The most handsome, rich and suave young man in Wulin. No girl is said to be able to withstand his gentle smile.
Chapter 1 Orphans
Anyone with a pair of ears has heard of the names Jaded lover Jiang Feng and Yan Nantian, anyone with a pair of eyes would love to see the unsurpassed appearances of Jiang Feng and the ultimate unmatched swordsmanship of Yan Nantian.
Because everyone knows that no young girl can withstand a mere smile of Jiang Feng and nobody can block a simple sword stance of Yan Nantian.
Everybody is certain that Yan Nantian can chop off the head of a field marshal even surrounded by an army of a million soldiers, he can split a mere hair into two halves with ease. And Jian Feng’s charismatic smile can crush any girl’s heart.
However at this moment the richest and most handsome young man of his time is wearing a rough robe and is driving an old shabby carriage pulled by a horse. He was hasting on an old deserted road, if anyone saw him nobody would believe he was once the young master who rode fine horses and spend gold like it was nothing.
It was now the seventh month of the lunar calendar, high noon. The fiery sun was heating up the earth, both men and horse were dying for air. However he kept whipping the horse to keep running, the carriage was travelling with great speed.
Suddenly he heard the cries of a rooster that broke the silence.
It was now afternoon why would there be a rooster crowing in the middle of nowhere.
Jiang Feng looked startled and saw a big rooster standing on stam of a broken tree not moving. His feathers and comb looked very shining and pretty.
But the eyes of the rooster looked very sinister and evil. Jiang Feng’s face turned pale, he stopped the carriage. The horse neighed loudly and a sweet gentle voice from in the carriage asked:”What is wrong?”
Jiang Feng looked a bit flustered but smiled wryly:”Nothing is wrong, I just took the wrong way.”
He turned the carriage around and decided to go the other way back, the rooster was crowing again like it was scoffing at Jiang Feng.
After about another 100 metres another object blocked the road, this road was old and abandoned but now there was a fat pig lying on the road, where did it come from?
When Jiang Feng passed this spot earlier, there was not even one ounce of pork but now there was an entire fat pig lying in front of him.
Jiang Feng looked flustered again and turned the carriage around again, the pig was rolling on the ground. It was cleaned thoroughly and it was shining in the sun.
A voice from inside the carriage said:”Wrong turn again?”
Jiang Feng was sweating now and said stuttered:”I……I……”
The sweet voice from the carriage sighed:”You don’t have to lie to me, I already know.”
Jiang Feng exclaimed with surprise:”What…how do you know?”
The sweet voice said:”When I heard that rooster I knew the 12 Zodiacs are on to us. You were afraid I would worry and tried to keep it to yourself. Am I right?”
Jiang Feng sighed deeply and said:”It is very strange, we have travelled with utmost carefulness and caution. How could they follow us? But….but don’t you worry, I will deal with this alone.”
The woman in the carriage said softly and gently:”You’re wrong again. Starting from that day……. I was ready to face all trials with you together through life and death. No matter what or who will come, we…..you and I will face it together.”
Jiang Feng retorted:”But you’re……..”
The woman in the carriage laughed:”Don’t worry about me. I am feeling much better now.”
Jiang Feng gritted his teeth and said:”Allright, can you walk now? Both roads are seemingly blocked, we will have to abandon our carriage and horse. Let us hope we can make it through these woods and reach the other side via this path.”
The woman said:”Why should we abandon our carriage and horse? They are following us anyhow, we cannot escape them anymore. Let us await them here, the 12 Zodiacs may be ruthless but we do not have to fear them.”
Jiang Feng stuttered anxiously:”I fear….I am just afraid that you…..”
The woman smiled gently:”Don’t worry, I am fine.”
Jiang Feng’s face glared up with love now and said gently:”Meeting you was the most fortunate thing that has ever happened to me.”
The sky paled into insignificance beside his charming, loving smile.
The woman smiled sweetly:”I am the fortunate one. I know a lot girls in the realm envy, hate me. But these girls…..”
The horse neighed loudly with fear interrupting her words, both of them felt an icy wind sending shivers down their spines. What has upsetted the horse?
After the wind calmed, the pig has turned over and the rooster could also be heard again. The atmosphere turned gloomy in an instant.
The entire surrounding was covered with an ominous ambiance, the warm sun had made place for icy darkness in this desolate area in the seventh month.
Jiang Feng’s face turned pale and said:”They have come.”
A voice from behind the carriage said with a laugh:”You’re right. We are here.”
That laugh sounded awful, it was sharp and out of key, Jiang Feng had never heard such nasty laughter before in his entire life.
He turned around with fright and shouted:”Who is there?”
Slowly seven, eight figures emerged.
The first person was only about 150 centimetres, he wore a long very bright, shinning red brocade making him look riduculous but also sinister and perverted.
The second person was about 2 metres long, he was muscular and big. He wore a yellow brocade and yellow hat. His face was emotionless. The other four figures that followed them had even stranger clothes, their robes were made up from different fabrics and colours with flower motif, they looked like actors who played beggars on Chinese opera.
They all looked different but had one thing in common, that was that they all looked rough and mean and moved the same way and simultaneously.
Following those was another figure, he was slowly walking towards the others. This man was extremely fat, he may even weigh more than those six strange characters combined. He was so fat that a slow pace was too much for him and he was panting heavily now.
The fatty said softly to himself:”The heat is killing me…..”
Sweat was dripping of his fat face, he was really sweating like a [pig].
Jiang Feng composed himself and got off the carriage and faced these strange people, his hands formed a greeting fist and said with a clear voice:”Are you the receivers of dawn and the black-faced lord?”
The man in red robe chuckled:”Young master Jiang has very sharp eyes, but we’re just a rooster and a pig….receivers of dawn and black-faced lord…… These nice names were given to us by people in the realm, we don’t dare to claim such names.”
Jiang Feng’s eyes directed to him and said:”Sir, I take it you are…..”
The man in the red robe interrupted him:”Red represents the comb and yellow the breast, and as for the flowers the main tail feathers of a rooster. And who he is….well, he looks like what he is.”
Jiang Feng said:”What can I do for you?”
The man in the red robe said:”We have heard that young master Jiang has a new darling, we would love to see what this lady has that capture the heart of our “Jaded Lover.” Furthermore we want something from you, young master Jiang.”
Jiang Feng said:”What is it that you want?”
The man in the red robe laughed:”It must be priceless, otherwise my good black-faced brother would not make such haste to come here.”
The black-faced lord chuckled:”Well, if it isn’t good why would I bother leaving my comfortable home.”
Jiang Feng was shocked but did not show it and said earnestly:”However in my hurry to leave my home I forgot to bring anything valuable with me. What on earth would I have that have caught the attention of so many collectors.”
The rooster comb said with a sinster smile:”I know that young master Jiang has sold all of his belongings including land, mansion etc. We don’t know why and we don’t even care why? But we do know that those bag of pearls you bought with your sales are invaluable……hehehe. Young master Jiang, you must know that we are thieves and robbers who do not return empty-handed. Hand over the pearls, please.”
Jiang Feng laughed loudly:”Good! Good! You are very well-informed. I too know that the 12 Zodiacs never return empty-handed. However……”
The rooster comb said:”However what? Are you reluctant to hand over the pearls?”
Jiang Feng sneered:”The only way I will hand them over is……”
Before he could finish a silver object almost reached his chest. The comb was most fast, in an instant he had drawn a strange looking weapon shaped like a small rake but resembling a beak. His movements and stances resembled that of a rooster pecking, he aimed at the major acupoints of Jiang Feng’s arms.
Jiang Feng leapt up and made a somersault in mid-air and avoided the seven attacks, at this point another four claws shaped weapons like the feet of a rooster attacked him.
When the comb came into action, the tail feathers followed closely, these four men were as quick as the comb and the claws they used were a formidable external martial arts form. One beak and four claws formed a deadly combination and they matched each other perfectly. They formed an adversary with nine arms and became a dreaded foe.
Although Jiang Feng was not an easy opponent himself, but facing nine strange weapons and mysterious stances he had a difficult time to defend himself. Furthermore the man in the yellow robe—the breast was still standing there emotionless, looking like he was waiting for a window of an opportunity.
The black-faced lord giggled:”My friends, we’re not women. Put some strenght into it, we needn’t be gentle to him. I will take a look at the beauty in the carriage.”
Jiang Feng angrilly roared:”Stop there!”
He wanted to storm over to block the black-faced lord, but he couldn’t break free from the attacks from those five men. The black-faced lord walked over casually and opened the door of the carriage.
At this point a beautiful hand stuck out of the carriage, the hand as white and smooth like alabaster, the elegant perfect hand was holding a plum flower between her delicate fingers. A black plum flower. Plum flowers in summer were a rare sight, a black one even stranger. A white alabaster hand holding a black plum flower, it formed a strange combination of beauty and mystery. A clear sweet voice said:”Do you know what this is?”
The black-faced lord’s face made funny twitches and his hand remained motionless, it was still holding the door of the carriage, as for the nine weapons attacking Jiang Feng also ceased their attacks.
These seven infamous rogues in the realm were like under a spell, they did not move and their faces were like frozen solid too.
It was after some time the black-faced lord said with a shaky voice:”The Embroided Jade Valley, the Floral Palace.”
The voice from the carriage said:”You have good eyes too.”
The black-faced lord stuttered:”I…..I….this lowl…..lowly person…..”
He was trembling with fear and could not utter a word anymore.
The sweet voice asked:”Do you wish to die?”
The black-faced lord stuttered:”This lowly person doesn’t…does no….not……”
The voice said:”Doesn’t want to die?”
As soon as she finished this sentence, the red, yellow, flowery and the fat were gone in a flash. The black-faced lord wasn’t walking slowly as before and was not panting anymore. He was amazingly fat, but he moved ever so swift. If one did not see this, one would not believe a fat man like him could move this rapidly.
Jiang Feng quickly went over the carriage and asked:”Are you allright?”
The woman in the carriage said with a smile:”I just waved my hand a bit.”
Jiang Feng felt relieved and sighed:”I never thought that a mere dark jaded plum flower you took from the palace could scare away evil rogues like the 12 Zodiacs. It seems that everyone fears them.”
The woman in the carriage said:”One can imagine how fearful they are, we must hurry. We needn’t be afraid of anyone else. but if they…..”
She didn’t finish her sentence because the people who fled away an instant ago have returned. They went swiftly but came even faster.
The black-faced lord chuckled:”We were almost fooled.”
Jiang Feng said with a shocked face:”Are you really tired of living?”
The black-faced lord laughed:”If there really is a disciple of the Floral Palace in that carriage, we would not have the chance to escape in the first place. Since when did you hear that disciples of the Floral Palace showing benevolence.”
The woman in the carriage said:”I spared your life and you…….”
The black-faced lord shouted:”Get out imposter!”
And with one fist he smashed the door of the carriage.
Sitting in the carriage was a young pregnant woman with a bit chaotic hair and looking sickly. Even though her hair was chaotic and her appearances were pale and sickly, she still looked beautiful and her eyes were filled with elegance. Her nose was not very sharp and she did not have cherry blossom mouth but somehow everything combined made her look really captivating. One look and one would not divert one’s eyes of her, especially her eyes were filled with love, compassion, consideration.
Judging by her belly, she was about eight, nine months pregnant now.
The black-faced lord was a bit surprised but soon laughed loudly:”A pregnant woman pretending to be a disciple of the Floral Palace……”
Before he could finish his sentence, the woman advanced forward with incredible speed and slapped him a few times. And in a flash she was seated again and smiled:”What about pregnant woman?”
The black-faced lord roared angrilly:”A sneak attack!?! How dare you!”
He struck out with his fist, he may look clumsy but this fist of his was lethal, quick and powerful.
The young woman was still smiling and used her delicate hands to gently draw and poke in mid-air, not knowing what kind of technique she used the black-faced lord’s fist was diverted back to himself. He struck himself on the shoulder and could not break off that attack on himself. The force he used in that attack was formidable and he fell down on the ground and was yelled out in pain.
Both the comb and the main feather tails wanted to try initially but now they were too shocked to move, they just looked at the young woman with surprise.
The young woman looked at them and smiled:”I take it you know the name of that technique I used?”
The black-faced lord said with a shaky voice:”The Jaded Flower Stealth Substitution. Inconceivable by both ghosts and immortals……”
The young woman said:”Since you know, you must also realizse I am not an imposter.”
The black-faced lord said with a trembling voice:”This lowly ….per…person deserves to die……”
He used his hands to slap himself hard a few times, making his face look even more swollen and black.
The young woman said with a sigh:”On behalf of my children, you….you can go now.”
This time they fled even faster, one would almost believe that they had seen a ghost.
Jiang Feng felt relieved to see them flee, he turned around and and sighed:”Fortunately you had such a technique up your sleeve to scare them away. otherwise……”
Suddenly he saw that the young woman was in pain and was trembling and sweating, he was shocked and scared and quickly asked:”What is wrong? How do you feel?”
The young woman said with difficulty:”I…..I…..have used too m….much strength……my water has broken…..now……I am afraid our children will…….come to th…this wor….world…….”
Jiang Feng was frantic when he heard her and was saying to himself:”What shall we do? What shall we do?”
The young woman said:”Drive the carriage to the side of……the…road. Quick…..quick……”
Jiang Feng did what she said in a frantic manner, the horse kept neighing loudly and Jiang Feng was sweating heavily now.
He kept wiping away his sweat and entered the carriage to help his wife to deliver the babies.
The young woman was panting loudly:”My dear, ……I…..I am afraid….very afraid…..”
“No need to be afraid……I will protect you…..Everything will be fine.”
“I am still very afraid, dear…….please hold my….hand…..Hold my hand tightly……”
“My hands….are weak and trembling too. In a moment the pain will be gone….I promise……”
Suddenly there was the sound of babies crying .
Jiang Feng loudly yelled with happiness:”Two…..twins……”
After awhile he came out of the carriage still sweating and looking very happy and exhilarated, however his happiness made place for shock and fear.
The pig and rooster have returned again and were standing in front of the carriage coldly observing Jiang Feng.
Jiang Feng tried to compose himself but one could still see the fear and shock on his face, he exclaimed with shock:”You….you have returned?!?”
The comb said with an evil smile:”Young master Jiang, are you surprised?”
Jiang Feng said loudly:”Aren’t you afraid to die?”
The black-faced lord laughed:”Die?”
Jiang Feng said sternly:”I know you lot are well-informed about the matters in the realm. The Embroided Jade Valley and the Floral Palace are not new terms to you.”
Jiang Feng was normally a very gentle and carefree person, but now he was filled with anxiety and rage and his eyes were turning red.
The black-faced lord laughed:”Jiang Feng, you can stop pretending now! I know and you know it too that the two princesses of the Floral Palace are after you. They are not interested in our lives.”
Fear struck Jiang Feng in his chest and he broke out in a cold sweat, but he managed to laugh loudly:”I think you’re mad. Why would the princesses of the Floral Palace want my life? Do you realise who is in that carriage?”
The comb said coldly:”She is just a mere servant of the Floral Palace, a traitor who sneaked out of the palace without permission.”
Jiang Feng was stunned and his laughter soon died out.
The black-faced lord laughed:”Young master Jiang, are you surprised? I think you would want to know how we obtained this information. However I am afraid you will never find out.
It was indeed a secret, Jiang Feng leaving his home to escape the fury of the two princesses of the Floral Palace. Besides himself and his wife practically no one knew of this, how is it possible that these thugs know his secret.
Jiang Feng did not know and he did not care now, there was crying coming out of the carriage and in front of him were a group of merciless killers.
Suddenly he moved as quick as lightning and stormed towards the man in yellow robe, the breast of the rooster. The breast used his dual sabres to block Jiang Feng’s attack. His dual sabres were made from precious metal and were designed to slice off people’s heads in a flash. The breast used the sabres to hack at Jiang Feng’s body.
Jiang Feng did not avoid his hacks instead he gritted his teeth and advanced forward, in a flash he grabbed the wrist of the breast and took a sabre from him.
Immediately he kicked the breast away, and blocked the hack of the comb. Then he stormed towards the black-faced lord and hacked at him, avoiding the four claws of the feathers. These attacks on Jiang Feng were lethal, vicious and fast fortunately Jiang Feng was not harmed by them. The black-faced lord quickly moved aside avoiding the hack but broke out in a cold sweat and managed to strike out with two fists towards Jiang Feng. The black-faced lord yelled:”Watch out! He is fighting with everything he has!”
These thugs have wandered the realm long enough to know that if a person is fighting regardless of his own life, he is most difficult to encounter.
The receivers of dawn avoided Jiang Feng’s attacks and just toured around him.
Jiang Feng hacked, sliced at his opponents, his every stance was lethal, vicious and regardless of his own life but none of his adversaries were injured. The black-faced lord laughed arrogantly, although the breast only had one sabre left, but the stances of his left hand were very strange and dangerous. Furthermore the feathers combined their attacks were attacking in unison and the comb moved swiftly about lashing attacks on Jiang Feng’s acupoints.
Jiang Feng’s hair was chaotic now, he was roaring….he was fighting for the woman he loves. This normally gentle, friendly young man had become a beast now. But no matter how hard he fought it was in vain, the lion was trapped, the tiger has been ambushed….he was only prolonging the inevitable.
It was dusk now, the air was awfully gloomy.
This fight was albeit soul-stirring, however the outcome was utmost sad. Jiang Feng was bleeding and sweating, all his efforts were repaid with scorn and mockery of his opponents.
The young woman shouted:”Darling, be careful!……These thugs are no match against you.”
The black-faced lord advanced to the carriage and laughed sinisterly:”Jiang Feng is a very fortunate man…..he’s father of twins now.”
Jiang Feng shouted angrilly:”You, fiend! Move away from them!”
He wanted to storm over, but was blocked by the rooster, he made several attempts to storm towards the black-faced lord but in vain. His eyes were red with anger and sorrow.
The young woman tightly held on to her babies and yelled:”You, monster…….you…..you……”
The black-faced lord chuckled:”Little beauty, rest assured we won’t harm you now. After you’re feeling better, I will hahahahaha…….”
Jiang Feng roared:”Don’t even think about touching her!”
The black-faced lord reached out and stroked the young woman on her cheek and laughed sinsterly:”I have just touched her, what are you planning to do?”
Jiang Feng cried loudly, because of his rage his stances were flawed now. The sabre, beak and claws immediately attacked viciously and Jiang Feng was injured, his chest, shoulders and back were bleeding heavily now.
The young woman called out with worry:”Darling, be careful!”
The black-faced lord laughed:”Your darling will soon become a darling ghost.”
Jiang Feng was covered in blood now and shouted:”You bastard! Even if I die, I will come back to haunt you!”
There was the roaring of Jiang Feng, the crying of the babies and the sardonic laughter of the pig and the rooster, the combination of these sounds made the entire atmosphere sad and sorrow.
Blood, Jiang Feng was covered in blood. His face, his entire body……
The young woman was devastated and shouted:”I’ll kill you.”
She put down her babies and leapt towards the black-faced lord and her fingers were aimed at his throat. The black-faced lord simply pushed her back and laughed:”Little beauty, where is your strength now? Weren’t you were formidable awhile ago? Poor woman, why did you have to give birth?”
During his arrogant laughter, the young woman again stormed towards him. The black-faced lord wanted to use the same method to push her back, but this time she embraced him and bit into the throat of the black-faced lord.
He cried out in pain and blood flowed from the cherry lips of the young woman.
The taste of her enemy’s blood made her feel good, the taste of revenge.
The black-faced lord was in extreme pain and used full force to strike the young woman down. She fell hard on the ground and could not get up anymore. But at least she sampled the blood of her enemy.
She smiled tragically and tears welled up in her eyes, she called:”Darling, don’t worry about us! Just run…..run….After I am dead the princesses will not trouble you anymore.”
Jiang Feng yelled:”You cannot die!”
He wanted to storm forward once again, but all the weapons of his enemies had already struck him down, his body was covered with blood and wounds. Before he could reach his loved one, he had already fallen.
The young woman shrieked and slowly crawled towards him, he did the same thing. Their only wish was to die together. Just when their hands were about to make contact the black-faced lord used his lump foot to step on their hands, almost crushing their hands.
The young woman yelled with anger:”You, monster!”
The black-faced lord laughed:”Now, you realise that I am a monster?”
Jiang Feng roared:”I’ll give you anything you want…..anything. I just beg of you let us die together.”
The black-faced lord laughed:”It is too late for that now. Just before you were feeling were happy right, when you tricked and hit me. Now I will let you die slowly and painfully and you can forget about dying together.”
The young woman yelled:”Why? Why? There are no grudges between us.”
The black-faced lord said:”Well, I can tell you that. The reason is we promised someone to torture you and were instructed not to let you two die together.”
Jiang Feng said:”Who…..who? Who is that person?”
The black-faced lord laughed:”You can guess for yourself.”
The rooster breast returned to his emotionless self and just said coldly:”We don’t want their offspring looking for us in the future. We cannot permit these bastards to live.”
The black-faced laughed:”Very true.”
The rooster breast raised his sabre and was about to hack the babies.
Jiang Feng roared with anger and the young woman was too shocked to say anything.
However suddenly the sabre broke into two halves.
The rooster breast staggered back with seven paces and yelled:”Who is there!”
With the exception of themselves and the heavily injured Jiang Feng and his wife no traces of other people could be seen.
But how could this sabre just break into two halves.
The comb was shocked and asked:”What happened?”
The rooster breast said:”Ghosts! I don’t know.”
He advanced forward again and used his half a sabre to hack at the infants again, but again the blade broke. All eyes were focussed on the blade this time, but nobody saw how it broke.
The rooster breast turned pale and said with a shaky voice:”Could it really be ghosts?”
The black-faced lord said earnestly:”Let me try.”
He picked up the sabre Jiang Feng dropped and walked to the carriage, he raised the sabre and hacked with full strength and speed towards the babies.
However in mid-air his hand trembled and missed the babies. Everyone saw that the blade was chipped now.
The comb said with a shocked voice:”There is someone here.”
The black-faced lord could not laugh anymore and said with his trembling voice:”Although we cannot see the projectile, it must be very small. This person is able to use a tiny projectile invisible to our eyes to break the sabres…..what a remarkable strenght….what a formidable power.”
The rooster breast said with a trembling voice:”It is impossible for someone to have such martial arts. Could it be…..could it be?”
He trembled and did not dare to say the word [ghosts].
The heavily injured Jiang Feng was also shocked to see this change of events and muttered softly:”Here…..it must be……”
The black-faced lord asked:”Who? Do you mean Yan Nantian?”
Suddenly a voice said:”Yan Nantian? Yan Nantian is nothing.”
This voice sounded sweet, clear and lively and filled with naivety, where did this voice come from especially in a desolated place like this. Everyone was shocked.
Jiang Feng and his wife already knew who had came and did not bother to raise their heads, they just looked very pale now. The black-faced lord and others were very much afraid now and suddenly turned around and saw a figure standing in the tall gras behind them. It was a slim young woman, how did she come here without being noticed.
Several metres away from them was the speaker.
Judging from the voice you would expect a very young and naive little girl, sweet and innocent. But instead they saw a young woman in her twenties, she wore an elegant long gown similar to those worn by palace ladies. She had long beautiful hair, she looked sweet and pretty, prettier than most flowers in the Spring. Her eyes were filled with liveliness and wisdom, but there was also a hint of naivety—–unfitting for her age.
Just looking at her once, you would know that she is a very complex person and nobody can guess what she is thinking.
Furthermore one is immediately captivated by her beauty just by one look but one will soon feel sympathy for her. This peerless beauty is handicapped, she is limped even wearing an elegant gown could not hide her handicap.
When the black-faced lord saw her, he looked very respectful and his fear was somewhat gone.
He bowed and said:”Forgive me, are you the second princess of the Floral Palace?”
The beauty said with a smile:”Do you recognize me?”
The black-faced lord said:”The great name of princess Lianxing is known by all in the realm.”
Princess Lianxing smiled:”You’re quite eloquent, just choose your words well.”
The black-faced lord replied:”I wouldn’t dare.”
Princess Lianxing smiled softly:”It seems you’re not afraid of me.”
The black-faced lord bowed again and smiled respectfully:”This lowly person does….”
Princess Lianxing interrupted him with a laugh:”Commiting a series of unforgivable crims and you’re still not afraid of me. Most strange, don’t you know realise that I want your lives in a moment.”
The black-faced lord turned pale but managed to keep his respectful smile:”Your excellency must be joking.”
Princess Lianxing smiled sweetly:”Joking? You injured one of our maids, I cannot let you die too easily. Who is joking with you lot?”
The black-faced lord laughed nervously:”But these were the wishes of princess Yaoyue…..”
Before he could finish he was slapped a dozen times, similar to his first encounter with Madame Jiang but much harder. His mouth was bleeding now and did not dare to utter a single word.
Princess Lianxing was still standing there, her hair and gown swaying gently in the wind and looking very careless. But her smile was gone and said coldly:”How dare you mention my sister’s name? You’re not worthy to utter her name.”
The comb, breast and tail feathers were all shocked beyond words.
In the end the comb said with a shaky voice:”But these were really the wishes of princess Yao…..”
Before he could finish he too slapped a dozen times, his little body flew up after being slapped and fell down.
Princess Lianxing laughed:”Strange, you really don’t believe I will kill you…..(sigh*).”
During her sigh she moved forward and twirled around the rooster breast, everyone could not see what she did or even if she attacked. But the rooster breast slowly collapsed without a grunt.
One of the feathers went over and suddenly yelled:”Dead?!? Old two is dead…..”
Princess Lianxing said:”Now do you believe me?”
One of the feathers screamed:”You’re too vicious!”
Princess Lianxing said:”What is so bad about his death. You too have killed many people in your days, meeting your end today is just what you deserve.”
The comb looked evil and made a gesture with his hands, and three pairs of rooster claws curled towards princess Lianxing.
There was a serie of sounds clung, whoosh and aaahhh. Vaguely they could see a figure moving gracefully and swiftly through the chains of iron.
Three of the feathers were lying on the ground, motionless. One managed to back away for about a metre but his hands were empty, he did not even know how princess Lianxing defeated his partners and how she disarmed himself. It was like he was in a dream, a nightmare.
Princess Lianxing gently shook her sleeve and 5 claws dropped on the ground with a clanging noise, she was holding one and looked at it. She smiled:”Chicken claws, I wonder how they taste like.”
She opened her delicate cherry shaped mouth and crunk bit off a part of the iron claw, this claw was made from the finest metal in the realm. This claw was also one of the most feared weapons of the realm, but she was able to bit off a piece of it with ease.
The black-faced lord and the comb were flabbergasted by this rather young woman’s martial arts. Other people’s martial arts were only focussed on legs, arms, but she—-every part of her was martial arts, perfect and excellent martial arts.
The pig and the rooster were too scared to even move.
Princess Lianxing shook her head and said:”Oof, it tastes rather bad.”
She gently spat out that piece of claw, the piece of metal flashed through the sky and suddenly the remaining feather called out in pain. He covered his face and was rolling on the ground, blood was oozing out of his face and rolling a few times he stayed motionless. Now the black-faced lord and comb saw that the face of the feather was shattered by that piece of claw, where his face once was was now a bloody, messy wound.
The black-faced lord knelt down and begged with a shaky voice:”Your excellency, please spare me.”
Princess Lianxing ignored him and asked the comb with a smile:”What do you think of my martial arts?”
The comb stuttered:”Your excellency’s martial arts……I….this lowly person has never seen…..this lowly person has never even dreamt that such martial arts could exist.”
Princess Lianxing asked:”Are you afraid?”
The comb never thought that someone would ask him such an infantile question, but now being asked this question he obediently said:”Afraid…..very much afraid.”
Princess Lianxing laughed:”Since you’re afraid, why aren’t you begging for your life.”
The comb knelt down and begged:”Please spare my life, your excellency…….” It looked like he was about to cry.
Princess Lianxing rolled her eyes before she laughed:”If you want me to spare your lives, that will be most easy. All you have to do is hit me with one fist.”
The comb said:”This lowly person would not dare.”
The black-faced lord said:”This lowly person would dream of hitting your excellency.”
Princess Lianxing stared at them and said:”Don’t you want to live?”
The black-faced lord and the comb have asked this question to countless of people in their lives, they would ask this question casually and never expect an answer. Even if they did, they would respond with a fist, scorn and chop of the people who were asked this question.
But now they were asked that question and it came from princess Lianxing, so they had no choice but to reply and both said together:”This lowly person wants to live.”
Princess Lianxing said:”If you want to live, strike me fast.”
Both reluctantly got up and looked at each other.
Princess Lianxing smiled:”That is more like it, go ahead and strike me. The harder the better, I promise I won’t counter-attack. But if you use too little strenght (humph*).”
The comb thought: Well, I might as well do as she says. I will attack her with everything I have, if I succeed that would be great. But if I fail no harm will come to me.”
The black-faced lord thought: You brought this one to yourself, don’t blame me. Even if you have invincible skills and an iron-like body you cannot withstand my powerful fist.”
Both of them thought they had hope and were very happy but did not show it and pretended to be very sad.
They said simultaneously:”This lowly person understands.”
Princess Lianxing said:”Well, what are you waiting for?”
The black-faced lord generated his power and struck out his fists making a whoosing sound, furthermore he threw his full weight into this stance. This attack was both grand and powerful, but the position of his fists kept shifting. It was both agile and uncertain, till the very end it was clear he aimed for the bosom of princess Lianxing. This technique, The Celestial Boar Shifting Into Shape, was his best technique and he killed numerous people in Wulin with this stance.
The comb flew up too and the beak weapon was twirled into flashes of light and he was aiming for the two major acupoints on princess Lianxing’s bosom. Of course he used his special technique too, normally he would not even consider using this attack unless he was really in danger. This stance was called The Morning Rooster Crowing To The Sun, it was said that with this stance alone he killed eight head armed guards of the Power and Might Armed Guard Agency.
Princess Lianxing laughed:”You really put everything in it.”
During her laughter she used her right hand to gently wave about through the rain of fists and claws, at this point the comb and the black-faced lord noticed that they had no control anymore on their aim. They wanted to retract their stances but it was not possible anymore, they wanted to redirect their aim but that too proved to be impossible.
Suddenly both of them called out in pain, princess Lianxing was still standing there smiling. The black-faced lord was lying on the ground, while the comb was thrown away for about 2 metres and stayed motionless.
There were a few moanings but then it died out, the black-faced lord pulled out the claw stuck into his chest and blood was oozing out of his wound.
He stuttered with pain:”You….you…..”
Princess Lianxing said:”I did not attack you, why did you two attack each other?”
The black-faced lord looked at her angrilly, his lips moved wanting to say something but not a single sylable could be produced—–never again can he speak again.
Princess Lianxing sighed:”If you didn’t want to kill me and used only half your powers, you would still be alive. I did give you a chance to live, right?”
Of course nobody could answer her anymore.
The horse pulling the carriage had died some time ago and the carriage was also pushed over. Jiang Feng and his wife were crawling towards the carriage to pick up their crying sons, just when they are about to reach their babies a beautiful alabaster hand had pushed away the children from their reach.
Jiang Feng yelled:”Give….give them back to me!”
The young woman begged loudly:”Your excellency, please give me back my children!”
Princess Lianxing said:”Good, Yuenu. Very good! You have given Jiang Feng sons.”
She was still smiling but her smile was filled with sorrow, melancholy, resent and hate.
The young woman, Hua Yuenu pleaded:”Your excellency, I know I am at fault…..I have commited a grave crime….but the children are innocent…..please spare them…….”
Princess Lianxing looked at the babies and softly said:”Children……adorable babies……if they were mine I would be so happy.”
She turned her look to Jiang Feng filled with hatred, resent but also sorrow. She looked at him for awhile before saying melancholically:”Why Jiang Feng? Why did you do that? Why?”
Jiang Feng said:”Because I love her.”
Princess Lianxing screamed:”Because you love her……My sister is, I don’t know how many times better than she is. You were wounded, my sister saved you and took care of you. She had never treated anyone with that much affection but she made an exception for….you……But you ran off with her maid……”
Jiang Feng gritted his teeth and said:”Since you ask, I will tell you. Your sister is not a living person, she is like fire, a block of ice even a sword. You even can say she is a spirit or an immortal but not a human being…..but she……”
He now looked at Hua Yuenu, his eyes were filled with love and affection and continued:”She is real, she is a real living person. She does not only treat me with affection, she understands me. She is the only woman in the world who loves my being, my soul and not just my face.”
Princess Lianxing suddenly slapped him and said:”You dare to say that again!”
Jiang Feng retorted:”Why can’t I speak up my mind!”
Princess Lianxing said:”You only know she is good to you, but do you know how I feel for you? If….your face was destroyed….I would still…..would still…..”
She did not finish her words.
Hua Yuenu exclaimed with surprise:”Your excellency, you are too…..”
Princess Lianxing said loudly:”What!?! Can’t I be good to him? Can I not love him? ……Is it because I am handicapped, but being limp does not make me a lesser human. I am a woman too.”
She has changed, she was not the superior, high and mighty martial arts expert that controlled life and death. She was now an ordinary woman, an ordinary weak and sad woman.
She was weeping now.
This practically a legend in the realm of martial arts was weeping, both Jiang Feng and Hua Yuenu were shocked and surprised.
After some time Hua Yuenu said sadly:”Your excellency, I am near my end…..from now on he is yours. You can save him, you are the only one who can save him.”
Princess Lianxing was trembling the words [from now on he is yours] shot her right into the heart.
Jiang Feng suddenly laughed arrogantly, his laughter was loud but there was no joy on his face only sadness. His laughter sounded like crying, a tragic cry.
With tears in his eyes he looked at Hua Yuenu and smiled tragically:”Save me? Who can save me now in this world? If you’re gone, how can I continue to live? Yuenu, Yuenu, don’t you understand?”
Hua Yuenu who was crying too, said gently:”Of course I understand you, but if you die what will become of the children….someone has to take care of them.”
Her tone soon turned into weeping too and she was holding Jiang Feng’s hand tightly now and continued:”This is our fault, we cannot allow the second generation to share our mistakes. Death is not an escape out of this.”
Jiang Feng’s tragic smile died out and made place for despair.
Hua Yuenu said with a shaky voice:”I know that death is a very easy solution to all problems and that living is much more difficult…But I beg of you for the children you must keep on living.”
Jiang Feng was crying too and was completely dazed, he said softly to himself:”I must keep on living…….Do I really have to keep on living….”
“Your excellency, please no matter what you have to save him. If you truly love him you cannot watch him die.”
Princess Lianxing said slowly:”Really?”
Hua Yuenu screamed:”You can save him…..You really must save him.”
Princess Lianxing sighed deeply:”Yes, I can save him…..”
Before she could finish her sentence another voice interrupted her:”Wrong! You cannot save him, no one can save him in this world.”
The voice was both elusive and clear, but also cold and emotionless, yet it was sweet, innocent and captivating.
Nobody can clearly describe that voice, why is it both horrifying and sweet. Also nobody can forget this voice in his life after hearing it once.
A simple few words changed the atmosphere again in this desolate area, filled with death, coldness and it seemed that even the setting sun had to make place for the speaker.
Jiang Feng was trembling heavily now and princess Lianxing turned pale.
They did not turn around, but a figure in white was now standing in front of them. Nobody could see where she came from or how she appeared in front of them.
Gracefully the figure stood there dressed in an elegant white gown. She had long beautiful thick hair, her beauty was needless to say matchless. But nobody could descibe her appearances, because no one would dare look her into the face. She had a strange, mystifying threatening charisma which was awesome, making her exceptional, superior and powerful.
Princess Lianxing bowed her head and bit her lip saying:”Sister, you’re here.”
Princess Yaoyue said casually:”Yes, I am here. You did not expect that, did you?”
Princess Lianxing bowed her head even deeper and asked:”How long were you here?”
Princess Yaoyue said:”Not too late, I could overhear a lot which normally nobody would share with me.”
Jiang Feng suddenly thought of something and shouted:”You…you…you were here all along. So you were the one who instructed the rooster and pig to return, is it not? You told them about our secret, right?”
Princess Yaoyue said:”Now you realise that. A bit too late.”
Jiang Feng was torn apart by anger and yelled:”Why? Why did you do that? Why were you that ruthless?”
Princess Yaoyue said:”Against traitors I have to be ruthless.”
Hua Yuenu could not help but pleades tragically:”Your excellency, this is all my fault. You…you cannot blame him.”
Suddenly princess Yaoyue’s tone turned awfully cold and stern:”You…you dare to speak in my presence.”
Hua Yuenu stuttered:”I….I…”
Princess Yaoyue said:”Very good…..now that you’ve seen me, you can die now.”
When Hua Yuenu saw her, she was even too afraid to weep anymore. Now she closed her eyes and said:”Thank you, your excellency.”
Jiang Feng shouted:”She tells you to die! Why do you thank her!”
Hua Yuenu managed to enforce a tragic smile on her face and said:”Because when I die first I am spared the agony of seeing you and the children suffer before you die…..this….this is the leniency her excellency has bestowed upon me. Of course I have to thank her for it.”
She opened her eyes and looked at Jiang Feng and then at her children—-that simple gaze was filled with love and said it all.
Jiang Feng’s heart was broken and he shouted:”Yuenu, you can’t die…..you cannot die.”
Hua Yuenu said gently:”I am leaving now……I will wait for you……”
She closed her eyes one more time, but this time forever.
“Yuenu! Wait, wait….I will accompany you….”
Somehow he mustered all the strenght he had and staggered over to Hua Yuenu but before he reached her a powerful wind blew him back.
Princess Yaoyue said:”Just stay there.”
Jiang Feng loudly said:”I have never begged for anything in my life…..but now….but now……I beg of you just let me die together with her…..that is all what I want.”
Princess Yaoyue said:”You will never touch her again.”
Jiang Feng stared at her, if eyes could kill or shoot fire this entire place would be set ablaze now.
But princess Yaoyue just stood there not moving.
Suddenly Jiang Feng laughed loudly, his laughter travelled far.
Princess Lianxing sighed softly:”Why are you laughing?”
Jiang Feng laughed:”You think you are so powerful! You think you can control life and death, but if I die I can be together with Yuenu. Can you really stop me?”
During his laughter he rolled aside a few times, and then he stopped his back facing up and his laughter slowly died out.
Princess Lianxing called out softly and quickly moved over, she turned him around and saw that the tip of a sabre was pierced through his chest.
It was night now, the moon lit up the entire area.
Princess Lianxing was kneeling there, not moving only the wind was blowing. After a long time she said softly:”Dead…..he got what he wished for…..but what about us?”
She got up and walked to princess Yaoyue and shouted:”What about us?……We?……. They have what they wanted. But what do we have?”
Princess Yaoyue seemed to be oblivious to this outburst and said coldly:”Quiet.”
Princess Lianxing said:”I will not stay quiet, I want to say this. What have you gained by doing this? You just made them love each other more and made them hate you even more.”
Before she could speak again princess Yaoyue slapped her.
Princess Lianxing backed a bit away from her sister and said with a trembling voice:”You….you….”
Princess Yaoyue said:”You just know that they hate me…..but do you know how much I hate him. I hate him so much that my heart is bleeding.”
She rolled up her sleeve and said loudly:”Look at this.”
Her alabaster arm which was almost perfect was now covered with tiny puncture wounds.
Princess Lianxing was shocked and stammered:”This….this….”
Princess Yaoyue said:”I used a needle to prick myself, ever since they left…..my hatred…..I…I hate…..I used a needle to prick myself. I kept tormenting myself every night, that way I could ease the pain in my heart somewhat. Do you know that! Do you know that!”
Her voice was not cold anymore, but hysterical and emotional and she was shaking all over.
Princess Lianxing looked at the wounds on her sister’s arm and was shocked, and soon tears welled up in her eyes. She embraced her sister and wept:”I never……never thought that you would feel so much pain too.”
Princess Yaoyue hugged her sister too and looked at the moon, she melancholically said:”Because I am human too……I hate being human, I hate having these emotions. But because of these emotions I am perceptive of jealousy and hate.”
Both sisters embraced each other…….
In this instant there were not the dreaded female demons of Wulin anymore, but ordinary young women who shared their emotions with each other.
Princess Lianxing said softly:”Sister……sister…..now I realise……”
All of a sudden princess Yaoyue pushed her away and said:”Stand straight.”
Princess Lianxing staggered backwards before standing still, she said tragically:”In more than 20 years, this is the first time you embraced me. Even just now you pushed me back I am still very happy.”
Princess Yaoyue ignored her now and said coldly:”Finish it.”
Princess Lianxing asked:”Finish what?”
Princess Yaoyue said:”The children.”
Princess Lianxing exclaimed with shock:”The children? ……… But they were just born…do you really want to……”
Princess Yaoyue said:”I cannot permit their children to live! If these children don’t die, they will remind me constantly of the betrayal of Jiang Feng and that b-i-t-c-h. Furthermore if they live I will be pursued with agony for the rest of my life.”
Princess Lianxing said:”But I…..”
Princess Yaoyue said:”You don’t want to do it?”
Princess Lianxing said:”I cannot bear to do it.”
Princess Yaoyue said:”Fine! I will do it myself.”
She waved her sleeve casually and a sabre flew up right into her hand, she hurled the sabre and hacked at one of the sleeping babies.
Suddenly princess Lianxing grabbed the hand of princess Yaoyue tightly, but the tip of the sword had already made a shallow cut on the baby’s face.
The baby cried in pain now.
Princess Yaoyue said angrilly:”You dare to stop me!”
Princess Lianxing said:”I….I….”
Princess Yaoyue said:”Let go of me! Have you ever seen anyone who was capable of stopping me?”
All of a sudden princess Lianxing laughed:”Sister, I am not stopping you. I just thought of a better to deal with these children, what do we gain by killing two babies who are unaware of anything.”
Princess Yaoyue stared at her and asked:”What do you suggest?”
Princess Lianxing said:”If you can make these children suffer for the rest of their lives, we will have our revenge. Jiang Feng and Hua Yuenu won’t be able to rest in peace if they knew what was going to happen.”
Princess Yaoyue remained pensive for awhile before sighing:”Tell me what you have planned for them.”
Princess Lianxing said:”Now nobody knows that Jiang Feng has twins, right?”
Princess Yaoyue did not understand what she was hinting at and just said:”Right.”
Princess Lianxing said:”Not even the children know they are twins, right?”
Princess Yaoyue grunted:”Rubbish!”
Princess Lianxing said:”That self-proclaimed number one swordsman in the realm Yan Nantian is Jiang Feng’s best friend. And he was supposed to meet up with Jiang Feng here. Otherwise Jiang Feng wouldn’t take this road…..”
Princess Lianxing continued with a smile:”If we were to take one child away and leave one behind Yan Nantian will sure take care of the remaining one. Furthermore he will teach that child martial arts and tell him to avenge his parents. All we have to do is leave a palm imprint on Jiang Feng’s body, he will think the Floral Palace is responsible. So when that child grows up, he will be looking for the Floral Palace.”
Princess Yaoyue was still looking pensive and said:”You’re right.”
Princess Yaoyue added:”At that time we will have raised the other child and taught him martial arts too. He will be the only man in Floral Palace and when our arch-enemy will be looking for us he will be our champion. However no one will know that they are actually brothers and that way they will became each others nemeses.”
Princess Lianxing clapped her hands now and smiled:”Exactly, by that time the little brother will kill the older brother or vice versa. Because they’re twins, so they’re bound to be equals so whether they compete in martial arts or intelligence—–it will be a most bloody, interesting fight.”
On princess Yaoyue’s face there was a faint smile now:”Indeed, a most interesting scenario. Even more interesting and better than killing them now. And we will tell the victor, no matter who he is, the truth. I can imagine the look on his face will be most pleasing.”
Princess Lianxing clapped her hands and said:”Very pleasing indeed.”
Suddenly princess Yaoyue said coldly:”However if someone would expose this secret before the right time, than the outcome would not be so pleasing anymore.”
Princess Lianxing said:”But nobody else knows about this…..”
“Except you!” Princess Yaoyue said.
“Me? I thought of this plan, why would I foil it myself? You should know me by now, I am always fond of an pleasing and interesting plot.” Princess Lianxing retorted.
Princess Yaoyue remained silent for a moment before saying:”Indeed, nobody else can think of such a strange idea except you. You wouldn’t foil your own masterplan.”
Princess Lianxing laughed:”This idea may be strange but it is very useful. The best part is that they are twins, but one of them is wounded now on his face. When he grows up, he will be bound to look a bit different now. So nobody will know the truth behind this, they will become each others enemies.”
That wounded baby stopped crying now, it seemed he was scared silent by this evil and maniacal revenge plot. He opened his innocent but startled eyes, he seemed to be aware of his coming disaster and sorrow—–a life filled with misery.
Princess Yaoyue looked at the babies and said softly:”17 years……I have to wait at least another 17 years……”
End of chapter 1
Chapter 2 The Peerless Celestial Sword
A simple street, an ordinary house filled with friendliness of men.
It was an ordinary town, the fiery sun brightened up the only street in this town. The sun shone on the banner of a wineshop, which was made from a green cloth. This wineshop was called Taibai Shop.
It was a simple wineshop in an ordinary small town, business was not very good. The waiter leaning over the counter and was yawning, but there was one customer. But he was too lazy to attend to that customer, for the past two, three days that fellow had came here for wine. He only ordered the cheapest wine in the shop and did not even order dishes to go with the wine.
This customer was too poor for words, he was so poor that there were holes in his shoes. Which was quite visible now, since he put his feet on the table. He leant his back to the wall and had his eyes closed, he was very tall almost two metres. He looked like a sleeping tiger in this wineshop.
The sun also shone on his face revealing his thick eyebrows and edgy cheekbones and giving his short beard a greenish colour.
Suddenly he frowned and used his skinny but huge hand to block the sun and with the other hand holding on to his rusty and practically worthless sword, he yawned a few times too before actually falling into a deep sleep.
Noon had just passed and everything remained peaceful and quiet in this little town, till suddenly a group of horses swiftly galloped into town and stopped in front of the wineshop. A lot of passers-by took a look at the horses and riders. It was a group of men in rather expensive brocades and all of them entered the little wineshop.
First man was a big man with a precious sword stuck in his girdle, he looked very proud and it seems that his pimples were extraordinary too. He laughed loudly:”Taibai Shop……..such a worthless, shabby shop is called Taibai Shop….”
Walking behind him was a rather fat man with also a sword in his girdle, he looked like a proprietor of a big restaurant, smiled:”Brother Lei, you’re mistaken. Li Taibai* wrote some wonderful poems in his days, but he was a poor man without any power. So living in a shabby place is his style.”
That brother Lei laughed even louder:”Too bad he has been dead for so long, otherwise I would have invited him for a few cups of wine with us. Hey, you! Bring us some fine wine and some fine dishes and be quick!”
After a few cups of wine they laughed even louder, the tall man in the corner woke up from his nap and stretched himself and said softly:”Riff-raff..riff-raff…”
Suddenly he hit the table very hard and yelled:”Bring me some wine to quench the vulgair air here.”
That smack and that roar sounded like thunder and all those men jumped up.
Brother Lei’s face changed and stood up, but another rider pulled his sleeve and said softly:”The chief will be here shortly, don’t create trouble.”
This man was rather short but he looked quite tough and smart.
Brother Lei grunted and sat down again, he poured himself another cup and asked:”Third Sun, are you sure that the chief said to meet us here?”
The short man smiled:”I am sure. Second brother Qian also heard the chief…..”
The fat man interrupted with a laugh:”Yes, this is the place. The chief is here to meet a great hero, so he ordered us to bring the presents here first.”
Brother Lei asked:”Do you know who he is going to meet?”
Second brother Qian smiled and whispered a name.
Brother Lei immediately exclaimed with shock:”Him!?! So we’re going to meet HIM?!? Why would he even go to a place like this?”
Second brother Qian said:”If he wouldn’t come, why would our chief hurry over.”
Immediately these people quiet down and their laughter also became softer, but they drank more wine now and kept whispering.
“It is said that he holds a sword given by an immortal, slicing metal like butter and it gives light during the night.”
“Hm, yes! Without such a sword how can he chop off the heads of the ghosts of Mount Yin in a matter of moments.”
At this point all of them removed their swords from their girdles and some even unsheated used their sleeves to polish it.
Brother Lei laughed loudly:”My sword isn’t too bad either, but compared to his it is still lacking a bit. If not I would be as famous as he is.”
Second brother Qian shook his head and said:”No….no…. Even with the same sword it is impossible to be as famous as he is. Not taking other things in account but just his level of perfection in the lightness martial arts…hah! You’ve seen the walls of Beijing too, he just casually leapt over the wall.”
Brother Lei stuck out his tongue and said:”Really?”
Second brother Qian continued:”Yes.I heard he was still drinking wine in Beijing in the evening and before dawn he had reached Mount Yin. The ghosts saw a flash of light and all their heads were chopped off…..hah. It was said that the flash of light looked like thunderbolt and everyone in a radius of a few hundred kilometres could see that light.”
The poor tall man was drinking his wine too and used his sleeve to wipe the blade of his sword, but when he heard this he laughed loudly:”Impossible! No one is capable of doing that, and where on earth would one find a sword like that!”
Brother Lei looked angry now and hit the table, he shouted:”Who is spouting nonsense here! Come out!”
The tall man did not respond he continued to polish his blade and drinking wine.
Brother Lei was furious now and jumped up and wanted to go over, he was stopped by second brother Qian. He winked at brother Lei and staggered slowly over to the tall man.
He smiled:”My friend, it seems you’re a practitioner of the sword too. It is not strange that you would not believe our words, but do you realise who we are talking about?”
The tall man casually and carefree asked with a smile:”Who?”
Second brother Qian said:”The great hero master Yan, Yan Nantian. Celestial Sword Yan……hahahaha! If you are really a practitioner of the sword you must have heard of him. Now do you believe our words.”
The tall man rolled his eyes and smiled in a silly way:”Yan Nantian? ……. Who is Yan Nantian?”
Second brother Qian was laughing loudly now:”You haven’t heard of Yan Nantian, you’re not a learner of the sword.”
The tall man laughed too:”In that way, you must know him! How does he look like and what about that sword…..”
Brother Lei could not control himself anymore and rushed over and used his fist to hit the table bamm, he shouted:”We don’t know him either. But we do know he is ten times more handsome than you and his sword is also at least ten times superior than that rusty piece of garbage you have.”
The tall man laughed:”It seems that you are armed guards, how can it be that you have such poor eyesight. Although I am not handsome, but this sword of mine…..”
Brother Lei laughed loudly:”Don’t tell me that rusty piece of iron of yours is some sort of treasure.”
“This sword of mine is really an invaluable treasure. It cuts through metal like tofu.”
Everyone in the wineshop started to laugh now.
Brother Lei laughed:”If that sword of yours is really a priceless treasure, we should at least treat you to a good meal. And…..”
The tall man stood up now and interrupted him:”Allright, draw your sword and we will test my sword.”
When he was seated, there was nothing seemingly impressive about him. But now he stood up, brother Lei unintentionally backed a bit away from him. Second brother Qian was a fat man but compared to his muscular and big body he looked like a skinny man. His shoulders were very broad and his arms were long and his hands were big.
At this point a pale young man in a green robe entered the wineshop and when he saw what was happening he leaned over the counter and chuckled.
Brother Lei drew his precious sword made from fine metal and mustered his courage, he roared:”Allright! I will test your sword.”
The tall man said:”Use all the strength you have.”
Brother Lei laughed arrogantly:”Watch out! Don’t blame me if you’re injured.”
He twirled his sword and hacked at the sword of the tall man.
The tall man was holding a cup of wine in his left hand and casually used his sword to intercept that blow and everyone heard craaannng. Brother Lei backed away with two paces and was holding half a sword now, everyone was surprised and nobody believed their eyes.
The tall man touched his sword and laughed:”What do you think?”
Brother Lei swallowed his saliva and stammered:”A wonderful sword, a true treasure.”
The tall man sighed:”Unfortunately such a treasure is wasted in my hands.”
Brother Lei’s eyes gleared up and said:”My friend……do…do you have intentions of selling this….magnificent weapon?”
The tall man said:”I have the intention but I haven’t met the right buyer yet.”
Brother Lei was very happy and one could see it on his face:”I….me….what do you think of me as a buyer?”
The tall man examined him carefully for a moment and said:”Well, you do have somewhat of the grandeur of a hero in you and fit this sword quite nicely….but….but…..your knowledge is only mediocre. I wonder how high your bid is first.”
Brother Lei was very happy and said:”We can talk about that…..we can discuss a reasonable price.”
He gathered his friends around and were softly discussing this deal, in awhile all of them reached for their money bags. They were seeing how much each could spare.
The tall man did not pay any attention to it and continued to drink wine.
After some time, brother Lei walked over and said carefully:”How about 500 taels of silver……”
The tall man stared at him and said:”How much?”
Brother Lei immediately laughed:”How about 1000 taels of silver, would that be enough? To be honest we have emptied our money bags and this is all we can muster together.”
The tall man remained pensive for a moment before saying:”This sword is a priceless treasure, as the saying goes vermillion cosmetics are only fit for a beauty and a good sword only fits a true hero. Allright, it is a deal. I will sell this sword to you for 1000 taels of silver.”
Brother Lei never thought he would agree that fast, he was afraid that he would change his mind and quickly gave the tall man the silver and laughed:”Here is your 1000 taels of silver, please count them for yourself.”
The tall man put the silver in his bag and laughed:”No need to count it, I believe you. The sword is here, only the chosen one is fit to wield such an immortal sword. Do be humble in the future, otherwise even an immortal sword can turn into a piece of worthless iron.”
Brother Lei said happily:”Of course….of course.”
He took the sword with both hands and was estatic, like he had found a priceless treasure. Which he did.
The tall man took out an ingot of silver and threw it on the table, he stretched himself and yawned one more time before laughing:”This round is on me, I’m off.”
Without looking back, he walked out the wineshop with big paces.
The young man in green robe looked at brother Lei and his friends and chuckled one more time before following the tall man.
Brother Lei was so happy that he almost forgot his family name.
Second brother Qian smiled:”Now that our brother Lei has such a marvellous sword, he will be practically invincible. The realm will become brother Lei’s playing field.”
Brother Lei laughed proudly:”Thank you….thank you….. Well, I have thank all my good brothers here for helping out. Hahahahaha, it seems that luck has changed for me, if not how would such a golden opportunity ran up to me.”
Second brother Qian said:”With this sword even Yan Nantian will turn pale, I think our armed guard agency will have a new chief soon.”
Brother Lei laughed even happier now:”If that really happens, I will not forget my good brothers here.”
He was holding his sword tightly, he did not whether to sit or to stand….he was so exhilarated that he had lost all track.
A voice from outside laughed:”Why are all of you so happy?”
A man stepped walked into the wineshop, this man was rather short but looked very tough and intelligent and his eyes were sharp. Furthermore he had an impressive grandeur as he walked and moved, with one look you would know that he is the sort of person who is accustomed to giving orders.
Second brother Qian and others got up and smiled apologetically:”Chief Shen…”
They were all talking through each other and explained to chief Shen what just happened.
Chief Shen smiled:”Really? Congratulations for acquiring such a splendid weapon.You’re most lucky.”
Brother Lei laughed too and started to walk over to chief Shen, but suddenly he realised his new status with his new sword and stood still.
He laughed:”Chief…brother Shen is right. I am most fortunate to have acquired this magnificent sword.”
He changed very fast and he also changed the way of addressing chief Shen.
Chief Shen did not notice the change and smiled:”To be honest I too would like to admire this weapon. Brother Lei, would you mind?”
Brother Lei laughed:”This is easy! Brother Shen, go ahead.”
Chief Shen said:”Brother Qian, could I use your sword for a moment?”
After borrowing the sword of second brother Qian, he rolled up his sleeve and smiled:”Brother Lei, be careful now.”
Chief Shen twirled the sword and hacked at the sword of brother Lei, brother Lei imitated that tall man. He too was holding a cup in his left hand now and was about to drink when he saw that the sword was coming at him with quite some speed, he immediately used his sword to intercept.
clang, clang, clang, baafff could be heard. Indeed a sword was broken but not the sword of chief Shen, it was the precious sword of brother Lei which was broken now.
The first clang was met the two swords met, the second clang was when the blade broke and dropped on the ground, the thrid clang was when brother Lei dropped his cup. As for the baaafff sound, that was brother Lei falling.
Brother Lei sat on the floor totally confused and shocked, he did not spoke but was totally flabbergasted.
Chief Shen threw the sword back to second brother Qian and scoffed:”Some splendid weapon!”
Brother Lei put on a pitiful face and stuttered:”But I…..he…..it was……”
Chief Shen coldly said:”Just awhile ago you were deceived.”
Now brother Lei leapt up and shouted:”I am going to look for that fiend now!”
Chief Shen ordered:”Stop!”
Brother Lei instantly obeyed and stood still, he asked:”Chief…chief, what are your orders?”
He adressed chief Shen differently again, but chief Shen seemed to be oblivious to that change and coldly asked:”Do you remember how that man looked like?”
Brother Lei said:”Just like some ordinary poor low-life, just a bit tall.”
Chief Shen remained pensive for a moment, suddenly he turned pale and asked:”Did he have thick eyebrows? And were his cheekbones edgy? And were his eyes half-closed the entire time, like he was about to doze of into a sleep?”
Brother Lei said:”Yes, chief. Do you know him?”
Chief Shen looked at him for a moment and looked at second brother Qian, then he sighed:”You have been working for me for a great deal of years, haven’t you learnt anything in all those years?”
Brother Lei did not dare to look up and only said:”Yes….yes….”
Chief Shen asked:”Do you know who that man was?”
All those men looked at each other before asking:”Who?”
Chief Shen said slowly:”He is number one peerless celestial sword of the realm, Yan Nantian. He also the man I deliberately wanted to pay respects too this time.”
After he heard that brother Lei fell down once again.
That pale-looking young man was following Yan Nantian after both of them had abandoned the main street, he said:”Are you master Yan?”
Yan Nantian continued walk grandly and just asked earnestly:”Are you sent by second brother Jiang?”
The young man answered:”Yes, I am. My name is Jiang Qin, I am the page of young master Jiang.”
Yan Nantian now turned around and sternly said:”Why are you so late?”
It looked like his eyes shot out fire and Jiang Qin was terrified and trembled, he stuttered:”I….I….was afraid of being followed, so I only travelled after sunset….although I have been working for young master Jiang since I was a small boy, but my lightness martial arts are very bad.”
Yan Nantian was somewhat pacified by this answer and had his eyes half-closed again now, he asked:”Your master sent me a letter saying that he will meet up with me here. He did not explain why, but I take it is of great importance. Tell me what has happened.”
Jiang Qin said:”Master Jiang has sold all his belongings for some reason, he has also dismissed all his servants except me. He instructed me to meet up with master Yan first. Master said that he will explain everything to master Yan when he sees master Yan. It seems….it seems that…..the young master is running from….from….some great, formidable enemy.”
Yan Nantian was surprised and said:”Hmm? Really! Why didn’t he tell me earlier? …..(sigh*) Second brother is a bit too muddle-headed, even if there is some formidable nemesis the two of us can handle it.”
Jiang Qin bowed and respectfully said:”Of course.”
Yan Nantian asked:”When did your master set out?”
“Judging from the day he left, he should be here in a matter of hours.”
“You should have travelled faster! If something would happen……”
Suddenly a voice shouted:”Master Yan…….master Yan……”
A group of people were running towards Yan Nantian, the first man was rather short but looked tough and intelligent. His lightness martial arts were very good, it was chief Shen.
Yan Nantian frowned and asked seriously:”Are you the chief of the united armed guards agency of Zhenyuan, Weiyuan and Lingyuan? The famous Shen Qinghong, Flying Petals Through The Sky And Descending Without A Sound.”
Shen Qinghong respectfully bowed and said:”Master Yan, I wouldn’t dare to claim such a title, please forgive my guard’s ignorance.”
Yan Nantian laughed:”I was a bit upset when I heard them saying that they wanted to invite the poem immortal for wine. On your behalf I could not just hit them, but at least I had to let them pay somehow for their insolence.”
Shen Qinghong bowed deeper:”Yes, they are too rude and deserve to be punished severly.”
Yan Nantian stopped laughing now and asked:”Are you here to see me?”
“This humble disciple has come to pay his respects to you, master Yan.”
Yan Nantian was only a few years older than Shen Qinghong and Shen was also a respected martial artist in the realm. However his own reputation paled in comparison with Yan Nantian’s fame, that is why he adressed himself as a junior in front of Yan Nantian.
Yan Nantian sternly asked:”How did you know I was here?”
“This humble disciple was quite frantic when I met up with an elder who directed me to this place. He said that master Yan will come here within these two days, that is why I hurried over.”
Yan Nantian laughed happily:”That drunkard has slipped his tongue again…..”
He turned around and looked at brother Lei who was still holding half a sword now, he laughed to brother Lei:”I take it you’re still confused.”
Brother Lei lowered his head and said:”This lowly disciple…..I…..this sword….”
Shen Qinghong chided:”You’re a total embarrassement! Don’t you know that master Yan without a sword is even superior to all renowned swordsmen with a sword. Any old piece of iron becomes a powerful weapon in the hands of master Yan.”
Yan Nantian smiled:”You must have something to ask of me, otherwise you wouldn’t flatter me that much with such nice words.”
Shen Qinghong sighed:”To be honest master Yan I recently received an order to protect a large treasure, which is practically priceless. Nobody even knew about this order but somehow the 12 Zodiacs got wind of it. They sent me a [dawn receiving invitation] saying that they will raid my convoy, that is why I do not dare to escort this convoy now.”
Yan Nantian said:”Are you asking me to protect the convoy?”
“This humble disciple wouldn’t dream of asking master Yan to do that. But I have arranged to meet the 12 Zodiacs nearby, I was wondering if master Yan would accompany me. Master Yan only needs to give a few orders and the 12 Zodiacs won’t even consider raiding anymore.”
Yan Nantian said seriously:”If you don’t have the capabilities to protect the convoy, why did you accept the order in the first place?”
“I deserve to die….I deserve to die…..I just beg of master Yan….”
“The 12 Zodiacs are infamous thugs, and they really know to hide themselves from the outside world. I too have long planned on ridding the realm of them, it is not that I do not….”
Shen Qinghong was very happy and said:”Thank you, master Yan.”
Yan Nantian shook his head and said:”Don’t thank me, although I would like to help you but I have another pressing matter to attend to right now. That cannot be delayed.”
After he finished he turned around and walked away.
Shen Qinghong was startled and called out panickly:”Please wait, master Yan.”
He waved his hand and second brother Qian walked up with a chest, Shen Qinghong opened the chest and it was filled with golden ingots.
Shen Qinghong knelt down respectfully and said:”This lowly disciple knows that master Yan is unrestrained when it comes to using money, so I…..”
Yan Nantian laughed arrogantly now and said sternly:”Shen Qinghong, even if you put all the gold in the world in front of me I will not delay my meeting with my brother Jiang Feng…..”
He tapped on the shoulder of Jiang Qin and said loudly:”I am going first, follow me.”
After saying that he was about 30 metres away now.
Shen Qinghong turned pale now, second brother Qian said softly to himself:”A most peculiar man, going through all that effort just to cheat us out of 1000 taels of silver, but when offered a chest full of gold, he just casually goes away…..”
In the boundless twilight it was impossible to see Yan Nantian clearly, he was moving with utmost speed and it seemed like a greyish shadow floating through the woods.
He could only hear the wind, no sounds of a horse, carriage whatsoever.
Still travelling with great speed, Yan Nantian thought: Strange, brother Jiang should be on this road by now….
He looked up and saw two birds flying, one was a weak swallow the other was a hawk.
The swallow was tired and weak, and in a moment it would fall prey to the claws of the hawk.
Yan Nantian roared:”Audacious hawk! Just like humans picking on the weak!”
Yan Nantian’s family name was [Yan] meaning swallow—-so he felt obliged to help out the swallow here.
He was angered and leapt up like an arrow towards the hawk, the hawk spread its’ wings and dove towards the swallow. Hence Yan Nantian missed the hawk and the swallow was injured by the claws of the hawk.
The hawk seemed to be thrilled and had captured the swallow in its claws. And Yan Nantian roared:”Impressive, you managed to escape my attack!”
He roared again and leapt up once more, he powerful gust of energy hit the hawk and the hawk made a somersault and landed on the ground.
Yan Nantian laughed:”Brother, brother….if you could see me now. With my bare hands killing a hawk.”
He walked over and freed the swallow from the hawk’s claws. The swallow was injured badly and could not fly anymore.
Yan Nantian said softly:”Good little swallow, just be patient. You won’t die….”
He sat down on the ground and took out some herbal medicinal ointment and carefully attended to the wounds of the swallow. It took some time but gradually the swallow was able to fly a bit about again.
The medicinal ointments used by this great hero were of course only the superior kinds.
The swallow flew a few times around Yan Nantian before it flew into the twilight again.
Yan Nantian laughed at himself:”10.000 taels of gold could not delay me, but a mere little swallow took up so much of my time.”
He was laughing happily and continued to walk forward.
Suddenly he heard cries of a baby from afar.
Yan Nantian was very happy and thought:”Could it be that my brother has a child now?”
He moved as fast as he could towards the crying sound, when he reached that spot he saw a tragic scene, corpses everywhere……
Yan Nantian was gone out of sight, even Jiang Qin was gone now. But Shen Qinghong still stood there dazed.
Second brother Qian asked worriedly:”Chief, when will you meet up with the 12 Zodiacs?”
Shen Qinghong answered:”Tonight.”
Second brother Qian called out with fear and shock:”Tonight?!? ……Where?”
“Just further ahead.”
“H…how many of them?”
“On the dawn receiving invitation, there were the names of the black-faced lord, the receivers of dawn, presenter of fruit and the welcomers.”
“……So….so…..the pig, rooster, dog and monkey will all be present…..”
Second brother Qian’s voice changed even more now:”Chief, let us get out of here while we still can. We…we cannot….”
Shen Qinghong grunted coldly:”You can leave now.”
“But what about you, chief?”
“I have received the order myself to protect the treasure of the customer, I cannot back away from my responsibility. You…..”
He did not finish and started to walk forward.
Second brother stepped forward and called:”Chief…..”
But stood still again.
Brother Lei said:”What? Aren’t you going?”
Second brother Qian said softly:”Well, let him do the honourable thing! We don’t have that responsiblity.”
Brother Lei was furious and scolded loudly:”Cowards! All of you are cowards! I, Lei Xiaohu, won’t be like you.”
Second brother Qian said:”Fine! We’re cowards and you’re a hero.”
Lei Xiaohu shouted:”Cowards! Well, at least I have seen your true natures!”
He continued to curse them and started to follow Shen Qinghong.
Shen Qinghong moved forward with big steps but he was most cautious, he was headed for the twilight.
He heard someone was following him and stopped, he did not turn around and said:”Is it Lei Xiaohu?”
Lei Xiaohu answered:”Yes, chief. It’s me.”
Shen Qinghong sighed:”I knew you were the only one who would accompany me.”
“Chief, just hearing that I will lay down my life for you. Lei Xiaohu may be an idiot but he’s not a coward, but chief, this time….”
“You’re surprised why I did not invite any of my friends to join me.”
“Yes, I am a bit surprised.”
“Each of the 12 Zodiacs have a special skill, only a few people in the realm are able to defeat them. If I have asked my friends to assist me, they will help without any hesistation even if they don’t want to come. They will accompany me because of a sense of righteousness, but how can I stand by and see my friends getting killed.”
Lei Xiaohu looked up and said with awe:”The chief will always remain the chief! Even if I had your martial arts I can never become the chief of the three united armed guard agencies….”
All of a sudden he was interrupted by the howling of a dog.
It is not strange to hear dogs howling in desolated areas, but this dog sounded awfully eerie.
Lei Xiaohu’s face changed and said:”Are they here….”
Suddenly all the dogs in the area seemed to start howling.
Lei Xiaohu was a rather courageous man normally, but now he was trembling, but when he saw that Shen Qinghong was not impressed by the howling. He mustered his courage and said with an enforced smile:”The 12 Zodiacs are quite mysterious….”
Shen Qinghong said earnestly:”The 12 Zodiacs love to terrorize people, scaring them first before attacking. We shan’t fall for their tricks.”
Lei Xiaohu put up his chest and said loudly:”Who is afraid! There are no cowards here!”
Even though he said that he was quite terrified in his heart. It was dark, dogs howling a desolated area in the middle of nowhere, quite soul-stirring.
Shen Qinghong put his fists together to form a greeting and said clearly:”Where are the 12 Zodiacs? Shen Qinghong of Luoyang City is here to meet you.”
He was a short man but his voice travelled far and outvoiced the howling of the dogs, showing that his internal strenght was quite good.
In the dark two figures appeared, looked like a man riding a horse or some sort. On closer look it was just a gibbon riding on a big dog with fierce teeth.
This dog was extremely big, it even resembled a wolf or even a small tiger. It was growling the entire time, intimidating people. The gibbon’s eyes were very twinkly even scary. This dog and monkey seemed to have come from the netherworld.
When the dog and monkey stood in front of Shen Qinghong, the monkey presented a peach.
Shen Qinghong scoffed:”Marvellous indeed the divine dog welcomes the guest and the sacred monkey presents fruit! But I am here to meet the people of the 12 Zodiacs not these animals.”
The gibbon seemed to understand human tongue and made a somersault and presented a white cloth.
It was written:
If you eat the peach, we will see you.
Shen Qinghong sneered:”If the 12 Zodiacs are really underhanded low-life, Shen Qinghong would not have come……I trust you, but even if it is poison I do not fear it.”
He was about to reach out and take the peach, but Lei Xiaohu beat him to it and gobbled up the peach.
He laughed:”A free peach, such a waste not to eat it.”
Now a sinister voice laughed:”Not surprising why the Three Yuan Armed Agency is so famous, you seem to have a few courageous men working for you.”
Eight figures appeared from the dark laughing.
Shen Qinghong was a short and skinny man, but this man was even skinnier than Shen Qinghong. He wore a golden-coloured brocade, he had a monkey face. You could say he only resembled a man for 30% and the other 70% was monkey.
The other seven men were black robes and had a cloth covering their faces only revealing their sinister eyes.
Shen Qinghong said:”You must be……”
The man in the golden-coloured robe chuckled:”Judging by our appearances you must know who we are.”
Shen Qinghong coldly said:”I was just surprised why the black-faced lord and the receivers of dawn aren’t here.”
The golden monkey constellation laughed strangely:”They have another appointment, I think we will be more than enough to deal with you.”
Shen Qinghong laughed clearly:”I am here by myself, I have no intentions of returning alive. I would be pleased if I could meet a few more of the 12 Zodiacs, I would be somewhat disappointed if I didn’t.”
The golden monkey constellation laughed evilly:”Well said, I knew you have courage. And it seems your tongue is also not too bad either, no wonder you are the chief of the three united armed agencies. It would be a shame to lose that position today.”
Shen Qinghong said sternly:”I am not here to debate with you!”
“You want to fight?”
“Exactly! If I win, you will have to leave my convoy alone.”
“What happens if you lose? Will you leave behind the treasure?”
Shen Qinghong laughed:”The treausure is being protected by the vice-chief of my agancy, dual rods Song Deyang. He is leading the convoy to its’ destination as we speak, I am here to distract your attention.”
The golden monkey constellation waved his hand and one of the black dog stars handed him a small wooden box, he opened the box and shouted sinisterly:”Take a look at this!”
It was a head, it was the head of the dual rods Song Deyang.
Shen Qinghong’s face turned pale now and shouted:”YOU…..YOU…..”
The golden monkey constellation laughed:”If we’re so easily deceived we wouldn’t be feared throughout the realm for so long. We have the treasure, we came here to claim your head.”
He waved his hand and ordered:”Attack!”
The gibbon leapt up and stormed at Shen Qinghong, its’ claws were aimed for the eyes of Shen Qinghong.
That big dog also leapt towards Lei Xiaohu, Lei Xiaohu tried to avoid that jump. But the dog was very agile in spite of being so big and it had already jumped on Lei Xiaohu. The dog opened its’ mouth and was about to bite Lei Xiaohu on the throat, Lei Xiaohu tried his best to push away the head of the dog. Both man and dog were fighting like beasts now, the dog was growling and Lei Xiaohu was roaring.
Shen Qinghong struck two stances at the gibbon, but the monkey was also very agile and avoided those attacks and was still aiming for the eyes of Shen.
The golden monkey constellation laughed:”What a joke, the armed guards of the Three Yuan agency cannot even defeat a few animals.”
After he finished Shen Qinghong reached for his girdle and took out his 3 metre long pliable silver whip, he whirled his whip around and the gibbon was forced back.
Shen Qinghong chided:”Nowhere to run!”
Suddenly ten odd metallic projectiles were shot out, half of them were aimed at the gibbon and the others at the black dog stars and the golden monkey constellation. Although the gibbon was agile, he could not avoid the famous secretive weaponry skills of this skilled martial artist. The gibbon was hit and died on the spot, while the golden monkey constellation and the black dog stars leapt up.
The golden monkey constellation yelled:”Impressive! Worthy of being called [flying petals through the sky]!”
All eight of them attacked Shen Qinghong, even if Shen had three heads and six arms he could not avoid this joint attack. He rolled away from their storm and wielded his whip like a shield protecting his chest, but his eight adversaries had gained the advantage now and there was no escape anymore for Shen Qinghong.
While the big dog had bitten into the shoulder of Lei Xiaohu and he bit the dog in his throat, both were still wrestling in a pool of their own blood.
At this point a loud roar startled all of them, the roar sounded like a big thunder and a figure descended from nowhere——like a god.
The golden monkey constellation and the black star dogs were too surprised to attack and they saw a tall, muscular man about two metres tall. His eyes were red and furious, his hair chaotic and his face was filled with hatred. One look was enough to scare the living daylights out of anyone, but strange enough he was carrying a baby on his back.
Shen Qinghong who was thrilled and called out with joy:”Master Yan!”
The golden monkey constellation’s face changed and called out:”Yan Nantian?”
Yan Nantian roared:”The 12 Zodiacs, prepare to die!”
The golden monkey constellation retorted:”There are no animosities between you and us, why…..”
Before he could finish his sentence, Yan Nantian had already reached one of the black dog stars. That man was terrified and raised his fists and struck Yan Nantian twice on the chest bom, bom. However Yan Nantian was not at all affected, but the wrists of that black dog star were broken now. Before he could cry out in pain, Yan Nantian had already grabbed him by his chest, in his anxiety he kicked towards Yan Nantian with everything he had.
He was a practitioner of the northern martial arts school form formless kicks, it was indeed formless and unexpected. Which were the characteristics of this style.
Yan Nantian grabbed his leg without even looking with one loud roar he ripped that black dog star into two pieces, blood splattered all over Yan Nantian’s body.
The other six black dog stars called out in anger and stormed towards Yan Nantian.
These seven black dog stars were not first rate martial artists in the realm, but because they have trained together and fought and each others’ side for many years they had developed a sort of attack formation. This attack formation was quite lethal, even with six stars now.
Shen Qinghong could help himself to say:”Master Yan, be careful!”
Yan Nantian stormed towards them, he was like a tiger entering a herd of sheep, those two parts of corpses became two iron maces in the hands of Yan Nantian. There was a rain of blood, it was the blood dripping from the corpse.
In just a matter of seconds there were cries like aaahhhh, cruck, three of them had already died now. One gritted his teeth and stormed towards Yan Nantian, Yan Nantian used one corpse part to strike out and hit that man on the chest. He was killed instantly, all the bones in his chest were smashed.
Another one was too shocked to fight anymore and turned around to run away.
Yan Nantian laughed arrogantly and chucked one half of the body towards him, that body hit the man on the back. The man screamed but his legs continued to walk a few steps, but his upper body fell backwards. His spine was snapped into two.
The remaining one hoped that Yan Nantian did not see him and sneaked behind hoping to use the baby as a hostage.
But it was like Yan Nantian had eyes in his back and shouted:”Stop right there!”
The man was stunned by the roar of Yan Nantian, Yan Nantian used the remaining half of the body to hit him on the head. Blood splattered everywhere including on Yan Nantian’s face. The last black star dog was killed too, half his body sank into the ground, it was like he was a nail and Yan Nantian used a hammer to hit him.
Shen Qinhong had goosebumps now and even a thug like the golden monkey constellation who was used to killing was scared stiff.
Yan Nantian roared to him:”Do you want me to kill you personally?”
The golden monkey constellation stuttered:”Why…..why?”
Yan Nantian yelled angrilly:”Why? Do you know that Jiang Feng is my sworn brother!”
The golden monkey constellation exclaimed:”The pig….is…are they…”
Yan Nantian said:”Everyone else is dead, there is no point for you to live either. Die!”
When he finished he had reached the golden monkey constellation and with his iron palms he grabbed the chest of the golden monkey constellation and lifted him up.
But the golden monkey constellation did not move and fight back, Yan Nantian put force into his palms and his fingers penetrated the fles of the golden monkey constellation.
But still he did not cry out in pain nor grunt.
Yan Nantian said:”I am surprised that a small man like you can withstand pain this well. Normally I would spare you, but today…..(*humph)…What do you have to say?”
The golden monkey constellation started to laugh loudly now and said:”I am surprised that a tall, tough fellow like you isn’t a real man.”
At this point if he would curse Yan Nantian, Yan Nantian would not be surprised and ignore his cursings. But this sentence surprised Yan Nantian and he shouted:”I have roamed the realm for a long time, my deeds are known by all. And it is not strange that people will curse me behind my back, but it is only natural evil and good cannot coexist with each other. But I would like to hear what you mean with that sentence.”
The golden monkey constellation sneered:”You’re muddle-headed, unclear in who you real enemy is. You call yourself a true man!”
Yan Nantian angrilly said:”I….”
The golden monkey constellation loudly interrupted him:”If you really know how to distinguish right and wrong, you will not kill me.”
Yan Nantian asked:”Why can’t I kill you?”
The golden monkey constellation asked:”Why do you want to kill me?”
Yan Nantian sternly said:”Because of my brother Jiang….”
Again the golden monkey constellation loudly interrupted him:”Right! If you kill me for another reason I have nothing to say. But if you kill me to avenge Jiang Feng than you are at wrong.”
Yan Nantian angrilly said:”So in other words the 12 Zodiacs did not raid my brother Jiang Feng?”
The golden monkey constellation said:”You’re right again, we did raid Jiang Feng. But we are robbers, you should know that. We steal and rob from the rich, that is what we do. There is no point debating about that, but you should kill the one who informed us of the route of Jiang Feng. Do you want to know who that is?”
He spoke with boldness and not showing any sign of fear, Yan Nantian was filled with hatred but was still stunned by his words.
The golden monkey constellation laughed arrogantly:”You’re not looking for the real killers, but you came looking for us. Even if you killed all the 12 Zodiacs you wouldn’t have avenged Jiang Feng.”
Yan Nantian looked pensive for awhile before shouting:”The one leaking information to you is that the page of my brother? Is it Jiang Qin, that little bastard! He was the only one who knew the route of my brother.”
The golden monkey constellation’s face changed a bit and scoffed:”Right! You’re not just a simple buff, it seems you do have a brain. Jiang Feng was betrayed by his trusted page, for only 3000 taels of silver.”
Yan Nantian almost exploded with anger and cursed:”THE BASTARD!…..THE BASTARD……”
The golden monkey constellation coldly asked:”Do you know where the bastard is now?”
Yan Nantian turned around and asked loudly:”Shen Qinghong, did you see where that bastard went to?”
Shen Qinghong was also flabbergasted by his intimidating grandeur, he knew that Yan Nantian had no bad intentions towards him. But nonetheless he was terrified and stammered:”This…I…I….did not notice where he went off to?”
Yan Nantian lifted the golden monkey constellation even higher and shouted:”You know where he is, right?”
The golden monkey constellation remained calm and said:”If I didn’t know, I wouldn’t have talked so much.”
Yan Nantian roared:”Where is he?”
The golden monkey constellation was still very calm and unaffected by his roar and asked with a smile:”What if I don’t want to tell?”
Yan Nantian looked at his calm face and said slowly:”If you don’t tell, I will respect you.”
If he shouted that he will the golden monkey constellation or cut off his arms, legs etc. He wouldn’t be afraid, because he knew that Yan Nantian needed his information on the whereabouts of Jiang Qin. But when he heard what Yan Nantian said, he shivered and asked:”What…what if I told you?”
Yan Nantian said:”If you tell me I will only take your eyes!”
Shen Qinghong almost called out with surprise and thought: Yan Nantian is quite unreasonable. If he is speaking he will take away his eyes, this way the monkey will never talk.
But before he finished his thought he heard the golden monkey constellation sigh:”Blind is better than dead, allright I accept your terms.”
Yan Nantian shouted:”Talk!”
The golden monkey constellation said:”Even if I told you, you wouldn’t dare to go.”
“I fear nobody and nowhere.”
The golden monkey constellation had his eyes half-closed before saying with a strange grin:”Jiang Qin is no fool either. He knows that the 12 Zodiacs kill without thinking twice. He had the nerve to bargain with us, so isn’t he afraid to lose his head.”
Yan Nantian said:”Hmm, continue.”
The golden monkey constellation said:”The reason for him being so bold is simple, he has found a good hiding-place. The 3000 taels of silver will cover his expenses, even if the 12 Zodiacs combined we wouldn’t dare to enter that place.”
Yan Nantian laughed sternly:”Floral Palace? That is one of the places I was planning on going anyway.”
The golden monkey constellation said:”The Floral Palace isn’t the only sacred, forbidden place in the realm.”
Yan Nantian shouted:”Mount Kunlun and [the Valley of Evil]……”
When Yan Nantian uttered these few words, Shen Qinghong who was listening attentively was starting to tremble and said loudly:”Master Yan, you…you cannot go there.”
Yan Nantian looked at the golden monkey constellation sternly and roared:”Are you telling the truth?”
The golden monkey constellation replied:”I have told you what I know. It is up to you whether you believe me or not.”
Shen Qinghong said with a shaky voice:”The valley of evil is the gathering spot of all the most evil thugs in the realm. Rogues who have been forced to leave the realm and seek a new hide-away, the valley is packed with all the most vile and cruel martial artists of the world. Everyone in that valley is hated by all, but because they have consolidated themselves in the valley no one dares to look for them. Even the Seven Swords of Kunlun, the Four Divine Elders of Shaolin and the swordsman of the south Feng Xiaoyu would not…..”
Yan Nantian said earnestly:”I am not a Shaolin divine elder, nor am I the swordsman of the south.”
Shen Qinghong said:”I know that the swordsmanship of master Yan is matchless throughout the realm, but the valley of evil……the valley is filled with all kinds of evil monsters from the past and present…..”
Yan Nantian said loudly:”It is my responsibility to go there, even if I have to cross mountains of fire I will not be discouraged.”
Shen Qinghong said loudly:”But what if the golden monkey constellation is deceiving you, he hates you to the bone. That is why he wants you to go to the valley of evil to meet …..”
He did not say the last word but it was evident what he was going to say.
Yan Nantian laughed loudly:”Even if the valley of evil is made from moutains of blades and seas of fire, it will not be able to take my life.”
Shen Qinghong said:”But…but….”
Yan Nantian said loudly:”My mind is set, you needn’t say another word.”
Shen Qinghong was stunned and sighed deeply and stayed silent.
The golden monkey constellation sighed too:”Good! Yan Nantian is really a true hero. Not even afraid of the valley of evil, even if you don’t return from it you will be respected by everyone in Wulin.”
Yan Nantian said:”Do you have anything else to say?”
The golden monkey constellation said:”No, you can take my eyes.”
There was a pain of cry and that pair of sharp, shining eyes of the golden monkey constellation were gone. There were just two bloody sockets, Yan Nantian chucked him in front of Shen Qinghong and said:”He is yours.”
And with that he left.
That Lei Xiaohu was lying on top of the dog, both were bleeding heavily and were about to die.
Shen Qinghong looked at him and turned his attention to the golden monkey constellation and said hatefully:”The famous intelligent golden monkey constellation has finally made one stupid mistake.”
Although the golden monkey constellation passed out when his eyes were removed but now he had woken up and was attending to his wounds. He took out a bottle of herbal medicinal ointment and was smearing it on his sockets.
He said with a shaky voice:”Me, stupid?”
Shen Qinghong said:”Yan Nantian may have spared your life, but now you’ve fallen into my hands! Do you expect me to let you live? There is not enough ointment in the world to save you now. Why bother attending to your wounds?”
The golden monkey constellation said:”Of course I have to look after my wounds, because I won’t die.”
Shen Qinghong laughed loudly:”Who will save you now?”
The golden monkey constellation said:”I will save myself.”
Shen Qinghong shouted:”I would like to see how you’re going to save yourself.”
He lifted his palm and was about to strike the golden monkey constellation on the skull.
“Don’t you want to find your lost treasure?”
Shen Qinghong immediately retracted his palm.
The golden monkey constellation laughed:”I knew you would not kill me! If you want to retrieve your lost treasure, you will let me live. Unless you don’t want the treasure anymore.”
Shen Qinghong was hesistating and his palm was trembling. He didn’t know whether to strike out or not, finally he sighed deeply:”You’ve won.”
For the sake of the Three Yuan united armed guard agency he had to let him live, he cannot disappoint the clients who entrusted the safe-keeping of the treasure to him.
The golden monkey constellation laughed:”Shen Qinghong, now you must know! Nobody can easily kill me!”
It was late now, most lights in the town were out now. Even the last few drunkards of the Taibai wineshop were staggering home now. The waiter was rubbing his eyes and was about to close up for the night.
Suddenly a carriage came this way, it was not being pulled by a horse but by a man. It was that tall man who swindled that armed guard earlier.
But he looked different now, his body was covered with blood and he looked as if he was ready to kill. The waiter was scared stiff and wanted to hide, but the tall man stopped in front of the wineshop. The man pulled the carriage like it was nothing, a carriage that would take a strong horse to pull. What an impressive strength.
Yan Nantian took the baby in his arms now and walked into the wineshop, the baby was sleeping.
The waiter mustered his courage and asked:”Sir…..sir….what kind of wine would you like?”
Yan Nantian shouted:”Who said I wanted wine?”
The waiter was stunned and asked:”What do you want, sir?”
Yan Nantian said:”Rice soup!”
The waiter was even more stunned and frowned:”We don’t….selll…”
Yan Nantian smacked a table very hard and said:”Bring me some rice soup first and then some wine!”
The waiter was almost scared to death and did not even consider saying no.
After the baby had eaten, he sleapt even deeper. Yan Nantian sat there drinking, with every cup his grandeur seemed to grow. The waiter did not even dare to look at him now.
But he secretly peeked and noticed that Yan Nantian he drank 17 big bowls of strong wine, the waiter stuck out his tongue.
Suddenly Yan Nantian threw two ingots of silver on the table and said loudly:”Go and buy me two coffins!”
The waiter fell down and did not believe his ears, he was too scared to even respond.
Yan Nantian smacked on the table again and two ingots flew up and fell into the lap of the waiter, Yan Nantian yelled again:”Coffins! Two coffins of the best materials! Did you hear me?”
The waiter stammered:”I…heard…..you….”
Yan Nantian shouted:”Well, what are you waiting for?”
The waiter turned around and quickly went out, when Yan Nantian was about to drink his 28th bowl he had returned. The waiter was a clever man and knew that this was not the point to be asking questions or to raise objections.
Yan Nantian carefully took out the bodies of Jiang Feng and Hua Yuenu from the carriage and carefully put them in the coffins. He did everything personally even when he hammered the nails through the lid. The waiter was totally surprised and wondered what this man was.
When he was facing the two coffins, Yan Nantian drank another seven bowls although he was not weeping but he looked so tragic it was worst than crying.
He was holding the last bowl of wine, he looked at that bowl for a very long time for almost an entire hour, the waiter just stood by his side.
In the end Yan Nantian said:”Brother, I want you to accompany me. I want you to see me kill that treacherous bastard!”
It was afternoon now, and in the main street of Taiyuan there was a big banner with shining golden characters:A thousand Kilometre Fragrance
This shop was famous in Shanxi province. The spices and ingredients were indeed very fragrant.
Around dusk some ten workers were eating and the main street was quite busy now. All of a sudden a carriage came this way and the man pulling the carriage roared loudly telling people to make way. His roar was most loud and he stopped in front of the inn.
Those ten workers angrilly walked up and when they saw the tall man all of them felt numb and let him and take those jars of spices away and he put them into the coffin.
When he was about to leave he shouted:”After an hour or so you will be able to move again! I will pay double for the spices I took today in the near future.”
Everyone was impressed by the powerful charisma and grandeur of this man, nobody would dare to stop him and the carriage.
It was afternoon and a melon field was emitting a sweet fragrance. A ordinary peasant woman was sitting in the shades. She was breastfeeding her baby and almost fell asleep when a soft breeze provided for some cooling.
In her sleepy state she felt that someone was looking at her breasts. A lot of young and naughty youngsters in the village had peeked at her bosom before. She was never really upset about it, she only had interest in her newborn baby.
But this time she felt that the stare was different and she saw that a tall man was indeed looking at her bosom. She had never saw him before and looked rather sickly but still very grand, furthermore she notices he was holding a baby too.
The baby was crying very loud, she had just became a mother and was filled with maternal love. When she heard the crying she looked up and saw that the man’s eyes were not filled with lust but with request.
She asked with a smile:”Isn’t the mother of this child around?”
The man shook his head and said:”No.”
She was quiet for a moment before saying:”He must be hungry.”
The man nodded and said:”Yes, he is.”
She looked at her own baby and suddenly smiled:”Give me your child, I will feed him. I’ve just eaten two chickens over the past few days, so I have plenty of milk. My little daughter cannot finish it all by herself.”
The man looked very happy and handed her the baby and he thanked her.
She saw that the baby was very little and she knew he was only born a few days ago, when she saw the scar on his face she frowned:”You have to be careful when you’re taking care of babies. The mother of this child should pay better attention to him, how could she leave the care of her son to a grown man?”
She shook her head.
The man said sadly:”The child’s mother passed away.”
She was a bit shocked and gently touched the baby’s face and sighed sadly:”So young and already motherless. How sad!”
The man sighed deeply too and looked at the baby, his heart was filled with sorrow but also love for this child.
This baby was born into a nightmare, he encountered horrible death and destruction on his very first day on this world. It is sad that he does not know that and on his face there is now a happy smile.
End of chapter 2
Written by Gu Long
Translation by Athena, Jean et al
Edited and proofread by audiowuxia.
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