay. 

He had thought that Old Man Zuo the Sword Saint was an exception and there would be no others in the future. But this Zuo Tianyi who was barely thirty had already achieved the sword energy form!

Zuo Tianyi had used the Infinity-Two! The Infinity-Three was a sword stroke that merged the physical form and enveloped the sword with deadly sword energies while the Infinity-Two was an even higher stage that enveloped the practitioner with sword energies aura. 

Zuo Tianyi had wanted to conceal his true strength but when he had met a worthy opponent, he had actually forgotten about it.

When Yi Ping had stood up again, he was stunned. It was because it seemed that he was not affected by his sword energy!

He had even forgotten that it was just a mock duel and had raised all his martial power to its zenith!

When Yi Ping had been struck by Zuo Tianyi sword energy, it felt as though his vital energies had been dispersed and he thought he was going to die. But all of a sudden, he felt a smoothing and renewed energy flowing through his entire body! Unwittingly, Zuo Tianyi attacks had helped him to clear his Conception Vessel and the Governing Vessel temporary, two of the most important eight wondrous meridians! 

Zuo Tianyi immediately thought, “He is protected by a body impervious force?”

The truth was that Yi Ping was protected by the Icy Heavenly Tears Intricate Energy that was inside him, which was similar to the cold piercing sword energy. 

That was why when Zuo Tianyi had raised his Infinitude Recite to its zenith, Yi Ping was still unaffected!

Even Ji Lingfeng was stunned as she thought, “He is unaffected by Zuo Tianyi’s sword energy?”

Yi Ping could see the visible energy that radiated from Zuo Tianyi and from his sword. He did not notice that everyone else had been affected by the unnerving cold piercing of that energy. 

In fact, he did not even realize he was the only one that could see the invisible sword energy other than Zuo Tianyi!

Yi Ping raised his spirits with the Divine Revelation and imbued his long sword with the martial power of the Asper Invocations Intricate Recite to its zenith. He knew that Zuo Tianyi martial power was at its zenith too and he dared not be careless. He could not afford to die before he could avenge for his parents!

Even before Ji Lingfeng had recovered from her astonishments, Yi Ping had attacked Zuo Tianyi with the Horizon Swordplay, as mirror images of his sword flew against him! 

Zuo Tianyi raised his Infinity Swordplay and in that split second, he had executed thirty-six strokes followed by eight-one strokes of the Infinity Swordplay! 

The two swordsmen clashed against one another so fast that there were clashes of brilliant light that the pugilists could hardly see their body movements and even their sword strokes. In fact, no one had believed it was possible to achieve such supernatural speed and attacks! 

The pugilists could only held their breath in awe as they watched their spattering blood that flew in all directions amidst the dozens of brilliant lights and ear-shrieking clashing sound that rung nonstop! 

Ji Lingfeng could not hold back her tears anymore as she saw their blood flying in all directions even though it was impossible for her to see whose blood was it. 

Even renowned swordsmen like Young Master Qiu Wufeng, the Heartless Scholar, Shangguan Qingyun and Old Priest Yan Nanfei the protégé master of the Zen Sect was astonished. It seemed to them that the swordplay level of Zuo Tianyi was at a much higher progression than they had thought! 

Nangong Le was even more startled. He had never thought that the new friend that he had just befriended possessed such unfathomable swordplay and his martial level was not beneath that of a young master of the martial fraternity! 

He began to sigh as he stole a glance at the tearful Maiden Lingfeng, “If this Yi Ping does not die, I really do not have any hope.”

And so he silently rooted for Zuo Tianyi but he was saying to Ji Lingfeng, “Maiden, Brother Yi Ping will surely be alright and be blessed by the Heavens above. Don’t worry…”

All of a sudden, a sword flew with such sudden speed into the midst of Yi Ping and Zuo Tianyi that it broke their fight!

Both Zuo Tianyi and Yi Ping began to stagger several steps backward as they stared at a beautiful long sword that not only broke their fight by piercing through them; this beautiful long sword had even rebounded against the wall and was thrust into the ground that had just divided them! 

They were both bloodied and covered with numerous sword wounds but they were still staring in utter disbelief at this beautiful long sword that was thrust into the ground!

They had sensed and saw this sword flying towards them. Both had exercised their martial power to deflect this sword away but instead of deflecting this sword, both were pushed away by the martial force that was imbued in this flying sword! 

They simply could not believe their very eyes that a weapon without a master could withstand the zenith of their martial power at the same time! 

Most pugilists could not tell from their bewildered expressions. But they were stunned that a long sword from nowhere could interrupt the duel and rebounded with such almighty force against the wall; it was able to thrust itself precisely into the same ground that it had interrupted the duel! 

Ji Lingfeng did not care for all these. She simply flew to Yi Ping embrace and took out her handkerchief. She began to clean his wounds as she asked, “Hmph Yi Ping, are you alright? Why are you so foolish? You should know your limits and where we are…”

Yi Ping nodded silently and he could feel exhaustion seeping in...

Ji Lingfeng said, “Don’t try to talk. Adjust your breathing first…”

It was as though they were alone in the grand hall and many of the pugilists were filled with envy especially Nangong Le and Qiu Wufeng. 

Zuo Tianyi had suffered fewer wounds than Yi Ping but he too, was drained of his martial strength once he had stopped. He was immediately supported by his clan protégés to his seat!

Zuo Tianyi was staring in shocked silence at his trembling sword. He could not believe that he could fail to deflect this flying sword given his martial strength and almost lost his grip too...

Gongsun Bai was enraged as he thundered aloud, “Who is that? Since you are already here, why don’t you come in?”

Almost all the pugilists immediately guessed that it would be a super exponent that used a sword but none could guess who was it given that almost all the renowned top exponents were here. 

A wrinkled old man in his seventies with an empty scabbard and a demure maiden with a long sword were standing in front of the entrance. The old man was dressed in a simple gray robe while the demure maiden was also dressed in a simple outfit but it still could not hide her attractiveness. 

It was obvious it was the old man that had threw the beautiful adorn long sword. 

When Zuo Tianyi saw the demure maiden, his eyes almost popped out…

Gongsun Bai said solemnly, “Do you know the rules of the Honor Manor? Are you courting your own death? Did you throw that long sword?”

The wrinkled old man smiled, “I didn’t throw that sword but so what if I did?”

Gongsun Bai asked, “You didn’t throw that long sword?”

The wrinkled old man looked at everyone in the hall and his eyes lingered at Ji Lingfeng for some time before he laughed aloud, “Did anyone of you see me throwing a long sword? How do you throw a long sword?”

Gu Tianle the One-Armed Warrior-God said, “It is obvious that you are here to find trouble. Who are you and where did you come from?”

Then he shouted to the guards, “Why didn’t anyone of you stop him? Summon all the guards later; I will flog them twenty lashes!”

Gongsun Bai said, “There is no need to check. They are all dead. There is a heavy stench of blood around this old man. Who are you and where did you come from? If you don’t give me a reasonable answer, don’t expect to leave this place alive.”

All of a sudden, the wrinkled old man raised his hand and slapped the demure maiden hard on her left cheek and she fell onto the ground!

Her left cheek immediately turned red and there was blood snoozing from the tip of her delicate mouth. 

Venerable Master Deng Zhong, the Head Abbot of the Monument Monastery immediately said, “Why did you hit her for? You have to be reasonable!”

He was not the only one who had reacted in that instant. 

Nangong Le, Qiu Wufeng, Gongsun Jing and many others were all startled and were feeling indignant for the demure maiden.

All of a sudden, it seemed that the entire congregation was united again!

The wrinkled old man said, “I am unreasonable? Just a moment ago, you are all demanding for her blood. She is the one that throw that sword. I have merely passed her my sword but she has failed to announce herself and interrupted the duel. This is just a small punishment for her.”

This demure maiden was the one that threw the long sword? No one in the grand hall believed such a blatant lie! 

The demure maiden had quietly picked herself up and stood beside the wrinkled old man once again. 

Yi Ping was angry and he scolded the wrinkled old man, “No matter, you shouldn’t have lifted your hands on her! Who do you think you are?”

The crowds were all experienced pugilists with vast experiences in the fraternity. Most of them would not act rashly for fear of offending the wrong person. And Yi Ping was scolding this wrinkled old man! Even Gongsun Bai had yet to berate this old man yet! 

The demure maiden looked up and looked at him intently. 

The wrinkled old man said to Yi Ping, “Young man, are you sick of living already?”

But before Yi Ping could say a word more, he was dragged away by Ji Lingfeng who had struck him on his back!

Ji Lingfeng nearly fainted from Yi Ping boldness. She pulled him back to the side and said nervously, “Yi Ping, this is between Gongsun Bai and this old man. Don’t get drag into this.”

Yi Ping was already seriously injured, sustaining both serious external and internal injuries. When Ji Lingfeng had struck him hard onto his back, his entire vision became a blur! 

He could only mutter, “Whose side are you on again…”

Gongsun Bai said, “Don’t let me repeat myself again. Who are you?”

The wrinkled old man looked at the demure maiden and smiled for a while.

When they followed the glance of the wrinkled old man, they were stunned to see the bruises on the demure maiden face had totally vanished! It was as though she had never been slapped!

The wrinkled old man said, “I am Xiao Shuai, the Master of the Virtuous Palace.”

When the pugilists heard the name of the Virtuous Palace, there was a sudden great silence in the grand hall. 

Gongsun Bai solemn face had flinched for an instant. 

The Virtuous Palace was one of the three most forbidden places in the entire fraternity and was located in the Far East Fraternity. It had rarely interfered in the affairs of the martial fraternity. Few pugilists bothered with the Virtuous Palace too for those that tried to enter its forbidden premise never made it back alive. 

The Virtuous Palace was renowned for a type of swordplay known as the Flying Sword Swordplay. Was that the Flying Sword Swordplay that was displayed earlier? 

No one had really seen the martial skills of the Virtuous Palace or knows how high the martial level of its practitioners was. 

Gongsun Bai said, “The Honor Manor and the Virtuous Palace has no dealing with one another whatever so. The Virtuous Palace has rarely meddles in the martial affairs. So what do you want?”
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PostSubject: Re: A Martial Odyssey   Fri Aug 30, 2013 3:56 pm

Chapter 16: The Virtuous Palace

Xiao Shuai began to scan his eyes around the grand hall before he sighed softly, “It seems that she is not here and she has purposely lured us here.”
Even though his voice was not loud but the crowd could hear it clearly.
The demure maiden nodded silently.
Xiao Shuai said, “If I tell you that I am looking for someone here, will you believe me?”
Gongsun Bai said coldly, “What do you think?”
Xiao Shuai smiled coldly, “It seems that you are master of this place. Very well, let assume that you are the only one that is fit to talk to me then. Who are you?”
The numerous pugilists that were eagerly watching the outcome were stunned that he did not know who Gongsun Bai was?
Gongsun Bai roared with tremendous laughter, “You don’t know who I am?”
Xiao Shuai said coldly, “You have asked who I am. I have told you. Surely you will return me the courtesy and tell me your name?”
Gongsun Bai was furious that this old man had actually blatantly declare that he did not know him yet he dare to barge into his domain? In the entire fraternity, even a commoner knows who he was.
Virtuous Palace or not, there was no one in the entire fraternity that he feared now. Moreover, the Virtuous Palace was a legend and no one had ever seen any protégés from the Virtuous Palace in the fraternity before.
Gu Tianle and Gongsun Jing immediately shouted, “How atrocious! You don’t even know who Master Gongsun Bai is?!”
Gu Tianle added, “You must be tired of living already! Let me teach you a lesson! Master Gongsun is the Grand Master of the Honor Manor and you are now in his place. If you do not bow before him, don’t blame me for not warning you!”
Xiao Shuai hummed coldly before saying, “I have no ill-intention and I am already being extremely tolerant.”
Gongsun Bai said coldly, “You have no ill-intention and yet you have killed my men?”
Xiao Shuai laughed aloud, “Don’t be misunderstood. I have merely taught them a lesson. They are still alive.”
Gongsun Bai asked, “They are alive?”
Xiao Shuai said, “Really, you can take a look if you want.”
Gongsun Bai said, “If they are alive, then where are they now?”
Xiao Shuai said, “If you lose an arm then the pain will be agonizing, am I right? If you are in pain, will you have the strength to do anything else?”
Gongsun Bai said coldly, “And you are saying you are coming to help the Honor Manor?”
Xiao Shuai said, “They are rude to me and refuses to allow me to enter the Gongsun Manor even after I have said I am from the Virtuous Palace. Therefore I have to teach them a small lesson.”
Gongsun Bai said coldly, “Unfortunately, you have already offended the Honor Manor. Do you think I will let you off just like this?”
Xiao Shuai looked at the pugilists slowly, “It seems that there are so many top exponents here. It seems foolhardy for me to fight against everyone, am I right?”
All the pugilists began to smile bitterly. In fact many of the pugilists were secretly hoping that this ‘Xiao Shuai’ would help them to teach Gongsun Bai a lesson. It was because under his dominating influence, many of the martial clans had suffered exceedingly.
Gongsun Bai said coldly, “Is there anyone in the congregation that believes your nonsense?”
Zuo Tianyi had been looking intently at the demure maiden who was standing beside the wrinkled old man for a long time…
She had not changed at all.
She was Ding Yunzi, his distant cousin.
They were both around the same age.
He remembered that when Ding Yunzi was just a young girl, she would often visit him with her mother. In time to come, the visits got less and less frequent and turned into a bi-yearly visit. When he was eighteen, her visits had totally stopped all of a sudden…
And ten years had almost passed since they had last seen each other…
Each time when she had come, she seemed to hide a terrible sorrow and would often cry alone in the night. He knew because he had secretly eavesdropped outside her room.
Even though everyone had called him a prodigy swordsman but it was not entirely the truth.
It was because many of his improvements were attributed to her.
She would secretly impart to him several sword techniques and corrected his sword strokes so that he would be able to improve. He had no idea how she had acquainted her sword skills and she had never discussed it.
In his heart, she was his little protégé mistress and the very reason why he was always training day in and night out so that one day, he would proudly be able to demonstrate his skills to her and earned her praise.
He sworn that one day, he would be her protector and dreamed of the day that she would be his wife…
But that day had never come because she had suddenly disappeared from the face of the earth.
He would often ask his grandfather on her whereabouts and her origins but the Old Sword Saint would shake his head and said, “She is in a faraway place.”
When he asked his grandfather when he was twenty-two that he would find her and bring her back as his wife, his grandfather flew into a rage and scolded him, “With your puny skills, do you think you are able to reach that immoral place alive? You have better forget her, the sooner the better!”
He replied coldly, “I have nothing to fear…”
Before he could finish, the Old Sword Saint had slapped him hard and rebuked him sharply, “That is an immoral place and she is an immoral woman. Do not ever mention her in front of me, ever again!”
He had tried to enquiry others on her whereabouts but no one was willing to tell him. Finally an elder had secretly told him, “That place is a fearsome place and one of the martial holy grounds of the martial fraternity. No one really knows where it is. If you want to go there, you have to be as good as the Sword Saint. Otherwise you will really die there.”
He had never forgotten her; she was the only reason for his existence and the reason why he pushed himself so hard. He was lonely, very lonely…
It was only when he was practicing his sword, could he feel her presence and of the times that they were together.
He could only mutter now, “Is that really you? I have grown old yet you look exactly the same as ten years ago…”
When Ji Lingfeng saw Zuo Tianyi looking intently at the demure maiden, she began to recall the time when she was alone with him a year ago…
She had asked him, “Why are you closing your eyes? Are you shy or are you blind? Or you are despising me because I am from the unorthodox sect?”
Zuo Tianyi opened his eyes and smiled, “None of the above.”
Ji Lingfeng asked coldly, “Hmph, then why are you not looking at me?”

Zuo Tianyi sighed and he seemed to look at a faraway place, “If only you are her…”
Ji Lingfeng asked coolly, “So you already have a sweetheart. Who is she?”
Zuo Tianyi began to tremble as he said, “She is someone that I will never see again in my entire life…”
Ji Lingfeng looked at the demure maiden and thought, “She is the one that Zuo Tianyi is longing for?”
Her thoughts were interrupted when Gongsun Bai roared mightily and everyone could feel his martial power. He began to take a step forward and immediately, the stone flooring beneath him began to crack!
Gongsun Bai had just attained a new level in his Invincible Divine Force and he was lamenting of an opponent to test his new martial power.
And this old man here may be a suitable target for him!
In front of the pugilists today, he was going to demonstrate his martial power and to awestruck them so that none of them would go against him in the future.
Xiao Shuai said, “What a mighty martial power! Is this the Invincible Divine Force?”
Gongsun Bai replied coldly, “That’s right!”
Xiao Shuai said, “This skill needs at least sixty years of martial power to even begin to start practicing and it is an extremely difficult to learn but powerful skill. Even if you train day and night, most people will not be able to go past the basics even when they are sixty. And you have reached the advance stage already. Very Impressive!”
Gongsun Bai said, “Indeed. This skill has many difficulties...”
Xiao Shuai replied, “And it is incomplete too.”
Gongsun snarled, “How do you know?”
Xiao Shuai hummed coldly, “It is not only incomplete and dangerous to practice too. I know because the Invincible Divine Force that you have is a copy from the Virtuous Palace!”
The pugilists began to rumble among themselves.
Xiao Shuai simply added, “The Virtuous Palace deliberately left it in the central plains thirty years ago. I didn’t expect that you are actually its new owner. How on earth did you manage to decipher it when so many of us had failed? This is so interesting.”
Gongsun Bai refused to answer him because there were many other pugilists in the grand hall. And moreover this old man knew that a fight was forthcoming and the two of them were actually maneuvering for the best advantage.
The one that helped him to decipher and added to the intricate formula of the Invincible Divine Force was Shui Yichi, the wife of Yi Tianxing. He hated Yi Tianxing for having such a good wife when he should be the one that she ought to marry.
He glanced at Yi Ping briefly with his murderous intent.
Gongsun Bai said, “You are not weak either, judging by your martial power when you throw the sword.”
Indeed, the two of them had peak their martial power. A decisive win would depend on their true skills and techniques.
Gongsun Bai said, “But today, you will surely die here. I will not allow another person to undermine my authority and will not tolerate anyone to be a threat to me.”
Xiao Shuai looked solemnly at him, “Is that so?”
Gongsun Bai said, “When top exponents duel with one another, besides martial power and techniques, the human factor and the timing are also an important factor.”
Xiao Shuai shifted slightly, “That is right!”
Gongsun Bai said, “We are almost equal in martial power and strength. I have the full support of the congregation and that is the human factor. I can attack you with no fear of hesitation but you can’t. This is my domain and I have the timing. Timing, Terrain and human factor, which one have you got?”
Xiao Shuai lowered his gaze before saying, “Indeed, I have none of it.”
Gongsun Bai said coldly, “If you bow to me, I may consider sparing your life.”
Xiao Shuai hummed coldly, “You are asking an old man that is twenty-years your senior to bow to you?”
Gongsun Bai laughed, “Everyone bows to me in the fraternity and you are no exception!”
Yi Ping had regained some of his conscious and strength. He was clenching his fists in rage at Gongsun Bai’s arrogance.
Xiao Shuai said coldly, “So if I don’t, you will surely kill me. So will the pugilists all attack me at the same time or you will?”
Gongsun Bai laughed, “You don’t have to go around in circles. I am looking for a good fight. It is too easy to crash you by asking others to do so. But I want to let the whole fraternity to know this; anyone that dares to offend me will rue the day they are born! I will let them die in the most painful manner.”
Venerable Master Deng Zhong, the Head Abbot of the Monument Monastery immediately muttered, “Merciful Buddha!”

Many of the orthodox clans were silent. No one dared to mutter anything against Gongsun Bai out of fear.
Xiao Shuai said, “When I fight with others, my disciple will fight side by side with me…”
The demure maiden shook her head in panic and took several steps backward!
Gu Tianle interrupted and raised his voice angrily, “You cunning old man! Two versus one? You really know how to take advantage. Then you don’t mind that I take a part too?”
Xiao Shuai smiled bitterly, “I really don’t mind. It is my style to fight in pair.”
Gongsun Bai looked at the attractive demure maiden and smiled, “If she is not afraid of getting killed, then she can join in. I will hate to kill someone like her. More hands don’t mean more advantage.”
The less confident his opponent had, the higher his odds of winning!
Gongsun Bai said, “What is your weapon?”
Xiao Shuai said coldly, “My sword of course. What about yours?”
Gongsun Bai smiled, “With my bare hands. I have stopped using a weapon ten years ago. As long as the weapon is my heart, I can kill.”
Xiao Shuai exclaimed aloud, “That is the extraordinary martial stage of without a weapon in your hand and having a weapon in the heart. You have attained that stage?”
Gongsun Bai replied proudly, “That is right.”
The pugilists presented were awestruck. It was because even though many pugilists understood that principle but few people could really reach that level of attainment. Only a few super exponents like Gongsun Bai, Gu Tianle, Jue Yuan and the Celestial Fairy could possibly reach that stage.
Even the Sword Saint who was highly acclaimed for his martial prowess did not reach that level of attainment…
Xiao Shuai sighed, “It seems that I have met a formidable opponent today. Yunzi, fetch me my sword.”
Now the pugilists knew that her name was Yunzi.
She walked unhurriedly to the beautifully adorned long sword that was thrust into the ground, pulled it out before walking back to her protégé master and handing the long sword back to him.
Some of the pugilists were secretly jeering at Xiao Shuai. They were cursing, “He had denied that he was the one that threw the long sword and now he was asking for his sword. What a joke!”
The demure maiden began to distance herself from Xiao Shuai by walking all the way to the entrance!
Xiao Shuai looked annoyed and sighed, “Nowadays, even my own disciple cannot be trusted. In times of crisis, each is on their own.”
Gongsun Bai said coldly, “Are you done yet?”
Xiao Shuai brandished his long sword, “I'm ready!”
Gongsun Bai immediately raised his martial power and charged at Xiao Shuai!
That Gongsun Bai could raise his martial power in such a short time astonished the pugilists presented!
Xiao Shuai immediately swung his sword in a circular movement and thrown it towards the charging Gongsun Bai!
The flying sword sped like lightning and flew towards Gongsun Bai! This was the exact flying sword technique that everyone had seen earlier!
The flying sword was filled with extraordinary powerful martial power as it sped towards Gongsun Bai!
Even though this flying sword was startling fast, it was simple too straightforward and it was all too easy for Gongsun Bai to dodge it!
As soon as Gongsun Bai evaded the attack and charged towards Xiao Shuai again, the flying sword struck the wall behind Gongsun Bai and rebounded again with a startling force towards him again!
Gongsun Bai hummed coldly; this was just a small nuisance to him.
He simply raised his right hand and used his famous Ironclad Claw Skill with the full martial power of his Invincible Divine Force.
As soon the flying sword flew back towards him and impacted onto his right hand, it was deflected and dropped onto the ground!
Gongsun Bai was now in front of Xiao Shuai and was exchanging blows with him!
They were exchanging blows so fast that the pugilists could only see their body being stationary but their hands and legs were just shades of shadow!
Gongsun Bai was heard saying, “It is no use. Nothing can penetrate my Invincible Divine Force!”
To prove his point, he no longer defended against Xiao Shuai attacks once he had gauged the strength of his martial power!
Xiao Shuai attacks had landed on him harmlessly!
Gongsun Bai laughed coldly and said, “Now you will die…”
But before he could finish, Xiao Shuai had smashed through his Invincible Divine Force, not once but several times on several parts of his body, including his head and face!
Both Yi Ping and Ji Lingfeng grasped to themselves, “That is the Penetrating Hands?!”
Gongsun Bai was momentary stunned and startled…
He had not sense any martial power increase coming from Xiao Shuai and yet when he was struck, it seemed that Xiao Shuai attacking strength had increased several folds!
Just when he was about to step backward…
At this moment of time, the demure maiden had silently drew her sword and had whirled it in a circular movement around her more than a dozen times in less than a split second and had sent her long sword flying towards Gongsun Bai!
Qiu Wufeng was famous for his silent swordplay and was given the fraternity name of Windless Swordsman. He was proud of his fraternity name. No one else would attack as silently as him.
But this demure and attractive maiden, she had actually drawn out her long sword so silently and so quickly that it was unbelievable!
If he had not witnessed it personal himself, he would never have believed it!
He was not the only one that was staring in disbelief, the rest of the pugilists that had noticed it were staring in complete disbelief!
Qiu Wufeng and Nangong Le had noticed it because they were looking at her lecherously! They were thinking if this Xiao Shuai had died, then this poor maiden would suffer a terrible fate and it would be a great pity should that happened. So they were looking at her and watching her expressions. But all of a sudden, she had brandish out her long sword…
And her flying sword too, was filled with martial power as it sped towards Gongsun Bai!
In that split second, she had brandished her long sword, whirled it more than a dozen times and sent it flying towards Gongsun Bai in the same second!
Her flying sword flew with startling speed between Gongsun Bai and Xiao Shuai!
Gongsun Bai still had his arms extending in front when he was suddenly struck multiple times by Xiao Shuai!
So when her flying sword flew across between them, it sliced off the arms of Gongsun Bai!
Gongsun Bai yelled aloud in pain as blood from his arm came rushing forth in all directions as Xiao Shuai leapt backward!
While he was still yelling in pain, the flying sword rebounded against the hall pillar and back towards him again, cutting off his head!
When her sword had cut off Gongsun Bai’s head, it continued on its path and back into the hands of the demure maiden who whirled the long sword again, cleaning its blade from the blood stains before she sheathed it back into her scabbard!
All these happened so fast that no one was able to react to what was happening!
This quiet, seemingly innocent and attractive maiden was actually a top exponent! It just did not match her age and image!
The numerous pugilists of the various sects and clans were stunned into silence! Gongsun Bai, the most powerful man in the entire fraternity was now a dead man! He had died very quickly but in great agony…
Gongsun Jing had immediately fainted on the spot when he witnessed his father’s death and several protégés of the Honor Manor began to crowd around him panicky to check on his condition.
Xiao Shuai had picked up his long sword as he said, “It is still safer to have a weapon in the hands. Alas, he is all talk and no substance. Martial skills, timing, terrain and human factor, I have none but yet I have won?”
He muttered to himself, “If you have the patience to practice for another twenty years, then maybe you would be truly invincible.”
No one could really understand how this mysterious old man and maiden could bypass Gongsun Bai’s Invincible Divine Force!
No one else but Yi Ping! He had personally witnessed the martial power of the Penetrating Hand! When the Penetrating Hand had breached the Invincible Divine Force, Gongsun Bai’s martial power had dropped considerably that even the demure maiden’s flying sword could slice through his arms…
Yi Ping wondered if Gongsun Bai still had his Invincible Divine Force at its full martial power, would he still be able to deflect her first flying sword strike? He could still remember how hard his sword arm had trembled after he had used his full martial power to deflect the flying sword earlier…
Then it suddenly occurred to Yi Ping that this old man was trying to conceal his Penetrating Hands from the eyes of the onlookers and created an illusion that a sneak attack had been made by the demure maiden! It seemed that they had planned it right from the very start…
Zuo Tianyi too was stunned.
Her sword strength was even more powerful than him even after so many years had passed?
Yi Ping could not resist laughing coldly, “Good! Gongsun Bai is dead!”
Xiao Shuai said coldly, “Let’s us go. There is nothing that interests us here.”
Gu Tianle had stepped forward in rage, “Do you think the Honor Manor will let you off so lightly after what you have done? How despicable are you! There are two of you against one. Where is the martial justice?”
Xiao Shuai laughed coldly, “Are you deaf? Right from the start, Gongsun Bai had said he had agreed to fight the two of us together.”
He paused for a while before adding, “He deserved to die because he was too suspicious. I have already warned him that the sword was hurled by my disciple but alas, he did not believe me. If he had believed me, he wouldn’t be killed.”
He began to turn back and walked slowly towards the entrance.
Gu Tianle began to shout, “Everyone, get him together! Avenge for Master Gongsun!”
But no one dared to move and was looking at one another for leadership.
Some of the pugilists were even thinking; if they were to all charge at the duo and if they suddenly throw their flying swords at them, would they be able to evade from it with so many people pushing around them?
There were many pugilists that were even thinking; so that was how they had thrown the sword and it could fly just like that? They were all thinking of trying it as soon as they got the chance. However, they did not know that the secret technique to turn it into a flying sword was more complex that it appeared. Without knowing the secret techniques to do so, it was just a futile and clumsy try.
Gu Tianle looked at everyone. They had never disobeyed the Honor Manor before. The minute Gongsun Bai had died, everyone seemed to have rebel!
Gu Tianle shouted again, “Avenge for Master Gongsun!”
Venerable Master Deng Zhong responded, “Merciful Buddha.”
That was the only response so far!
All of a sudden, Yi Ping had freed himself from the embracing support of Ji Lingfeng and stepped forward as he trembled uncontrollably!
Yi Ping raised his voice, “Maiden, hold your steps!”
Was this maiden the one that had killed his wife?
Zuo Tianyi was surprised that Yi Ping still had the strength to move as he thought, “Is he human? There are so many deep slashes on him and his wounds are still bleeding…”
Yi Ping shouted again, “Do you know me or been to the Heavenly Mountains before?”
The demure maiden turned back and took a glance at him before she replied simply, “No. I have never been there before.”
Yi Ping was startled and he thought, “No, that is impossible. It has to be her. But her voice is different…”
She seemingly looked at everyone. But she was actually looking intently at Zuo Tianyi and Yi Ping before she disappeared from sight.
Just when Yi Ping was about to go after her, Gu Tianle had immediately confronted Yi Ping and said, “They can leave but not you. You have insulted our Master and who knows, you may be in cahoots with them. If I let you go off just like that, how am I going to account to all the heroes that are here?”
Ji Lingfeng was besides Yi Ping in an instant as she said coldly, “You are the so call Warrior-God of the martial fraternity? Just a few minutes ago, you are like a lamb when they are still here. The minute that they had vanished from sight, you are like a lion. You are really a coward!”
Yi Ping was worried for Ji Lingfeng as he knew that sometimes she could not mince her words, so he added icily, “He is only capable of bullying the weak. Where was he when Gongsun Bai got killed? If he is really not a coward, he would have confronted that Xiao Shuai just a minute ago!”
The pugilists began to turn and murmured to one another. All of a sudden, the grand hall became very incessantly noisy!
Gu Tianle was enraged; he raised his martial power and attacked Yi Ping with the ‘Ultrapowerful Hand Force’!  A seemingly unstoppable force began to hurl itself onto Yi Ping as he shouted, “Don’t be too haughty, young man! There is always a sky above a sky!”
Yi Ping raised his right palm to meet the incoming blow!
Even as Yi Ping had mustered all his remaining strength to accept the incoming blow, Ji Lingfeng was even more agile and had flown past him to intercept the blow on his behalf!
She had raised all her martial power in her right palm and she had clashed headlong with Gu Tianle!
When the pugilists saw that, many in the crowd began to shake their heads and many had already imagined that the young maiden would die instantly on the spot!
There was a huge thunderous clap in that instant and true to the predictions of the pugilists, Ji Lingfeng spit out blood as she flew backwards and fell onto the ground!
In that instant, Ji Lingfeng had used the Holy Amalgamate Skill and had gathered all her martial power into that one blow! But Gu Tianle’s Ultrapowerful Force Hand was simply too powerful and she was seriously injured in just one clash!
Gu Tianle’s palm began to tremble as he shouted angrily, “You are from the Holy Hex Sect?”
The pugilists were startled. This young maiden was from the Holy Hex Sect?
The Holy Hex Sect was now the leader of the various Unorthodox Clans and also the enemy of the Orthodox Fraternity!
In that clash of blows, Gu Tianle could feel the martial power drain in his palm! The Holy Amalgamate Skill was one of those few martial skills that could cause a draining effect. Luckily, his opponent martial power was much weaker than him and the drain effect had only a minor effect on him.
Ji Lingfeng smiled weakly on the ground, “Yi Ping, don’t worry about me. I will be alright. Run please…”
Nangong Le wanted to rush to help Ji Lingfeng but his chest was hurting. He was also afraid of Gu Tianle and the rest of the pugilists...
When Yi Ping saw how badly Ji Lingfeng was injured as she fought to defend him, his entire body was filled with burning rage!
He immediately attacked Gu Tianle, using all his remaining strength with the Asper Horizon Hand!
Gu Tianle was not slow to react and had mustered his Ultrapowerful Force Hand again!
With that, their palms clashed against one another and there was a huge thunderclap!
Gu Tianle was pushed back five steps and as he stumbled back, he quickly lifted a breath of vital energy and steadied himself!
Yi Ping was pushed seven steps back and he was coughing a lot of blood!
The orthodox pugilists were stunned. A seriously injured young person like Yi Ping could actually withstand a blow from Gu Tianle and still stood, it was indeed a miracle!
Even Qiu Wufeng and Zuo Tianyi thought, “This young man, he can still stand? Is he made of steel?”

Ji Lingfeng was in tears as she said to herself, “No good! He has already been injured in the earlier clash with Jue Yuan and Zuo Tianyi. His breathing has not recovered yet and now he has exerted himself further.”

Gu Tianle said, “Young man, it is wiser for you to surrender!”
Yi Ping replied angrily, “I will not give up…” His eyes had now turned red and his entire body was now trembling.
The crowd was stunned that he could still stand on the ground. It was obvious to the pugilists that Yi Ping was now in a daze judging from his blood shot eyes and from the amount of blood that he had coughed out!
Gu Tianle said, “Very well, I shall grant your very wish and sent you to the maker with a blow!” Once again, he charged at Yi Ping with his hand forward.
This time, Gu Tianle had decided to use all his martial power.
Yi Ping laughed coldly, “You think that I dare not?” He mustered all his strength and displayed the Asper Horizon Hand!
Ji Lingfeng cried out, “Yi Ping! Don’t force yourself!” It was because when the practitioner vital energy was not in harmony, especially after sustaining internal injuries, further use of the Asper Horizon Hand or any skill that required martial power would only add on to the injuries!

Moreover this was already the third time that Yi Ping had used the Asper Horizon Hand without any respites!
Again, there was a thunderous explosive impact when both palms met! The windforce created by the impact was so strong many of the pugilists could barely stand still! 
Gu Tianle took three steps back and coughed out blood!
Yi Ping took three steps back too! But he had turned extremely pale in appearance and was not moving!
Gu Tianle and the rest of the pugilists were stunned as they thought, “Is he not human? Why didn’t he fall yet?”
The very old pugilists knew that when a person was closed to death, their last vital breath was actually the most powerful and this Yi Ping had used up all his martial power!
Ji Lingfeng knew instantly that something had happened to Yi Ping!
Before anyone could react, she dived forward towards Gu Tianle and attacked him!
Gu Tianle immediately raised his hand again and thought, “This young maiden still have the strength to stand?”
When he saw the wavering images of her incoming hand, he was startled and mustered all his martial power! This was because the young maiden had just displayed the Asper Horizon Hand too and he could not afford to be careless as he thought, “She knows the Asper Horizon Hand too?”
Even before the pugilists could steady themselves, there was yet another thunderous clap that sent everyone moving backward again!
Gu Tianle was seen moving five steps backward and coughing out blood!
Like the Asper Horizon Hand, even though the Ultrapowerful Force Hand was an epitome powerful attack skill, it was too powerful and the practitioners of such a deadly attacking skill would risk overextending themselves. Gu Tianle had used it consecutively four times in a row and the backlash for overextending was severe internal injuries!
Ji Lingfeng stumbled onto the ground again and her face turned extremely pale!
But before Gu Tianle and the rest of the pugilists even knew what was happening, she had suddenly picked herself up again!
She grabbed Yi Ping and both quickly disappeared over the high walls of the Gongsun Residence in an instant!
As if Yi Ping extraordinary endurance was not astounding enough, many of the pugilists were further amazed at her extraordinary swiftness movement skill! They had never seen anyone vanished from sight this fast!

Last edited by Magic on Tue Sep 24, 2013 6:59 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: A Martial Odyssey   Sat Aug 31, 2013 6:32 pm

Chapter 17: The Secret Celestial Group

Xiao Shuai said to Ding Yunzi, “She is not here.”
Ding Yunzi asked, “Could she be in that another location?”
Xiao Shuai said, “No matter what, we must leave this town as soon as possible.”
Ding Yunzi asked, “Master, you are injured?”

Xiao Shuai shook his head, “But I have expended a great deal of my martial power. If there is another opponent like Gongsun Bai here, I cannot fight at my peak.”
Ding Yunzi said coolly, “There shouldn’t be anyone that can contest with Master. If she is not here, surely she could be in that another location? That is the most suspicious location after all. We should investigate it.”
Xiao Shuai said, “I have a very uneasy feeling about that villa. I don’t have that feeling for a very long time. Call it instinct if you want but sometimes we need to know our limits and be extra vigilant. That Gongsun Bai had thought that he was invincible and became careless. If he had been more wary, the final outcome would be hard to predict.”
Ding Yunzi said, “Master, you are too caution. At your martial level, no one is your match anymore. Even without me, you can still defeat Gongsun Bai on your own.”
Xiao Shuai said, “You are too young. Even an invincible fighter will have a moment of weakness and if the enemies have the heart to kill you, they will have already studied your weakness. That is why we mustn’t reveal too much of our true skills to gain the best advantage in every situation.”
Ding Yunzi said, “But there are only two young maidens in that villa. Surely, we have nothing to fear from them.”
Xiao Shuai said, “Precisely that is why. There are too many unanswered questions about that villa. It is like they are enticing us to enter the villa.”
Ding Yunzi sighed, “If I can be within three hundred paces of that villa, I may be able to know if Xiao Youxue is there…”
Xiao Shuai said solemnly, “Five hundred paces is the safe distance. Anything closer than that, we risk exposing our whereabouts.”
All of a sudden, Xiao Shuai looked at the forested surroundings and sighed. “Just as I feared, they are here.”
Ding Yunzi scanned the surroundings and immediately she said aloud, “There!”
She immediately unsheathed her long sword, whirled it several times and threw it as a flying sword in front of her!
Her flying sword flew into the dark recess of the forest and there was a mighty jarring sound as her flying sword struck against something metallic.
Ding Yunzi had extended her fingers out and to her surprise; her flying sword did not rebound back. It had simply vanished.
Xiao Shuai looked intently at the direction that she had thrown her flying sword and said, “They are still there and they are no ordinary opponents…”
Ding Yunzi immediately raised her scabbard in front of her in a defensive posture as she raised her fingers into the sword fingers stance. Even without a sword in her hands, she could still kill with her fingers and scabbard alone!
Two lookalike young maidens appeared from view out from the forest and walked very slowly towards them.
They were in black velvet silk dresses. Their black dresses were almost translucent and their faces were very white in contrast to their dressing. In their hands, they had brandished their long swords.
Xiao Shuai immediately brandished his long sword, whirled it in a circular motion and threw it towards them!
He said aloud, “I will like to see how you can deflect my flying sword!”
His flying sword flew and burst with startling speed against them!
The two young maidens immediately raised their long swords in front of them and when the flying sword struck their swords with a mighty impact; it was mysterious seized by another circular force as it spins in a reverse direction before dropping to the ground!
The two young maidens had taken three steps back as they displayed the Divine Emerald Skill with their long swords as they finally deflected the mighty force of the flying sword!
Xiao Shuai muttered, “These two young maidens have the martial power to withstand my flying sword directly?”
But even before they could steady their footing, Xiao Shuai and Ding Yunzi had immediately saw an opening as they filled their scabbard with their martial power and sent it flying towards the two young maidens at the same time!
The two young maidens grasped at the same time, “Oh no…”
It was because their opponents had seized the opportunity to launch another attack at the same time even before they could steady themselves. They had never fought against opponents that would react with such astonishing speed!
But to the surprise of Xiao Shuai and Ding Yunzi, just when their scabbards were about to strike their targets, another young maiden had appeared in front of the beautiful twins and deflected their scabbards to the other direction with her sleeve!
This newcomer was very beautiful and had the grace of a goddess. It was as though she was not from this mortal realm. Even Xiao Shuai who prided himself on his willpower was somehow moved by her sight…
It was not her unearthly beauty that caused Xiao Shuai and Ding Yunzi to be taken aback but they were startled at how easy she had deflected their scabbards!
It was because their flying scabbard technique was also one of their martial clan most powerful secret techniques and was even more powerful than their flying sword technique!
Even though their flying scabbards were a straightforward attack, it was charged with their entire martial power and deflecting it was even harder than their flying swords. Much of their martial power was lost when the flying sword was spinning. But for their flying scabbards, the martial power retention rate was much higher and it was three times as fast!
Moreover they had thrown their flying scabbards at the same time. Deflecting one of their flying scabbards was difficult enough and moreover there were two…
And this young maiden from nowhere had simply deflected their flying scabbards with just her sleeve…
When Xiao Shuai had recovered from his initial surprise and looked at her face, he was even more startled even as Ding Yunzi analyzed coolly, “They are using a secret technique that is similar to the Invincible Divine Force. No one can deflect our secret techniques with just their martial power alone and if I am not wrong, they are using the Emerald Divine Skill, the nemesis skill of all missile projectiles. And in this fraternity, only the Eternal Ice Palace knows this secret skill.”
Ding Yunzi had raised her right hand and moved her little finger slightly. As soon as Xiao Shuai nodded, she would attack again with another secret technique of the Virtuous Palace!
The newcomer was indeed Shui Yixian the Celestial Fairy. The two young maidens at her back were Shui Yujian the Jade Sword Fairy and Shui Meijian the Beautiful Sword Fairy.
The Celestial Fairy nodded slightly and said, “Your analysis is correct. We are indeed from the Eternal Ice Palace. Only the Virtuous Palace is capable of using the Flying Sword Technique. It seems that this battle between the Eternal Ice Palace and the Virtuous Palace is inevitable.”
Ding Yunzi said coolly, “If you think that we are weaponless and defenseless, you are making a great mistake…”
Shui Meijian interrupted coldly, “Oh yes? The Penetrating Hands, the Penetrating Slash Technique, the Virtuous Divine Force, the Golden Impervious Skill…right, I am so afraid.”
Shui Yujian smiled. She knew that her sister was purposely provoking her opponent. She immediately took a deep breath as she amplified her senses with the Dual Inertness Intricacy, a skill that she had newly acquired.
Ding Yunzi turned pale as she asked, “How did you know?”
Shui Yujian had immediately sensed that the heartbeat of this maiden had increased and she was nervous now. She blinked at Shui Meijian, hinting her of the information.
Xiao Shuai sighed deeply, “It is because I am the one that leak it…”
Ding Yunzi was shocked as she asked, “Master? You told the Eternal Ice Palace our secret techniques?”
The Celestial Fairy begun to look at Xiao Shuai closely, “You are Brother Shuai?”
Xiao Shuai laughed and he began to tremble, “Indeed I am. Sister Xian’Er, you have not really changed at all…I almost couldn’t recognize you all these years. Or rather, you have become more and more beautiful. How long have it been now? Fifty years? I have never known that you are from the Eternal Ice Palace or else I would surely look for you there…”
The Celestial Fairy averted her eyes, “I didn’t know you are from the Virtuous Palace as well…”
Shui Yujian, Shui Meijian and Ding Yunzi were stunned that their protégé mistress and master had actually knew each other!
Ding Yunzi was even more startled, “This young maiden is actually the same age as my protégé master?! But she looks so young…” She began to look at Shui Meijian and Shui Yujian who looked equally young as well…
Xiao Shuai laughed bitterly, “Fate plays a cruel joke on all of us. Where is Han Shaodong? Are you together with him now?”
The Celestial Fairy shifted uncomfortably as she said, “The last time that I had seen him was also the last time that I had seen you.”
Xiao Shuai laughed, “That is good news to me. You have left so suddenly that day…”
Ding Yunzi had never seen her protégé master laughed so merrily before.
Fifty years ago, a group of pugilists were all that were left from the aftermath of a bloody battle over a lost martial treasure trove. The survivors of that bloody aftermath were all above average pugilists. The reasons that they had survived were because they were not as greedy as the others or because they were smarter.
It was because the underground palace ruins that they had found had too many deadly traps and many had died.
Han Shaodong looked at the nine remaining pugilists; Xiao Shuai and Shui Yixian were among the group as well. He said in disbelief, “We risk our lives for just one small flask and some copper coins?”
Xiao Shuai said, “If you don’t want that flask, you can give it to me. Maybe the pills in the flask are worth more than anyone of you think it is.”
Han Shaodong laughed and he tossed the flask to him, “I will not have the courage to eat some unknown pills. They can be poison you know.”
Xiao Shuai laughed, “Or miraculous pills you know.”
Shui Yixian smiled softly, “So what are we going to do now? Continue the fight that some of us have left unfinished earlier?”
Xiao Shuai turned and looked at everyone, “It is a coincidental that we have all survived until this point and yet at the same time, we are all reluctant to reveal our true identities. We may not be friends as we may come from over all the fraternity and even the names that we use may be faked. But let us introduce ourselves anyway. You can call me Brother Shuai, Shuai being handsome!”
Shui Yixian laughed softly as she covered her mouth with her hands, “Hello Handsome!”
Xiao Shuai laughed, “Beauty, now it is your turn to introduce yourself. I am sure everyone would like to know your name. I had seen you kicking the asses of so many pugilists during the past week. Everyone seems eager to know your name.”
Shui Yixian looked at everyone and she started to stammer, “I…err…Yixian…no…you can call me Xian’Er.”
Everyone thought it was funny. It seemed like she was not an experienced liar and everyone secretly made a quick mental note to remember her real name.
Han Shaodong said, “I am just a nameless nobody in the fraternity. I am not from the orthodox clans or from the unorthodox clans. My name is Han Shaodong.”
Another young pugilist said, “That is right. Today, no matter where we are from, we should be friends. Actually for us orthodox clans, it is quite disgraceful for others to know we are fighting over a fraternity treasure…”
Han Shaodong said, “You just tell us that you are from the orthodox clan.”
The young pugilist was startled and he looked embarrassed.
Han Shaodong assured him, “Don’t worry. We will not force you to tell us your clan of origin. I am sure many of us here are also not using their clan skills too.”
The young pugilist said, “You can call me ‘Future Sword Saint’. That will be my fraternity name.”
Everyone laughed.
Another pugilist said, “Great aspiration! You can call me ‘The Invincible Ironfist’!”
Another young pugilist said, “You can call me Tian Kui!”
When all the pugilists had finished introducing themselves, Xiao Shuai said. “Let us form a secret group and do something crazy for a while. We should at least do something that is earthshaking in the fraternity.”
Han Shaodong asked, “What do you propose?”
Xiao Shuai said, “We need a leader of course. But if anyone wants to back off now, they can do it now. When the secret group is formed, we must be bound by our agreements. What does everyone think?”
The Invincible Ironfist smiled, “If Sister Xian’Er is in the group, I will join for sure.”
Shui Yixian stammered, “When did I become your sister?”
The Invincible Ironfist laughed merrily, “If you are in the group, then you naturally will be our Sister Xian’Er.”
The Future Sword Saint added hastily, “If she is in, I will be in the group too.”
Han Shaodong said to Shui Yixian solemnly, “What do you think?”
Shui Yixian looked at everyone one by one. She could tell from their passionate eyes that they were all waiting for her to say yes to the idea.
Shui Yixian sighed and said, “Do I even have a choice?”

The idea of a secret group intrigues everyone!
Xiao Shuai said, “Excellent! Now we need to select a leader from among us or else we be a pile of loose sands. We also need to be bound by our holistic agreement on never to reveal our identities and what we have done in this group. Does everyone agree with it?”
The Future Sword Saint said, “We must never kill the innocents too or go against the martial righteousness.”
The Invincible Ironfist said, “We should really restraint from harming anyone. But as for martial righteousness, we already broken that protocol or else we wouldn’t be here.”
Xiao Shuai said, “Agree! Unless someone really wants us dead or else we must not kill anyone needlessly.”
Everyone nodded eagerly and was eager to know what exactly Xiao Shuai planned to do.
Han Shaodong said, “It seems that you are our candidate for the group leadership. Anyone else want to be the group leader? I am all for Brother Shuai to be the group leader.”
The Invincible Ironfist said, “I nominate Xian’Er of course!”
Everyone looked at the Invincible Ironfist in shocked horror.
Tian Kui said, “What if she wants us to go up to the Heavenly Mountains to pick the Heavenly Mountain Lotus and other trivial things?”
Shui Yixian sighed softly, “Don’t you worry about that part. That will be the last thing in my mind.”
It seemed that Han Shaodong, Xiao Shuai and Shui Yixian got the most number of votes. In the end, Xiao Shuai was nominated the group leader.
Xiao Shuai said, “We must show great unity in the show of adversity. Only then can our group be the most feared and powerful in the fraternity.”
To prove his point, he took out a chopstick and broke it into halve. “If we are individual, our fates will be the same as this lone chopstick and will be easy to break by others.”
Next he took out a bunch of chopsticks and passed it to Shui Yixian, “Now try snapping these chopsticks with your fingers.”
Shui Yixian took the bunch of chopsticks from him and snapped it into halves effortlessly.
Xiao Shuai and everyone looked at Shui Yixian in stunned silence…
Shui Yixian looked at Xiao Shuai and asked, “Err…I am not supposed to break it?”
The Future Sword Saint asked merrily, “So what the morale of this story?”

Xiao Shuai said after a while, “If we are like a bunch of weak chopsticks, we will be easily be broken by others.”
He picked up a thick iron pole-arm from the ground and passed it to Shui Yixian, “But if we are as united as this iron pole-arm, then nothing can ever breaks us!”
Everyone began to shout eagerly and clapping when suddenly the iron-pole arm was snapped into half by Shui Yixian.
Everyone looked at her again in stunned silence.
Shui Yixian protested innocently, “Err…this iron pole-arm is of poor inferior quality…”
Xiao Shuai said, “You know, I totally agree with you that this iron pole-arm is of poor inferior quality…”
The Invincible Ironfist nodded, “Very, very inferior that even a lady can break it…”
Han Shaodong said, “Let’s hope that our leadership is not equally inferior too.”
Xiao Shuai looked at everyone and smiled bitterly, “You know, even before this leadership has officially started, it is so hard already.”
Everyone laughed.
Now that the ice between the various pugilists had been broken, Xiao Shuai suggested. “We will first need a fearsome name for the group. I have already a name in mind.”
Han Shaodong asked, “Which is?”
Xiao Shuai smiled mysteriously, “The Celestials from the Celestial Palace!”
Tian Kui said, “We are using the name of the Celestial Palace and slandering them?”
Xiao Shuai laughed, “Indeed. No one really knows if the Celestial Palace actually did exist so it doesn’t really matter.”
Tian Kui said, “I am from the Western Fraternity. My grand protégé master says it does exist…”
Xiao Shuai said, “Whether it exists or not, it doesn’t matter. This is the perfect name for us to spread our havoc!”
The Future Sword Saint asked, “Havoc? What kind of havoc?”
Xiao Shuai smiled mysteriously, “We will raid the various martial clans and sects for their secret manuals and then put it back secretly. We will start with the Infinity Sword Clan.”
The Future Sword Saint said hurriedly, “You can’t do it. That is something that only an unorthodox clan will do, not us!”
Xiao Shuai laughed, “Remember, we are not aligned to either now. We will put it back as soon as we have finished with it. So why not?”
The Future Sword Saint said, “That is because that is my clan you are talking…”
Everyone turned and looked at the Future Sword Saint, “So you are from the Infinity Sword Clan!”
The Future Sword Saint looked awkward.
In the end, the fake Celestial Palace group was still formed. In less than six months, virtually the entire central plain martial clans were turned upside down by the Celestial Palace. In years to come, the terror effect of the Celestial Palace was still remembered by many of the pugilists.
After six months, the terror of the Celestial Palace mysteriously disappeared from the face of the fraternity as though it had never started.
One of the main reasons was that Shui Yixian was caught finally for sneaking out of the Eternal Ice Palace and was forced to return to the Eternal Ice Palace by her older protégé sister Shui Yichi. After her departure, Xiao Shuai lost interest in maintaining the group and without Shui Yixian to support the group, they begun to lose some of their founding members too.
Xiao Shuai had never expected to find her again after fifty years…
He said, “Why is that you have not aged at all?”
The Celestial Fairy said expressionless, “I had not age at all when I was with everyone and my age then was already twice as old as the majority of you…”
Xiao Shuai muttered, “No wonder, you were always so cold to the whole lot of us except for Han Shaodong. Did he know?”
The Celestial Fairy replied, “No, he doesn’t.”
Xiao Shuai said, “I don’t mind at all, you know…”
The Celestial Fairy interrupted coldly and looked at Ding Yunzi, “Why did you send her to the Heavenly Mountains to kill me?”
Xiao Shuai was startled, “I didn’t.”
Ding Yunzi said, “I have never been to the Heavenly Mountains.”
The Celestial Fairy asked again, “You didn’t? Who else knows the Penetrating Hands?”
Xiao Shuai sighed, “I think I know who you are looking for now. My late wife had a feud with the Eternal Ice Palace and my daughter inherited her hatred…”
The Celestial Fairy said coldly, “Where is she now?”
Xiao Shuai said, “I am also looking for her now. She has stolen something very important from me.”
The Celestial Fairy said slowly, “I will find her and kill her.”
Xiao Shuai looked at her into her eyes, “Xian’Er, you have changed. If you want to kill my daughter, don’t blame me. I am now the protégé master of the Virtuous Palace. The martial skills and techniques that I have learnt and known exceeded your imagination. Even though your martial progression was higher than us in the past but you do not fight dirty. Your fighting style is too dead. That is your disadvantage and my advantage.”
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PostSubject: Re: A Martial Odyssey   Sun Sep 01, 2013 3:09 pm

Chapter 18: Xiao Youxue

The Celestial Fairy looked intently at Xiao Shuai.
She had first taken a liking to him in the past for he was courageous, humorous and full of wiles. He had even warn her to be careful of the Penetrating Hands and similar types of martial arts should she encountered it in the future.
But the more she had spent time with him, the more she realized that he was just a selfish person and there were many things that he had intentional concealed.
In the end, everyone was like a tool to him to be made use of.
That was when she began to distance herself from him and became closer to Han Shaodong…
She asked softly, “Why is that when you have mentioned your daughter, you have such a murderous intent in your eyes? It seems that you want her dead more than I.”
Xiao Shuai smiled bitterly, “That is because she dared to hinder my martial progression and dare to break the rules of the Virtuous Palace or else I would have mastered the Virtuous Divine Force by now. I can’t allow you to kill her before I do. I will drink her blood and eat her heart when I find her.”
The Celestial Fairy said coldly, “You are not a good father…”
She began to turn back as she said softly, “Yu’Er and Mei’Er, let’s us go. He is not worth our time to bother with.”
Xiao Shuai called out, “Xian’Er, don’t go. You have not told me why you want my daughter dead? I am sure with your state of divinity, you will not go around the fraternity just to find a single person even if she had slight you…”
The Celestial Fairy said softly as she disappeared into the darkness with her protégés, “It is because she wants to kill someone dear to my heart…”
Xiao Shuai stood on the same spot for a long time. When he had heard what she had said, his heart became very heavy.
Ding Yunzi called out gently to him, “Master? Are you alright?”
Xiao Shuai clenched his fists as he muttered, “Then I will have to kill that person first…Xian’Er, why can’t you understand my difficulties?”
Ding Yunzi asked demurely, “Master, are we letting them off just like that?”
Xiao Shuai stared at Ding Yunzi, “Then you are expecting me to kill her?”
Ding Yunzi kept quiet.
When Ji Lingfeng had escaped from the Gongsun Manor, she had picked an unlikely route to escape her pursuers. If she had gone in the direction of Xiao Shuai, perhaps she could have chance upon Xiao Shuai and the Celestial Fairy…
Ji Lingfeng put her hand over her chest as she coughed out blood! She dropped Yi Ping and immediately collapsed besides a shady tree.
She hoped that her attack would be fatal to Gu Tianle so that she could avenge for her father.
Her breathing was now weak and her vital energies erratic. She was now at a risk of losing her life unless she could restore her vital energy flow.
That was because immediately after using the Asper Horizon Hand earlier in the grand hall of the Gongsun Manor despite her internal injuries, she did not pause to restore her vital breath and to circular the flow of her vital energies to restore its balance.
Instead, she had further stressed her erratic vital energies by forcefully using all her remaining vital energies as she grabbed Yi Ping to escape the Gongsun Manor.
She was even more worried about Yi Ping than herself.
Disregarding her own safety, she placed her left hand on Yi Ping’s back and begun to transfer her own vital energies into him while mediating the Divine Revelation at the same time to restore her own vital energy flow.
She was worried for Yi Ping. That was because he had been unconscious for some time and even if he could regain his consciousness, he would be paralyzed for life…
That was why she was not wasting any more precious time.
But as her own vital energy flow had not yet been restored, her efforts took a great toil on her body and she began to feel giddy after some time!
She gritted her teeth and thought, “I mustn’t fall asleep… If I fall asleep now, both of us will die here.” No matter what happens, she was determined not to lose Yi Ping even at her own expenses!
Even though her resolute was great but her body could not cope and she was now in a half daze state…
All of a sudden, she sniffed a strong fragrant scent from behind her. A beautiful slender hand was on Yi Ping’s back as well as her back!
She opened her eyes and saw a lady in a straw veiled hat that was besides her!
The lady in the veiled straw hat said calmly, “Don’t you worry; I will do my best to save him. You should try to recuperate for yourself first.”
The voice of the lady in the veiled straw hat was young but Ji Lingfeng could feel a soothing transference of vital energy that halts the reversal of her blood flow. This mysterious young lady internal strength was not weak!
She quickly seized the opportunity to lift a vital breath with the Divine Revelation Skill from the energy infusion and began to circulate it throughout her vitality channels, restoring the broken vital energy flow.
After a long while, her breathing had become normal and the feeling of death had departed! She thought, “Lucky!”
She opened her eyes and looked at the mysterious lady in the veiled straw hat. She was still transferring her internal strength into Yi Ping and treating his internal injuries. It was a monument task because Yi Ping had completely lost conscious and the internal injuries sustained by Yi Ping were not light!
Moreover he was also suffering from external wounds and was still bleeding profusely…
Ji Lingfeng had sustained severe internal injuries herself. Even though she had restored her vital energy flow, her martial power would be drastically reduced and it would be a full three months of intensive mediation cultivation before she could fully recovered!
One could imagine how many folds Yi Ping internal injuries had been! He had exerted himself much more severely than anyone could have imagined. It was a miracle that he did not die on the spot!
Who was this mysterious lady? Ji Lingfeng sighed in her heart. She thought that she had finally found the man that she could love and find happiness in. But this was one too many for her young tender heart to take.
A martial practitioner would never give or expended their vital energy strength needlessly, which was also called internal strength to another. It was because vital energy strength once expended was difficult to recuperate back.
Not only would it put the practitioner in danger if interrupted, they would also expose themselves in danger while recuperating. At the same time, while waiting for the lost vital energies to recover, the practitioner could not practice any internal martial arts or else they would only endanger their own lives, hence slowing down their martial progression!
But this mysterious lady was readied to expend her vital energies for Yi Ping. If she was not somewhat related to him or love him enough to make the sacrifice, she would not risk it. Moreover Yi Ping was dying and her efforts would likely to be futile.
She clutched her heart in sorrow as she thought of this. Earlier, she had pushed herself to her very limits and even if she had failed, she would die together with him. But now, watching Yi Ping dying besides her and with another lady was heart-wrenching for her!
After a long time, the mysterious lady said. “I manage to protect his heart. He will live for now but his internal injuries are simply too heavy. I will try to restore his broken vital channels but if that fail, he would be paralyzed for life.”
At this, Ji Lingfeng could not resist asking, “Who are you? Why are you sacrificing so much just for him? Do you have any relations with him?” These were the questions that she been asking herself and now, she could not resist asking anymore.
The mysterious lady sighed and said melancholy, “Who I am? I am just a nameless nobody to him.”
Ji Lingfeng said, “At least you should have a name…”
The mysterious lady said with a great sorrow, “Xiao Youxue is my name…it is a cursed name.”
Ji Lingfeng made a quick guess, “You like him but there is a feud between the two of you?”
Xiao Youxue nodded gently.
Ji Lingfeng sighed, “Can it be resolved?”
Xiao Youxue shook her head, “It is impossible. This is a blood feud.”
Ji Lingfeng said, “Yi Ping has a magnanimous heart and is kind. Surely nothing is impossible to resolve.”
Xiao Youxue replied coolly, “Will you forgive the killer of your wife? And still likes her?”
Ji Lingfeng grasped. The yellow dressed maiden that Yi Ping had mentioned to her before was her! She was the one that Yi Ping had been searching for. She was also the one that had fought with her brother two years ago!
This revelation shocked her. She had thought that both of them had a blood feud and that both of them would be at odds with each other!
She had never expected that this maiden would also be in love with him…
Ji Lingfeng asked, “Did he know?”
Xiao Youxue shook her head and said, “He don’t even know my name and who I am. He only knows that I am the one that he is looking for to avenge his late wife.”
Ji Lingfeng said, “You can hide it from him. Perhaps the both of you can be together…”
Xiao Youxue said, “I will never be able to live with that feeling of guilt in my heart. Moreover…”
She paused for a while before looking intently at her, “I can tell that you like him a lot. And maybe both of you are a couple already.”
Ji Lingfeng said, “Don’t misunderstand! We are not.”
Xiao Youxue said, “Is that so? That you are willing to sacrifice yourself for him and you don’t like him? I don’t believe.”
Ji Lingfeng was silence.
Xiao Youxue added, “Even though we are strangers, I have been completely honest with you.”
Ji Lingfeng melancholy said, “Indeed you have. I am sorry…but we are indeed not a couple and not in any relation. He doesn’t like me at all.”
Xiao Youxue said, “Surely he is blind!”
Ji Lingfeng smiled and said, “Yes he is blind!”
But her mood turned somber and she said, “I am from a heretic sect and we are simply from two opposite worlds. There will soon be a battle for supremacy between the orthodox fraternity and the unorthodox fraternity. I don’t even know if I can live through this.”
Xiao Youxue nodded as she added, “There may be still a way for the two of you to be together. If both of you are willing to quit the martial fraternity, then you can be together.”
Ji Lingfeng added, “That is not possible for me. I can never leave my brother in this moment of crisis. There will be a lot of bloodshed and no matter where I go after that, the exponents of the fraternity will follow me.”
She smiled and added, “Moreover, like you say. He is blind and he does not like me.”
Xiao Youxue was silence. She had seen them in the streets earlier and they were talking like old friends. When she had overheard that they were going to the Honor Manor to settle a score against Gongsun Bai, she had immediately feared for Yi Ping.
Therefore, she took a personal gambit to lure Xiao Shuai and Ding Yunzi who was hot on her heels to the Honor Manor…
All of a sudden, Xiao Youxue said. “I realize that you seem to recover rather quickly. You take only three hours to balance your vital energy flow and I am expecting something like twelve hours or more.”
Ji Lingfeng said, “That is why I am able to chat with you!”
Xiao Youxue suddenly turned somber and said, “I hope that you keep our conversation to yourself and not to divulge anything to him. I don’t want him to know anything.”
Ji Lingfeng said, “I promise you but you must not tell him what I told you too.”
Xiao Youxue asked, “Not to tell him what?”
Ji Lingfeng thought she was clever but this maiden was even cleverer. This was the first time that she had been outmaneuvered for words!
She sighed and said unwillingly, “Hmph, you really mustn’t tell him that I like him!”
Xiao Youxue chuckled softly, “I promise you then!”
Ji Lingfeng sighed again, “Or else I need to dig myself a hole in the ground and covered my face with dirt!”
All of a sudden Xiao Youxue said, “Weird. Yi Ping seems to have two vital energies in his body. The first one was broken but there is another weaker vital energy that is more intact.”
Ji Lingfeng asked hurriedly, “That means he has a hope?”
Xiao Youxue nodded, “I have never seen or heard anything like this. But yes, there is a hope!”
Ji Lingfeng could discreetly see Xiao Youxue tears dripping onto her dress even though she was veiled.
Xiao Youxue said, “The weaker vital energy must be the ‘Icy Heavenly Tears Intricate Energy’.  It has taken less considerably damage and if I can get it to back to its proper meridian channels…”
Ji Lingfeng heart sunk. She interrupted sadly, “The ‘Icy Heavenly Tears Intricate Energy’ is different from normal intricate energy. Only the practitioners of the Eternal Ice Palace practiced the ‘Icy Heavenly Tears Intricate Energy’. Only a practitioner of the ‘Icy Heavenly Tears intricate Energy’ can channel to another person with the ‘Icy Heavenly Tears Intricate Energy’.”
Xiao Youxue said, “I just happen to practice the ‘Icy Heavenly Tears Intricate Energy’.”
Ji Lingfeng asked startled, “You know the Icy Heavenly Tears!?”
Xiao Youxue said, “That is a long story. My grandmother was the direct protégé of the Protégé Mistress of the Eternal Ice Palace in the past.” That was all that she could say for now. That was the start of her tragedy and her family tragedy.
All of a sudden, she grasped again, “What is it? His vital signs seem to be returning so soon! This is indeed extraordinary!”
Ji Lingfeng asked, “What happens?”
Xiao Youxue said, “As soon as I linked the ‘Icy Heavenly Tears Intricate Energy’, his scattered vital energies seem to increase again. It is as though, it is regenerating on its own accord! But where does the source of the vital energy come from?”
Ji Lingfeng said excitedly, “Could it be that, he has accidentally cleared his Conception Vessel and the Governing Vessel?”

Xiao Youxue was startled. He had cleared his Conception Vessel and the Governing Vessel at such a young age?
Xiao Youxue took out her pouch and took a small golden pill and popped it into Yi Ping mouth as she once again exercised her internal energy into his body.
Ji Lingfeng said, “That golden pill is the great rejuvenation golden pill?”
Xiao Youxue said, “That’s right. That is the last one I have. It has the ability to speed healing and added to the martial power growth of the practitioner.”
Ji Lingfeng was flabbergasted. The ‘Great Rejuvenation Golden Pills’ were one of the seven treasures of the martial fraternity. Legends said that three hundred years ago, the Sage King, the top exponent of the entire fraternity only made eight such ‘Great Rejuvenation Golden Pills’ towards the end of his life. That was because these eight golden pills required him to sacrifice his entire vital energy into making it!
The whereabouts of the ‘Great Rejuvenate Golden Pills’ remained a beautiful legend.
How did Ji Lingfeng know about it?
That was because when she was only seven year old, she suffered from an illness that almost took her life. Her brother, who was twenty years her senior scouted the entire fraternity for the ‘Great Rejuvenate Golden Pill’ to save her. The difficulties and sacrifices that he had to pay to obtain it were never mentioned to her but she knew. How could she not know? Her brother had undergone a huge change after that.
That was why she could not abandon her brother even if the entire orthodox martial fraternity decided to battle against him.
When Xiao Youxue popped the last of the ‘Great Rejuvenation Golden Pill’ to Yi Ping, her eyes had immediately turned watery. It was not because she could not bear to give it to him but it reminded her of her mother’s death.
When her mother had failed to merge the Icy Heavenly Tears Intricate Energy together with the Virtuous Divine Force Intricate Energy and was dying, her father Xiao Shuai refused to give her the ‘Great Rejuvenation Golden Pills’ as a remedy.
He simply said in a cold and calculating manner to everyone in the Virtuous Palace, “This is just a gambit. Whether the ‘Great Rejuvenation Golden Pill’ will save her or not is not known and we be wasting a precious golden pill. You have no idea how hard it is for me to obtain these ‘Great Rejuvenation Golden Pills’. I have already told her of the risks of practicing the Virtuous Divine Force too early but she simply refused to listen.”
At that time, Xiao Youxue was only thirteen and she was heart-broken by her father cold calculating attitude.
She could never understand how her father would be so heartless.
Xiao Shuai had obtained it in an underground palace ruins and had almost lost his life for it. When he had formed the secret celestial group, no one else seemed to know how valuable these golden pills were.
He would need as many of those golden pills when he started to practice the Virtuous Divine Force very soon. The Virtuous Divine Force was the most epitome secret martial skill of the Virtuous Palace. In order to practice it, the practitioner’s internal strength would need to be as pure and as strong as possible. If the practitioner have less than sixty years of martial power, it was dangerous to even begin it.
That was why the secret skills of the Virtuous Palace focused on secret techniques rather than martial power. It was because they simply could not afford to sustain any injuries as internal injuries would affect their future martial progression by many more years!
The protégés of the Virtuous Palace would seek to end a fight as soon as possible with the least effort and lured their opponents into a false state of security, so that they would strike with complete surprise.
Their Flying Sword Technique was just a decoy for them to approach their opponents and lure them into a false sense of security. Thereafter, they would kill their opponents with the Penetrating Hands, their Flying Scabbard Technique or with their invisible sword!
This invisible sword was actually a foldable blade that all protégés of the Virtuous Palace had around their waist and disguised as a belt!
If their opponents had completely thought that they were weaponless after they had hurled their swords, then they would be making a huge and fatal mistake!
Even though she was his daughter but he had never imparted to her the Flying Sword Techniques. Instead he had imparted to her only the Penetrating Hands.
The Flying Sword Technique was one of the first martial skills that all protégés of the Virtuous Palace should start with. She had never understood why her very own father had forbid her and even forbid others to teach her this secret technique.
She had two older step-brothers who are more than twenty years older than her, Xiao Da the eldest and Xiao Yao who was very distant from her. She supposed to have another older half-sister that she had never seen but who had married off before she was born.
On the other hand, she was very close to Ding Yunzi who was like a close sister to her and Xiao Fei who was her cousin.
Before her mother had passed away, she had secretly instructed her, “Be careful of Ding Yunzi. I always feel that she has an ulterior motive. This is the Golden Impervious Body Divine Skill that I have secretly copied from the martial vault of the Virtuous Palace. You are to practice it as a preventive measure against Yunzi. You mustn’t let others know you are in possession of this skill so that they will not be on their guard against it.”
Xiao Youxue said, “I have heard from father that if we do not reach the advance stage of the Virtuous Divine Force, it is futile to even practice the Golden Impervious Body Divine Skill.”
Her mother nodded, “It is true. That is why you have to steal the golden pills from him. That may accelerate your internal strength for you to begin practicing the Icy Heavenly Tears Skill first. Whether you have the martial willpower and the acumen to comprehend the Golden Impervious Body Divine Skill, it is up to providence…Don’t forget to get even against the Eternal Ice Palace…”
Xiao Youxue was afraid, “The Icy Heavenly Tears Skill that we got is incomplete and is only for the first five stages…mother I have no confidence at all…”
Her mother said, “You got to use your wits. The Icy Heavenly Tears Skill at its highest level has a fatal weakness and Shui Yixian will lose her martial power once every thirty-six years. That will be the best time to you to settle our family scores with her.”
Her mother smiled bitterly at her on her dying breath. Even though she had never seen Shui Yixian before and had only heard of her name from her mother, her hatred for her was absolute! It was because whenever her husband was drunk, he would mutter her name!
She had a strong suspicious that the ‘Yixian and Xian’Er that her husband Xiao Shuai was calling out for was in fact Shui Yixian. When she had questioned him about her, he refused to say anything. Therefore she had also deliberately withhold her suspicious to herself and refused to give Xiao Shuai a glimmer of hope.
That was why she wanted this Shui Yixian to disappear from the face of the earth as well. This Shui Yixian had caused her mother Shui Yisi to be driven out of the Eternal Ice Palace in disgrace and now she had also taken her husband’s heart from her.
When the opportunity had arisen three years ago, Xiao Youxue had secretly stolen Xiao Shuai’s golden pills when he was in a martial retreat; he was in the crucial stage of reaching the advance level of the Virtuous Divine Force. Without the golden pills, he had to wait another twenty years for the breakthrough.
She had simply walked into his secret chamber while he was in deep mediation and stolen the golden pills right in front of him!
In order to do that, every night for three years, she trained her lightness skill until she could walk in absolute quietness and in time to come, that became her feat!
She had never forgiven her father for indirectly causing her mother’s death therefore she had pretended to be docile and stolen all his ‘Great Rejuvenation Golden Pills’, leaving none for him in his crucial martial level stage.
When he had found out about the theft of his golden pills, he had flown into a maddening rage and had ordered all the protégés of the Virtuous Palace to find her.
She had consumed two of the three golden pills in the past three years. The first time was immediately after she had stolen the golden pill to increase her martial strength and the second time when she was in the final stage of the Golden Impervious Body Divine Skill.
It had been three years since she had left the Virtuous Palace.
During the first year, she was lucky to meet Xiao Fei, her cousin who warned her to be extra careful for her father had mobilized all the clan elders, including her half-brothers to hunt her down.
After that, she was always moving from place to place as she devised a stratagem against Shui Yixian at the same time. She was the one that spread rumor of her death and of the fabulous martial treasures of the Eternal Ice Palace to entice the greedy pugilists.
Why was that when she had killed Shui Yixian, she had not felt happy at all but filled with sorrowful regrets?
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PostSubject: Re: A Martial Odyssey   Mon Sep 02, 2013 7:37 pm

Chapter 19: The Divine Dragon Pill

When Yi Ping opened his eyes, he saw Ji Lingfeng.
His entire body was aching painfully but when he saw Ji Lingfeng again, all his pain vanished.
He said excitedly, “You…you are well?”
When Yi Ping looked at Ji Lingfeng, he was filled with warm tears and despite his aching pain; he was more alive than ever.
Sometimes Yi Ping feared Ji Lingfeng and did not know when she would suddenly turn against him by hitting him despite her angelic beauty. But from now on, if she were to hit him, he would never complaint anymore…
It was because when he was fighting with Gu Tianle, it was Ji Lingfeng who had taken the most powerful first strike and when they were both severely injured, it was also her that disregard her own life to save him…
Even when she had no strength, she had forced herself to bring him to safety, hence worsening her own injuries.
Even when it was crucial that she could reserve her last vital energy for herself, she had instead used all her vital energies for him…
Even though he was in a daze, he knew that she had endangered her own life four times consecutive for him!
When he remembered how much she had helped him all this while despite being nasty to him at times, he was very guilty.
All of a sudden, he realized that he had fallen in love with her and she was very beautiful, very angelic in his heart…
Ji Lingfeng blinked her eyes as she thought, “Why is he staring at me all of sudden? Usually, he can’t even be bothered to look at me…”
But she quickly said, “You should worry for yourself first. Quick, lift your vital breath and circulate it throughout your body. Check if there are any obstructions…”
He did as he was told and after a while he said. “My breathing is smooth.”
Just he was about to get up, he saw a lady in a veiled straw hat standing behind Ji Lingfeng. He asked, “There is someone here?”
Ji Lingfeng smiled beautifully, “She is Xiao Youxue and she has saved you.”
Yi Ping got up and pay respectfully to her, “Benevolent Senior! I am in your debts. I have no way of thanking you…”
Ji Lingfeng smiled and said, “You don’t have to say anything to her. She is a mute and deaf person.”
Yi Ping was taken aback, “She can’t hear me? Then how do you know her name?”
Ji Lingfeng laughed softly, “You are so stupid! She can write!”
Yi Ping was startled and said, “That is right! I can write to her.” And immediately he started to write on the ground with a wooden stick.
He wrote simply, “I am Yi Ping. Thank you for saving me. I am in your debt…”
Xiao Youxue nodded and took away his wooden stick as she shook her hands.
Yi Ping said, “Even though you are saying that it is alright but I can never forget your benevolent kindness. I really thought that I am a goner. But when I am in a coma, I could feel a gentle touch comforting me and that is what brought me back to the mortal realm. Alas, I am so silly. You cannot hear me…”
Yi Ping suddenly thought that this veiled lady must be the most beautiful lady in the world. Her regal appearances and her willingness to expend so much effort in saving him touched him immensely.
He wrote again with his finger on the ground, “Senior, I am but a stranger but you are willing to expend your vital energy for me at your own personal risk. I am wordless and full of gratuities. If there is anything for me to do for you in future, I do anything for you.”
Ji Lingfeng sighed sadly, “I saved you so many times yet I have never seen you saying anything like this to me!”
Yi Ping said, “I will also do anything for you as long as it is not against the martial code of righteousness.”  
Ji Lingfeng pretended to be upset, “You don’t have to add that ‘as long as’. Humph, why is that I seem to be receiving the lesser gratitude?”
Yi Ping said coolly, “This lady here definitely won’t ask me to do anything bad.”
Ji Lingfeng said defiantly, “Then I will? How prejudice!”
Yi Ping said, “She is deaf and mute yet she is willing to help me at her own personal risk…her heart is simply too kind and lack the cunning to harm anyone.”
All of a sudden, Ji Lingfeng threw a pebble at him but Yi Ping caught it with his hand. She said angrily, “Hmph, so I am not kind and have the cunning to hurt others!”
Yi Ping quickly said, “That is not what I meant also…”
Ji Lingfeng threw more pebbles at him as she said, “I like to see how many times you can avoid my hits!”
Xiao Youxue took a deep breath. She had expended nearly all her vital energies and her martial power was now weak. It was going to be a long time before she could fully recover. But she was happy that Yi Ping was able to talk and even able to move!
She had been so worried for him. Even though she was able to piece together his vital energy flow, she was not sure if he was able to wake up from the concussion. His injuries had been too severe. So when he opened his eyes, she was instantly glad.
She looked in envy at Ji Lingfeng and Yi Ping. They seemed to be a pair of quarreling couple…
Ji Lingfeng said, “You probably have lost all your martial power. If we were to fight now, you probably be crying and begging me to stop. But even if you have all your strength, I can still beat you. Stop catching my pebbles or I will really imbue my martial power into the pebbles and you’ll be hurt!”
Yi Ping hummed coldly, “It seems that my enemies did not kill me but I am already killed by you.”
All of a sudden, he dodged a pebble imbued by her martial power by moving his head and exclaimed, “You are for real!”
Ji Lingfeng smiled, “You think I am really joking? This is called, teaching an ungrateful person a lesson! Say sorry to me to make me stop.”
Yi Ping said coldly, “Never! You…That time you kicked me in the valley and now you are embarrassing me in front of others.”
All of a sudden, Ji Lingfeng stopped and said nothing. She had totally forgotten about Xiao Youxue. She silently scolded herself for being insensitive.
Yi Ping was surprised that Ji Lingfeng had suddenly gone quiet and he was a little worried. Was she seriously injured but kept it to herself?
He asked with concern, “Are…are you…alright?”
Ji Lingfeng averted her alluring eyes as she said softly, “You are just an ungrateful buffalo…” And then she began to ignore him.
Yi Ping turned to Xiao Youxue and wrote with his finger again, “Can I have a look at you so that I can repay Senior in the future?”
Xiao Youxue wrote and shook her head, “I am ugly. You will surely be very disappointed.”
Yi Ping wrote, “Looks are secondary. The heart is what matters.”
Xiao Youxue wrote, “Don’t force me.”
Ji Lingfeng said coldly, “You have just opened your eyes and yet you are already lusting for others. Shameful!”
Yi Ping ignored her and wrote again, “Sorry.” He removed his white emerald phoenix long sword and wrote again, “This precious long sword may not be worth a lot but if you show me this long sword again the next time, I will do anything for you!”
Xiao Youxue reluctantly took the long sword as Yi Ping had already forcefully placed it into her hands!
Yi Ping had an electrifying feeling in his hands as he held her hands. Her hands were silken smooth and that was not what he had been expecting!
He had been expecting his savior to be an old lady!
 If she was not an old lady, how could she possible manage the strong and soothing vital energy flow that he had felt?
All of a sudden, Yi Ping thoughts were interrupted by the sounds of approaching footsteps.
Ji Lingfeng and Xiao Youxue were alarmed too.
They had been discovered?
Yi Ping, Ji Lingfeng and Xiao Youxue were nervous. It was because all three of them had lost most of their martial power and could not even lift sufficient vital strength to fight…
Two old men had appeared from view.
Ji Lingfeng and Yi Ping had immediately recognized them as the Shangguan Qingyun the Protégé Master of the Divine Sword Martial Clan and Yan Nanfei the Protégé Master of the Zen Sect!
Yi Ping put up a defensive posture but because he had not recovered, his wounds had started to bleed again…
Shangguan Qingyun said, “Don’t be alarm. We are not here to pursue you.”
Ji Lingfeng asked in surprise, “You are not?”
Yan Nanfei said, “There are three of you?”
He had recognized Yi Ping and Ji Lingfeng but not the regal lady that was veiled.
Yan Nanfei said, “We are supposed to hunt you by the orders of the Honor Manor. Right now, almost all the orthodox clans that were at the Honor Manor is searching everywhere for you.”
Yi Ping asked, “So that is why you are here?”
Shangguan Qingyun, “Young hero, we admire your courage but we are unable to help you openly. Even though Gongsun Bai had passed away but the Honor Manor remained influential. I will advise you to lie low for a long time with this maiden…”
Yan Nanfei sighed, “I am not sure if we did the right thing as she is from the Holy Hex Sect. A full scale battle between the orthodox and unorthodox clans may start very soon.”
Yi Ping was immediately grateful as he said, “Old Seniors, I am truly grateful…”
Yan Nanfei said solemnly, “Don’t be too happy yet. You need to be on the move immediately. If we can track you, so will the others and there will be many others very soon. Please take care.”
Yi Ping nodded and again his spirit was burning with emotions! There was still martial justice after all!
Even Ji Lingfeng was surprised that they would be willing to let her off even though they knew that she was their enemy.
She immediately asked, “Why are you willing to spare me?”
Shangguan Qingyun said, “If I am not wrong, you must be the Holy Maiden of the Holy Hex Sect.”
Ji Lingfeng nodded slowly.
Shangguan Qingyun added, “Who has never done any wrong? Moreover, just because you are from the unorthodox clan, it doesn’t mean you are an evil doer. If you truly appreciate our gesture, perhaps you can advise your brother to calm the present situation down. There are too many fights and unrest these days.”
Ji Lingfeng sighed, “If the orthodox clans do not provoke us, we will never think of antagonizing them either. But the Honor Manor is leading the entire orthodox fraternity against us…”
Shangguan Qingyun said solemnly, “If your brother had not killed the Old Sword Saint, the Honor Manor would never have the power to mobilize the entire orthodox clans to their banner.”
Ji Lingfeng replied sharply, “My brother did not kill the Old Sword Saint. Why don’t you muddle heads ask Zuo Tianyi yourself? Isn’t it obvious that someone is intently sowing the discord between the unorthodox and the orthodox clans?”
Yan Nanfei asked, “Really?”
Ji Lingfeng was annoyed, “Ask Zuo Tianyi yourself. I don’t wish to repeat myself. It doesn’t matter if the Old Sword Saint was killed by my brother or not. His death was the perfect excuse for the Honor Manor to assert its domination over the entire fraternity.”
Yan Nanfei sighed heavily, “That is true…”
Yan Nanfei took out a pouch and said, “This is our clan ‘Prolonging Vital Purity Pill’. It can not only accelerate healing but also improved the purity of one’s internal strength…”
Ji Lingfeng was shocked. This ‘Prolonging Vital Purity Pill’ was the martial treasure of the Zen Sect and was very rare. She had heard of it but she had thought that it was just a legend.
Even Shangguan Qingyun was stunned as he said, “Brother Yan, you can’t even bear to consume these precious pills yourself. Why are you giving it to them?”
She took the pouch and looked saw there were two pills inside, “Yi Ping, look. This is the very good stuff.”
She looked at Yan Nanfei and was courteous even though she was suspicious, “Why are you giving us this? We are after all completely strangers. Even if you admire us for our courage, there is no need to give us such precious gifts…”
Yan Nanfei said coolly, “You are wrong. We really need more heroes like this young man here who dare to challenge the Honor Manor. When I saw the two of you fighting against Gu Tianle, I suddenly remember the times when I was very young. At that time, I have no fear and plenty of courage. These pills are useless to me or to my protégés. We have all lost our courage a long time ago.”
It was said that Yan Nanfei was the prominent Zen Master with a high level of cultivation. For him to give out such valuable pills away so selflessness exhibited his noble state of divinity!
Yi Ping face was wet with hot tears!
He was very touched that Yan Nanfei would offer to give them something so precious and to warn them that he really did not know what to say!
Ji Lingfeng did not hesitate and immediately took one of the pills and swallowed it.
Yi Ping was stunned by her action and thought that she was kind of rude; surely she could wait until they were gone.
Even though Yan Nanfei was a highly cultivated Zen Master but watching his precious pill being swallowed right in front of him was too much for him to bear!
Ji Lingfeng took a gambit. She was highly skilled in poisons and had resistance to poisons. Therefore she took a personal risk and had tasted it first. Finally she said, “It is safe to consume.”
It was because the wars between the orthodox and unorthodox clans were not won by pure martial skills. Many times, stratagems played a part too.
Yi Ping said to her, “Lingfeng, you should trust the two seniors…”
Ji Lingfeng looked at him coldly, “You are too trusting and you will find yourself betray by your friends, just like your father.”
Her words were like daggers to his heart, causing Yi Ping to be speechless.
Ji Lingfeng did not mean to hurt him but she wanted him to remember the hard rules of survival first. It was because he could not always be so lucky.
Xiao Youxue who was listening by the side was deeply moved by Ji Lingfeng as she thought, “Every single action that she has done is for his own good yet he did not know…”
All of a sudden, Yi Ping had taken the pouch and put it into her hands!
He gestured to her with his hands and pretended to pop it into his mouth to indicate to her that this pill was for her to take!
Everyone was stunned by his action…
Yan Nanfei said hurriedly, “Young hero, this pill is very precious and for you…”
Yi Ping said, “This deaf lady saves my life and has expended almost all her martial strength for my sake. I should return the favor. Without her, I will not be standing here!”
Yan Nanfei was stunned. He thought he had a high level of martial cultivation as a prominent Zen Master but this young man state of divinity was even higher than him! No wonder all these years, he wondered why he could not exceed the Old Sword Saint. Just when he thought that he had finally attained a new level of cultivation by giving away the ‘Prolonging Vital Purity Pills’, he met another person with an even higher cultivation than himself. And he was just a young man!
Shangguan Qingyun suddenly burst aloud with laughter, “You are all saints here…everyone is crazy. Only I am sane!”
Everyone looked at him in stunned silence.
When Shangguan Qingyun had calmed down, he took out a pouch with trembling hand. “This is the ‘Divine Dragon Pill’. Young man, you are very lucky today. Take it. But let me warn you first, you need at least sixty years of internal strength to consume this ‘Divine Dragon Pill’ first or you will surely die.”
He forced Yi Ping to take the pouch.
Yan Nanfei was startled, “You…when and how did you get the ‘Divine Dragon Pill’?”
Even Ji Lingfeng and Xiao Youxue were watching in stunned silence. It was because this ‘Divine Dragon Pill’ was one of the seven martial treasures that were rumored to still exist…
Xiao Youxue quickly calculated that if Yi Ping were to consume the the ‘Golden Rejuvenation Pill’ and the ‘Divine Dragon Pill’ at the same time, the strength and pureness of his martial power would be so astounding that it was hard to gauge his future martial progression!
If he had taken the ‘Golden Rejuvenation Pill’, the ‘Divine Dragon Pill’ and the ‘Prolonging Vital Purity Pill’ at the same time…
Shangguan Qingyun suddenly turned slyly as he said, “Fifty years ago at that place…I found it and concealed it from the lot of you. I didn’t tell any of you…”
All of a sudden, Yan Nanfei laughed aloud too. “You didn’t tell Brother Shuai or me. No wonder you are saying you got a present for Sister Xian’Er that day and behaving like you are the lord of the world. Alas, she just vanished all of a sudden that day…”
Shangguan Qingyun said, “I think we say too much. Let us go now. The sooner they are on their way, the better for them.”
When they had walked far, Yan Nanfei began to whisper in a low voice to Shangguan Qingyun, “Old buddy, so Brother Shuai is actually Xiao Shuai and he is from the Virtuous Palace…”
Shangguan Qingyun sighed, “Let’s us that hope that the Virtuous Palace does not have the lofty ambition of dominating the fraternity…”
Shangguan Qingyun was regretful, “I can’t believe that we have raided even our own clans at that time…”
Yi Ping, Ji Lingfeng and Xiao Youxue watched as Shangguan Qingyun and Yan Nanfei had disappeared from view.
All of a sudden, Ji Lingfeng said melancholy. “Yi Ping, I have to warn and assist my brother.”
Yi Ping was startled and asked, “You are going?”
Ji Lingfeng anxiously said, “That is for sure. No matter what happens, I have to go and help my brother.”
Yi Ping could sense her worry as he tried to comfort her, “Your brother is now the number one top exponent now. Surely after the Old Sword Saint and Gongsun Bai, there is no one in the entire fraternity that can rival him now.”
Ji Lingfeng shook her head, “How can I not be worry? A battle is different from a duel. In a battle, when you are adjusting your footing and vital breath, you can be attacked.”
She added, “If you recall your battle with Jue Yuan, Zuo Tianyi and Gu Tianle, if any of the exponents watching the duel decides to attack you while you have lost your footing, you be dead!”
All of a sudden, Yi Ping recalled the situation that Shui Yixian was in as she was being surrounded by dozens of exponents. When he compared the situation he had been when he was battling Jue Yuan, Gu Tianle and Zuo Tianyi, he began to shiver.
If any exponents were to attack him with a secret projectile or behind his back when he lost his footing, he would be dead!
Ji Lingfeng looked melancholy at him with her eyes, “Even as we speak, there are at least a dozen pursuers in this vicinity that is looking for us. Someone have to distract them to another direction. And the only person that has the strength now is me.”
Yi Ping said, “I can move now. Surely, we can overcome this together…”
Ji Lingfeng looked into his eyes and said coldly, “You are overestimating your current self and underestimating the pursuers! Moreover, what right do you have to ask me to stay?”
Yi Ping was startled. Indeed, what right did he have over her?
All of a sudden, Ji Lingfeng said gently, “Take care and don’t die. I want you to remember me always…”
She raised her right hand slowly…
When Yi Ping saw her raising her right hand, he thought. “Is she going to hit me before she goes?”
He took a deep breath. This time he tried not to struggle even though he was not really afraid of the pain…
The painful blow that he had expected did not come. Instead, he found himself in her embrace as she kissed him gently on his lips…
He was stunned and was flustered. That was the first time he had ever been kissed on his lips by a maiden…
He began to wonder did she forget that that there was another person here…
All of a sudden, Ji Lingfeng broke free of their embrace as she vanished into the shadows, “Good bye and take care…”
No one could see her tears…
Yi Ping stared for a long time at the direction that she had vanished.
Xiao Youxue sighed in her heart, “It is obvious that he likes her…”
Yi Ping was asking himself, “What right do I have? What right do I have?”
Ji Lingfeng cried as she left, “Why doesn’t he ask me to stay? Why doesn’t he say he likes me? I…will surely stay…”
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PostSubject: Re: A Martial Odyssey   Sat Sep 07, 2013 6:02 am

Chapter 20: The Thousand Year Ice Cavern

Just when Yi Ping was lamenting silently to himself as he clutched his excruciating chest as Ji Lingfeng vanished from his sight, he turned pale immediately!
It was because he had suddenly discovered that the goat skin that contained the Asper Invocations Intricate Recite Manual and the Divine Revelation Skill was missing!
The secret skill had been given to him by his father and was secretly embalmed in a goat skin.
Did he drop it?
Or did Ji Lingfeng steal it from him? She was the only one that knew that the secrets in the goat skin.
Or was it Xiao Youxue?
He turned and looked intently at Xiao Youxue who was standing in a regal manner.
He could tell that Xiao Youxue was a haughty lady and there was a forbidden aura around here but yet there was something else about her that he could not pinpoint yet.
The more he looked at her, he was sure she was not an old lady.
But she could not possibly be the one that stolen his family secret skills because she had just saved his life…
Could it be Ji Lingfeng then? Maybe it was her after all. Maybe she wanted him to go after her…
But he shook his head and said, “No matter if it is Maiden Ji or Xiao Youxue, they are both my saviors. If they really want my family secret skills, so be it. A hero should repay his benefactors with something that is dear to him.”
Just when he was about to ask Xiao Youxue by asking her to run in an opposite direction from him, he heard a shout and there seemed to be a group of people that were moving rapidly in their direction.
Panicking, he grabbed Xiao Youxue as they began to move rapidly away from where they were.
Xiao Youxue grasped softly when Yi Ping had suddenly grabbed her hand. She too, had noticed that there were pursuers but was at a loss what to do as she was not supposed to hear anything.
Xiao Youxue wanted to grasp out immediately, “Let go of my hand…” But in the end, she did not say a word and instead, she was blushing as she thought. “He is holding my hand now…”
When Yi Ping had touched her hand, he got the electrifying feeling again as he thought in alarm, “Her hand is so silky and smooth?”
He almost lost his grip on her hand due to her silky hand so he gripped her hand even tighter…
He had no idea why his heart had been beating so fast.
At this time, Yi Ping and Xiao Youxue did not know that besides being pursued by the majority of the orthodox fraternity and the Honor Manor, Xiao Shuai and Shui Yixian were also looking for them at the same time.
It seemed that in this vast fraternity, there were no places for them to hide and seek refuge.
They traveled through the forest in a seeming random direction. Yi Ping had no idea where he was taking Xiao Youxue. He felt sorry for her that she was being forced to be on the run with him. Many times, he stopped to check if she was good as he was worried if she could follow his pace and fearful that she might be too tired.
But the truth was, Yi Ping was also seriously injured and he was slow while Xiao Youxue had intentional kept a slower pace than him so that he would not feel hurried.
Xiao Youxue looked keenly at his back and could not believe that she would one day walk side by side with him…
All of a sudden, Yi Ping spotted a cave along the side of a cliff. That might be a good resting and hidden place. The cave was still far and was concealed by trees but Yi Ping could see it clearly.
So he paused and wrote on the ground quickly with a stick, “Senior, there is a well concealed cave in the direction of that cliff. I think that may be a good place to seek shelter and from our pursuers.”
Xiao Youxue paused in her tracks and looked at the direction that Yi Ping was pointing.  Even though her translucent veil covered her eyes but she could see through it keenly. But no matter how focus she was, she could not see the concealed cave.
She thought, “His eyesight is that good?”
After Yi Ping had regained conscious, he was suddenly endowed with superior sight, hearing and perception. At first he was startled by it but he was slowly adapting to it.
Xiao Youxue nodded slowly to indicate that she was willing to follow him in that direction.
Yi Ping said to her even though she could not hear him, “Good. I am worried that we may need to do some climbing and you may not have the strength.”
Yi Ping began to sweep the words that he had written on the ground quickly with a tree branches and they took off immediately.
They soon reached the cave. When they first entered the cave, Yi Ping and Xiao Youxue was startled by it. It was because the inside of the cave was freezing cold and even had ice in it while the cave outside was warm! It was not yet winter and yet this cave was like an entrance to an ice world!
Yi Ping said, “Alas! Is this the legendary ‘Thousand Year Ice Cavern’ that never melts even in summer?”
He was now bewildered and unsure if they should enter this cave. It was too cold and that they did not have any winter clothes.
Just as he was hesitating, Xiao Youxue walked into the cave!
Yi Ping called out after her, “Lady Xiao, wait! This cave may be dangerous!”
Then he thought, “She can’t hear me. I am so silly!” But still when he ran after her, he was still calling out and waving his hands, “Lady Xiao, wait!”
Even though Xiao Youxue was walking, it took some time for him to catch up with her. He was astonished at her pace. They were now in a huge ice cavern and there was even a stream in the cave. And in the waters, there were even snow white fishes!
Yi Ping was startled at the sight of this huge ice cavern...
Xiao Youxue was astonished too. Even though she had circulated her vital energy to protect herself from the cold, she could still feel the cold. Had she lost too much of her vital strength when she treated Yi Ping or was this cave supernaturally cold?
All of a sudden, a monstrous snow white fish that was at least a hundred times bigger than the other fishes jumped out of the waters and attacked Yi Ping!
Its jaws were so big that it could snap his head.
Even though the fish was startling fast, Yi Ping and Xiao Youxue was even quicker. They reacted with a supernatural speed as both of them struck the forehead of the fish!
The monstrous fish was knocked sideway and crashed onto the floor of the cavern.
Yi Ping was surprised that the Lady Xiao was able to react so fast. If she was not there, the monstrous fish might not be knocked sideway with his strength alone!
He thought, “She has saved my life again. Why am I so unlucky that even a fish thought of bullying me? I almost become the first man to be killed by a fish in this unlikely manner.”
They took a look at the monstrous fish that was still flipping on the ground. It was still alive. It seemed that they had afflicted little damage to it.
All of a sudden, Lady Xiao took out the long sword that Yi Ping had given her and slashed the fish on its body!
There was a binding flash of light as the sword hacked across the body of the monstrous fish! But to the surprise of Yi Ping, the sword failed to cut the armor scales of the fish!
Once again, the Lady Xiao hacked at the fish again but this time at its tail.
Yi Ping was already saying, “Wait!” But it was already too late.
This time, she had succeeded in cutting off the tail of the fish!
Yi Ping sighed and said, “We should have release the fish back into the waters. Even though it had tried to harm me but it did not succeed.” But he knew that Lady Xiao could not possible hear him. Moreover with her internal strength foundation, she might be much older than him and it was only proper for him to address her as senior and abide by her wishes.
The Lady Xiao cut the monstrous fish expertly with the White Emerald Phoenix sword and skinned the monstrous fish from the inside. Then she took the giant fish scales and put it into a bundle.
Yi Ping was surprised that Lady Xiao was also highly accomplished in swordplay. He had never seen her type of swordplay before. It was swift, precise and beautiful to behold.
He thought, “But why is it when I hold her hand, her hand is so smooth like Yixian and Lingfeng? It is as though she has never been trained with an external weapon…”
When she was done, she wrote onto the ground with the White Emerald Phoenix Sword, “This fish is a thousand year old ice fish. If we eat it, we can resist the cold here and even receive a boast to our internal strength.”
When Yi Ping saw that, he immediately knew what he should do. He wrote, “I will go out and collect the firewood.”
It was not long that he was back and they were roasting the monstrous fish over the fire that they had made. Lady Xiao had made another fire to boil some water from the stream. She took out a bowl that she had taken out from her bundle and put it onto the fire.
Yi Ping was surprised that this monstrous fish had no fish stink and instead, it gave off a sweet aroma scent. He examined its abdomen and saw that it was virtually empty. This type of fish must have required little food in order to survive.
It was not too long when the fish was fully roasted. No sooner did Yi Ping have started eating the fish that he started to feel the warmth creeping in. In no time, the cold was fully dispelled and he was comfortable.
When they had eaten, Lady Xiao began to pound the bones of the fish and threw it into the boiling water that she had made. After some time, she wrote. “The essence of the fish lies in its bone. Take the soup.”
Yi Ping did as he was instructed and drunk from her bowl. As soon as he drunk from the soup, he could feel a surge of renew strength in his body and a surge of vital energy bursting forth. He quickly took a deep breath with the ‘Divine Revelation’ skill and closed his eyes. Even though he had not said it, he was immensely grateful to her but did not know how to express it.
Xiao Youxue looked at him keenly and thought, “This thousand year old ice fish is a rare catch that the exponents of the martial fraternity can only dream of but is unobtainable except by sheer luck. Miraculous herbs and pills that boast a person vital strength were so rare that its whereabouts can often move the entire martial fraternity to fight over it. Take the ‘Great Rejuvenate Golden Pills’ and the ‘Divine Dragon Pill’ for example, imagine the bloodshed that change hands over it.”
She asked herself, “Is it too simply a pure coincident? Consuming one miraculous pill is a rare occurrence already. Finding another is simply unheard of.  And now, we are feasting upon another. Is he really so lucky?”
She continued to pound the rest of the fish bones into the bowl. After she had finished boiling the soup, she took a sniff before she took consume it. Afterwards, she took a vital breath and began to mediate. Indeed, she could feel her strength recovering slowly.
She could feel her Icy Heavenly Intricate Tears strengthening immediately as her vital energies became more refine than previously! Because the Icy heavenly Intricate Tears was a cold and negative energy skill, this fish was also of the same element and so it was like a powerful tonic! This thousand year old ice fish had saved her probably decades of hard work and wrong turns…
After some time, when she opened her eyes, she saw that Yi Ping was already standing at the corner of the cavern.
When Yi Ping saw the Lady Xiao walking towards him, he began to exclaim, “I found a secret passage! It is really unexpected that this cave has a secret passage and it is man-made!”
Yi Ping sighed. He kept forgetting that the Lady Xiao could not hear him.
All of a sudden, Xiao Youxue cried out panicky…
Yi Ping was stunned. Was she not supposed to be a mute person?
Yi Ping looked at her and she was cowered to a corner at the sight of several rats.
Yi Ping said, “You can talk?”
Xiao Youxue nodded slowly as she removed her straw veiled hat.
All of a sudden, his eyes were wide opened. That was because the old lady that he had imagined had taken off her veiled straw hat and she was in fact, a ravishing young beauty. Her eyes were very beautiful but had a woeful expression.
What really stunned him was that she seemed even younger than him…
Yi Ping stammered, “Senior…Youxue, why did you pretend to be mute and deaf?”
She replied softly, “No reason…”
Yi Ping was puzzled, “No reason?”
Xiao Youxue averted her eyes, “There must be many maidens that like you. I don’t want to be one of them.”
Even though this was a lame reason but was also a reasonable one.
Yi Ping could only nod as he said, “If Lingfeng knows you are not an old lady and can even hear, I wonder what she will say.”
Xiao Youxue shifted her captivating eyes and said, “You seem to care a lot for her and even mind what she will say.”
Yi Ping was speechless. He said, “I only treating her like a sister…”
Xiao Youxue said, “But she may not think of you as just a sister…”
Yi Ping said, “A captivating maiden like her will surely have many good suitors for her to choose. Moreover, I am just a poor and out of luck wanderer…”
Xiao Youxue asked, “Did you ask her?”
Yi Ping said, “I don’t have to ask her to know. She has told me she dislike me on many occasions. Moreover, she is like a sister to me.”
Yi Ping had only said that because he was shy but when he named Ji Lingfeng as his sister, his heart was aching…
Xiao Youxue said, “How do you not know she did not mean the opposite what she is saying? Or else why did a lofty maiden like her talks so much to someone she dislikes?”
Yi Ping said, “We are friends…”
Xiao Youxue said, “So now you are calling her your friend instead of sister. How heartless. You are nothing but a flirt.”
Yi Ping stammered, “I…I…” He was confused himself.
All of a sudden, Xiao Youxue turned eerily cold and said, “What if I ask you not to see her again?”
She raised the White Emerald Phoenix Sword in front of her as she said coolly, “Don’t forget that you have personally told me you will do anything for me. I want you to not to see her ever again.”
Yi Ping was speechless. It was true. He had promised her…a hero that went back on his words did not have honor and was to be despised!
But Yi Ping replied firmly, “Anything but that!”
Xiao Youxue said coldly, “What a hero.”
All of a sudden, Xiao Youxue smiled and her eyes softened, “Don’t you worry. I am only teasing you. I won’t ask you not to see Lingfeng. That is because we are friends…”
Yi Ping was confused as he asked, “The two of you are friends?”
Xiao Youxue smiled, “That’s right. Therefore you don’t have to worry what she will say when she ‘discovers’ that I am not a deaf and mute person. That is because she already knows.”
Yi Ping was startled as he began to rub his nose. That was because he had not expected Ji Lingfeng to lie to him about this as she was the one that told him that Xiao Youxue was a deaf and mute person.
Xiao Youxue looked at him with her mesmerizing eyes and said, “What are you thinking? Didn’t you just say that you have found a man-made secret passage? What are we waiting for?”
Yi Ping could only smiled bitterly as he said, “I am still trying to adapt to someone whom I have been addressing as a senior and now becomes my junior.”
Xiao Youxue walked past him quickly as she said alluring, “Who…is your junior! Since you have already addressed me as your senior and I have saved your life, you have to listen to me. Let us go now.”
Yi Ping was startled. He was not startled by her words but when he saw her walking away, her mannerism and back view looked like the mysterious yellow dressed maiden. Even her voice bears some resemblance.
If she was the mysterious yellow dressed maiden, why would she save him? Surely she would have recognized him and killed him…
But Yi Ping thought, “No. That is not her. I recognized her voice and her mannerism…”
Yi Ping remembered that the mysterious dressed maiden was always very cold and gave off a cold forbidding aura. He could always remember her cold stinging words…but Youxue was affectionate and gave him a comfortable feeling.
Yi Ping did not know how wrong he had been! Xiao Youxue had been suppressing her affections. When it was suddenly released, she became the most gentle, most affectionate and most captivating person. Moreover, after she had killed Shui Yixian, the torments that she had been suppressing was also lifted.
So if Yi Ping thought that he could identify the yellow dressed maiden by her cold forbidding tone and mannerism, he would never find her! But of course, he would never know as he had never seen her face before…

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PostSubject: Re: A Martial Odyssey   Sun Sep 08, 2013 1:27 pm

Chapter 21: The Absolute Spirits Intricate Formula

The secret passage led to another larger passage with many winding paths.
Yi Ping led the way with a burning torch and Xiao Youxue followed him.
They walked for some time but there were still no end to it.
Yi Ping expressions were solemn as he said, “We should turn back now. This passage way is too big. We may easily get lost in this passage and never turn to the outside. And the cave is getting colder by the minute.”
Xiao Youxue said, “Let us go back then…”
Yi Ping nodded at her and said, “Maybe we shouldn’t enter this passageway in the first place.”
It was because they were walking too rapidly in the dim cavern. When he looked back and shone the torch at where he had come from, he realized that there were many other passageways.
He sighed, “I think we are lost…”
All of a sudden, Xiao Youxue called out for him, “Yi Ping, take a look at this…”
Startled by her voice, he looked back panicky.
Xiao Youxue was examining a section of the passage wall. There were inscriptions carved onto it. The inscriptions were not too obvious but Xiao Youxue and Yi Ping was able to read every single inscription clearly.
Yi Ping was astonished, “This seems to be a martial intricate formula but is not. What a weird thing. It is a poem?”
Xiao Youxue read it out, “The most powerful act is thought, the highest function is focus, the most positive mind is the absolute will, the universe is beneath the subconscious, nothing is impossible, enable the motivation, inspire the spirits… ”
All of a sudden, Xiao Youxue said in utter surprise. “Yi Ping, this is indeed a martial intricate formula. It is the ‘Absolute Spirits Intricate Formula’, the most powerful mind intricate formula. To think we would have accidentally found it.”
Yi Ping was delighted as he said, “I have heard of it too. Among the many famous martial skills, the ‘Absolute Spirits Intricate Formula’ was said to be created by an elderly priest more than two hundred years ago. It is said that his willpower was so absolute that he was able to resist the Heavenly Temptress and even in the most dire of all situations, he was able to remain absolute calm and was able to overcome obstacles that seemingly impossible to overcome.”
Xiao Youxue smiled enthrallingly as she looked at him in his eyes, “You should really learn it. In this way, you won’t be tempted anymore.”
Yi Ping began to fluster when he noticed that Xiao Youxue was looking at him as she teased him.
Xiao Youxue said, “Yi Ping. Let’s spend some time to memorize the ‘Absolute Spirits Intricate Formula’.  When we use our skills in combination with the ‘Absolute Spirits Intricate Formula’, we will surely see a marked improvement in our martial progression.”
Yi Ping nodded. He could not agree more with her.
When he had committed the ‘Absolute Spirits Intricate Formula’ into his memory, he noticed that Xiao Youxue was quicker than him and was looking at the surrounding of this cavern keenly so he asked, “Youxue, what is wrong?”
Xiao Youxue said coolly, “Don’t you find that it is weird that someone will crave such an epitome intricacy formula in such an isolated place? It is as though it is meant never to be discovered. We can barely read some of the characters too…”
Yi Ping asked, “What do you mean?”
Xiao Youxue said, “Over time, the cravings on the wall will fade or erode. If that person really wants the Absolute Spirits Intricate Formula to be known by future generations, wouldn’t he at least try to preserve or hide it carefully first?”
Yi Ping saw what she was trying to say as he said, “So you are saying that this intricacy formula is left by someone hastily?”
Xiao Youxue said, “Very hastily in fact. It was as though he was in his final moments and only wrote it on the walls here so that this skill won’t be forgotten by future generations.”
Yi Ping too, began to look keenly around. “Alas, I think he was lost in this cavern too and eventually die of starvation.”
Xiao Youxue said, “If he had died here, then his corpse will surely be around here…”
All of a sudden, she said. “Yi Ping, there is an opening on top of this cavern and it looks like a dry place. Let’s investigate the cave opening.”
Yi Ping nodded.
It took them considerable efforts to find a path up the cavern; they had lost much of their internal strength and were not confident to scale the slippery walls of the cavern with their lightness movement skill.
The interior of the cave was much warmer but was still very cold.
What greeted them was another surprise and startled them!
When they had just entered the small cave, they saw a pale looking maiden in a mediating posture.
Yi Ping asked, “Is she alive?”
Xiao Youxue flew towards the maiden and examined her, she got a shock. It seemed that this dead maiden here was trained in a type of skill that was similar to the Golden Impervious Body that preserved her body.
After a while, she said. “She still has a vital breath in her body but is as good as a dead person.”
Yi Ping asked anxiously, “What do you mean?”
Xiao Youxue sighed, “It seems that while she was alive, she had suffered grievous internal and external injuries as evidenced by her scarred body. At her most critical moment, she had slowed down her heartbeat and now she was in a suspended death animation.”
Yi Ping nodded and saw her gray skin. Indeed, she had been dead for a very long time.
Besides her was a black sword.
Yi Ping examined the black sword and saw two characters as he read it aloud, “Perpetual Darkness”.
Xiao Youxue grasped aloud softly, “This sword is an ancient sword and is famed for its extreme sharpness and craftsmanship. This sword is one of the seven most coveted swords of the martial fraternity…”
Yi Ping said, “Who is this maiden and how come she is in possession of such a precious sword.”
She added, “My guess is that she is waiting for someone else to revive her in time but that never happened.”
Yi Ping asked, “Can we revive her?”
Xiao Youxue shook her head, “Nothing short of a miracle can revive her now. Even if she could receive a miracle herb now, the odds are so low that it is not even worth trying.”
Yi Ping sighed, “What a pity. It seems that the Absolute Spirits Intricate Formula was left behind by her and we have no way to thanks her.”
Xiao Youxue looked at him weirdly as she said softly, “We are now lost in this cavern and yet you are thinking of repaying others?”
Suddenly, Yi Ping exclaimed excitedly, “The Divine Dragon Pill! What if we give her the Divine Dragon Pill? I have heard that it has the ability to revive even the dead.”
Xiao Youxue was flabbergasted, “That is just hearsay. No one knows if that is the true and there is only one in the world. Surely you are not thinking of giving her something so rare and precious? Do you know how many lives have been spilled over the Divine Dragon Pill?”
Yi Ping said coolly, “This Divine Dragon Pill requires the practitioner to have sixty years of internal strength and it is of no use to me now. Moreover we are all trapped in this ice cavern. Even if we have the Divine Dragon Pill, what good would it be for me if I cannot make out alive?”
Xiao Youxue looked at Yi Ping with a wondrous expression…
The Divine Dragon Pill was a lot far more precious than the Prolonging Vital Purity Pill that he had given her. When he had given to her the Prolonging Vital Pill, she was stunned and extremely touched at the same time.
But this Divine Dragon Pill was so precious that its very whereabouts would spark a furious struggle for it in the martial fraternity. Especially for the super exponents who were all struck at a martial progression level, the power of this pill would create a breakthrough for them and even eradicated some of their training mistakes!
And he thought of nothing about giving it away?
Yi Ping had already decided as he said, “We have already learnt her ‘Absolute Spirits Intricate Formula’ so even if this attempt fails to revive her, it is still a fair trade off.”
Xiao Youxue was about to say more but Yi Ping had already taken out the Divine Dragon Pill, forcibly smashed it into powder as he mixed it with water from his water skin and forced it down the maiden’s throat!
She sighed to herself, “That isn’t even a fair trade-off. Even a generous person would never give away something so precious without a very good reason. He is so generous…”
But to Yi Ping, that was a good enough reason.
Xiao Youxue liked him more and more as she loathed her selfish father.
She broke into a smile as she exclaimed urgently, “We must immediately transfer our vital energies into her and dispersed the potency of the Divine Dragon Pill into all her vital channels.”
Yi Ping nodded immediately and they did not hesitate for a moment longer as they immediately transferred their vital energies into all her vitality channels.
After some time, the ‘Dead Maiden’ began to cough out and she had actually revived!
Xiao Youxue was astonished as she thought, “This is really a miracle. The Divine Dragon Pill can really revive a person? No wonder so many had fought over it…”
Yi Ping was startled too. There were now some white and pink colors on her face as she started breathing once more!
The ‘Dead Maiden’ fluttered open her eyes and looked at Yi Ping and Xiao Youxue in complete astonishment.
When Yi Ping and Xiao Youxue saw the pupils of her eyes, they were startled. It was because her eyes colorings were red! They had never seen anyone with such an eye coloring before!
Xiao Youxue said, “She is still far too weak. Just the Divine Dragon Pill alone isn’t sufficient to replenish her health. She is in a suspended animation for far long.”
Yi Ping nodded and slashed his wrist slightly with the White Emerald Phoenix Sword and dripped his blood into her mouth.
Both Xiao Youxue and the ‘Dead Maiden’ were caught by surprise by Yi Ping’s action.
Yi Ping said, “I hope that my blood can replenish her…”
Xiao Youxue said, “Yi Ping, you are making too much sacrifices for her…”
After some time, the ‘Dead Maiden’ seemed to be breathing normally as she said weakly, “I…I am still alive?”
Xiao Youxue said, “It all thanks to him that you have swallowed the Divine Dragon Pill that you are now able to talk to us. I didn’t expect it to work.”
The ‘Dead Maiden’ was even more startled as she looked at Yi Ping keenly, “You actually have the Divine Dragon Pill?”
Yi Ping smiled gently at her, “I was lucky. A senior gave it to me.”
The ‘Dead Maiden’ still could not believe what she was hearing, “Do you know how precious that Divine Dragon Pill really is?”
Yi Ping said coolly, “It can boast the internal strength of the practitioner and can save lives.”
The ‘Dead Maiden’ sighed, “More than that and you have just given it to me…”
Yi Ping said coolly, “At least it works. I was afraid that it does not work…”
The ‘Dead Maiden’ nodded slowly as she stared at Yi Ping, “The odds are very low. I…I can’t believe that you would seriously try it on me?” She was in tears now as her voice trembled uncontrollably…
Xiao Youxue looked at the ‘Dead Maiden’ as she grasped to herself, “Is she…”
The ‘Dead Maiden’ said to Yi Ping, “I am Lie Qing, what is your name?”
Yi Ping said, “I am Yi Ping and this is Maiden Xiao Youxue.”
Lie Qing muttered, “Yi Ping…Xiao Youxue…”

Lie Qing smiled sweetly at Yi Ping and Xiao Youxue, “You are both my benefactors. If you have anything that you require of me in the future, feel to ask of me.”
Xiao Youxue was quiet for a moment before she said, “We may have saved your life but your injuries are too severe. I am afraid that much of your former internal strength had been exhausted to maintain this suspended animation.”
Lie Qing smiled weakly, “It is alright. I can re-train again. After all, I am alive now and have plenty of time.”
Xiao Youxue said, “Why are you here? Who was the one that had injured you?”
Lie Qing smiled weakly, “Good sister, this place is my forbidden ground where I practiced my skills. As for the second question, no one had injured me.”
Yi Ping was startled, “No one? Is your enemy so powerful that you are unwilling to tell us?”
Lie Qing sighed softly, “Really no one. I was merely injured by the ‘Divine Calamity’ and it is much more powerful than I have expected. Out of desperation, I took ten potent pills and entered into a suspended death animation hoping my injuries would recover by the time that I had awakened.”
She looked around the cave and said, “This place isn’t always this cold. This is the result of the ‘Divine Calamity’. In the end, I still couldn’t escape from it.”
Yi Ping had heard of the ‘Divine Calamity’ on numerous occasions now but no one was willing to tell him about it.
Xiao Youxue had never heard of the ‘Divine Calamity’ before. So she asked, “What is that? I have never heard of it.”
Lie Qing looked in bewildered at them before she finally said, “You really do not know? How long have I been in suspended animation? No wonder, you can give me the Divine Dragon Pill so freely. If I have the Divine Dragon Pill before I fought with the ‘Divine Calamity’, then I might have translucent to a higher divinity level. I have failed…”
Yi Ping asked her, “Maiden Lie Qing, what exactly is the ‘Divine Calamity’? We really do not know.”
Perhaps she would tell him because she looked like an easy-going person…
Lie Qing sighed, “I cannot tell you.”
Yi Ping and Xiao Youxue were stunned.
Lie Qing smiled weakly, “Don’t be upset. If you ask me what the Divine Calamity is before I have fought with it, then I could tell you. But if I tell you now and prepare you for it, then I would surely die now, at this very instant. Since I cherish my life and I don’t want the both of you to die along with me, let’s not talk about this, alright?”
Yi Ping could tell that she was a kind hearted maiden and he did not want to force her. Therefore he nodded.
Xiao Youxue took a quick glance at Lie Qing suspiciously as she sighed silently, “Yi Ping, you are really too gullible. Can’t you tell that she is only putting on an act? How can you trust anyone so easily in this fraternity? She has the face of an angel but do you really know what really is in her heart?”
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PostSubject: Re: A Martial Odyssey   Sat Sep 14, 2013 1:46 pm

Chapter 22: Ambush!

Yi Ping, Xiao Youxue and Lie Qing had recuperated fully for three months before they decided to leave the Ice Cavern.
The three of them led a carefree life during those three months as they recuperated from their injuries and exertions.
Their injuries and depleted internal strength recovered at a much faster rate than they had expected. Perhaps it was due to the freshness and the unique ice fishes that they had fished from the Ice Cavern.
In just three months, Lie Qing had recovered her rosy outlook and Yi Ping was surprised that her real self would be so stunning.
While Xiao Youxue was enthralling, Lie Qing was mesmerizing.
Lie Qing asked Yi Ping, “Brother Yi Ping, who is the richest bachelor in the fraternity now?”
Yi Ping replied, “That honor belongs to Nangong Le, one of the four young masters of the martial fraternity.”
Lie Qing asked, “Who is the best young swordsman of the fraternity now?”
Yi Ping said, “Zuo Tianyi. He is barely thirty and his swordsmanship exceeded many who are twice his age. He is also one of the four young masters of the martial fraternity.”
Lie Qing could not resist a smile, “Then who do you think is the better man? Zuo Tianyi or Nangong Le?”
Yi Ping smiled weakly. He really did not know what to answer.
When Lie Qing saw that Yi Ping did not answer her, she asked Xiao Youxue. “Sister Youxue, who do you think is the better guy?”
Xiao Youxue smiled faintly, “It really depends if you like a hero or a rich man.”
Lie Qing turned to Yi Ping and asked him, “Is there any hero that is also a rich man?”
Yi Ping managed a weak smile, “I do not know…”
Lie Qing asked again, “What about you? Are you famous in the fraternity?”
Yi Ping said, “I am neither a rich man nor a hero in the fraternity. I am just a poor nameless wanderer…”
Lie Qing laughed softly, “That’s what you always say. Who knows if that is the truth?”
She looked at Xiao Youxue and asked, “Good sister, what do you say?”
Xiao Youxue smiled, “He is poor but not entirely nameless. He is one of the most hunted men in the entire fraternity now.”
Lie Qing expressed surprise, “My heavens! Good sister, you have never told me!”
She began to look at Yi Ping from top to bottom as she exclaimed with horror, “Is he a lecherous bandit or a malicious villain?”
Xiao Youxue laughed softly, “He is just a notorious fool who dare to offend the majority of the orthodox fraternity.”
Lie Qing began to sigh, “Then I better keep away from him or else I would never find a good husband at any time soon.”
Xiao Youxue asked, “Why are you so eager to find a husband?”
Lie Qing smiled bitterly, “That is because I am not young anymore.”
Xiao Youxue asked, “How old are you now?”
Lie Qing looked at Yi Ping and then looked at Xiao Youxue before replying, “This is my secret. I don’t want to share with any one of you!”
Xiao Youxue teased, “Not even to your future husband?”
Lie Qing laughed softly, “Naturally not even to my future husband. It is better he does not know either.”
Yi Ping rubbed his nose, “I wonder how old Maiden Xiao is?”
Xiao Youxue smiled enthralling as she said, “I don’t want to reveal either.”
Yi Ping sighed deeply.
Xiao Youxue asked him, “Why are you sighing? Why are you so eager to know our age?”
Yi Ping sighed even deeper, “I just don’t understand how you develop your internal strength at such a young age. This is really so unbelievable.”
Lie Qing laughed, “Good sister, I have lost all my internal strength. Can you spare me some of your internal strength?”
Xiao Youxue suddenly was tight-lipped and had a moment of irk with Lie Qing. It was because the art of stealing and borrowing one’s internal strength was an evil skill in the martial fraternity. It was an action that even the majority of the unorthodox clans condemned except for the vile heretic sects.
Even though Xiao Youxue had been very careful about revealing her true internal strength to Yi Ping, at times she would forget and accidentally displayed it.
Take for example during the first month they were in the forest when all of a sudden, they were attacked by a large wild boar that suddenly charged at them.
If it were not for her sudden reflex and a sudden kick from her that sent the wild boar flying, Yi Ping and Lie Qing would have broken their legs by the charge of the wild boar!
Yi Ping was astonished that her kick was powerful enough to kick a charging wild boar away that even a highly skilled exponent could scarcely be able to accomplish it without breaking their legs first.
Yi Ping asked, “Is that your martial strength or are you using a martial technique?”
She simply ignored him and walked away, leaving Yi Ping mystified and intrigued by her as he sighed, “To think I am almost killed by a pig…”
Even Lie Qing was astonished, “I didn’t expect good sister to be so strong despite her gentle outlook.”
And now, they had left the Ice Cavern.
Lie Qing asked, “Where are we going?”
Yi Ping said coolly, “I have a few important things that I am going to do first. We should part ways. I so glad that you have almost recovered. The fraternity is dangerous for a maiden. I will escort you to the nearest town or city if you prefer, then we will part ways.”
Xiao Youxue secretly stole a glance at Yi Ping. Was it time to part for them? These three months were the happiest day of her life as she got to know Yi Ping better.
Lie Qing asked curiously, “What important things that you have to do?”
Yi Ping was silent for a while as he appeared to be in a daze before he said, “I have to find that Ding Yunzi. Even if she is not the one that killed my wife; surely she knows who the killer identity is.”
He paused for a while before saying, “Also, Maiden Ji have stolen my secret manuals. No matter what, I have to find her to get it back.” Actually he was more worried if the Honor Manor had already acted against the Holy Hex Sect than retrieving his secret manuals from her but he did not say anything about it.
Lie Qing asked, “Who is Maiden Ji?”
Yi Ping managed a weak smile, “She is an extremely kind hearted maiden that is on the wrong side of the fraternity…”
Xiao Youxue interrupted, “Stealing a secret manual is considered a more heinous crime than killing your wife. In this fraternity, whose hands aren’t tainted with blood? You are more eager to avenge a stranger than avenge the theft of your secret manuals?”
Yi Ping said, “Maiden Ji is a friend…”
Xiao Youxue waved her hand and looked away, “So you are willing to forgive your friends for any heinous crimes that they would commit against you?”
Yi Ping smiled weakly, “That really depends. Some heinous crimes cannot be forgiven. Some can be.”
Xiao Youxue asked, “How did you know that your wife killer did not have a justified reason to kill her then?”
Yi Ping did not know what to answer as he looked at her enthralling eyes. For some weird reasons, from her eyes, he seemed to know her for a long time ago.
Lie Qing could sense the cold forbidden aura that was radiating from Xiao Youxue now. She was a little afraid of Xiao Youxue now as she thought, “Lucky I am not interested in Yi Ping or else I would be dead.”
Even though she had recovered her some of her internal strength and was confident of her own martial techniques, she was also an experienced exponent in the martial fraternity. She knew that Xiao Youxue may have appeared at ease but her guard was never down. And moreover, she also knew that Xiao Youxue martial levels were actually higher than she willing to display. It was as though she was deliberating suppressing her true martial skills. Even with her experience, she could not tell which sect or clan that Xiao Youxue was from.
Therefore she tried to be friendly towards her and even calling her ‘Good Sister’ all the time. But no matter what she did in these three months, Xiao Youxue always maintained a cool distance from her.
Yi Ping and Xiao Youxue were the weirdest persons that she had ever met. They did not ask her about her martial background, where she got her ‘Perpetual Darkness’ precious sword or question her further.
She thought, “Are they trying to put me off my guard so that they can get my martial secrets?”
And the weirdest thing was Yi Ping and Xiao Youxue did not appear to be real friends either even though they were traveling together. There were even certain days that Yi Ping and Xiao Youxue did not even attempt to talk to one another. Instead they spent much of their time mediating and exercising their internal energy.
And this Yi Ping was really a true gentleman, handsome and there was a strong magnetism to him…
Therefore, she was even more confused. “Surely there must be many maidens that have already fallen for him. Why is he in this desolate place? Is he really hunted by the majority of the fraternity?”
She sighed in her heart, “I have never fallen for a man, distrusting them. But now, I really do not know…” She had encountered many pretentious men. Just because they had given her some advantages, they thought that they could get back some advantages too.
Until today, she could not believe that Yi Ping could actually give her the ‘Divine Dragon Pill’ to save her life. She was now in a dilemma because she had actually lied to him about the ‘Divine Calamity’.
“If he knows I lie to him, won’t he get a very bad impression of me?” She could not believe that she had actually cared about his opinion of her!
What astonished her most was that Yi Ping actually had more than sixty-years of martial power at his young age!
She had watched him practicing his martial skills and had gauged the depth of his martial power. And his martial power was the type that was very pure and unhindered!
She had almost fainted because of this. It was because attainting sixty years of martial power was almost an impossible feat for the majority of the exponents. Most top fighters in the fraternity, including the old and experienced exponents barely even had twenty years of martial foundation. And if Yi Ping had taken the Divine Dragon Pill, he would have become a superior super exponent instantly! That was because sixty years were the limits and anything above that was almost an impossible feat with too many hindrances. The few exponents that had sixty years of martial power were all super exponents.
Even though the differences between a superior super exponent and a super exponent was not great, any significant breakthrough was important for them to grasp the various superior intricacy skills that would actually prove decisive in a fight.
Of course, Lie Qing did not know that Yi Ping had actually consumed the Golden Rejuvenation Pill , eaten the Thousand Year Old Ice Fish and had also cleared his death and life meridians channels by a freak fighting incident.
It was hard for her not to resist falling for such a promising young man…
Because of the Divine Dragon Pill, her life was actually saved and her internal strength even had a hope for recovery. And Yi Ping had never asked for anything in return and now he wanted to part ways with her…
Xiao Youxue looked coldly at Yi Ping and interrupted Lie Qing’s thoughts with a sharp remark, “I will really like to see you avenge the maiden that killed your wife with your cold-blooded hands.”
Yi Ping was startled as he sighed, “Alas. It is my own personal affair. I am so sorry. Maybe I have said the wrong words and offend you. I know you are kind and don’t wish to see unnecessary bloodshed…”
Xiao Youxue interrupted coldly, “You don’t have to be sorry. I am not kind at all. I want to see how you are going to kill someone so cold-heartedly with your own hands.”
Yi Ping said, “This doesn’t concern you…”
Xiao Youxue raised her white emerald precious sword as she said, “It does now. You have said that you will return me a favor for saving your life. This is what I request from you now. Bring me along so that I can witness your cold-heartlessness.”
Yi Ping said, “Youxue, why are you forcing me….”
Xiao Youxue said coolly, “So you are a liar?”
Yi Ping sighed heavily as he said, “My enemy is a very strong foe. I may not be her match. Even today, I am terrified of her martial skills and power. I will put you to danger…”
Xiao Youxue said, “This, you don’t have to worry about me. I know how to take care of myself.”
Yi Ping walked away as he said, “Up to you. I have nothing more to say anymore.”
Lie Qing called out after Yi Ping, “Yi Ping, what about me?”
Yi Ping was startled as he asked, “What about you?”
Lie Qing smiled mysterious at Xiao Youxue as she said, “I would like to see how you are going to avenge for your wife too!”
Yi Ping was stunned, “You too? Do you think of me as a cold-hearted person too?”
Lie Qing smiled as she said, “I am not! Don’t forget that my life is saved by Youxue and you. I should help till the very end too.”
Yi Ping heaved a sigh of relief as he said, “Silly girl. I have no idea how long this is going to take. If I take twenty-years, don’t tell me you are going to follow me for twenty years?”
Lie Qing laughed softly, “Not to mention twenty-years, forty-years I am willing to wait too!”
Xiao Youxue interrupted coldly, “Even if it takes you sixty-years, I will want to see your cold-heartlessness at that moment.”
Yi Ping was stunned as he said, “All of you….”
All of a sudden, a piercing quiet demurely voice interrupted Yi Ping. “Maybe you don’t have to wait for sixty years.”
Everyone was startled. With their martial levels, who could have walked so quietly without their detection?
They quickly turned in the direction of the intruder and saw a simply dressed demurely dressed maiden who was standing not far away. It was Ding Yunzi!
Ding Yunzi was smiling, “Youxue, have your martial progression actually deteriorated or I have improved? Let me analyze for you, maybe you have spent too much of your time running from us than practicing your martial skills?”
Lie Qing said coolly, “You are here all along by a chance occurrence. You can turn back and try to sneak at us again.”
Ding Yunzi looked at Lie Qing carefully. This innocent looking young maiden was actually extremely sharp and quick witted. For her to react and recover her wits so quickly, she must not be an ordinary exponent either. And she got these weird red eyes...
Xiao Youxue was startled when she had appeared as she quickly thought, “How did she find us?”
Yi Ping turned to look at Xiao Youxue as he asked, “Youxue, you know her?”
But Xiao Youxue did not reply to his question and instead threw the white emerald phoenix precious sword to him as she said hurriedly, “Yi Ping and Lie Qing, be very careful. She is an extremely dangerous exponent! Even if the three of us were to fight her at the same time, we may not be able to defeat her!”
Yi Ping nodded as he had personally witnessed her sword skills. He quickly said to Lie Qing, “Qing’Er, you should step back. She is a very frightening opponent!”
When Lie Qing looked at Xiao Youxue and Yi Ping dreadful expressions, she immediately knew that they were not joking with her. And she raised her sword with a defensive stance.
Lie Qing looked at Ding Yunzi carefully. From all appearances, she did not seem to be a threat and there were three of them…
Ding Yunzi raised her thin eyebrows slightly elegantly as she said quietly, “I am so flattered to hear that.”
Xiao Youxue said coldly, “How did you find me?”
Ding Yunzi said coolly, “We have seen you entering the Honor Manor but you are not there. It is obvious that you have lured us there for an unknown purpose. Therefore I have concluded that you must still be in the vicinity. I have almost given up on waiting, you know.”
Yi Ping interrupted, “Good. I am about to look for you. This saves me sixty years of futile searching.”
Ding Yunzi smiled demurely and sighed, “I didn’t know you have fallen in love with me and is looking for me.”
Yi Ping was caught off-guarded by what she had just said and he stammered, “I…we….I…”
Xiao Youxue warned Yi Ping, “Yi Ping, don’t fall into her tricks and her stratagems.”
Ding Yunzi could not resist a smile as she asked, “Why are you so eager in looking for me? Actually I should be the one that is looking for you.”
Yi Ping asked, “What do you mean?”
While Ding Yunzi was talking to them, she was in fact observing their standing positions and analyzing every slight movement of theirs. How they were going to attack, what were the distances between them and how they could possible react, she had secretly calculated; her winning odds of taking them at the same time was fifty percent. Of the three, Xiao Youxue was the most dangerous.
But of course, the victory was already theirs. It was because her second eldest Protégé Brother Xiao Yuanjia was also here!
Yi Ping asked, “Why are you looking for me?”
Ding Yunzi was looking intently at the white emerald precious sword that Yi Ping was holding as she asked, “Is this precious sword from the Eternal Ice Palace?”
Yi Ping hummed coldly, “That’s right!”
Ding Yunzi said, “That is the reason why you must die.”
Yi Ping was stunned, “I must die just because of this one sword?”
Ding Yunzi replied quietly, “That is right.”
Yi Ping said, “So this is the so call martial justice of the Virtuous Palace!”
At the mention of the Virtuous Palace, Lie Qing shuddered slightly.
Ding Yunzi said, “That is because I have orders from my protégé master Xiao Shuai to exterminate all male protégés of the Eternal Ice Palace and every male that are associated with the Eternal Ice Palace. It is nothing personal.”
Xiao Youxue was secretly fuming too. It was because her mother had pleaded with Xiao Shuai to abolish the Eternal Ice Palace and he had refused in the past. And now, he was attacking the Eternal Ice Palace on his own accord.
Yi Ping was enraged as he shouted angrily, “The Virtuous Palace is so reckless with lives.” He immediately drew out the white emerald precious sword as he charged towards Ding Yunzi.
Ding Yunzi was surprised that Yi Ping was so easily baited and she took noted of his quick impulsive temper. But she quickly sighed, “After today, he would be dead. What is the point of noting his character?”
All of a sudden, Yi Ping was besides her as he attacked her with the Horizon Swordplay!
Ding Yunzi was stunned at how swift his swordplay was, as mirror images of his sword blades came flashing to and fro in quick successive waves!
But she was not slow to react; she had drawn out her beautiful adored long sword and had swirled around, parrying and blocking Yi Ping’s attacks with both her scabbard and long sword at the same time!
As she turned around and wielded ambidextrously, all of a sudden she gave a silent kick and it exploded with a tremendous impact on Yi Ping as he flew backward!
Xiao Youxue and Lie Qing were stunned as they flew towards Yi Ping in an instant!
Less than five seconds after Yi Ping had attacked Ding Yunzi, the fight had ended so quickly when he was caught by surprise by her ‘Penetrating Kick’ skill!
Yi Ping was stunned that she could distribute her martial power so evenly in both her hands and legs as he fell onto the ground!
When Ding Yunzi saw Xiao Youxue and Lie Qing speeding towards her, she threw her charged scabbard towards Lie Qing! It was because she knew that her projectile attacks would never work against Xiao Youxue, so she decided to eliminate the weaker first!
Xiao Youxue immediately shouted, “Lie Qing, be careful!”
But it was too late as the scabbard flew like lightning past her and there was a tremendous impact!
Ding Yunzi attacking speed was too fast and so silence that few opponents in the fraternity could match her martial skills! But to her surprise, the innocent looking young maiden had suddenly tripped onto the ground as her scabbard missed her narrowly!
Ding Yunzi could not believe the innocent looking maiden extraordinary luck. But before she could analyze further, Xiao Youxue had raised her hand in a downward strike against her.
She immediately retaliated with her sword as Xiao Youxue cancelled her attacks and evaded it.
Ding Yunzi smiled demurely, “Surely you are not thinking of fighting me with your bare hands? That would be to my advantage.”
Xiao Youxue hummed coldly as she swirled and evaded Ding Yunzi sword strokes as she brandished the hidden foldable sword around her waist!
Ding Yunzi did the same too with her long sword in her right hand and unfolded the hidden foldable sword from her waist to her left hand!
Xiao Youxue and Ding Yunzi began to exchange flurries of sword strokes!
Ding Yunzi exclaimed, “You seem to have improved but don’t forget that in the past when we have fought, I have won more times than you. And my ambidextrous skills have improved considerably since we have last met.”
Xiao Youxue hummed coldly, “As though I care.” All of a sudden, her foldable sword was imbued with her martial power as it exploded against Ding Yunzi harder and harder with every single impact!
Ding Yunzi was startled as she exclaimed, “You can actually transfer your Penetrating Hands into your sword techniques!?”
She could not believe at the sudden increase of Xiao Youxue martial power as she took a few steps backward!
Just as Xiao Youxue was about to follow up with more successive attacks, the whirling sound of a flying sword exploded into mid-air and knocked her ten steps backward as she parried in time!
The flying sword rebounded and returned to the hands of a new intruder who was in his forties, Xiao Yuanjia!
Xiao Youxue said coldly, “So it is you…”
Xiao Yuanjia said coolly, “How are you, sister.”
Xiao Youxue said, “I am not good of course. It is because you have come to take my life.”
Xiao Yuanjia replied coldly, “We have our orders. You are a traitor of the Virtuous Palace. Surrender yourself and the Golden Rejuvenation Pills. Then you may have a chance to live. For the sake of our kinship, I will plead for you at least.”
“Youxue, you are from the Virtuous Palace?” It was Yi Ping. He had recovered from the sudden kick and he was besides Xiao Youxue.
But Xiao Youxue was not listening as she was looking intently at Xiao Yuanjia and Ding Yunzi. Any slight distraction and she would be dead!
Ding Yunzi looked at Yi Ping in relief and could not believe that he could actually withstand her Penetrating Kick as she thought, “He is not dead yet?” She estimated that he may have broken several rib bones and was suppressing his pain.
She thought, “You should have pretended to succumb to your injuries and not get up. You are such an idiot.”
But why was she relief that Yi Ping was not fatally injured?
Yi Ping was rubbing his chest and exclaiming to himself, “I have been careless.” The kick had momentarily stunned him; however it did no lasting damage to him.
“I’m so sorry. I have tripped. Did I miss anything?” It was Lie Qing!

She sighed, “Now I truly believe that you are being hunted, Brother Yi Ping. We should have parted even earlier. But now it is too late.”
Yi Ping smiled bitterly. He did not know what to answer. 
Xiao Youxue was startled and glad that Lie Qing had somehow survived that flying scabbard. She had not turned her head around and so she did not know what had happened during that intensive moment.
Ding Yunzi re-appraised their strengths and estimated that with Xiao Yuanjia in the fight, their winning odds were still at a hundred percent.
Xiao Youxue shivered at the appearance of Xiao Yuanjia! It was because she knew how powerful he really was. While the other protégés of the Virtuous Palace excelled in surprise attacks and tactics, only Xiao Yuanjia fought with all his true martial strength. Naturally his martial progression was speedy.
If there were anyone that she did not want to see, that was him!
The flying sword that Xiao Yuanjia had thrown was actually a foldable sword. And the large scabbard that he was holding now actually contained five other such foldable swords! In the Virtuous Palace, he was also known as the Swordsman of the Thirteen Swords. But where were his other seven hidden swords?

Last edited by Magic on Mon Sep 23, 2013 3:36 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: A Martial Odyssey   Sun Sep 15, 2013 6:20 pm

Chapter 23: The Heavenly Temptress

Xiao Yuanjia said haughtily, “Since you are my sister, I let your group makes the first strike.”
Yi Ping was fuming as he said angrily, “You are her brother?! And you want to kill her?” He simply could not believe that he was hearing such an outrageous thing in his life.
Xiao Youxue was secretly touched. She had never experienced kinship other than her mother and even then, her mother had a bitter outlook in life and this caused her to be despised even by her own father.
Her very own father would rather impart the Flying Sword Techniques and other martial skills to Ding Yunzi than to her.
Xiao Yuanjia replied coolly, “She is just my half-sister. In my entire life, I have never exchanged more three sentences with her. Today is the exception.”
Yi Ping had already recited the ‘Absolute Spirits’ intricate formula to calm himself down and to focus all his entire focus to the upcoming fight.
He said, “No matter who you are, I won’t allow you to harm Maiden Xiao. I will beat you up so that you will never bully your sister ever again.”
Xiao Youxue grasped, “Yi Ping…”
Xiao Yuanjia said, “It seem that you have found a steady but what a pity, he is to die today.”
Lie Qing interrupted innocently, “I believe it is a feud between you. Do I have anything to do with it?”
Xiao Yuanjia looked at this attractive and mesmerizing young maiden as he said, “Indeed you don’t.”
Lie Qing said, “Since I have nothing to do with your feuds, then I have better go and mind my own business.”
Even before Yi Ping and Xiao Yuanjia could say a word more, she had already taken great strides and walked off!
Yi Ping was stunned as he muttered, “She didn’t even say good bye.” But he quickly defended her actions by thinking, “Alas, she had barely recovered from her injuries. Moreover, it is really none of her affairs and we shouldn’t drag her into this. Some more I am the one that asks her to step back in the first place.”
Ding Yunzi said coolly, “Now there are only four of us. The fight is very obvious now and fair now.”
Yi Ping said, “Youxue, let me take care of your brother. I don’t wish to see you siblings fighting among yourself.”
He said to Xiao Yuanjia, “I am Yi Ping and what is your name?”
Xiao Yuanjia said coldly, “Xiao Yuanjia. Remember my name and tell the King of Hades who has killed you.”
Yi Ping said, “I don’t want to kill you but I make sure you regret your insolence!”
Xiao Youxue said melancholy, “Yi Ping, you can’t fight him. Do you know that he is called the Swordsman of the Thirteen Swords? He has six visible swords and seven invisible swords. Unless you know where his invisible swords are, you can never guard against him.”
Yi Ping said, “Youxue, don’t say anymore. I won’t allow this…”
Xiao Youxue interrupted sharply, “I can hold him much longer than you. If you really want to help me, then quickly defeat Ding Yunzi and aid me afterwards.”
Xiao Yuanjia interrupted coldly, “You think too highly of yourself, sister. Let me ask you. Where are the golden rejuvenation pills? Surrender it and come back with me to the Virtuous Palace. I will plead with father on your behalf. Don’t blame me for being heartless.”
Xiao Youxue said, “I have finished it all.”
Xiao Yuanjia was infuriated, “You have finished it all? Do you know how precious the remaining three Golden Rejuvenation Pills are for our clan and to father! And you have finished it all?”
Xiao Youxue replied coldly, “That’s right. So what?”
Xiao Yuanjia said, “You are very selfish. Very well, don’t blame me then. Father says if you really taken the Golden Rejuvenation Pills, then we will drain and drink from your blood!”
Yi Ping exclaimed aloud, “You are barbaric! You actually want to drink your sister’s blood? Let me tell you, she has given all the Golden Rejuvenation Pills to me. The blood that you supposed to drink is actually me!”
Yi Ping had already leapt forward and attacked Xiao Yuanjia!
Xiao Youxue called out, “Yi Ping, wait…!”
But before Yi Ping could even reach Xiao Yuanjia, Ding Yunzi had intercepted him as she said softly, “Your opponent is me. It is still too early for you to fight my senior protégé brother!”
Yi Ping said, “I was careless just now. I won’t allow anyone to harm Youxue. Even if I have to fight you, I won’t hesitate!”
Yi Ping and Ding Yunzi began to exchange their sword attacks, attacking faster and faster! And at the very same instant, Ding Yunzi was kicking at Yi Ping!
Yi Ping retaliated with kicks of his own as he exclaimed, “The same technique cannot work twice against me.”
Ding Yunzi was startled that Yi Ping strength did not falter and instead he was striking from strength to strength. She had thought that he was injured and it would not be long before he could be defeated by her.
Just when Yi Ping had attacked and was intercepted by Ding Yunzi, Xiao Youxue had also intercepted Xiao Yuanjia!
Yi Ping quickly turned his head around and saw that Xiao Yuanjia had unleashed two powerful spinning flying swords towards Xiao Youxue at the same time!
Just when he was about to disengaged from Ding Yunzi to intercept Xiao Yuanjia again, Ding Yunzi blocked his passage and said coolly to him, “You should pay more attention to our fight. A slight distraction will maim or kill you.”
Ding Yunzi had seized a small opening when Yi Ping was distracted to unleash her full martial strength as she attacked Yi Ping with a double sword strike!
One of the strikes missed and cut off the tree truck of a tree with a tremendous impact!
Yi Ping had raised his long sword and he was knocked back three steps by her martial force. He had almost forgotten how powerful her sword strength had been! His sword arm began to tremble slightly!
Even though his martial strength had improved considerably, he found out he could not withstand her true martial strength at close melee range!
Ding Yunzi was slightly startled that Yi Ping could parry her double sword blows. She had deliberated on her attacks and intentionally allowed him to parry her attacks so that he could be intimidated by her and gave up. But from the looks of it, unless he was down, he would not give up.
She sighed to herself, “Why are you forcing me? I don’t want to hurt you but swords are blind…”
Yi Ping moved backward as Ding Yunzi took another three steps forward as she lashed left and right in a calm calculating manner.
He was sweating and his sword arm was trembling even harder now. It was because barely after he had parried her long sword attack; her foldable sword would come at the same time! It was like fighting two opponents at the same time!
Yi Ping was sweating and he knew at that instant, their sword techniques differences were simply too vast and he did not know how to deal with such a double fold attacks. Only the sheer strength of his martial power and the Absolute Spirits Intricacy Recite kept him going or else he would have been killed in less than twenty strokes with her if it was three months ago!
No matter which angle he had tried to attack her, he could not get past her double sword defense and she could attack at the same time. This was the first time that he had encountered such a fearsome fighting sword technique!
In the meantime, Xiao Youxue was not getting an easier time too.
Barely had she avoided Xiao Yuanjia multiple flying swords, there was a flash and another short blade appeared in Xiao Yuanjia’s hands that aimed at her throat!
But barely when the short blade appeared, Xiao Youxue had immediately evaded it!
Xiao Yuanjia said coldly, “You know where are my invisible swords are?”
Xiao Youxue refused to say anything. Instead, immediately she had evaded his attacks, she retaliated with a flurry of sword thrusts with her foldable sword!
Xiao Fei, her cousin had warned her to be careful of Xiao Yuanjia two years ago and had secretly revealed the positions of his hidden swords. In the entire Virtuous Palace, only Xiao Fei knew his secrets. It was not because Xiao Yuanjia had told him but Xiao Fei was a quiet guy who was particular observant. That was also the reason why Xiao Fei was able to find her first.
All of a sudden, Xiao Yuanjia leapt backward as he threw three flying swords towards her at the same time!
Barely had she parried off and evaded off his three flying swords, Xiao Yuanjia threw his scabbard and that struck her with a thunderous force that sent her backward!
Immediately she grasped with a cry and fell onto the ground!
Xiao Yuanjia smiled coldly, “No one can evade all my successive attacks, no matter how good their swiftness movement skills are.”
As he moved to pick her up, Xiao Youxue opened her eyes and attacked him with her Penetrating Hands!
But Xiao Yuanjia was already prepared for such trickery. He avoided her attacks and slashed across her body with his sword!
But instead of the fatal results that he had been expecting, Xiao Youxue ignored his powerful sword slash and instead she struck him six times on his chest!
Xiao Yuanjia was startled as he quickly stepped six to seven steps back as he grasped, “You have mastered the Golden Impervious Body? No, that is impossible. Even the Golden Impervious Body could not possible withstand my martial force!”
He looked intently at Xiao Youxue and looked at her tattered dress which revealed a silvery scale armor! He grasped in surprise, “What type of armor is this that it can withstand my sword strokes?”
Xiao Youxue said coldly, “It is an armor that can absorb your attacks. If you are afraid, you can turn around and run. I won’t pursue you.”
Xiao Yuanjia laughed aloud, “I am only momentarily careless. There are many ways to kill a person. I can cut off your legs, arms and head for example.” He immediately whirled his sword in front of him as he prepared for his next attacks.
He added coldly, “Moreover, no matter how good the armor is, you will surely be afflicted by internal injuries after you took in the full blunt of my martial strength.”
It was true. Even if Xiao Youxue’s armor could withstand a struck from his sword slash, she had felt a painful sensation as she grasped her heart.
She looked at her surroundings and saw that Yi Ping and Ding Yunzi were now far even though she could still hear the slashing sounds of their long swords.
All of a sudden, Xiao Youxue martial power seemed to have increased. It was because Xiao Yuanjia could sense a cold wavering force that was radiating from her!
Xiao Yuanjia stared at her, “This is the advance stage of the Virtuous Divine Force?” He too, was a practitioner of the Virtuous Divine Force but he had not got to the advance stage yet.
Xiao Youxue did not say anything and instead she began to take broad strides forward as she kicked the ground with a thunderous impact! It was because she herself was not sure if that was the Virtuous Divine Force or the Icy Heavenly Tears even though she knew that her martial power had suddenly improved by leapt and bounds during these three months!
Through sheer hard work and mediation, especially with the aid of the Absolute Spirits, the Prolonging Vital Force Pill and the thousand year old icy fish, she had broken through the sixth stage of the Icy Heavenly Tears and had even reverted some of her mistakes that she had fatally committed with the Icy Heavenly Tears.
And because she had also mastered the Golden Impervious Body, she had also grasped the principles of the Virtuous Divine Force and she had merged it with the Icy Heavenly Tears! It was because in order to practice the Golden Impervious Body, the practitioners of the Virtuous Palace must first practice the Virtuous Divine Force first but she had started from the Golden Impervious Body first.
Xiao Yuanjia stared at her martial power in disbelief as he began to take three additional surprise steps backward!
Xiao Yuanjia did not hesitated for long as he attacked her again, because any doubt or hesitation would be fatal! Moreover, he was still very confident of his combat abilities.
Therefore he drew out another two hidden swords and attacked her again!
They had virtually charged towards one another.
As Xiao Yuanjia exchanged blows with Xiao Youxue, his swords shattered as he struck against her!
Xiao Youxue took a step backward as she coughed out blood from the tremendous impact!
As soon as his swords shattered, he had drawn out four additional hidden swords as he slashed against her once more!
His swords torn through her long sleeves and mutilated her hands and arms as her blood shattered in all directions!
But Xiao Youxue exercised her entire martial power and shattered through all his four swords once again with her Penetrating Hands as she struck her brother on his chest!
Xiao Yuanjia fell onto the ground as blood foamed from his mouth! His eyes were still in disbelief as he cursed inaudibly, “You have stolen our clan Golden Rejuvenation Pills and have secretly mastered the Golden Impervious Body…” He could not believe that he had actually lost to Xiao Youxue so narrowly!
Xiao Youxue too, stumbled onto the ground as her entire dress was soaked with her blood. If she was not wearing the fish scales armor and had injured him earlier, she would have lost her life…
She got up weakly and began to stagger away as she murmured, “Yi Ping, don’t die…I’m coming…” She did not think she would defeat her older brother and would not be so lucky the next time but she had no wish to kill her older brother.
So she just said, “I don’t want to ever see you again.”
As soon as Xiao Youxue had disappeared from view, Lie Qing walked quietly as she bended over to Xiao Yuanjia, smiling innocently, “It seems that my good sister has defeated you. It is a heart-stopping fight. I have thought she may be killed by you.”
She seemed to ponder for a while as she said, “So it is the full extent of her martial strength. That’s Interesting.”
The immobilized Xiao Yuanjia was startled at her sudden appearance!
Her footsteps were so light that he did not hear her approaching!
He said coldly, “What do you want?”
Lie Qing smiled softly, “What do I want? You should know. You are haughty and insolent to me earlier. Now you are in my hands.”
Xiao Yuanjia said coldly, “I won’t beg you for mercy. If that is what you have wished for, you are dreaming! I have lost and I am not afraid of death!”
Lie Qing laughed softly, “I won’t let you die so peacefully. I have finally found someone with the Virtuous Divine Force Intricacy Energy.”
All of a sudden, she grabbed his wrist hard as Xiao Yuanjia cried in out pain!
Xiao Yuanjia was horrified as his intricacy energy was being drained by Lie Qing! He screamed aloud, “This…is the true Invincible…Divine…Force…just who are…you….no, that can’t be. This skill is supposed…awwww……wiped out…by us…two hundred years…ago…”
Lie Qing smiled coldly, “Just who I am? I am your grand matriarch of course. I am the true mistress of the Virtuous Palace. So you people have found a way to practice the Virtuous Divine Force past the initial stage? The Virtuous Divine Force is just a deviation of the Invincible Divine Force. It is a skill that I have invented to drain the practitioners of the Virtuous Divine Force to enhance my Invincible Divine Force.”
That was why she had founded the Virtuous Palace for that very purpose.
The Virtuous Divine Force and the Invincible Divine Force were actually the same skill. When the Virtuous Divine Force reached the intermediate stage, it would become the Invincible Divine Force! That was why Xiao Shuai was desperate for the Golden Rejuvenate Pills to attain that stage!
Xiao Yuanjia was even more confused as he stared in disbelief at her before he expired, “Who are…you…really…”
Lie Qing reached out her hands and closed his eyes as she said softly, “Thank you very much for your intricacy energy. Now I can finally start to practice the Invincible Divine Force again. Who I am? Since you are dead, I can tell you. I am the Heavenly Temptress. It seems that all those that know me are now dead and I can start afresh again…”
She got up and sighed heavily, “But it seems that my clan protégés have stolen many of my secret manuals and even developed several techniques that I have never even seen before. This will make my task of destroying the Virtuous Palace really hard.”
All those that had betrayed her, she sworn to make them all pay with their lives!
She could still remember that fateful day vividly! If she had not mastered the Golden Impervious Body, she would have been killed many times over. She took a gambit in a last desperate move to keep alive by entering into a false animated state with the indestructible level of her Golden Impervious Body Divine Skill; that would preserve her body for indefinite period of time until she could recover.
But her internal injuries were too severe and what she had hoped did not materialized until the arrival of Yi Ping…
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PostSubject: Re: A Martial Odyssey   Fri Sep 20, 2013 6:46 pm

Chapter 24: The Origin of the Virtuous Palace

Yi Ping continued another flurry of dozens of powerful attacks against Ding Yunzi, who coolly parried all his attacks with just a single left stroke or just a single right stroke.
She smiled with a cool demeanor, it was as though she was the trainer and Yi Ping was the trainee.
Even though Yi Ping was attacking her with all his martial power and strength, he was still forced to take a walk backward with every attack!
He was mystified why even though he had the superior strength and technique, Ding Yunzi could still parry off his attacks effortlessly!
Ding Yunzi had practiced the sword since she was five years old. Her precision and timing was so uncanny and steady that no matter how fast Yi Ping’s sword strokes were, she could always strike at the weakest point of his attacks and swerved his attacks to one side with just a sword stroke!
By now, Yi Ping had taken more than forty steps backward and was sweating heavily! Even though his sword arm was aching painfully and his entire body was trembling, he persisted with the Absolute Spirits Intricacy Recite and forced himself to focus on finding a breakthrough!
As long as he did not give up, he believed that he would have a chance to overcome her. It was because he believed that evil cannot triumph over good!
Just when his vision had begun to blur and the last of his strength had faltered, a most unlikely thing happened and stunned him!
Ding Yunzi had suddenly tripped over a soft shriek as she fell on the ground. She had sprained her left ankle as she took a gentle step forward!
Yi Ping quickly halted his attacks in time when he saw her tripping! He refused to take advantage of her in this situation.
He put down his long sword in a downward pose as he said, “I wait for you to get up first.”
Ding Yunzi could not believe that she would be so unlucky to have sprained her ankle at the most unlikely of all timing!
Her soft eyes were immediately in tears as she tried to get up awkwardly. She knew that even if she was given a chance of getting up, her combat ability was already affected and she would not be able to fight as well as before.
She supported herself by thrusting her long sword into the ground and pointing the foldable sword at Yi Ping, “You have not won yet. Even if I stay at the same spot, I can still able to kill you. Why don’t you try again?”
Yi Ping said to her, “I just want to know who the person that has killed my wife is. Is that you? Or someone else?”
Ding Yunzi asked, “Who…who’s your wife? You are married?”
Yi Ping said solemnly, “My wife is Shui Yixian…the one that have killed her knows the Penetrating Hands Skill. Who else knows this skill other than the Virtuous Palace?”
Ding Yunzi was startled, “Shui Yixian is your wife and she has passed away?”
Yi Ping nodded, “That’s right…”
Ding Yunzi asked, “When did she die?”
Yi Ping said, “Five to six months ago, judging by the seasons…maybe longer...I can’t remember, really.”
Ding Yunzi was startled. It was because she had just seen her three months ago! She said, “That’s impossible. Are you kidding?”
Yi Ping sighed, “I know that all of you refuse to believe that the Celestial Fairy is my wife but…” All of a sudden, he froze. It was because he had seen Maiden Xiao and she was covered with blood!
Xiao Youxue was wounded as she fought her brother in a headlong clash out of desperation. She really had no confident at all. But because she was worried about Yi Ping and had the Absolute Spirits Intricacy Recite to reinforce her fighting spirits, she managed to do the impossible and defeated her brother narrowly.
Of course, this was also because she had also wounded her brother earlier, had the thousand year silvery scale armor and she had also mastered the Golden Impervious Body Divine Skill!
When she saw the man that she liked was talking to Ding Yunzi, there was a great sorrow in her heart immediately and her eyes were fluffy with tears. It was because she had been so worried for him. Instead of finding him in trouble, he was actually talking to Ding Yunzi!
When Yi Ping saw Maiden Xiao, he immediately went to her side and asked gently, “Youxue, are you alright?”
Xiao Youxue was trembling in her blood soaked dress!
Yi Ping tried to give her a helping hand but Xiao Youxue stared coldly at him instead.
For a moment, he did not know what to do.
Ding Yunzi grasped, “Where is Xiao Yuanjia? Did you…?”
Xiao Youxue mustered all her strength as she said, “He has been defeated by me.”
Ding Yunzi was stunned. She had defeated Xiao Yuanjia on her own? That was impossible. Was her victory purely due to her resolute or…; she took a look at Yi Ping as she thought, “Youxue mental fortitude comes from this young man? She likes him?”
She thought again, “I know that Youxue have a feud with the Eternal Ice Palace. If this Yi Ping is looking for the person that killed his wife, it has to be Youxue. But the Celestial Fairy is still alive, so how did Youxue kills his wife? And if Youxue did not kills his wife, then why is he looking for Youxue? Maybe he did not even know that Youxue is the one that he is looking for?”
Ding Yunzi looked at Xiao Youxue as she said, “You kill him?”
Xiao Youxue looked coldly at her as she said, “I am not as heartless as you. I treat you as my good sister and you even want to kill me.”
Ding Yunzi said gently, “I have my orders and my reasons…”
Xiao Youxue hummed coldly, “So you are saying that my life is not worth your reasons?”
Ding Yunzi said equally coldly, “Do you think that in your state of condition you have even the strength to withstand my flying swords? And yet, you can still argue with me.”
Xiao Youxue had already noticed that she had sprained her ankle as she said, “You can try but don’t let me get close to you.”
Ding Yunzi said coolly as she raised her swords, “You really think too highly of yourself.”
Yi Ping said, “Since both of you know one another, why don’t all of you sit down and talk over first?”
Xiao Youxue looked at Yi Ping, “Did you just forget that she is trying to kill you?”
Ding Yunzi said, “Yi Ping, do you know who she is?”
Yi Ping asked, “Who…”
But before he could ask, he was interrupted by a soft merry laughs.
Yi Ping, Xiao Youxue and Ding Yunzi looked at the direction where Xiao Youxue had just come from and saw Lie Qing!
She was looking rosy and in high spirits. Her air was totally different from a while ago!
As Lie Qing walked towards them, she said. “What about me then? Do you mind if I join in the fun? Three versus one, what do you think of your odds of winning?”
Lie Qing blinked at Xiao Youxue who took a step backward all of a sudden!
Xiao Youxue was startled at Lie Qing’s sudden transformation in her aura. It seemed that she had suddenly recovered her internal strength. Moreover, from the looks of it, she had been eavesdropping for some time!
Even Ding Yunzi was startled at her appearances!
Xiao Youxue asked of a sudden, “What did you do with Xiao Yuanjia?”
Lie Qing was puzzled why Xiao Youxue had all of a sudden asked her this question, so she said. “Nothing…”
Xiao Youxue said coldly, “You have killed him? Don’t lie to me…”
Lie Qing was immediately guilty as she said, “He tries to kill you earlier. I am just trying to help you…”
Xiao Youxue said coldly, “But I have already defeated him and there is no reason for you to do that.”
Lie Qing said, “He may be a threat in the future. Do you think if you let him off this time, you can really win him a second time? He already knows all your tricks in your sleeves!”
Ding Yunzi began to tremble, “Xiao Yuanjia is now dead…?”
Xiao Youxue hummed coldly, “So you have finally admitted to killing him. Not only have you killed him but you have also sucked him dry of any internal energy.”
Lie Qing was stunned, “How do you know?”
Ding Yunzi interrupted coldly, “Your red eyes…”
Yi Ping was confused. What were they talking about?
The Virtuous Palace had a deadly legend that was passed down by the elders. In the past, there was a red eye fraction within the Virtuous Palace. They were the masters and they fed upon their slaves. The masters passed down an imperfect skill, the Virtuous Divine Force to their slaves. When their slaves had reached a certain attainment in the Virtuous Divine Force, they would be sacrificed to their masters; their blood and intricate energy would be drained by them.
Eventually, the slaves decided to rebel against their masters. After a hard sought victory over their former masters, the Xiao Clan emerged as the dominant clan within the Virtuous Palace.
Even though this was a legend but this story was part of their martial training and every protégés in the Virtuous Palace knew of this story.
That was why Xiao Youxue was caution of Lie Qing. When she saw her jubilant aura, she had suspected that the worst had fallen to her brother!
The Virtuous Palace, like the majority of the clans in the martial fraternity loathed exponents that practiced evil skills that drained practitioners of their intricate energies. The Virtuous Palace had strict orders to kill anyone that possessed such abilities.
However, it was a legend and over time, this rule had been forgotten. It was only when Xiao Youxue and Ding Yunzi had seen her red eyes did they remember the legends. But they did not suspect that Lie Qing actually had such ability!
Yi Ping looked Lie Qing and asked her, “Did you really practice such an evil skill? And exactly as Youxue has said?”
Lie Qing was annoyed as she pointed at Ding Yunzi with her sword, “Just who are the enemy? That is her! We should be united and fighting against a common enemy, am I not right to say so?”
All of a sudden, Ding Yunzi whirled her foldable sword and threw it as a flying sword against her while she was talking. That was because that was the moment when she had let down her guard and was distracted!
There was a thunderous clashing as the flying sword spins multiple times as it struck against Lie Qing’s black sword as she raised it to block against her attacks!
Lie Qing was stunned at the martial power of Ding Yunzi and the ferocity of her flying swords at this distance even though she had secretly observed the duel between Xiao Youxue and Xiao Yuanjia.
She quickly took more than ten steps backward as she tried to deflect the power of the spinning flying sword! But even before she got a respite, Ding Yunzi had raised her other long sword as she leapt forward!
But before she could even took a step forward, Xiao Youxue had raised her long sleeves upward, sending a scurrying of windforce that sent her backward!
Yi Ping quickly intercepted Xiao Youxue as he said hurriedly, “Youxue, she has lost her mobility…”
Xiao Youxue said, “Why are you defending her?”
Just when Ding Yunzi had just recovered her footings, Lie Qing had leapt forward and attacked her with a lightning sword arc!
Yi Ping saw the attack and he quickly raised his long sword and deflected Lie Qing’s attacks as he said, “Qing’Er, stop. This is all a misunderstanding…”
Xiao Youxue had attacked Lie Qing with her palm and had struck against Lie Qing on her shoulder as she said, “There is no misunderstanding. She is evil!”
Lie Qing was knocked painfully backward as a cracking sound could be heard from her left shoulder!
She hatefully said, “You hit me!?” If she were not protected by her Impervious Golden Body Divine Skill, Xiao Youxue would have fractured her left shoulder!
She immediately attacked Xiao Youxue with her long sword but Yi Ping immediately raised his sword to intercept her as he said, “Qing’Er, Youxue does not have any weapons on her…”
Before Yi Ping had even realized it, he was fighting Lie Qing, Xiao Youxue and Ding Yunzi at the same time, and so were they!
The fights were extremely messy. Yi Ping was trying to stop them from harming one another; the only way to stop them was to fight them and intercept their attacks but at the same time, he was also protecting them at the same time!
None of the maidens really wished to hurt Yi Ping so they stayed their hands. It was because they could tell that Yi Ping was trying to protect them too. But the more Yi Ping defended the other maidens, the more upset they were and the more ruthless their strokes were!
Yi Ping was shouting, “Stop! Stop it!”
But his pleads fell on deaf ears as they continued to fight.
He was parrying, blocking, moving to and forth. This was the most difficult fight in this life; he had never felt so hurried and frantic in his life before!
All of a sudden, Lie Qing gave a soft cry as her black sword become dozens of black blurs that spit out towards Ding Yunzi!
Ding Yunzi gave a startled cry, “What kind of swordplay is this?”
Yi Ping immediately displayed his Horizon Swordplay, the Shadow Horizon Stance and intercepted Lie Qing’s attacks!
This stance of his happened to be her swordplay nemesis.
Lie Qing was startled, “How did you know this stance?”
But as she grasped out, Xiao Youxue and Ding Yunzi attacked her at the same time!
Yi Ping turned and parry off Ding Yunzi sword thrust while he intercepted Xiao Youxue’s attacks with his left hand!
Xiao Youxue and Lie Qing suddenly blurred out, “Whose side are you on?!”
When Yi Ping heard it, he was momentarily stunned. It was because someone else used to exclaim the same phrase to him; he had remembered Ji Lingfeng all of a sudden.
In this crucial moment, he had actually allowed his mind to wander. If he was fighting others, he would never allow his concentration to lapse. But because he did not really treat Lie Qing, Xiao Youxue or even Ding Yunzi as his enemies; he was distracted when he had suddenly thought of Maiden Ji. Moreover, he was already on his verge of his limits and he could not concentrate further!
Xiao Youxue, Ding Yunzi and Lie Qing were already lenient and careful when they were fighting Yi Ping. But because Yi Ping was suddenly distracted and they had not expected him not to evade their attacks with his current martial progression, they had all slashed and struck him at the same time!
Yi Ping gave a loud cry as he was slashed and was struck by them as he fell onto the ground immediately!
The fighting maidens immediately froze in their tracks at the same time!
Xiao Youxue said melancholy to them, “Why did the two of you slash him for?”
Lie Qing had turned white with ashen as she spoke back and said, “You're the one who struck him the hardest…”
Ding Yunzi shook her head as she smiled bitterly, “You are all his friends..?”
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PostSubject: Re: A Martial Odyssey   Wed Sep 25, 2013 7:12 am

Chapter 25: The New Virtuous Palace

Young Master Qiu Wufeng was breathless. He had narrowly escaped with his life when he was attacked by Ye Lu the Lightning God, Qiao Feng the Shadow Kicker and Lu Baiyun the Heartless Scholar.

He was laughing bitterly now. Ye Lu, Qiao Feng and Lu Baiyun were his former subordinates. Yet they had conspired to betray his clan. Overnight, the Qiu Martial Clan was massacred by these three evil men. More than three hundred of his clan protégés were all killed and the rest had surrendered.

He was fortunate to have escaped.

Gu Tianle was now the Grand Master of the Honor Manor and he had the lofty ambition to dominate the entire fraternity under his leadership.

The Qiu Martial Clan had always opposed the Gongsun Martial Clan and the Honor Manor. Over the years, there had been bad blood between the two major martial clans and many were killed.

It was only in the recent twenty-years that the Gongsun Martial Clan had overshadowed the Qiu Martial Clan. It was more the reasons to resent the Honor Manor.

The Qiu Martial Clan under the leadership of his father Qiu Cang, recruited Ye Lu, Qiao Feng and Lu Baiyun to the Qiu Martial Clan in order to strengthen the fighting strength of the Qiu Martial Clan. They were made the Masters of the White, Black and Yellow Factions.

Ye Lu and Qiao Feng were the ones that had maimed Gu Tianle and there were a bitter feud between them. By taking them in, the feud between the two martial clans deepened.

When Gongsun Bai had died, Gu Tianle took over the helm of the Honor Manor as the new Grandmaster, instead of Gongsun Jing. Gu Tianle proved to be even more ruthless than the late Gongsun Bai and his lofty ambitions were revealed the moment he had become Grandmaster. Many elders and protégés of the Gongsun Clan who had opposed him were killed immediately.

Just when the Qiu Martial Clan was secretly rejoiced over the demise of the once powerful Gongsun Bai, they were also betrayed by their own followers!

Gu Tianle had promised Ye Lu and Qiao Feng that if they could bring the Qiu Martial Clan into the Honor Manor, not only he would forgive them for their past transgressions, he would promise them great wealth and a position as one of the masters of the Honor Manor!

Naturally this offer was extremely tempting to them!

One would have thought that the Honor Manor would have suffered a great blow at the demise of Gongsun Bai. That was not the case.

Over the years, Gu Tianle had carefully nurtured his reputation as a fearsome fighter and his renown was not beneath that of Gongsun Bai; he had already gained fame and renown for killing Ji Yunzhong, the former Protégé Master of the Holy Hex Sect twenty years ago.

Now with the threat of the various unorthodox clans and even the heretic sects in the nervous horizon, there was no other person that was more suitable to lead the orthodox fraternity than Gu Tianle himself.

Because the Gongsun Clan had been oppressing the various orthodox clans for many years, when the Gongsun Clan had met with demise, few pugilists in the fraternity were willing to come to their aid even though what Gu Tianle did was not entirely righteous.

But who could say that Gu Tianle was entirely wrong? He had seized the power and had become the Grandmaster of the Honor Manor. What happened to the Gongsun Clan was their internal affair. The orthodox fraternity had never questioned the internal affairs of the various martial clans. It was because all the martial clans had their own clan rules and internal punishments. It was generally acknowledged that Gu Tianle was now the Grand Master and what was happening now was an act of asserting his authority for the stability of his rule.

Within the first month of assuming the leadership of the Honor Manor, Gu Tianle had established the twelve golden halls of the Honor Manor. Each of the golden halls was to be helm by a master with authority second only to the Grandmaster himself! Criteria to the golden halls were also very strict in the Honor Manor, selecting only the best fighters.

Ye Lu and Qiao Feng naturally did not want to be an enemy of Gu Tianle as they knew of his vengeful nature. Therefore when the Honor Manor had sent them a secret message to bring the Qiu Martial Clan under the influence of the Honor Manor, they had made the decision to accept almost immediately.

Young Master Qiu struck his fist bitterly at a tree truck as he cried out loudly, “Ye Lu, Qiao Feng and Lu Baiyun! You traitors! You have killed so many of my clan members. If I do not cut all of you to pieces, I will not rest!”

All of a sudden, Qiu Wufeng detected the presence of a living person as he said panicky. “Who is that? Who is so sneaky?”

A person jumped down from the tree above him and sighed, “You have not changed at all…”

When Qiu Wufeng saw him, he was startled and said. “Gongsun Jing!”

Indeed, it was Gongsun Jing!

Gongsun Jing smiled bitterly, “I am not a sneaky person. It is just that you are disturbing my rest.”

Qiu Wufeng had drawn out his long sword and said, “The Honor Manor is here finally. Gongsun Jing, you’re a despicable man. You have killed my kin and many of my followers. If I do not kill you today, I am not a man. Do you dare to fight with me one on one?”

Gongsun Jing drew his long sword as he said, “There are four things that you must know first. First, I am alone. Secondly, I am not from the Honor Manor anymore. Thirdly, I am not the one that has killed your kin. The one that has killed your kin is you!”

Qiu Wufeng interrupted angrily, “I am the one that has killed my kin? What rubbish is that? You are talking crap!”

Gongsun Jing said bitterly, “You may not but that is not what everyone is saying now. Because your affair with your father’s mistress is discovered, in your moment of foolhardy, you have killed your father. You have even tried to seize the position of Grand Master of the Qiu Martial Clan but are opposed by your elders. Therefore, your faction and those that oppose you broke into a power struggle. Eventually, evil cannot triumph over good and your wicked deeds are exposed by Ye Lu, Qiao Feng and Lu Baiyun who opposed your wickedness.”

Qiu Wufeng was enraged, “This is all lies! I would kill my father!? They are the ones that have killed all my kin!”

Gongsun Jin said coldly, “Do you think that with your puny skills that you can escape from the fraternity three topmost exponents?”

Qiu Wufeng was stunned. He slowly said, “They have intended to make me the scapegoat from the very start?”

Gongsun Jing said, “Now you got it…”

Qiu Wufeng smiled bitterly as he said, “No wonder. But it is my lucky fortune that I have met you alone. I will kill you to vent my frustrations!”

Gongsun Jing said, “Hold! Don’t you want to hear my forth reason first?”

Qiu Wufeng said coldly, “You can say it now.”

Gongsun Jing said bitterly, “Like you, I am also a fugitive wanted by the Honor Manor and Gu Tianle.”

Qiu Wufeng was startled, “You are a fugitive too?”

Gongsun Jing said, “Look at my broken clothes. Do I look like I am lying to you?”

Qiu Wufeng looked carefully at Gongsun Jing. Indeed all his former finery was gone and he looked worn out. He muttered, “What happens?”

Gongsun Jing said, “Gu Tianle is now the Grand Master of the Honor Manor. The mantle should be helmed by me. But because Gu Tianle had become the Grand Master, all my other brothers and elders who had protested were killed by Jue Yuan and him.”

He paused before adding, “Like you, I am now a fugitive. My crimes? For killing my brothers…”

Qiu Wufeng lowered his long sword as he said, “To think that both of us who used to be the most powerful young masters of the martial fraternity would be in this plight…”

Gongsun Jing said coolly, “Indeed.”

Qiu Wufeng asked, “So what are your plans now?”

Gongsun Jing said, “What else? I have a score to settle with Gu Tianle.”

All of a sudden, there was a couple of wicked laughter. “I am afraid you don’t have the chance.”

Both Qiu Wufeng and Gongsun Jing looked to the direction of the wicked laughter and saw Ye Lu and Qiao Feng!

Ye Lu said, “I have heard that anyone that could capture or kill either Gongsun Jing or Qiu Wufeng would be made one of the Masters of the Golden Halls of the Honor Manor. If we kill the two of them, would we be made the master of two golden halls?”

Qiao Feng laughed, “We cannot let them die until we have what we want.”

Gongsun Jing said coldly, “What do you mean?”

Ye Lu said, “Young Master Jing, I have heard that you are always the smart one. If Young Master Wufeng and you are willing to tell us where you hide your clan martial treasures and riches, we will definitely let you go.”

Qiu Wufeng shouted angrily, “Never!”

Gongsun Jing said coolly, “I do not know what you mean.”

Qiao Feng stepped forward, “There are worst fates that death itself. I would make you regret for not telling us what you know earlier.”

Gongsun Jing glanced at Qiu Wufeng as he said, “You are on my side?”

Qiu Wufeng said bitterly, “I hate to say this but yes, I am on your side.”

Gongsun Jing said solemnly, “Good. What past is the past. We should put aside our differences and fight on the same side.”

The reason that he had said that was because this fight was a critical fight. He did not want to fight against Ye Lu and Qiao Feng at the same time, yet he had to watch his back for Qiu Wufeng.

Qiu Wufeng said, “I agree with you.”

Qiu Wufeng was worried about the same thing too. Gongsun Jing words had assured him more or less even though it was hard for them to put aside years of differences and spat.

Qiao Feng said, “Are you done talking? As your seniors, we will let you attack us first.”

Gongsun Jing said, “Thank you!” And he immediately thrust his sword at Qiao Feng.

Qiu Wufeng was not slow either as he immediately raised his sword towards Ye Lu!

Gongsun Jing was a renowned swordsman in his own right and he had many martial masters while he was in the Honor Manor. However, no matter how swift or intrigue his swordplay had been, he could not steady his sword against the powerful windforce kicks of Qiao Feng and received a few hard kicks in return!

When swordplay could not be steadied, the openings were many and many of his stances became useless. Therefore he put aside his sword and used his fists instead.

Qiu Wufeng was a superior swordsman. His windless wordplay was renowned in the fraternity. Unfortunately, Ye Lu was his former martial master and was too familiar with his swordplay. In less than a hundred strokes, he had been struck a dozen blows by Ye Lu!

Qiu Wufeng and Gongsun Jing were knocked on the ground at almost the same time. They were haggard and had several external injuries.

Ye Lu said coldly, “Are you convinced now? We will break every single bone in your body and make sure that you are living a worse fate than death. Unless of course, you will tell us what we want to know.”

Gongsun Jing laughed aloud as he spat out blood from his mouth, “I would die than tell you anything. Men like you will not keep any promises.”

Qiao Feng said, “We promise to let the both of you live and go your way. After all, we have a reputation in the fraternity.”

Qiu Wufeng interrupted fiercely, “Promise my foot! You have sworn your fealty to me and now you are after my life!”

Qiao Feng said coldly, “That is because you have murdered your father. That is why!” He raised his leg to kick Qiu Wufeng when all of a sudden, he saw a young man in white appearing quietly.

Qiao Feng and Ye Lu both took a step backward in startled surprise!

They were startled that someone would approach them so quietly until he was in full view of them.

Qiao Feng asked, “Who are you?”

Gongsun Jing and Qiu Wufeng had recognized Yi Ping immediately!

The noble young man in white said coolly, “I am Yi Ping. We have met before.”

Qiao Feng looked intently at this young man but he did not remember ever seeing such a dashing young man before. He asked, “We have met before?”

Yi Ping said, “At the Heavenly Mountains, we once had a fight.”

Qiao Feng received a jolt in his head, “It is you!” He immediately attacked him with his multiple kicks!

He shouted, “Young man, I’ll recognize you!”

Indeed he had. He was still bitter about his defeat by a nobody in the Heavenly Mountains. This had caused him a great loss of face and caused him to be disdained by the Heartless Scholar.

Yi Ping said coldly, “Do you want to be defeated by me again?”

Qiao Feng did not show any mercy but displayed all his most epitome techniques. Yi Ping was startled but composed himself quickly as he unleashed a barrage of kicks in retaliation.

Try as hard as Qiao Feng in attacking him, this young man was like an impenetrable wall. He was astonished that this Yi Ping had progressed so fast in such a short span of time!

After a while, Qiao Feng was surprised at the persistent and strength of the young man’s kick that he shouted, “Brother Ye, why are you still standing there? Hurry and help me!”

Ye Lu was startled. Even though they were unorthodox fighters and honor did not mean anything to them but to gang up against a junior…if word get out that they would fight a junior together, they would lose their faces in the eyes of the other exponents in the fraternity!

Qiao Feng was shouting desperately, “Brother Ye, what are you waiting for! Hurry!”

Ye Lu sighed as he reluctantly entered the melee with his famous ‘Lighting God Hands’, fast as lightning, hit like thunder!

Yi Ping was gaining the upper hand when the Lightning God entered the melee fray. He quickly lifted another vital breath and focused his will with the ‘Absolute Spirits Intricate Formula’ and used the Divine Horizon Hands against Ye Lu.

Instead of weakening against the combined attacks of Qiao Feng and Ye Lu, Yi Ping was fighting even more furiously than ever!

They were surprised that Yi Ping could use his hands against Ye Lu, legs against Qiao Feng at the same time without breaking into a sweat!

While Yi Ping had been composed, Ye Lu and Qiao Feng was sweating and breathing heavily. They had taken several hits and had used up most of their vital strength and they had still not been able to hit him even once!

Yi Ping had used the ‘Resolute Strength Recite’ and the ‘Unfaltering Recite’ from the ‘Absolute Spirits Intricate Formulate’ to increase his resolute and speed. The stronger his opponents, the stronger he must be!

Ye Lu had never expected this young man to be so strong! Qiao Feng and he was one of the top exponents of the martial fraternity and they had fought untold powerful exponents together, including the Celestial Fairy. Even Gu Tianle was once mortally wounded by them. Yet this young man was able to hold them off effortlessly. It was totally unbelievable!

Ye Lu shouted, “This young man may not be able withstand our martial power at the same time!”

Qiao Feng immediately understood his intentions and he raised the martial power in both his hands. “That is right! No matter how strong he is, he will crack his bones if he tries to withstand our full strength!”

Ye Lu nodded and he too raised all his martial power in his hands as they charged at Yi Ping together! Because they were in close proximity and had suddenly changed their attacking stances, Yi Ping was caught in their midst! He immediately raised his martial power and displayed the Asper Continuum Horizon Hands!

There were a slightly visible blue and yellow flames that seemed to radiate from his shoulders as his hands became dozens of shadow palms as it sped towards Ye Lu and Qiao Feng as all three of them clashed against one another!

Ye Lu and Qiao Feng could not take the force of this stance which was greater than their martial powers that they were both knocked back onto the ground violently!

Even though the ‘Asper Continuum Horizon Hands’ was the second stance of the ‘Divine Horizon Stances’, it was not stronger than the first stance of the ‘Asper Horizon Hands’. It was because the second stance actually split the martial power evenly in-between the shadow palms.

Qiao Feng stared in disbelief! He could not believe that he would lose to this young man once again!

Ye Lu was famous for his Lightning God Hands and known for his speed attacks. In that single moment, he had counter-attacked with two dozen quick fists but he was still knocked back and was overwhelmed by more than an extra dozen strikes by Yi Ping!

Together with Qiao Feng, they had unleashed all their martial power as their own attacks split into dozens of shadow punches and kicks. But Yi Ping was still able to block off and counter-attacked with more than a dozen extra attacks more than them!

Yi Ping said coldly, “Now scram!”

Ye Lu and Qiao Feng picked themselves up awkwardly as they stared hatefully at Yi Ping. They were still able to fight and had not used up all their secret techniques.

Qiu Wufeng was stunned as he said, “You are going to let them off? These villains killed my clan protégés. You mustn’t let them off!”

Gongsun Jing was silent. He was known as Gongsun Jing the Benevolent but in his heart, he knew these two villains deserved to die.

Ye Lu immediately said to Yi Ping, “Young hero, since you have already said we can go and we are not your enemies, you have to honor what you have just said. Just because we do not fight you, doesn’t mean we fear you. We still have several techniques and tricks in our sleeves which we don’t want to reveal it yet. So, don’t force us.”

Qiao Feng warned Yi Ping, “Next time, you won’t be so lucky. When I am one of the masters of the Honor Manor, I will surely look for you. But today, you can take them both away. But it is only for today. You can’t protect them all the time.”

Yi Ping hummed coldly, “I think you are only trying to salvage your honor.”

Ye Lu said coldly, “Not at all. We have seen you with the Celestial Fairy. The martial skills of the Eternal Ice Palace are well known throughout the fraternity. Knowing that we are defeated by the Eternal Ice Palace is not a dishonorable thing. Farewell!”

Immediately Ye Lu and Qiao Feng took off. It was as though they had never been here!

Qiu Wufeng and Gongsun Jing bowed with their hands to Yi Ping, “Thank you for saving my life.”

Gongsun Jing said, “Why do you come to our aid? Are we not enemies?”

Qiu Wufeng scoffed, “Maybe he saved you just to kill you personally.”

Gongsun Jing was startled as he took a step backward.

Yi Ping said, “I am just passing through when I heard the sounds of fighting. Out of curiosity, I have come to take a look. I do recognize you, Young Master Gongsun Jing. My feud is between your father and I.”

Gongsun Jing looked touched as he said, “I am no longer any master. You can call me Gongsun Jing. If you do not mind a down and out friend such as me, I will like to befriend you…”

Qiu Wufeng was startled as he thought, “This Gongsun Jing is really quick to recruit others to his banner. If I am slower than him, then I will lose a lot of prestige and face.”

So he quickly interrupted, “Brother Yi Ping, if you don’t mind a brother such as me, we can even become sworn brothers.”

Gongsun Jing lost his composure as he said coldly, “You call yourself a noble? You just interrupt a conversation between the two of us. I am about to ask Brother Yi Ping if he wants to be my sworn brother first!”

Qiu Wufeng said angrily, “I am the one that suggest it and you are trying to upset me by suggesting the same!”

Yi Ping smiled bitterly as he looked at them before saying, “There is no need to quarrel over this. If Brother Qiu Wufeng and Brother Gongsun Jing did not mind, we can all become sworn brothers. I hope that the two of you will forget past feuds and get along well with one another. I have heard what had happened to you and I do not believe a word of it. At this moment of time, the two of you should unite against a common enemy and find a way to right your wrongs.”

Gongsun Jing and Qiu Wufeng were suddenly feeling awkward and were guilty. They lowered their heads in shame…

After some time, Gongsun Jing said. “Brother Yi Ping, you are right. But I have no other friends and with my skills alone, it not possible for me to challenge Gu Tianle or the entire Honor Manor alone.”

He turned to Qiu Wufeng and said, “Brother Wufeng, if there are any past offends, I hope that you do not put it into heart.”

Qiu Wufeng was stunned that the haughty Gongsun Jing would actually apologize to him. He began to stammer as he said, “Please forgive me for my past transgressions too…”

Yi Ping smiled broadly as he patted their shoulders, “That is the way. From now on, we are brothers…”

All of a sudden, he was interrupted by the terrifying shout of Ye Lu and Qiao Feng who had suddenly returned with fresh injuries!

From the look of that, they had just been attacked when they had just left a few moments ago.

Even Qiu Wufeng and Gongsun Jing were startled at what caused Ye Lu and Qiao Feng to be so terrified. Was there a fighter that was more fearsome than Yi Ping?

An enthralling young maiden in yellow with no weapon in hand had just walked into view.

From Ye Lu and Qiao Feng terrified expressions, it was this young maiden that had caused them to be so terrified!

Qiu Wufeng and Gongsun Jing were moved at her sight.

Qiu Wufeng immediately thought, “It is her? Even though she was veiled at that time at the Heavenly Mountains, I can still recognize her mannerism…She is indeed a wondrous beauty…”

Ye Lu and Qiao Feng both gave a shout as they attacked her at the same time in a desperate bid to escape.

Ye Lu raised all his martial power in his fist as he thrust his fist toward her but she simply raised her palm and there was a thunderous clapping sound as both hands clashed against one another!

Ye Lu was sent flying backward as he yelled aloud in pain!

Qiao Feng had raised his powerful legs and had attacked her with a powerful kick! But she simply raised her foot to retaliate against his kick!

Qiao Feng rolled backward as her kick missed him but there was a loud thunderous impact on the ground as her foot kicked against the ground!

The power of her martial power was startling and frightening!

Yi Ping grasped, “Youxue…”

Just when Qiao Feng had evaded her kick, he had immediately turned into the other direction to flee from her!

But another attractive young maiden had already quietly appeared as she eyed Qiao Feng with her long sword!

Qiu Wufeng and Gongsun Jing immediately turned green with fright as their legs grew soft! It was because they had suddenly recognized this young maiden was none other than Ding Yunzi, whom they had recognized as from the Virtuous Palace!

Gongsun Jing would never forget that it was she that had chopped off his father’s head in front of him and it was she that had caused him to be in this miserable state…

Qiao Feng shouted, “Don’t you dare to stop me!” He immediately unleashed dozens of secret projectiles at her!

While he was famously known as the Shadow Kicker, few in the martial fraternity knew that his most powerful technique was actually his Shadowless Secret Projectiles! It was a secret that he did not want to reveal unless he had no choice!

Yi Ping was startled as he shouted, “Yunzi, be careful!”

The secret projectiles flew with a loud shrieking sound as it sped like meteor shower towards her!

Ding Yunzi whirled her long sword in front of her. As the secret projectiles struck her sword, it exploded multiple times with a loud clashing sound one after another as thick green fumes were given out!

The secret projectiles had been coated with poison!

Qiao Feng laughed aloud, “Young maiden! You are too inexperienced and belittle me!”

Yi Ping could not see past the thick smoke as he shouted, “You despicable man!”

But before he could take a step forward, the thick smoke had been cleared by Ding Yunzi’s whirling sword!

Qiao Feng was startled as he said, “You are unharmed?”

Ding Yunzi said coolly, “Do you think I have not second guessed that wily trick of yours?”

Even before he could recover from his surprise, he saw a flying scabbard towards him and had struck him on his chest!

The speed of the scabbard was simply unbelievable!

He raised all his martial power and kicked away the flying scabbard just in time. There was a loud cracking sound as he turned pale!

He had not expected this young maiden to have possessed such a great depth in her internal strength. As soon as he kicked the flying scabbard, his foot was fractured with a loud impact!

Ding Yunzi had actually stayed her hand. If she had thrown her flying sword towards him after he had kicked her flying scabbard, he would be too exhausted to avoid her follow up attack.

Ye Lu and Qiao Feng was breathing heavily as they said rapidly at the same time, “Just who are the both of you?! Why is that we have never heard there are such exponents in the fraternity? Which martial clan are you from? Do we even have a feud?”

“You really want to know?”

Ye Lu and Qiao Feng were startled!

A mesmerizing young maiden in a beautiful pink dress had suddenly appeared behind them!

Yi Ping grasped, “Lie Qing…”

Lie Qing smiled amiably, “I can tell you so that the two of you can die peacefully. We are from the Virtuous Palace.”

Ye Lu and Qiao Feng immediately turned white with ashen for they had heard that Gongsun Bai was killed by the Virtuous Palace…

Ye Lu hastily said, “What feud do we have with the Virtuous Palace? We have never offended the Virtuous Palace…”

Lie Qing smiled, “There is no feud in the past but there is now.”

Qiao Feng stammered, “What do you mean?”

Lie Qing pointed at Yi Ping as she said, “Who he wants to spare we’ll kill. Who he tries to kill, we will let live.”

Yi Ping was stammering, “All of you…”

Lie Qing smiled at Qiu Wufeng and Gongsun Jing as she said, “I have heard that the two of you are going to become his sworn brother? Is that so?”

Qiu Wufeng and Gongsun Jing immediately turned white. It was because they had personally witnessed the martial skills of the Virtuous Palace before. And now there were three of them…

Even though they were all enchanting and extremely beautiful, Gongsun Jing and Qiu Wufeng were terrified because they knew they were going to die.

Gongsun Jing looked at Ding Yunzi as he said, “I may not be a hero but I am not afraid of death.”

Qiu Wufeng smiled bitterly, “Even though I am afraid of death but I have nothing now. If I can die with my friends, it is at least better than being a coward.”

Yi Ping asked panicky, “Lie Qing, why are you threatening my friends?”

Lie Qing swept her crimson eyes at them one by one. Anyone that she swept past with her eyes could feel a cold piercing uneasy feeling that instantly shivered them!

Ye Lu said, “Five of us versus the three of them. If we join hands together, we can win…”

Qiu Wufeng said coldly, “I will rather see you getting killed than join hands with you. Don’t forget that I have a vendetta with you!”

Qiao Feng said, “We need to make a decision fast or we won’t survive this…”

But before he could finish, Lie Qing had dealt him a blow on his forehead and had moved swiftly past him and struck Ye Lu on his forehead at the same time!

There were two startling loud banging sound as Qiao Feng and Ye Lu fell down dead onto the ground!

Her speed was so startling that Yi Ping, Qiu Wufeng and Gongsun Jing were staring in shock!

Yi Ping shouted angrily, “Why did you kill them for!? They are already injured!”

Lie Qing blinked at him as she smiled, “I am helping you to kill all your enemies so that you can be a righteous hero.”

Xiao Youxue said coldly, “These villains deserved their just desserts.”

Ding Yunzi asked softly, “Does Young Master Gongsun Jing wants to avenge your father now?”

Gongsun Jing immediately said to Yi Ping, “Brother, since we have agreed to be sworn brothers, you got to help me avenge my father.”

At this, Yi Ping was stunned for words…

Last edited by Magic on Sun Nov 24, 2013 3:13 pm; edited 1 time in total
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