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Thread: The Sword of the Third Young Master

  1. #41
    Moderator Ren Wo Xing's Avatar
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    Chapter 20: Inauspicious Omens

    Zhu Yeqing said, "Because I would rather die than bear to give up a woman such as yourself."

    Zi Ling laughed. Stretching out her slender white fingers, she lightly jabbed him on the nose. "No matter what, you'll always be the best in flattering others."

    Zhu Yeqing said, "Are you saying that my other skills are inferior?"

    Zi Ling smiled beautifully. "If you weren't better than others, why would I whole-heartedly be willing to go with you?"

    Her laughter sounded like bells. "I laugh at that old cuckold. He actually ordered me to come here to be a spy! If he knew about our relationship, I'd be shocked if he wouldn't be so pissed that he'd jump off a cliff."

    Zhu Yeqing laughed as well. "That's only because you are far too good at acting. You actually convinced him that you hate me. You actually made him into a cuckold who is preening and full of self-satisfaction."

    Zi Ling's nails had fallen to rest against his chest, as they lightly drew circles there. "But even I don't understand what you are doing."

    Zhu Yeqing said, "What do you mean, what am I doing?" Zi Ling said, "Did you get that old cuckold another batch of helpers?"

    Zhu Yeqing said, "Yep!"

    Zi Ling said, "Who did you call for?"

    Zhu Yeqing said, "Have you ever heard of these two words: 'Black Death'?"

    Zi Ling shook her head and asked, "Is 'Black Death' a person?"

    Zhu Yeqing said, "Not a person. A group of people!" Zi Ling said, "Why did they pick such an unlucky name for themselves?"

    Zhu Yeqing said, "Because they've always been like a pestilence. Anybody who runs into them will find it hard to keep their lives!"

    Zi Ling said, "What type of people are they?"

    Zhu Yeqing said, "They have all sorts of people. Some come from the Five Sects, others are from Wudang. There are some disciples who have been expelled from Shaolin, and there are even some people who come from Fusang* Island in the Eastern Ocean!

    (*Fusang Island is a mythical island which is commonly interpreted as being Japan.)

    Zi Ling said, "Can it be that all of them are expert martial artists?"

    Zhu Yeqing nodded. "But the most terrifying aspect to them is not their skill in martial arts."

    Zi Ling said, "What is it then?" Zhu Yeqing said, "It is the fact that they have no sense of shame or honor, nor do they care about their own lives!"

    Zi Ling let out a sigh. She couldn't help but admit, "People like them really are hard to handle."

    Zhu Yeqing said, "Which is why you find it strange that I asked them to come here to help the old cuckold deal with Ah Ji."

    Zi Ling said, "Yes!"

    Zhu Yeqing smiled. "But have you considered this? Now that even Iron Tiger has died, without people protecting him, how would he possibly dare to go face Ah Ji? And if Ah Ji doesn't even have the chance to see him, how will he have the chance to kill him?"

    Zi Ling immediately understood his intentions, but couldn't refrain from asking, "Even with these people protecting him, he'll still die?"

    Zhu Yeqing said, "He'll die all the faster!"

    Zi Ling said, "Can it be that even these people are not Ah Ji's match?!"

    Zhu Yeqing said, "Definitely not."

    Zi Ling said, "So this time, he'll die for sure!"

    Zhu Yeqing said, "More or less."

    Zi Ling jumped up. Pressing herself on him, she suddenly frowned. "But you forgot about something."

    Zhu Yeqing said, "Oh!"

    Zi Ling said, "After the boss dies, the next person Ah Ji will deal with is you!"

    Zhu Yeqing said, "Very possibly!"

    Zi Ling said, "When that time comes, what will you do?"

    Zhu Yeqing smiled but did not answer.

    Zi Ling said, "Can it be that you have already come up with a way to handle him?"

    Zhu Yeqing did not deny it.

    Zi Ling said, "You are certain?"

    Zhu Yeqing said, "When have I ever done something I am not certain about?"

    Zi Ling let out a light sigh. Glancing at him sideways, she said, "When all of this is over, you'll be the boss. And what about me?"

    Zhu Yeqing laughed. "You'll be the boss's wife, of course!"

    Zi Ling laughed. Pressing her entire body down against him, she nibbled at his ear. "You'd best remember that there can only be one boss's wife. Otherwise..."

    Before she finished speaking, Zhu Yeqing suddenly covered her lips. In a low voice, he said, "Who's that!"

    A shadow flashed by the window from outside. A hoarse, callous voice replied, "It's me, Third Master Cui."

    Zhu Yeqing let out a relieved breath. "Please come in!"

    The shadow flashed by the window once again. With a cracking sound and a flash of light, someone suddenly appeared in front of them. The light just so happened to fall upon his ghastly pale face and cruel lips.

    One eye was hidden within the shadow of his bamboo hat. It was staring directly at Zi Ling's nude body.

    Although most of Zi Ling's body was hidden within the blanket, anyone who saw the revealed parts of her could guess that she was fully naked, and that the rest of her body was every bit as glossy and sleek as her shoulder.

    And naturally, she knew exactly what men would think when they saw her, and what they wanted to do! But she didn't cover up the revealed parts of her nude body. She liked it when men stared at her.

    Third Master Cui pressed the bamboo hat further down. He coldly asked, "Who is this woman?"

    Zhu Yeqing said, "She's one of us. No worries!"

    Zi Ling's lips parted. She suddenly asked, "Is this Third Master Cui the person who is known as the 'Diamond Within the Clouds'?"

    Zhu Yeqing smiled and nodded. "We met each other many years ago in Liaobei."

    Zi Ling said, "That's why you knew long ago that Iron Tiger wasn't him."

    As soon as she mentioned Iron Tiger, Third Master Cui's fists became tightly clenched.

    Zhu Yeqing laughed. "It no longer matters who Iron Tiger once was. I've already killed him for you."

    Third Master Cui said, "Does his corpse remain?"

    Zhu Yeqing said, "It's right outside. You can take it away whenever you want!"

    Third Master Cui let out a hmph. Despite Iron Tiger having died, he wasn't willing to even let his corpse rest in peace. From this, one could tell how deep their enmity was.

    Zhu Yeqing said, "Where are the people I asked for?"

    Third Master Cui said, "I told you that I would be responsible for bringing them. That means they will definitely come!"

    Zhu Yeqing said, "All nine of them?"

    Third Master Cui said, "Not one will be missing!"

    Zhu Yeqing said, "Where do we rendezvous?"

    Third Master Cui said, "They also like women. They all heard that there is someone called Madame Han here."

    Zhu Yeqing smiled. "Although Madame Han is gone, I can still guarantee that they will be satisfied."

    Third Master Cui's eyes were staring at him with a gaze as sharp as a knife. He icily said, "You should definitely let them be satisfied, because this will be the last time."

    Frowning, Zhu Yeqing said, "Why would it be their last time?"

    Third Master Cui sneered. "You yourself should know quite well that this time, they haven't come to kill. They've come to die!"

    Zhu Yeqing said, "To die?!"

    Third Master Cui said, "If this Ah Ji is capable of killing Iron Tiger, he is definitely capable of killing them!"

    Zhu Yeqing laughed again. "Seems like I can't pull anything over your head you."

    Third Master Cui coldly said, "It isn't due to luck alone that I've been able to survive as long as I have."

    Zhu Yeqing said, "So you will be sure to continue living."

    Third Master Cui said, "Hmph!"

    Zhu Yeqing said, "And I can guarantee that your life will become much more carefree than it once was."

    Third Master Cui said, "Oh?"

    Zhu Yeqing said, "Thus, even if by some stroke of misfortune they really do die, there's no need for you to mourn!"

    Third Master Cui stared at him for a long time before slowly saying, "Although I, too, have entered the Black Sect, those people are not my friends!"

    Zhu Yeqing said, "They aren't worthy of being your friends."

    Third Master Cui said, "I have no friends whatsoever, not even a single one, because there is no one in this world I trust."

    Zhu Yeqing immediately understood. "That's why you don't really trust the words that I say either!"

    Third Master Cui sneered.

    Zhu Yeqing said, "But I can give you a guarantee!"

    Third Master Cui said, "What sort of guarantee?"

    Zhu Yeqing said, "What sort of guarantee do you want?"

    Third Master Cui said, "I want you to personally write me a contract detailing everything you will do for me!"

    Without even thinking, Zhu Yeqing said, "Fine!"

    Third Master Cui said, "Before tomorrow afternoon, I want you to deposit a hundred thousand taels worth of silver, in cash, into my bank account at the 'Source of Profit' bank!

    Zhu Yeqing said, "Fine!"

    Third Master Cui's gaze suddenly once more fell upon Zi Ling's naked shoulder. "I also want this woman."

    Zhu Yeqing laughed again. "That's even easier. You can take her away right now!"

    He suddenly lifted the blanket off of Zi Ling's body. As the cold wind blew in from outside the window, her naked body became to tremble.

    Third Master Cui suddenly felt a surge of warmth near his throat. Every part of this woman's body was far more beautiful than even he had imagined.

    Her body trembling, she had already clamped her legs shut. His throat seemed to have become sealed off as well.

    Right at this moment, a sword flash suddenly appeared from the discarded blanket, and a sword flew out, burying itself in his throat.

    His eyes immediately bulged out as he stared at Zhu Yeqing.

    Zhu Yeqing's expression did not change. Lightly, he said, "You never imagined that I can use a sword, right?"

    A croaking sound came from Third Master Cui's throat, but he couldn't say even a single word.

    It had been no easy feat for him to stay alive for so long. Pity that he now died quite easily.

    Blood still dripped from the tip of the sword.

    Zi Ling suddenly let out a sigh. "Not only did he not imagine it, I didn't imagine it either!"

    Zhu Yeqing said, "Didn't imagine that I can use a sword?"

    Zi Ling said, "Not only can you use a sword, you absolutely must be an expert at it!"

    Zhu Yeqing coldly said, "By now, you should realize that not only am I an expert, I am an expert amongst experts!"

    A look of dread suddenly appeared in Zi Ling's eyes. She suddenly threw herself at him, gluing her nude form to his. "But you must know that I definitely won't reveal your secret, just like how I knew all along that you wouldn't give me away to someone else!"

    Zhu Yeqing was silent for a long time. Finally, he reached out with an arm and wrapped it around her waist. In a soft voice, he said, "I know!"

    Zi Ling let out a held breath. "As long as you trust me, I'm willing to do anything for you!"

    Zhu Yeqing said, "Right now, there's one thing I want you to do!"

    Zi Ling said, "What?"

    Zhu Yeqing said, "Take Madame Han's place and take care of the brothers of the 'Black Death'. Come up with ways to fully satisfy them. Only then would they be willing to risk their lives for the boss to try and kill Ah Ji. Ah Ji definitely won't spare them!"

    He suddenly laughed again. "Only, all of this is for you to do tomorrow. Right now, there's some other things for us to do."

    If you manage to truly conquer a woman, she definitely will be willing to do anything for you.

    When Zi Ling woke up, she felt as though her entire body had no energy left in it. Her limbs and her waist hurt, and it seemed hard to even open her eyes.

    When she fully opened her eyes, she realized that Zhu Yeqing had disappeared, along with the blood on the ground and the corpse.

    She nestled into the blanket once more for quite some time, as though trying to return to the wildness and the passion of last night.

    But as soon as she was certain that Zhu Yeqing wasn't in the room, she immediately got up. She slipped into just a simple dress and rushed out, half-naked.

    But when she pushed the door open, she was stunned.

    An old hunchback, head filled with flowing white hair, was staring at her from outside the door. His face was criss-crossed with scars and had a strange, secretive smile on it.

    Zi Ling involuntarily cried out, "Who are you?" The hunchback's voice was far hoarser and grimmer than that of Third Master Cui. "I am the bearer of news!"

    Zi Ling let out a long sigh! "What news?"

    The hunchback said, "The brothers of the 'Black Death' arrived early and are waiting for you at Madame Han's place!" Zi Ling said, "Are you going to go with me?"

    The hunchback's smile became even more terrifying. "Mr. Zhu emphasized to me over and over that if I were to leave you alone for a single moment, my legs would be cut off and fed to dogs."

    This was not the Willow Manor, nor were there the songs of courtesans to be heard.*

    [*This is a very complicated line which is the inverse of two lines in a Chinese poem. Forgive me for not being able to fully convey it's meaning.]

    Nor was Ah Ji drunk.

    Last night, he almost got drunk, but he didn't. He passed by many wineshops, and each time, he wanted to stop and buy some wine. But he managed to resist.

    He managed to resist up until midnight. When he could hold out no longer, he went to look for the girl and Miaozi. He was certain that this would be a safe time to go looking for them.

    Because even though Big Ox wasn't an ordinary fellow, his house was a very ordinary house.

    Ordinary and plain.

    An ordinary household like this should be asleep by this time of night and shouldn't have any guests over. He should be able to secretly sneak in and clasp Miaozi by the hand, then gaze into the girl's eyes. Even if he woke up Big Ox's wife, he would be able to leave after apologizing. He had met the wife before. She, too, was a normal, ordinary person. As long as her husband and children were doing well, she would be content.

    Their home was nourished by her love, and purchased by the fruits of the labor of her two hands, which could sew. It was a very simple and crude house, with three bedrooms and one living room. Their servant slept in the smallest room, while her and her husband slept in the largest. The middle room was shared by their son and daughter.

    Her son was eleven years old. Ah Ji had visited their home before, when he had delivered the girl and Miaozi to that place. When he saw their home, Ah Ji felt both moved and strange. Why would someone with a family and a home like this, keep on working in this line of work?

    For the sake of supporting my family!

    Big Ox explained, "For the sake of being able to keep on living, and having my family keep on living, there's nothing which I'm unwilling to do!"

    Perhaps he was telling the truth, and perhaps he was not. Regardless, after hearing his words, Ah Ji felt a little sick at heart. Only after undergoing these past few difficult days did he come to realize that staying alive was not as easy a thing as he once believed it to be. It really did require one's self to do some things one was unwilling to! Although he had only been there once, this home had left a very deep impression in his heart. That's why he purchased some candy and sweetmeats for the children for this trip.

    But now, all the candy fell to the floor! Because Big Ox and his wife were not here, nor were there children, or even their servant girl. The only person in this room was Miao Zi, who stupidly sat in the middle of the house, facing a table covered with wine and food. His gaze was stiff and unmoving.

    The furniture in the living room was all very plain and ordinary as well. Within the shrine for worship were the images of two deities who had absolutely nothing in common with each other whatsoever.

    Bodhisattva Guan-yin, and Lord Guan Yu.

    The shrine was on the wall in front of the desk.

    The desk was very old and very shabby, and yet it was now suddenly covered with a sumptuous feast of food and wine. It definitely wasn't food which their family could afford. Twenty year old Clear Bamboo Wine [aka Zhu Ye Qing], along with fried crab and braised shark's fin which had been couriered here from Lake Yangcheng by a team of fast horses.

    Miao Zi was staring stupidly at this table filled with food. His eyes were dull and empty, without any expression within at all.

    Ah Ji's heart immediately sank.

    From his empty eyes, Ah Ji saw an inauspicious omen, warning of calamity.

    Miao Zi lifted his head and glanced at him. Suddenly, he said, "Sit." There was an empty seat in front of him. And so, Ah Ji sat down.
    Blademaster. Hero. General. He was the best there ever was.
    Butcher. Murderer. Traitor. All that he loved, he had destroyed.
    Matheius Randas.
    That Merciless Blade - Legend of the Arctic Wolf.

  2. #42
    Senior Member SkyWalker's Avatar
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    Thanks for another wonderful post Ren! Looking forward to the next one.

    Zhu Yeqing claimed to be an expert amongst experts in sword. Does that mean he's better than the third young master?

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    Thank you for continuing this translation. I am really enjoying the story.

  4. #44
    Moderator Ren Wo Xing's Avatar
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    Chapter 21: The Terrifying Black Death

    Miao Zi suddenly lifted a wine cup. "Drink!"

    There was another wine cup in front of the chair, and it was filled with wine. But Ah Ji didn't drink.

    His face unchanging, Miao Zi said, "This food was specially prepared for you. So was the wine!"

    Ah Ji said, "So I must drink!"

    Miao Zi said, "Yes."

    Ah Ji hesitated. Finally, he lifted the cup and drained it at one go. "This is Clear Bamboo Wine."

    Miao Zi said, "Clear Bamboo Wine is good wine!"

    Ah Ji said, "Clear Bamboo Wine is good wine, but Zhu Yeqing isn't a good man!"

    Miao Zi's face immediately tightened, and the copper earrings in his ears began to shake.

    Ah Ji said, "You have already met Zhu Yeqing!"

    Grinding his teeth, Miao Zi suddenly picked up a large piece of roast crab. Placing it in front of him, he said, "Eat."

    The crab meat was just fried moments ago. Bright yellow in color, it seemed to still be quite hot. All the food and wine were clearly prepared just moments ago.

    Could it be that Zhu Yeqing had already correctly calculated that Ah Ji would come, and prepared all of these dishes and wine for him in advance? Ah Ji couldn't help but ask, "Where is he right now?"

    Miao Zi said, "Who?"

    Ah Ji said, "Zhu Yeqing!"

    Miao Zi picked up a full glass of wine. "This is Clear Bamboo Wine [Zhu Yeqing], Zhu Yeqing is right here!" His hand was trembling as well, so fiercely that he wasn't even able to hold the cup steady.

    Ah Ji accepted the cup of wine. Only now did he realize how cold his hand was; it was even colder than the wineglass. He had just realized the error in judgment he had committed. He had underestimated Zhu Yeqing.

    Although a single mistake might not be enough to cause him to die, it had already harmed others.

    Only after he slowly drank down this glass of wine did he find the courage to ask, "Where's the girl?"

    Although Miao Zi's fists were still tightly clenched, they were trembling so hard it was frightening. He suddenly said loudly, "Do you want to see her again!"

    Ah Ji said, "Yes."

    Miao Zi said, "Then listen to me. Eat a lot. Drink a lot. Ask very little."

    Ah Ji really did ask nothing more.

    Miao Zi told him to eat, and so he stuffed himself. Miao Zi told him to drink, and so he drank heavily. The sweet and fragrant Clear Bamboo Wine turned sour and bitter upon touching his lips. But no matter how sour and bitter it tasted, he had to drink it down. Even if it was poisoned wine, he still would have drank it.

    Miao Zi watched him. Within his empty eyes, a sheen of tears suddenly appeared.

    But Ah Ji could no longer bear to look at him, could no longer dare to look at him.

    Miao Zi himself drank several cups of wine in succession as well. He suddenly said, "There's a bed inside." Ah Ji said, "I know!"

    Miao Zi said, "Only after you've eaten and drank to your heart's content can you sleep a good night's sleep."

    Ah Ji said, "I know!" Miao Zi said, "Only after you get a good night's sleep will you be filled with energy. Energy to go kill."

    Ah Ji said, "Kill the Boss!"

    Miao Zi nodded. "Only after you kill the Boss, can you see the girl."

    After saying these words, the tears in his eyes seemed to be on the verge of uncontrollably coming out.

    Ah Ji's pupils were shrinking. He repeated these words again. "Only after I kill the Boss, can I see the girl."

    After saying these words, he immediately began to devour the food and wine once more. Miao Zi didn't drink any less than he did, nor did he eat any less.

    Neither of them spoke a single word. The kettle of wine and table filled with food were all finished in a short period of time.

    Ah Ji said, "It is now time for me to go sleep!"

    Miao Zi said, "Go."

    Ah Ji slowly stood up and entered the inside room. As he reached the doorway, he couldn't help but turn back to take another glance. Only now did he see that tears had covered Miao Zi's face.

    Beneath the lamplight, the Boss was looking at the scroll Zhu Yeqing had given him. It had nine names on it.

    White Wood, disciple of Wudang. Even after he was expelled from his school, he continued to dress as a Daoist priest. Six feet, eight inches tall. Lean, leathery body, with a mole at the corner of his eyes.

    Earth Monk, originates from Shaolin. Dresses as a monk. Eight feet tall, an expert in using the Divine Tiger-Subduing Arhat Fists. Born with godlike strength.

    Black Ghost, a wanderer from Guangxi. Sabre-wielder and expert assassin. Six feet tall, wears black clothes all year round. Wields a flexible Burmese scimitar, can be used as a belt.

    Sasaki of Dongman Island. A wanderer from Kyushu, Japan, he wields a six-foot long katana. Brutal and loves to kill.

    Kawashima, younger brother of Sasaki. He was originally the student of Iga, a ninja from Fusang Island.

    Second Master Ding, originally a member of an aristocratic family in Shanzhong. After wasting all of his family's holdings, he's wandered about the martial world. Loves alcohol and women. Wields a sword.

    Green Serpent. Quick-witted and mercurial, six foot three inches.

    Old Chai. The eldest member, has a long beard and sideburns. Loves alcohol, often drunk. Has been an assassin since he was young, has killed people beyond counting. In recent years, has often caused disaster due to his fondness for alcohol.

    Axe. A nine foot tall man, wields a pair of large axes. Rough and strong, with a temper like an inferno.

    After reviewing these nine names, the Boss let out a light sigh. Tapping his head, he asked, "What do you think?" He was speaking to a person standing tall and majestic in front of him. This person was very young, but filled with a heroic aura.

    People rarely saw him in front of the Boss, and so they didn't realize that his position had been growing more and more important by the day. That's why everyone just called him 'The Kid'. Even he himself seemed to have forgotten his own name.

    He had always been taciturn. He only spoke when the Boss asked him questions. "Looks like all nine of them are expert assassins."

    The Boss said, "They've killed many people!"

    The Kid said, "Yes."

    The Boss asked, "Do you think they'll be able to deal with that 'useless' Ah Ji?"

    The Kid hesitated. "There are nine of them, and only one Ah Ji. They've certainly killed more people than Ah Ji as well."

    The Boss smiled and handed the scroll over to him. "Tomorrow morning, arrange for people to receive them separately and immediately escort them to Madame Han's place."

    The Kid said, "Yes."

    The Boss said, "They certainly will be coming separately. For all nine to travel together will arouse suspicions."

    The Kid said, "Yes."

    The Boss said, "If you want to kill someone, you cannot let them be aware of it."

    The Kid said, "Yes."

    The Boss was still smiling. He repeated those words once again. "You must remember this. To kill someone, you must not let them be aware of it!"

    Early morning.

    The morning markets had opened. This was the busiest time of day for the teahouses, and also where the Boss's men were most active. Some of those men had never even seen the Boss's face, but all of them were willing to die for him.

    The reason the Boss's grip in this city was so firm was because he had these young men at the grassroots who were willing to die for him.

    When they heard someone asking about the Boss, they all jumped to their feet.

    The person asking about the Boss looked like a spear, but he was wearing a sword at his waist.

    He was very tall and very lean. He wore nothing but black, and his movements were swift, vigorous, and fierce.

    He had rode a swift horse here. There were two others who had come with him. Judging from their weather-beaten faces, no one present doubted that they had travelled a long distance.

    As soon as his horse had come to a stop, he had shot off its back like an arrow. His eagle-like gaze swept across those present, and he immediately asked, "Who here are the brothers serving the Boss?"

    Of course there were many present.

    There were at least ten or so men who jumped to their feet upon hearing these words.

    The man in black said, "All of you are?"

    The local chief of these men, whose nickname was 'Zhangsan', immediately responded, "Why are you searching for the Boss?"

    The man in black said, "We came here to sell him something!"

    Zhangsan asked, "What?"

    The man in black said, "Our three lives."

    Zhangsan said, "What price do you ask for?"

    The man in black said, "A hundred thousand taels."

    Zhangsan laughed. "To purchase three lives for a hundred thousand taels isn't too pricy."

    The man in black said, "No, not at all."

    Zhangsan's face sunk. "But I don't see by what basis are the three of you worth a hundred thousand taels."

    The man in black said, "By the basis of this sword!" As soon as he said the word 'sword', with a swishing sound, the sword left the sheath and pierced the air, immediately followed by three dinging sounds as the tip of the sword pierced three cups on the table.

    The sword lifted up the three cups. They hadn't shattered yet. Even those who did not use swords could tell that the speed and power behind this sword was something special.

    The expression on Zhangsan's face changed.

    The man in black said, "Well?"

    Zhangsan said, "Good. What a fast sword."

    The man in black said, "How is it compared to Ah Ji?"

    Zhangsan said, "Ah Ji!"

    The man in black said, "I heard that someone named Ah Ji appeared here. It seems as though he's been causing trouble for the Boss."

    Zhangsan said, "You've come to help the Boss take care of this?"

    The man in black said, "Good goods should be sold to those who can appreciate its quality."

    Zhangsan let out a breath. Laughing ingratiatingly, he said, "I guarantee that the Boss is someone who recognizes quality when he sees it."

    Only to hear someone say coldly, "Unfortunately, the three of you are not quality goods."

    Zhangsan was stunned.

    These words were not said by any of his brothers. It came from someone standing right behind the man in black.

    Moments ago, there was clearly only two people standing behind him, those two friends of his. Now, a third person had suddenly appeared. No one had noticed when it was that this third person had arrived. Where did he come from?

    This person also dressed in black, but he was somewhat thinner than the other man. Standing between the two robust companions of the first man, he looked as though he would be squeezed flat at any moment. But those two companions didn't even move in the slightest. In the past, they had never been the type of people who wouldn't act if others insulted them. They had accompanied the man in black for many years, and had experienced over a hundred life-and-death battles.

    The man in black, upon hearing a voice behind him, immediately shot forward without even looking backwards. In a fierce voice, he said, "Take him down!"

    But his two companions still didn't move. Only the expressions on their faces changed, becoming very strange. When the man in black turned around, his expression changed as well.

    Not only had his companions expressions changed, the locations of their facial features had changed as well, becoming ugly and twisted. And then, blood began to flow out of their ears, eyes, nose, and lips. And yet, the skinny man dressed in black between them still did not move, nor was there any expression on his face.

    His face was very small, as were his eyes. But there was a poisonous, viper-like laughter in his eyes.

    Vipers could not laugh. But if they could, they would look like this.

    Staring at his eyes, the man in black couldn't help but shudder once. In a fierce voice, he asked, "You killed them?"

    The other man in black, with the viper-like eyes, coldly answered, "Who else would have done it?"

    The man in black demanded, "Who are you?"

    This person replied, "Black Death, Black Ghost!"

    Upon hearing these four words, the man in black's face became all the more dreadful. "My surname is Du. I am Du Li!"

    Black Ghost said, "The 'Black Fiend Swordsman', Du Li!"

    Du Li nodded. "We have always minded our own business and never interfered with each other. You..." Black Ghost interrupted his words. "Then you shouldn't have come here."

    Du Li said, "Can it be that you have already accepted this mission?"

    Black Ghost said, "Can it be that we aren't allowed to!"

    Du Li said, "I know that nobody can get involved in a mission the Black Death has accepted."

    Black Ghost said, "It's good that you know that!"

    Du Li said, "But I didn't know that you had already gotten involved in this!"

    Black Ghost said, "Oh!"

    Du Li said, "So it wasn't necessary for you to kill."

    Black Ghost said, "It was necessary!"

    Du Li said, "Why?"

    Black Ghost said, "I like to kill."

    He was speaking the truth. Anyone who saw his eyes should be able to tell that he liked to kill.

    Du Li was staring at his eyes. Both of their pupils contracted at the same time. Du Li's sword suddenly shot out.

    The power of this thrust was greater than when he had pierced those teacups moments ago. He was piercing towards Black Ghost's chest, not his throat, because the chest was a larger target, making it more difficult to dodge. But Black Ghost dodged it anyhow.

    As soon as he dodged, the two companions he was standing between immediately fell down towards Du Li.

    Startled, Du Li raised his hand to block, and in that moment, Black Ghost appeared by his side.

    Nobody saw Black Ghost strike. They only suddenly saw Du Li's facial expression change, just like his two companions earlier. Not only did his expression change, the positions of his facial features had moved as well, causing his face to become extremely distorted and ugly. And then, blood flowed from all of his orifices as well.

    The teahouse was suddenly filled with a foul stench. Two people, covering their faces, suddenly squatted down. Their trousers were already wet.

    But nobody laughed at them, because everybody was utterly terrified as well.

    Killing wasn't necessarily a terrifying thing. What was terrifying was the ways which one used to kill. To him, killing was no longer killing; it was a form of art, a form of enjoyment.

    Even after Du Li's body had turned totally cold, Black Ghost remained at his side, savoring the taste of another's life leaving his body.

    Perhaps only after you yourself have stood by someone's side as he was dying and watched his body slowly grow cold can you understand this sort of feeling.

    Only after an unknown length of time had passed did Zhangsan and the rest become capable of moving.

    Black Ghost suddenly raised his head and looked at them. "By now, you should know who I am!"

    Zhangsan nodded. "Yes."

    He didn't dare face this person. His clothes were already drenched with cold sweat!

    Black Ghost said, "You fear me!"

    Zhangsan didn't deny it, nor did he dare deny it.

    Black Ghost said, "I know you must have killed before as well. Why do you fear me?"

    Zhangsan stuttered, "Because...because..."

    Black Ghost said, "Because my way of killing is terrifying, or because I enjoy killing?"

    Zhangsan didn't respond, nor did he dare respond.

    Black Ghost suddenly asked, "Have you ever seen White Wood?"

    Zhangsan said, "No."

    Black Ghost said, "If you see him kill, you will realize what is really considered 'killing someone'."

    Zhangsan's hands were already ice cold.

    Could it be that when White Wood killed, he was even more accurate and even more brutal?

    Black Ghost asked, "Have you ever met Sasaki or Kawashima?"

    Zhangsan said, "No."

    Black Ghost said, "If you see them, you will realize what is really considered to be 'enjoying killing'."

    He dully continued, "At least I kill people for a reason. They kill people purely for the sake of enjoying themselves."

    Zhangsan couldn't resist from asking, "So long as they enjoy themselves, they will kill whenever they please?"

    Black Ghost said, "Any time, any place, any person."

    Du Li had fallen down as well. Only after he collapsed could everyone seen that the side of his clothes had been dyed red with blood. But they still couldn't see Black Ghost's sabre.

    Only Zhangsan had seen the sabre flash for a moment before re-entering his sleeves.

    There was blood on his sleeves as well.

    Black Ghost suddenly asked, "Do you know what blood tastes like?" Zhangsan immediately shook his head.

    Black Ghost stretched his hand out and delivered his sleeve towards Zhangsan's mouth. "All you need to do is take a taste, and you shall know."

    Zhangsan shook his head again, shook his head without stopping. He felt his stomach contract and was almost unable to refrain from vomiting.

    Black Ghost sneered. "Can it be that all of the Boss's underlings are worthless weaklings who don't even dare to taste blood?"

    "Not true."

    The man who spoke was originally outside the door. He suddenly appeared behind Black Ghost.

    Black Ghost quickly turned around. He saw a tall, jade-like young man wearing a green garment. His age appeared to be very young, but his face was wrinkled from having undergone great suffering. That is why he looked far older than his actual age!

    Black Ghost said, "You are also one of the Boss's servants!"

    This person said, "I am. They call me the Kid." Black Ghost said, "Have you tasted blood before?"

    ________________

    Thanks for your ongoing encouragement, Skywalker, and thank you as well, muskrat! Readers, remember that your comments are what we translators run on and give us motivation
    Last edited by Ren Wo Xing; 05-16-10 at 12:44 PM.
    Blademaster. Hero. General. He was the best there ever was.
    Butcher. Murderer. Traitor. All that he loved, he had destroyed.
    Matheius Randas.
    That Merciless Blade - Legend of the Arctic Wolf.

  5. #45
    Senior Member SkyWalker's Avatar
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    Thank you Ren for a much anticipated chapter. I love this story and as always, your translating skill is top notch! Much appreciated!!!!

  6. #46
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    Chapter 22: Fantastical Movements

    The Kid bent down and picked up Du Li's sword. He pierced the pool of blood with it, staining the tip of the sword with blood. After licking it clean, he suddenly reversed the sword and cut open a wound on his own arm as well. As the blood flowed out, his mouth clamped down on it, sucking the blood before slowly raising his head.

    His expression unchanging, he dully replied, "A living person's blood is salty. A dead person's blood is so salty, it tastes bitter."

    But Black Ghost's expression had changed slightly. He coldly said, "I didn't ask you that much."

    The Kid said, "If a person is to do something, he should do it properly and thoroughly."

    Black Ghost said, "Who said these words?"

    The Kid said, "The Boss did."

    Black Ghost suddenly laughed loudly. "Good. To be able to work for a man such as him means that we shall not have made this trip in vain."

    Bowing, the Kid said, "Then please come with me."

    When he turned and walked away, a look of respect had appeared on everyone's face.

    Only, a look of shame and pain had appeared on Zhangsan's face.

    He knew that he was finished.

    Morning.

    The sound of voices in the noisy city suddenly died away. Only the tapping sounds of wooden clogs could be heard, coming from far away and nearing. Two men wearing five-inch high wooden clogs walked over swaggeringly.

    The two wore their hair in a fluffy bun. They were two Japanese men who looked extremely ferocious and ugly. They wore a wide, spacious gown. One of them wore an eight-foot long katana on his seven-inch thick belt of pure silk, but both of his hands were hidden within his sleeves.

    The other man wore a black gown and black clogs. Even his face was totally black, appearing even more secretive and fearful.

    Sasaki and Kawashima had arrived.

    Upon seeing them, everybody shut their mouths. Although nobody recognized them, everyone could sense the murderous aura emanating from their bodies. Even children could sense it.

    A well-rounded young wife, carrying her five-month old baby, had just exited the Abode of Auspicious Virtue. This was a very large vendor of silks, and this young lady was the new wife of the young owner of the place. She was as young and beautiful as a flower, and had just experienced the most beautiful, glorious period of time a woman ever could. She was like a patch of fertile ground that had just experienced the spring rain.

    As soon as they saw her, Sasaki and Kawashima's eyes immediately fixed upon her.

    Sasaki said, "Hooker lady is super beautiful."

    Kawashima said, "Super good."

    The young madam was in the middle of teasing her child. As soon as she saw them, she was so terrified that her apple-like face immediately turned white with fear.

    Sasaki charged forward. Just as a young servant inside the shop came out, smiling, to welcome him, with a sword flash, his left arm was chopped off.

    The child was terrified and began to cry. His mom's legs had become soft with fear as well.

    Sasaki still held his katana, dripping with blood. Smiling sardonically, he said, "Hooker lady, no be scared. I like hooker lady."

    He was about to charge forward again. This time, no one dared to bar his way. But his belt was suddenly seized by Kawashima. With a flip of the arm and a blow of the elbow, he was sent flying out.

    Kawashima laughed loudly. "Hooker lady is mine. You-" Before he had even finished speaking, Sasaki had already flipped over in mid-air and chopped down with his katana.

    This chop was vicious, accurate, and fast. The technique he used was the most formidable, fearsome of strokes of Japanese swordplay, known as 'Decapitation at One Stroke With the Wind!'

    It was as though he wanted nothing more than to split his little brother's head in half.

    This person really was willing to kill anywhere and at anytime, and anyone as well!

    But Kawashima was not unskilled either. Rolling away, he escaped the tip of the blade and shot out three shurikens towards Sasaki. This was the unique hidden weapon used only by the Iga ninjas of Fusang Island.

    For the sake of someone else's wife, these two brothers really began to try and kill each other.

    Sasaki's katana fluttered about, every blow aimed at Kawashima's vitals. Kawashima's movements were extremely strange. He rolled around on the floor, throwing out all sorts of hidden weaponry without end. Suddenly, with a clanging sound, the shurikens were knocked out of the sky and the katana was blocked.

    A tall and thin Daoist dressed in a blue garment, his hair coiled around a white wooden hairpin and wielding a blue steel sword, had knocked out the shurikens and blocked the katana. With one kick, he knocked Kawashima over fifty feet away. With a wave of the hand, he slapped Sasaki on the face three times. He coldly said, "If you want a hooker, go to Madame Han's place. A woman with a child is not a hooker."

    These two extremely vicious, tyrannical, and overbearing Japanese men actually became docile and obedient upon seeing him. Hanging their heads dejectedly, they didn't even dare to let out a fart.

    But a cold laugh suddenly came out from the middle of the masses of people. "This Daoist must be White Wood, who was expelled from the Wudang Sect. I didn't imagine that you'd still be so awe-inspiring."

    Another person laughed, the sound even uglier to the ear. "If he can't even show off in front of his own people, who can he show off to?"

    White Wood's expression didn't change, but a mole at the corner of his eyebrows began to twitch repeatedly. He coldly replied, "It seems like this place has become rather lively. Even the brothers of the Mi family have come."

    A burst of loud laughter came from the crowd. "This old bandit has excellent hearing."

    In the midst of their laughter, two swords shot out like rainbows and pierced towards him.

    White Wood didn't move.

    Sasaki and Kawashima stepped away.

    But they didn't have a chance to strike either. Behind the shadows of the two swordsmen, two other shadows had appeared as well, as though glued to their own.

    As the Mi family brothers flew out with their swords, these two shadows flew out with them.

    With a miserable cry, blood appeared and flew out from within the sword light. Both of them collapsed, a dagger stuck in each of their backs, all the way to the hitl.

    Two other people somersaulted threw the air before they gently landed on the ground. They landed in the pool of blood. One person's face was greenish, while the other was single-mindedly holding on to a flagon of wine. It was none other than Green Serpent and Second Master Ding.

    Second Master Ding was actually sighing. Staring at the two corpses on the ground, he mumbled, "So the twin swords of the Mi family were nothing more than this. We had been right behind them this entire, but they were as oblivious to us as the dead."

    Green Serpent dully said, "That's why they now really are dead."

    A slight smile appeared on White Wood's grave and solemn face. "Green Serpent has always had superb lightness kungfu. I didn't realize that Second Master's skill had improved so much as well."

    Second Master Ding said, "Only because I'm not quite willing to die just yet."

    In this line of work, if you don't wish to die, you must always be training yourself.

    Smiling, White Wood said, "Well spoken, very well spoken. This was very well done as well!"

    Blinking a bit, Second Master Ding suddenly asked, "What's the best?"

    White Wood stroked his sword. He loftily said, "My sword, of course."

    The sword had already entered the sheath.

    No one dared to rebuke this arrogant Daoist priest, because no one could ward off his sword. He himself was very aware of this, and never spared any chance to remind others of it. Amongst the Black Death, he was forever aloof and remote, gazing down from up high.

    From amidst the masses, a surprised uproar could suddenly be heard. Everyone scrambled away as a blood-splattered giant carrying a pair of axes flew towards the others.

    Green Serpent frowned. "What type of trouble did Axehead cause this time."

    White Wood sneered. "I'm afraid that the troublemaker probably wasn't him."

    Upon seeing them, Axehead immediately came to a halt. A look of delight on his face, he said, "I finally caught up to you all." White Wood said, "What happened?"

    Axehead said, "Old Chai got drunk again. Outside the city, he got into a fight with a dart-master from Hebei." White Wood smirked. "The troublemaker really wasn't him after all."

    Axehead said, "By the time I saw them, he had already been hit twice. I didn't expect that my help wasn't enough. My only choice was to carve a bloody path here to find help."

    White Wood said, "Hmph!"

    Axehead said, "That dart-master really is extremely skilled. If we don't go immediately, I'm afraid that Old Chai is going to die."

    White Wood coldly said, "Then let him die!"

    Axehead was surprised. "Let him die?"

    White Wood said, "We came on this trip to kill others, not to be killed!"

    White Wood really did walk away. Everyone followed him as well. Axehead stood there, stunned, for a long time, before he chased after them.

    They had committed murder in the middle of the street, then turned around and left abruptly. The several hundred people present could do nothing but watch, eyes wide.

    No one dared to provoke them, because some of them had no sense of shame and honor, and some of them didn't care about their own lives.

    And some of them neither cared about their own lives, nor had any sense of shame or honor!

    After they walked far away, another person appeared. It was a big, fat monk, who was carrying a steel Buddhist's staff. He casually walked out of a wine house directly opposite to the Abode of Auspicious Virtue.

    The young madam had been extremely frightened by the ordeal. She had just put down her child and was leaning against the countertop, panting for breath. Suddenly, she heard a cracking sound, as the sturdy wooden counter was smashed into smithereens by the monk's Buddhist's staff.

    This stroke carried with it over a thousand catties of force, but the backhand blow was even more terrifying in its power.

    This famous three hundred year old clothing store was totally demolished by him by these two blows. Of the twenty or so servants in the store, some had broken arms, while others had broken legs. None of them were able to remain standing.

    The young madam was so terrified that she fainted. With a stretch of the hand, the monk seized her as though he were grabbing a young chicken. Holding her under one arm, he flew out, taking large steps.

    Seeing his earlier demonstration of cruel, brute force, who would dare to block his way? Although the monk had someone under his arm, he still moved with incredible speed. In the blink of an eye, he caught up to his comrades. Turning around, he opened his mouth in a wide grin towards White Wood, and then he passed them. Very shortly, he disappeared off into the distance.

    Frowning, Green Serpent asked, "Has the monk gone insane?" White Wood coldly said, "He's always been mentally ill. Every three days, the illness will seize him."

    Sasaki said, "The woman he is holding looks like the hooker lady from earlier."

    Kawashima didn't say a single word. He immediately sped up his footsteps and pursued. Sasaki definitely was not willing to fall behind either.

    Suddenly, a miserable cry was heard from an alleyway in front of them. It sounded like the monk's voice. By the time everybody got there, all they saw was the monk's several hundred pound body hung upside down off a large nearby tree. His eyes were bulging, and his trousers were totally wet. Tears, snot, and drool all flowed forth. He had shouted so loudly that everybody in the street had heard him.

    Not only was this monk born with godlike strength, his external martial arts techniques weren't bad either. But in the blink of an eye, he had been hung upside down on a tree, while the person who killed him had disappeared without a trace.

    White Wood tightly gripped his sword. His palm had already turned slick with cold sweat. He repeatedly sneered, "Wonderful, what wonderfully quick moves."

    Green Serpent frowned. "I didn't imagine that there was such an exceptional master here, who is even more ruthless than we are."

    Second Master Ding had bent down already, seemingly about to vomit.

    Axehead was roaring loudly, "If you have the balls to kill, why don't you have the balls to show yourself to us?"

    No response came from within the dark alley. Not even a trace of a ghost could be seen.

    But what Sasaki cared about was actually something else. He suddenly asked, "What happened to hooker lady?"

    Only now did everyone realize that the girl whom the monk had carted away had disappeared. That Buddhist's staff, made from steel which had been refined and smelted a hundred times over, which the monk hadn't been willing to part with even in his sleep, had disappeared as well.

    Could it be that the woman was a hidden elite who hadn't revealed her true skills?

    The Boss was seated on a chair covered with tiger skin which had been specially brought here from his residence. Staring at the seven people in front of him, a smile was on his face and he repeatedly nodded. He clearly was very pleased with himself.

    Zhu Yeqing obviously was filled with smiles as well. As long as the Boss was happy, he too would be happy.

    But White Wood and the others seemed unable to smile as well. After having seen the monk's miserable fate, none of them could help but feel uneasy.

    Who was it that killed him?

    Did that woman 'dress up as a pig in order to eat a tiger'? Or was there other experts nearby?

    Zhu Yeqing smiled. "I heard that as soon as you entered the city, each of you performed a few amazing feats. Wonderful indeed."

    White Wood icily replied, "Not good at all."

    Zhu Yeqing said, "But right now, there isn't a single person in the city who doesn't know how powerful you all are."

    White Wood shut his mouth. All of his cohorts had shut their mouths as well. Although all of them felt as though they were filled with bile, none of them could spit it out.

    Originally, they really did want to show off their skills, intending to overawe this city from the very start. Unexpectedly, one of their comrades died first without even knowing what happened. If this was to be openly stated, without question, it would embolden the resolve of others and detract from their own prestige. Axehead suddenly howled, "I'm pissed the hell off!"

    Zhu Yeqing said, "Master Axehead, why are you angry?"

    Just as Axehead was about to speak, he saw White Wood and Green Serpent staring at him. He immediately changed his mind and said, "I love to be angry! As soon as I am happy, I become angry!"

    Zhu Yeqing laughed. "Even more wonderful."

    Axehead stared at him, eyes wide. "What's so good about that!"

    Zhu Yeqing said, "Your anger alone is more than enough to terrify others and cause them to become downhearted."

    Second Master Ding said, "But I never grow angry!"

    Zhu Yeqing said, "That's wonderful as well!"

    Second Master Ding said, "What's so wonderful about that?"

    Zhu Yeqing said, "A person who normally is utterly silent and still is as swift as the wind when he moves. A person who normally never grows angry will without question become utterly devastating when he does grow angry!"

    Second Master Ding laughed. "Looks like no matter what I say, you'll still be able to come up with a way to flatter me. That's quite a skill."

    Zhu Yeqing smiled. "Since I don't have your skills in martial arts, all I can do is use this small talent of mine to feed myself."

    The Boss had been listening and smiling this entire time. He suddenly said, "Have all of you arrived?"

    White Wood said, "Yes."

    The Boss said, "But I seem to recall that there's supposed to be nine of you."

    White Wood grunted in response.

    The Boss said, "Where are the other two?"

    White Wood said coldly, "It makes no difference whether or not those two come."

    The Boss said, "Oh!"

    White Wood said, "With the seven of us present, we have enough power that there's no task that cannot be accomplished."

    The Boss said, "Enough power to deal with Ah Ji as well!"

    White Wood said, "Enough power to deal with anyone."

    The Boss laughed. "I know that in recent years, your sword technique, respected priest, has become even more wonderful. Everyone else present is an expert as well. But there's one thing which continues to prevent me from being at ease."

    White Wood said, "What." Smiling, the Boss waved his hand. The door opened, and two people walked in, carrying with them a steel Buddhist's staff.

    White Wood's expression changed.

    The expressions of all the brothers of the Black Death changed. The Boss said, "I imagine all of you recognize this staff!"

    Of course they recognized it. It was the weapon with which the Earth Monk had made his name. They could no longer count all of the people they had personally seen die to his staff.

    The Boss said, "I heard that it is said that this staff never leaves Earth Monk's side. I don't know how it fell into the hands of others."

    Expression changing, White Wood said, "I was just about to inquire as to where you acquired this staff from!"

    The Boss said, "Someone specially delivered it and asked me to hand it over to all of you."

    White Wood said, "Is that person still here!"

    The Boss said, "Still here."

    White Wood said, "Where?" The Boss said, "Right there."

    He pointed with one finger. Everyone's gaze followed the direction he was pointing towards, and saw a person standing outside the door.

    A well-rounded, utterly soft and appealing woman. It was actually the young madam of the Abode of Auspicious Virtue.

    Could this woman be the hidden expert who was capable of hanging up the Earth Monk on to a tree in the blink of an eye?

    Nobody could see how it was possible. No one could believe it. But they couldn't help but believe it either.

    Kawashima suddenly let out a loud howl. Rolling on the floor, he shot out three shurikens towards her.

    The young madam's body flashed and her body suddenly backwards through the doorway. Kawashima let out another howl and he collapsed face forward. There were three shurikens stuck into his chest. They were the shurikens he himself had just shot out.

    White Wood's face turned ghastly pale. All of his comrades felt their hands and feet grow cold as well. From outside the door, a person once more began walking towards them. It was still that young, recently pregnant madam.

    Sasaki stared at her in shock. He mumbled, "This hooker lady is no hooker lady. She is devil woman."

    The young madam actually laughed towards him. "Do you like devil women?"

    Although her voice was trembling slightly, her laughter was extremely sweet.

    Sasaki stared at her until his own eyes went red. Clenching the hilt of his katana with his hands, he walked towards her step by step.

    White Wood quietly warned, "Careful!" Unfortunately, his warning came too late. Sasaki threw himself towards her, arms open wide, intending to grab her by the waist.

    He caught nothing.

    The young madam's body once again flashed backwards through the doorway. Just as he chased after her through the doorway, a miserable cry could be heard. He retreated one step at a time. Before the others had a chance to see his face, they saw the tip of a blade poking out from his back. Fresh blood was spurting from the wound like an arrow.

    Only after he fell down backwards did everyone see the blade.

    An eight-foot long katana had pierced through his chest, passing through to his back. Once again, it was his very own weapon which he had always carried with him.

    The young madam once again entered through the doorway. As she stared at them, her beautiful eyes were filled with grief and terror.

    This time, no one else dared to throw themselves forward. Even Zhu Yeqing's expression changed.

    Only the Boss remained unmoved. He lightly said, "So these are the people whom you specially invited here to protect me?"

    These words were directed towards Zhu Yeqing.

    Zhu Yeqing lowered his head, not daring to speak.

    The Boss said, "Based on their skills, are they fit to deal with Ah Ji?"

    Zhu Yeqing's face turned even paler. His head sank down even lower.

    The Boss let out a sigh. "Looks to me as though they can't even deal with a woman. How can they..." White Wood suddenly interrupted him. In a fierce voice, he said, "Friends, since you've come, why hide outside the door and hide your faces?"

    The Boss said, "Who are you talking to?"

    White Wood said, "The friends outside."

    The Boss said, "There's friends of yours outside?"

    He shook his own head and answered his own question. "Definitely not. I can guarantee that there are no friends of yours outside."

    There was no sound coming from outside. The only person in the doorway was the young madam of the silk shop.

    Moments ago, she had just executed two people in the blink of an eye. But now, she looked as though she were terrified.

    White Wood sneered. He glanced towards his comrades. Second Master Ding and Green Serpent immediately rose up and flew out the window, one to the left and one to the right. Their movements were as graceful and agile as a flying swallow.

    Axehead picked up his axes and, with a bellow, charged forward. With a dark flash, Black Ghost appeared in front of him, moving even faster.

    The young madam disappeared once more.

    The four of them had flanked her on all four sides. Their coordination was accurate and precise. Regardless of if anyone was hiding behind the door, and no matter who it was, it would be quite hard for them to escape from their formation. This was especially true for Black Ghost's sword. With a single thrust, he pierced his enemies throats, and he very rarely missed.

    The strange thing was, long after the four charged out, there seemed to be no sound or reaction from outside.

    White Wood gripped the hilt of his sword, his forehead covered with cold sweat.

    Right at this moment, with a thudding sound, the window to the left was shattered open as a human body flew in.

    In the same split second, the window on the right was shattered open as well as another body flew in.

    The two bodies fell down at the same time with a thudding sound which sounded exactly like two thick, filled burlap sacks being thrown to the floor. It was Second Master Ding and Green Serpent, who had just flown out with the grace of swallows.

    Right as they collapsed to the floor, Axehead and Black Ghost returned as well. Only, Axehead was now missing his head, and Black Ghost had truly become a ghost.

    Axehead's head had been chopped off by his own axes. Black Ghost's sword had disappeared from his hands as well. But there was now a fresh, bloody hole in the middle of his throat.
    Blademaster. Hero. General. He was the best there ever was.
    Butcher. Murderer. Traitor. All that he loved, he had destroyed.
    Matheius Randas.
    That Merciless Blade - Legend of the Arctic Wolf.

  7. #47
    Senior Member SkyWalker's Avatar
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    Thanks for another update Ren! The story is getting very interesting. Can't wait to read more.

    BTW - I'll be away for 2 weeks so won't be able to comment on anymore updates until I return. I hope you'll continue to post. Thanks again!

  8. #48
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    Great fight! Really suspenseful... can't wait to see if its Ah Ji, or some new mysterious person... and whether Ah Ji conspired with the Boss to take down Zhu Yeqing...
    Man is glue. You are man. How then can you step away from glue?

  9. #49
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    Chapter 23: Murong of Jiangnan

    White Wood was still gripping his sword, but cold sweat was pouring down from his forehead like rain.

    The Boss emotionlessly said, "I told you quite some time ago. There definitely are no friends of yours outside that door. At most, there's one or two vicious demons who intend to collect your souls and take your lives."

    The blue veins in White Wood's hand were bulging upwards like the body of a sinuous snake lay beneath his skin. He suddenly said, "Good, very good."

    His voice had already become hoarse. "I didn't imagine that the one described as taking 'A Tooth For a Tooth, Blood For Blood', has arrived as well."

    "You are wrong!"

    White Wood said, "Can it be that First Master Mao has arrived?"

    The person outside replied, "This time, you are right."

    White Wood sneered, "Good, good kung fu. What a wonderful technique of 'Using the Son Against the Father' you have displayed. You really bring glory to Jiangnan's Murong family!"

    When he said the words "Murong of Jiangnan," a wild, beast-like howl suddenly came from outside the door.

    Zhu Yeqing dared not follow out. He daren't not even move, nor could he see the people outside. He heard a cracking sound and saw a flashing object come through the door and embed itself into the wall. It was part of a sword! Following that, three more cracking sounds could be heard in succession as three more sword pieces flew through the doorway and embedded itself within the wall.

    And then White Wood retreated back through the doorway, walking one step at a time. His face was totally devoid of all color, and the only part of his sword remaining was the hilt.

    That precious sword of his, refined and smelted a hundred times over, had been broken into many pieces by his opponent.

    The man outside sneered, "Even without using the martial arts of the Murong family, I can still kill you!"

    White Wood wanted to speak, but resisted the urge. Suddenly, he spat out a mouthful of blood. By the time he fell to the floor, his ashen pale face had turned pitch black.

    The Boss smiled. "This really is not the Murong family's martial arts. It is the Black Sand Palm!"

    The man outside said, "Good eye!"

    The Boss said, "First Master Mao, thank you for your hard work!"

    First Master Mao said from outside the door, "How can killing a few nameless, useless fools like those be considered hard work? If they had run into Second Master Chou instead, they would have died even faster."

    The Boss said, "Second Master Chou is about to arrive as well!"

    First Master Mao said, "He will come."

    The Boss let out a long breath. "Second Master Chou's sword art is without peer in the world. I have admired him for a very long time."

    First Master Mao said, "His sword skills are not necessarily without peer, but I'm afraid there really are not that many people who can defeat him."

    The Boss laughed loudly. Suddenly, he turned around and stared at Zhu Yeqing.

    Zhu Yeqing's face looked deathly ashen.

    The Boss said, "Did you hear all that?" Zhu Yeqing said, "I heard."

    The Boss said, "With First Master Mao and Second Master Chou assisting me, I'm afraid it won't be an easy task for Ah Ji to take my life."

    Zhu Yeqing said, "Yes."

    The Boss emotionlessly said, "If you want my life, I'm afraid it won't be an easy task either!"

    Zhu Yeqing said, "I-". The Boss's face suddenly sunk down. He coldly said, "I understand your good intentions, but if I really had only those 'experts' you found for defense, tonight, I would have died for certain."

    Zhu Yeqing didn't dare to open his mouth again.

    He knelt down, body perfectly straight. He knelt down in front of the Boss.

    He had already realized that this person was far more formidable than he had thought.

    But the Boss didn't even glance at him. With a wave of the hand, he said, "You look tired. You might as well get out."

    Zhu Yeqing didn't dare to move. Right outside the door, there was a soul-collecting, life-taking demon. How could he dare to leave! But he also knew that the Boss's words were orders. Anybody who dared to refuse the Boss's orders would die!

    Fortunately, right at this moment, a high-pitched shout came from outside. "Ah Ji has arrived!"

    Night. Cold night.

    The chilly wind blew across as Ah Ji slowly walked into the narrow alley. Just half a month ago, he had walked out of this alleyway. At that time, he hadn't had a clue as to what he would be doing in the future. But now he knew.

    The type of person one is, determines the type of path one must walk.

    In front of him, there was only one path to take. He had no room for choice at all.

    When he pushed the door open, he saw the road. It was wriggly and complicated, passing through the garden.

    A heroic and yet refined young man was standing, arms folded, tall and majestic in the doorway. His attitude was cordial and sincere. "Sir, have you come to find someone?"

    Ah Ji said, "I came to find your Boss."

    The young man raised his head to glance at him before immediately lowering his head again. "Sir, you are..." Ah Ji said, "I am Ah Ji. That good-for-nothing Ah Ji."

    The young man's attitude was respectful. "The Boss is waiting for you within the garden at this moment. Please enter."

    Ah Ji stared at him. Suddenly, he asked, "I don't seem to have seen you in the past."

    The young man said, "You have not."

    Ah Ji said, "What is your name!"

    The young man said, "My name is the Kid."

    He suddenly chuckled. "I'm the real good-for-nothing Kid. I'm good for nothing whatsoever."

    The Kid led him from in front, and Ah Ji slowly followed behind.

    He knew that he shouldn't let this young man walk behind him. He could already sense that this good-for-nothing Kid must be good for far more things than most people.

    After passing through the flowery route, they could see those windows which had been shattered open. It seemed as though light from a blade was flickering inside.

    The blade was in Zhu Yeqing's hands.

    Zhu Yeqing had suddenly pulled the katana out of Sasaki's corpse. If he was going to die no matter what, he might as well die in his own hands.

    He pulled out the katana and cut towards his own throat.

    But suddenly, with a clanging sound, sparks exploded across the room as the katana in his hands was knocked away. With a thudding sound, it slammed into the window frame. Something fell down. A small rock.

    The Boss laughed coldly. "What a strong wrist! It seems Ah Ji really has arrived."

    After finishing these words, he saw Ah Ji.

    Although he had already slept for an entire day, and his slumber had been very deep, Ah Ji still looked very tired.

    It was an exhaustion which welled up from the deepest pits of his heart, like a poisonous grass which had taken up root within.

    He still wore those old, battered sackcloth clothes. His pale, unshaven face not only looked tired, but also withered and old. It seemed as though it had been a long time since he had even washed his hair.

    But his hands were very clean, and his nails were very short and very tidy.

    But the Boss didn't pay particular attention to his hands. Men rarely pay much attention to other men's hands.

    Staring at Ah Ji for a long time, he scanned Ah Ji from head to toe two times before asking, "You are Ah Ji!"

    Ah Ji lazily stood there without displaying any response. He never replied to questions that had no need to be asked.

    The Boss knew, of course, who he was. But there was one thing he hadn't thought through yet. "Why did you save this person."

    This person was naturally Zhu Yeqing.

    But Ah Ji replied, "I didn't save him."

    The Boss said, "If not him, then who?"

    Ah Ji said, "The Girl." The Boss's pupils shrank. "Because the Girl is in his hands. If he dies, the Girl will die as well."

    His shrunken pupils fixed themselves upon Zhu Yeqing. "And of course, you calculated long ago that he would not allow you to die."

    Zhu Yeqing didn't deny it.

    As soon as the dice had left his hands and the roll came out, the time for keeping up this play-acting had come to an end. The role he had assigned himself had ended as well.

    Now, the only thing he could do is wait and see what sort of roll Ah Ji would be able to come up with. Right now, he could no longer be certain of winning his bet that Ah Ji would win.

    The Boss let out a long sigh. "I always considered you my closest agent. I didn't imagine that you had been putting on a play this entire time!"

    Zhu Yeqing also admitted, "This entire time, we had been putting on different, opposing plays!"

    The Boss said, "Before the curtain drops, one of us will most certainly die."

    Zhu Yeqing said, "If this play had run in full accordance with my script, the person who dies should have been you without question."

    The Boss said, "And now?"

    Zhu Yeqing forced out a smile. "Now, I'm already done playing my part and have left the stage. The main role falls onto Ah Ji's shoulders."

    The Boss said, "What role is he playing!"

    Zhu Yeqing said, "The role of a killer. The person he will kill is you."

    The Boss turned towards Ah Ji. He coldly said, "Are you determined to play this role to the very end?" Ah Ji did not respond.

    He had suddenly felt a surging, murderous aura press against his back like a sharp needle.

    Only a true master who really wanted to kill someone, and was absolutely certain that he was capable of killing someone, could carry such a murderous aura with him.

    Right now, such a person was, without question, behind him. He could even feel the muscle at the back of his neck turn totally stiff.

    But he didn't turn around. Right now, although he was only casually standing there, his arms and legs were in total equilibrium and in total balance. There definitely wasn't a single flaw or opening to exploit.

    But if he were to turn his head, he definitely would not be able to maintain this sort of equilibrium. Even if it was for just a split second, it would be enough to cause his death. He definitely could not give his opponent an opportunity like this.

    But the opposing force continued to wait for just such an opportunity. Everyone in the garden could feel the pressure of his murderous intent. Everyone's breathing seemed to have stilled, and sweat appeared on their foreheads.

    Ah Ji didn't even move his fingernails.

    If a person knew for certain that someone behind him was going to kill him, and yet was able to remain still and unmoving, every single nerve in his body must be as tough and unyielding as steel wire.

    Ah Ji had even closed his eyes.

    The person who wanted to kill him was behind him. He couldn't use his eyes to see him even if he tried. He absolutely had to make sure that his heart was absolutely calm and void.

    But the person behind him actually remained unmoving as well.

    This person was, of course, a master as well. Only a person who had experienced hundreds of battles and killed countless opponents could have such patience and endurance. If no opportunity were to arise, he definitely would not make his move.

    Absolutely everything came to a halt. Even the wind ceased to blow.

    A bead of sweat the size of a soybean dripped down from the side of the Boss's nose. He didn't move to wipe it away.

    His entire body felt as taut as a bowstring. He couldn't understand how both of these people could be so calm.

    Finally, he himself was the first to lose his cool. He suddenly asked, "Do you know that there is someone behind you who wants to kill you?"

    Ah Ji didn't hear him, didn't speak, didn't move.

    The Boss said, "Do you know who this person is?" Ah Ji didn't know.

    The Boss said, "Why don't you turn around and take a look to find out who he is?"

    Ah Ji didn't turn around, but he did open his eyes. This was because he suddenly felt another surge of murderous intent.

    When he opened his eyes, he saw someone standing far away, facing him. The man was garbed as a Daoist, wearing a black hat. His tall body was as erect as jade, with eyes high up on his pale white face. They carried within them an indescribable arrogance. His thick eyebrows were so long, they almost formed a single long whole. They, too, seemed to filled with hatred.

    As soon as Ah Ji opened his eyes, the person stopped moving.

    He could tell that this young man's attention and strength had been totally focused. It could be released at any moment, and once released, would be unstoppable.

    He, too, didn't dare to move. But he stared at Ah Ji's hands. He suddenly asked, "Sir, why didn't you bring your sword with you?"

    Ah Ji was silent.

    The Boss couldn't resist from asking, "You can tell that he wields a sword?"

    The Daoist nodded. "He has a pair of very good hands."

    The Boss had never paid any attention to Ah Ji's hands. Only now did he notice that they were very different from the rest of him.

    His hands were too clean.

    The Daoist said, "This is our habit."

    The Boss said, "Habit!"

    The Daoist said, "We definitely will not sully our swords."

    The Boss said, "Thus, your hands must always be very clean."

    The Daoist said, "And our nails must be very short as well."

    The Boss said, "Why?" The Daoist said, "If your nails are too long, it will obstruct you in gripping your sword. When our swords are in our hands, we will not allow anything to obstruct us."

    The Boss said, "This is a good habit."

    The Daoist said, "There aren't many people with this type of habit."

    The Boss said, "Oh."

    The Daoist said, "Aside from a swordsman who has experienced hundreds of battles, no one can maintain such a habit for long."

    The Boss said, "Someone who can be considered a swordsman by Second Master Chou definitely must be a master at using the sword."

    Second Master Chou said, "Definitely so."

    The Boss asked, "But how many people are able to escape with their lives from beneath Second Master Chou's sword?" Second Master Chou arrogantly said, "Not many."

    He had reason to be arrogant.

    Over the past half year, he had criss-crossed Jiangnan, sword in palm, and had clashed with seven of Jiangnan's ten most famous swordsmen. Nobody had been able to last more than thirty strokes against him.

    Not only was his sword technique sly and vicious, it's speed was all the more unimaginable.

    Every single one of the seven swordsmen who had died beneath his sword had a unique killer move, foremost amongst them the 'Three Thrusts of Wind and Thunder', used by the 'Swordsman of Lightning Chasing the Wind', Mei Ziyi. This really was a consummate skill, the likes of which were rarely seen in the martial world.

    When he killed Mei Ziyi, this was precisely the move he used.

    When Mei Ziyi used the 'Three Thrusts of Wind and Thunder', he also used the exact same skill to counterattack.

    If a person's skill in wielding the sword is sufficient to cause him to be nicknamed' Lightning Chasing the Wind', one can imagine how fast his moves must be.

    But when Mei Ziyi's sword was still three inches away from Second Master Chou's throat, Second Master Chou's own sword had already pierced his own windpipe.

    A subordinate of the Boss had personally witnessed this fight came back and reported, "None of the forty or so martial arts experts present could see how Second Master Chou had made his move when he shot out that sword. They only saw his sword flash, followed by blood splattering on Mei Ziyi's clothes."

    That's why the Boss had long been confident of this person's prowess.

    In addition, now, the only non-family member to ever learn the skills of the aristocratic Murong family, Mao Yiyun, was here as well assisting him.

    Even if Mao Yiyun didn't attack, he could divert part of Ah Ji's attention.

    The results of this battle seemed to have been already determined.

    The Boss sat on high on his tiger-pelted throne. His mind was as steady as Mt. Tai. Smiling, he said, "Ever since Third Master Xie died prematurely at the Manor of the Divine Sword and Yan Shisan threw away his sword into the lake, which swordsman in all the martial world can compare to Second Master Chou? If Second Master Chou wanted to claim that plaque with the words 'The Number One Sword in the World' written in gold and take it from the Xie family, it would only be a matter of time." When he felt extremely happy, he would never forget to shower others with a few words of praise.

    This entire time, he had been staring at Ah Ji. Not Ah Ji's hands. Ah Ji's eyes.

    As soon as he heard the words, 'Second Master Chou', Ah Ji's pupils shrank, as though he had been pricked by a needle, a poisoned needle which had already been died red with blood and hatred.

    Second Master Chou didn't recognize this withered, beaten-down young man. He didn't even seem to have seen him before. He couldn't understand why this person would suddenly have such an expression.

    Nor did he know why this young person would have such a reaction upon hearing his name.

    He only knew one thing. His opportunity had come!

    No matter how much endurance and how strong a person is, if they suddenly received a certain sort of unexpected shock, their reactions would become slightly slower.

    Right now, this young person had, without question, received such a shock. Sometimes, hatred is a form of power, a very terrible form of power. But right now, the look in Ah Ji's eyes wasn't one of hatred. It was an indescribable, inexpressible look of pain and suffering. This sort of emotion could only make one weaker.

    Second Master Chou didn't actually want to wait for Ah Ji to totally collapse. He knew that once a good opportunity is missed, it would never return.

    That eight-foot long katana of Sasaki's was still embedded in the window frame. Second Master Chou pulled it out and tossed it towards Ah Ji.

    His other hand was still free.

    The sword behind his back had already left its sheath. Regardless of whether or not Ah Ji caught the katana, he had already prepared to deliver a fatal blow.

    He had total confidence!

    Ah Ji caught the katana.

    He normally used a longsword. From the end of the hilt to the tip, it measured no longer than three feet, seven inches.

    ___________________

    Glad you two are enjoying!
    Blademaster. Hero. General. He was the best there ever was.
    Butcher. Murderer. Traitor. All that he loved, he had destroyed.
    Matheius Randas.
    That Merciless Blade - Legend of the Arctic Wolf.

  10. #50
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    I finally caught up with this translation. Thanks for the hard work. Can't wait for the next one.

  11. #51
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    Awesome update. Thanks for the translation!

  12. #52
    Moderator Han Solo's Avatar
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    I'm reading in silence too.

    How's KL?

    HAn Solo
    Wuxiapedia

    Quote Originally Posted by bliss
    I think they're probably at the same level as or one level below Ah Qing, which is about the level of a 2nd or 3rd generation Quan Zhen disciple.
    Troll Control

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    really awesome. thank you.

  14. #54
    Moderator Ren Wo Xing's Avatar
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    Chapter 24: Earth is Shattered and Heaven is Awed

    This katana's handle alone was one foot, five inches long. The samurai of Japan normally used both hands to grip these swords. Their sabre techniques were totally different from that of Chinese martial artists. Their sword techniques were even more different.

    Having him wield this sword is akin to asking a blacksmith to use a painting brush to pound iron, or an artist to use a steel hammer to draw a painting. It would be more than useless.

    But he still caught the katana.

    He seemed to have totally lost all judgment and could no longer correctly determine if this action was right or not. Right as he caught the katana, sword light flew towards him like a bolt of lightning shattering the air. The three foot, seven inch long sword sped through the air. The eight foot long katana simply couldn't be put to use. The flashing sword light had already reached Ah Ji's throat. Ah Ji's hand suddenly shook slightly. With a cracking sound, the katana suddenly broke into two pieces.

    The katana broke into two at precisely the point where the stone had struck it earlier.

    Second Master Chou's sword pierced forward like a viper, and was only three inches away from Ah Ji's throat. This stab originally should have been totally accurate and lethal. Grab the katana. Pull it out. Toss it. Draw the sword. Attack. He had perfectly calculated every single aspect of this encounter.

    Unfortunately, he hadn't predicted this.

    With a dinging sound, sparks erupted. The enemy's sword had already rose up to greet his own. Not the edge of the sword. The tip.

    No one could possibly bring up a sword in such a flash to block his own sword at the tip.

    Nobody could be so fast and so accurate.

    ...but perhaps it wasn't 'nobody'. Perhaps there was still one person.

    But even in his wildest dreams, Second Master Chou wouldn't have imagined that Ah Ji was that person.

    The tip of his sword trembled. He suddenly felt a strange vibration passing through the body of the sword to his hand, his arm, his shoulder.

    And then, he seemed to feel as though the wind began to blow.

    The broken blade in Ah Ji's hand seemed to have dissolved into a gust of wind and gently blew towards him.

    He could see the sword light and could feel this gust of wind, but he had no idea as to how he could dodge or block this strike.

    When the wind blew towards you, how can you block it? And who can tell from whence the wind comes?

    But he didn't lose hope, because he still had a friend behind Ah Ji, waiting.

    The majority of the people in the martial world believed that Second Master Chou's sword skills were higher than that of First Master Mao, and that his martial arts were more fearful than that of First Master Mao's.

    Only he himself knew how utterly stupid and laughable this opinion was. And only he himself knew that if First Master Mao wanted to take his life, just a single stroke would be enough.

    That alone was the genuinely 'lethal' stroke. That only was a truly 'terrifying' sword skill. No one can imagine how fast, powerful, and ever-changing that stroke was, because nobody had ever witnessed it.

    He and First Master Mao had gone through life and death encounters throughout many years, but even he himself had witnessed it only once.

    He believed that so long as First Master Mao used that technique, even if Ah Ji was able to dodge, he definitely would not have any surplus strength left to attack.

    He believed that First Master Mao must have already used that technique!

    Because right at this critical moment, he had heard a person scold in a low voice, "Ware my blade!"

    With those words, the wind immediately died and the katana-light disappeared. The sword in First Master Mao's hand had already reached the back of Ah Ji's neck.

    The sword aura carried a forest of chill. It felt like the ancient, never-melting ice on the top of mountains. You didn't need to touch it to feel the stabbing, piercing chill it emanated, so cold that your blood and marrow would freeze.

    Swords were always supposed to be cold. But only a true master's sword could emanate a wave of cold like this.

    As the sword flew out, it suddenly came to a halt. The distance from it to Ah Ji's neck was no longer than half an inch.

    His blood vessels were throbbing. The flesh around the blood vessels were contorted and throbbing as well.

    But he himself did not move. When he moved, he moved like the wind. When he was still, he was as still as a mountain. His face seemed to be made of granite as well, without any expression at all.

    Could it be that he didn't know that if this sword pressed forward by another inch, his blood would spurt out?

    Could it be that he truly did not fear death? "Regardless of whether or not he fears death, this time, he's dead for sure!"

    Second Master Chou let out a long sigh, as did the Boss. They were waiting for First Master Mao's sword to thrust forward.

    This entire time, First Master Mao stared at that throbbing blood vessel at the back of Ah Ji's neck. But his eyes were filled with a strange expression, as though they were filled with both hatred and fear.

    Why didn't he finish the thrust yet? What was he waiting for?

    Second Master Chou said, "No need to fear for me!"

    Ah Ji's broken katana was still within an inch of his own throat. "Although he still has a blade in his hand, I am confident of dodging it!"

    First Master Mao didn't respond.

    Second Master Chou said, "Even if I can't dodge, you still must kill him! If this person doesn't die, then we won't be able to live either. We have no choice but to take this risk!"

    The Boss immediately said, "This definitely is not a risk. Your chance of victory is far higher than his."

    First Master Mao suddenly laughed. His laughter was just as strange as his eyes. Just as he began to laugh, his sword shot out, passing by Ah Ji's neck and piercing Second Master Chou's shoulder.

    With a cry, the sword fell from Second Master Chou's hand. Blood spurted out, landing on his face.

    His face had already become distorted with shock and fury.

    The Boss jumped to his feet as well.

    Nobody could have imagined this unexpected change of events. Nobody understood why First Master Mao would act in such a way.

    Perhaps only he himself knew. He himself, and Ah Ji.

    Ah Ji's face was still totally emotionless, as though he had long ago predicted this outcome.

    But his eyes slowly became filled with pain once more, a pain which seemed deeper than even that of First Master Mao's.

    With a flash of sword light, the sword entered the sheath once more.

    First Master Mao suddenly let out another long sigh. "It has been around five years since we last saw each other, correct?"

    These words were directed towards Ah Ji. It seemed as though they not only knew each other, but were old friends with many years of history.

    First Master Mao continued, "Over the past few years, how has your life been? Have you suffered from any illnesses?"

    It usually is very natural for friends who had not seen each for many years to inquire as to how the other had been. But when these words left First Master Mao's lips, they seemed to be filled with pain and hatred instead. Ah Ji's fists tightened. Not only did he remain silent, he also did not turn around.

    First Master Mao said, "Since I have already recognized you, why don't you turn around and let me see you!"

    Ah Ji suddenly let out a long sigh. "Since you have already recognized me, why do you need to look?"

    First Master Mao said, "Then you, at least, need to take a look at me and see how I now look!"

    Although his voice was very soft, it sounded as though he were roaring a command.

    Ah Ji finally turned around. As soon as he did, the look on his face changed. The person in front of him was nothing more than a white-haired old man. There was nothing special about him. But the astonishment on his face was far greater than if he had seen some sort of strange, bizarre monster.

    First Master Mao laughed again, an even more bizarre laugh. "Do I look as though I've changed greatly?"

    Ah Ji wanted to speak, but no sound would come forth.

    First Master Mao said, "If we had met each other on the road, I'm afraid you wouldn't be able to recognize me."

    He suddenly turned to face the Boss. "Are you very puzzled as to why he looks so shocked upon seeing me?" The Boss could only nod. He really could not guess as to the nature of the relationship between these two.

    First Master Mao asked again, "How old does he look, to you?"

    Staring at Ah Ji, the Boss said hesitatingly, "Late twenties, not quite thirty."

    First Master Mao said, "And me?"

    Staring at his head filled with white hair and the wrinkles on his face, although the Boss wanted to come up with a younger figure, he couldn't give too young an age.

    First Master Mao said, "You think I am in my sixties, right?"

    The Boss replied, "Even if you really are in your sixties, sir, you look to be fifty three or four at the most."

    First Master Mao suddenly laughed loudly.

    It was as though he had never heard anything more hilarious than this, but there wasn't the slightest bit of mirth in his laughter. It actually sounded more like crying.

    The Boss looked at him, then looked at Ah Ji and asked, "Can it be that I am totally wrong?" Ah Ji finally let out a long sigh. "I was born in the year of the Tiger. I'm fully thirty two years of age this year."

    The Boss said, "And him?" Ah Ji said, "He is only three years older than me."

    The Boss stared at him in shock. There was definitely nobody who would guess that this man was only thirty five. "Why would he age so quickly?!"

    Ah Ji said, "Because of hatred."

    Hatred which is too deep is the same as grief which is too deep. It always made people age extremely fast.

    The Boss understood this logic as well, but he couldn't refrain from asking, "Who does he hate?"

    Ah Ji said, "He hates me!"

    The Boss let out a long sigh as well. "Why does he hate you?"

    Ah Ji said, "Because I stole his wife from him, right before his wedding!"

    His face became totally expressionless, as he emotionlessly continued, "I originally went there with the sincere intentions of congratulating them, but by the second night of the wedding ceremonies, I eloped with his woman."

    The Boss said, "Because you fell in love with this woman!"

    Ah Ji didn't directly answer this question. He only said coldly, "Within half a month of eloping with her, I dumped her."

    The Boss said, "Why did you do that!"

    Ah Ji said, "Because I wanted to!"

    The Boss said, "So long as you want to do something, you will do it, no matter what?"

    Ah Ji said, "Yes!"

    The Boss let out another long sigh. "I finally understand."

    Ah Ji said, "Understand what?"

    The Boss said, "The only reason he didn't kill you earlier was because he doesn't want you to die so fast. He wants you to be like him, tormented and pained. He wants you to die slowly."

    First Master Mao's laughter suddenly came to a stop. He suddenly roared loudly, "You're full of crap!"

    The Boss was stunned.

    First Master Mao balled his hands tightly. Staring at Ah Ji, he said, one word a time, "I insisted on you looking at me, because I need you to understand something."

    Ah Ji was listening.

    First Master Mao said, "The person I hate isn't you. It's myself. That is why I tormented myself for so long."

    Ah Ji was silent. Finally, he slowly nodded his head. "I understand."

    First Master Mao said, "You really understand?"

    Ah Ji said, "Truly!"

    First Master Mao said, "Can you forgive me?"

    Ah Ji said, "I...I forgave you long ago."

    First Master Mao let out a long sigh as well, as though he had just set down a thousand-pound burden.

    And then he knelt down, knelt down in front of Ah Ji. He mumbled, "Thank you, thank you..." Second Master Chou had been watching in shock this entire time. He could no longer refrain from roaring angrily, "He stole your wife and then threw her away, but you ask him to forgive you? You...you...you...just now, why didn't you let me kill him with a thrust?" Earlier, his sword had begun to move. He had a chance to strike, having seen that Ah Ji had become distracted by his words. He didn't expect that his friend would move to save Ah Ji.

    First Master Mao lightly sighed. "You think I really saved him just then?"

    Second Master Chou angrily replied, "Are you saying you didn't?" First Master Mao said, "I didn't save his life. I saved yours. If you had struck at him earlier, you would have died without even having a place to be buried."

    He laughed bitterly, before continuing, "Even if I decided to kick my benefactor in the teeth and join you in an attack, we wouldn't necessarily have been able to harm a hair on his head."

    Second Master Chou's anger had turned into shock.

    He knew that this friend of his wasn't someone who told lies, but he couldn't resist from asking, "Earlier, if we had linked swords in an attack, we would have displayed the power of 'Inverting Heaven and Earth'. He has a method to defeat that?!"

    First Master Mao said, "He does."

    A look of esteem had already appeared on his face. "In the entire world, there is only one person, and only one method."

    The expression on Second Master Chou's face suddenly changed. "Heaven and Earth Are Set Aflame."

    First Master Mao said, "Correct. 'Earth is Shattered and Heaven is Awed, Heaven and Earth Are Set Aflame.'"

    Second Master Chou involuntarily cried out, "Can it be that he is that person?" First Master Mao said, "He is."

    Second Master Chou staggered back drunkenly, as though he weren't even able to remain standing properly.

    First Master Mao said, "My entire life, I have committed only one unforgiveable crime. If a certain person had not hid it on my behalf, I would have died without any resting place long ago."

    Second Master Chou said, "He is that person as well?"

    First Master Mao said, "He is."

    He slowly continued, "This is a bygone matter which happened many years ago. Over the past few years, I have seen him, but he never gave me a chance to speak. Never heard a single word I wanted to say. Now-". But now, he didn't have a chance to say these words either.

    Suddenly, a flash of cold light appeared, without any noise or sound whatsoever. A three foot long shortsword had nailed itself through his chest.

    Fresh blood spurted out. As First Master Mao fell to the ground, Zhu Yeqing seemed to have been smiling.

    But the person who struck was not him. The person who struck was not smiling. This young man normally almost always had an adorable smile on his face, but now, he was no longer smiling.

    Seeing him strike, not only was the Boss surprised, Ah Ji was surprised as well.

    Second Master Chou wasn't just surprised; he was furious. In a fierce voice, he said, "Who is this person?" The young man said, "I am the Kid." He slowly walked over. "I'm just a little kid, without a name and useless. Great heroes, great swordsmen such as yourself naturally won't kill me."

    Second Master Chou angrily said, "Those who kill must die. It doesn't matter who does the killing. This is the same for all."

    He had already raised his sword.

    But the Kid didn't seem to be affected. He unhurriedly said, "Only I am different. I know that you definitely won't kill me."

    Second Master Chou's sword was already trembling. He couldn't help but ask, "Why!"

    The Kid said, "Because if you were to strike, someone will definitely kill you for me!"

    He was looking at Ah Ji. His expression was very strange.

    Ah Ji also couldn't help but ask, "Who will kill him for you!"

    The Kid said, "You, of course."

    Ah Ji said, "Why would I kill him for you?"

    The Kid said, "Because although I am nothing more than a useless kid with no name, I have a very good mother who you are very familiar with!"

    Ah Ji's expression changed. "Can it be that your mother is...is..." His voice had turned hoarse. He could no longer say the name. That name he has always wanted to forget, but which he never could. The Kid said it on his behalf.

    "My mother is the eldest daughter of Jiangnan's aristocratic Murong family, First Master Mao's younger martial sister." His face wreathed in smiles, Zhu Yeqing finished the words for him. "This young lady's name is Murong Qiudi."

    Ah Ji's hand felt ice cold, a cold which filled his very bones.

    Staring at him, the Kid said emotionlessly, "My mother informed me many times that if others dare to speak wildly and slander the reputation of the Murong family, even if I don't kill them, you yourself won't put up with it. In addition, First Master Mao was a member of the Murong school to begin with. My action was nothing more than dealing with an internal affair on my mother's behalf."

    Ah Ji forcefully balled his hands into fists. "When did your mother become the master and law-enforcer of the Murong family?"

    The Kid said, "Not too long ago."

    Ah Ji said, "Why didn't she keep you by her side!"

    The Kid sighed again. "Because I am a child who can't be seen by others. I have no right whatsoever to enter the Murong family's doorway. All I can do is seek refuge elsewhere and be a lowly servant."

    Ah Ji's expression changed yet again. Once again, his eyes were filled with grief and indignation. After a long time, he gently asked, "How old are you, as of this year?"

    The Kid said, "I am only fifteen years old."

    The Boss was shocked once again. Nobody would be able to tell that this young man was only fourteen or fifteen years of age.

    The Kid said, "I know that others definitely could not tell that I am only fifteen, much like how others could never guess that First Master Mao is only thirty five years of age."

    He suddenly laughed, a dreary, desolate laugh. "Perhaps it is just because my life has been somewhat more bitter than that of other children, which is why I grew a bit faster than them."

    Painful experiences really have always been the surest way to make a child grow up faster and mature faster.

    Second Master Chou looked at him, then looked at Ah Ji. He suddenly stamped his foot. Lifting his friend's corpse, he ran away without even looking back.

    The Boss knew that with his departure, he himself would be departing soon as well. He couldn't help but say, "Second Master, please stay."

    The Kid coldly said, "He clearly knows that he has no hope of gaining revenge today. Wouldn't staying behind be all the more pointless?"

    This was a very hurtful thing to say. The men of the martial world are proud creatures who usually would risk their lives upon hearing such words. But he had correctly predicted that right now, Second Master Chou had no choice but to pretend as though he had not heard these words, because the Kid had spoken nothing but the bitter truth.

    Thus, he didn't expect that Second Master Chou would turn back. As soon as he exited, he walked right back in. He retreated back, one step at a time, a very strange expression on his ashen pale face. It wasn't sorrow or fury. It was shock and fear.

    He was no longer a hot-blooded youth, nor was he a man who couldn't weigh the severity and importance of matters. He really should not have returned, unless he had no other route to take.

    The Kid let out a sigh and mumbled, "He clearly is a smart man. Why must he make things hard for himself."

    From outside the door, a cold voice said, "Because he has no other route to take."

    The voice originally came from far away, but with a thudding sound on the stone ground of the garden pavilion, it had arrived right outside.

    And then with another thudding sound, the man outside arrived within the room. On his left side, he had an empty sleeve tied to the belt around his waist. His left leg had been chopped off at the knee and had been replaced with a wooden peg. There was a sabre scar across his left eye socket, slashing down sideways from his temple and exposing the bone underneath. It was a one-armed, one-legged, one-eyed cripple. A cripple like this would naturally look very ugly and repulsive, but this person was an exception. Not only was he gaudily dressed and immaculately polished, he was a very attractive and charismatic man. Even that scar on his face carried a ruthless charisma with it. His clothes were made from pure silk, and there was a dagger stuck on the belt around his waist.

    There were dead people and living people inside the room. But he didn't seem to care about any of them. He only asked coldly, "Who is the master of this place!"

    The Boss looked at Ah Ji, then looked at Zhu Yeqing. He forced out a laugh. "Right now, it still seems to be me."

    The one-armed man's eye flipped over to him. He arrogantly said, "A guest has come from far away, but you don't even have a seat for me. Doesn't this show you to be an extremely rude host?"

    _______________

    Glad you all are enjoying! Han, KL is fine, if a bit too rainy...
    Last edited by Ren Wo Xing; 05-20-10 at 11:41 AM.
    Blademaster. Hero. General. He was the best there ever was.
    Butcher. Murderer. Traitor. All that he loved, he had destroyed.
    Matheius Randas.
    That Merciless Blade - Legend of the Arctic Wolf.

  15. #55
    Senior Member yeongwee's Avatar
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    Yet another mysterious person! Its amazing how many new players GL can introduce and kill off within a chapter...
    Man is glue. You are man. How then can you step away from glue?

  16. #56
    Senior Member kyss of the sword's Avatar
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    is this the same kid that yan 13 met at the forest. the one who sold him information for 50000 silver taels.
    click to show/hide spoilers
    then his skills should be the same as the third master as his mother knew his secret swordplay. is this the kid who becomes yan 13's disciple or is that someone else.
    THE KYSS OF THE SWORD IS DEADLY BUT EXQUSITE
    he's the strongest in history but he's the disciple.
    http://www.mangafox.com/manga/histor...ciple_kenichi/

  17. #57
    Moderator Ren Wo Xing's Avatar
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    Chapter 25: If Not I, Then Who?

    Even as the Boss was hesitating, Zhu Yeqing had laughed ingratiatingly and pulled a seat over. "Honored guest, what is your venerable name?"

    The one-armed man totally ignored him, only raising four fingers.

    Zhu Yeqing continued to smile in welcome. "Honored guest, are you saying that you have three more friends coming?"

    The one-armed man said, "Hmph."

    Zhu Yeqing immediately pulled three more chairs over. Just as he lined them up, two more people descended into the room through the air.

    One of the person had movements as graceful as a falling leaf. His face looked just like a withered leaf as well, dry, wizened, and almost fleshless. At his waist, he wore a three-foot long dried bamboo stick. He himself looked nothing more than a dried up bamboo stick as well.

    But his clothes were even gaudier, and he had an even more arrogant look on his face. Regardless of whether or not the people in the room were living or dead, in his eyes, they might as well all be dead for all he cared.

    But the other person was a perpetually laughing fat man. On his pale, fat hands rested three priceless Han jade rings. His fingernails were both long and sharp, and his had appeared as though it belonged to that of some rich madam. A pair of hands like these naturally are not suitable for wielding a sword, and a person like this does not look like one who has good lightness kungfu. But when he descended through the air earlier, his movements were definitely not inferior to those of the skinny, bamboo-like man.

    Upon seeing these three, Second Master Chou's face turned a deathly grey color.

    There was actually one more person outside, coughing as he walked inside. It was bowed, hunchbacked, sickly looking old monk.

    When he saw this old monk, Second Master Chou's face became totally devoid of all color. Laughing miserably, he said, "Wonderful. I didn't imagine that you would come as well."

    The old monk sighed. "If I don't come, who will come? If I do not go to Hell, who shall go to Hell?"*

    [*This comes from an old Buddhist parable, where the Buddha explained why he was going to Hell to rescue all the tormented souls from it; he told his disciples, 'If I do not go to Hell [to rescue them], who shall?']

    His voice seemed to be weak and breathless. Not only did he seem to be sick, he seemed to have been seriously ill for a very long time. But anyone with a discerning eye who saw him could clearly tell that he must have an extremely prestigious reputation and history.

    The Boss, naturally, had a discerning eye. He had already guessed that this old monk was, quite possibly, his only savior. No matter what, a religious man's heart cannot possibly be totally hard and heartless. Thus, the Boss also respectfully stood up and smiled, "Fortunately, this isn't Hell. Since you have come here, Great Master, there's no need for you to suffer."

    The old monk sighed again. "If this place is not Hell, what place is Hell? If I do not suffer, who shall suffer?"

    The Boss forced himself to laugh. "Great Master, why would you suffer here?"

    The old monk said, "Subduing demons causes suffering. Killing men also causes suffering."

    The Boss said, "Great Master, you also kill?" The old monk said, "If I do not kill, who shall kill? If I do not kill, why would I need to go to Hell?"

    The Boss could no longer speak.

    The one -armed man suddenly said, "Do you know who I am!"

    The Boss shook his head.

    Anybody who had become a boss such as him definitely would not have the chance to meet too many people.

    The one -armed man said, "You should know who I am. There's not many people in the world like myself, who has only one eye, one arm, and one leg, yet wields a pair of double swords."

    He wasn't actually boasting. There probably wasn't a second person like him in all the martial world. There was only one person like him: The third-ranked swordsman of the ten most famous swordsmen in the Jiangnan region, Dan Yifei, the 'Twin Swallows Take Flight'.

    The Boss naturally knew this person. "Hero Dan!" The one-armed man arrogantly said, "Correct, I am Dan Yifei. I, too, have come to kill."

    That skinny old man immediately added, "And I am Liu Kuzhu, Withered Bamboo Liu!"

    Liu Kuzhu was also a member of the most famous swordsmen in the Jiangnan area.

    Dan Yifei coldly said, "Even if we don't tell you, you should be able to guess who we have come to kill."

    The Boss let out a sigh before smiling. "Fortunately, it isn't my life that you've come for."

    Dan Yifei said, "Of course it isn't your life we want." Before he finished speaking, he had already jumped up, his sword had already left the sheath, and, with a flash of sword light, he stabbed towards Second Master Chou.

    Second Master Chou also raised his sword and brandished it in a counter-attack. With a clanging sound, the two swords clashed. Suddenly, the two rays of light combined and changed direction, flying towards the Boss.

    Before the smile on the Boss's face had disappeared, the two swords plunged into his throat and his heart.

    Nobody could have expected this, nor could any stop it.

    This was because just as those two swords launched a combined attack, Zhu Yeqing was knocked down by the old monk. And at the same moment, Liu Kuzhu and that perpetually-smiling, fat, middle-aged man had arrived by the Kid's side. Before the withered bamboo sword had yet left it's sheath, another sword had struck out at the Kid's left leg. The Kid wanted to scurry forwards, but Second Master Chou and Dan Yifei's swords were flying towards him from the front. He could only dodge to the right, where a pair of fat hands which looked as though they belonged to that of a rich madam was already waiting for him. The soft fingernails suddenly shot out as they transformed into ten short swords and arrived at his throat.

    He had nowhere to run now. He was dead for sure.

    But Ah Ji could not let him die. Definitely not.

    Just as Liu Kuzhu's sword left its sheath, a shadow suddenly appeared in front of him. The sword in his hand suddenly appeared in this person's hand, and with another flash of sword light, the tip of it came to rest on his throat. The tip of the sword didn't pierce on downwards, however, because that middle-aged fatty's fingernails didn't pierce down either.

    Everybody's movements had come to a halt. Everybody was staring at the sword in Ah Ji's hands.

    But Ah Ji was staring at those ten dagger-like fingernails. These few seconds seemed to pass slower than an entire year before the old monk finally sighed. "Sir, what a fast pair of hands you have!"

    Ah Ji dully said, "I also know how to kill."

    The old monk said, "But this affair has nothing to do with you, sir."

    Ah Ji said, "Nothing at all."

    The old monk said, "Then sir, why must you trouble yourself to interfere?"

    Ah Ji said, "Because this person has something to do with me."

    The old monk looked at the Kid, then looked at that hand of a 'rich madam', before sighing, "Sir, if you insist on saving him, I'm afraid it will be quite difficult."

    Ah Ji said, "Why?"

    The old monk said, "Because of those two hands."

    He slowly continued, "That is the Soul-Seeking Hand of the Immortal of Riches and Glory, which 'Pierces Through Diamonds Like Gold, Pierces Through Life and Brings Death'. Sir, even if you kill Liu Kuzhu, this young man will still die without a doubt."

    Ah Ji said, "Can it be that you are not willing to trade Liu Kuzhu's life for this young man's life!"

    The old monk's response was very blunt. "Right."

    Ah Ji's expression changed. "He is nothing more than a child. Why must you insist on killing him?"

    The old monk suddenly sneered. "A child? Nothing more than a child? I'm afraid there's not many children like him in the world."

    Ah Ji said, "He's only fifteen years old this year."

    The old monk coldly said, "Then we definitely will not allow him to live until he is sixteen." Ah Ji said, "Why!" The old monk did not respond. Instead, he asked, "Have you heard of 'Heaven's Sovereign'?"

    Ah Ji said, "Heaven's Sovereign?..." The old monk sighed again. He slowly chanted eight lines. "Heaven and earth are without mercy. Gods and demons have no eyes. All living things are powerless. All people are ignorant. Life and death are impermanent. Fortune and disaster abound. Heaven Earth and Hell, I alone reign supreme."

    Ah Ji said, "Who said this? Such arrogance."

    The old monk said, "This was the prayer which was invoked by 'Heaven's Sovereign' when it was first founded. They hold even heaven and earth, gods and demons in contempt, much less mortal men! You can imagine how they act."

    Second Master Chou said, "Their size and strength is no longer inferior to that of the Black Dragon Society of bygone days. But unfortunately, there just so happens to be a few people like us who don't believe in monsters and insist on struggling against them."

    Dan Yifei said, "And that is why the private feud between the top ten swordsmen of Jiangnan and Second Master Chou is no longer a big deal. If we can extinguish that vile organization, I am willing to discard even my own head, much less a private feud!"

    Second Master Chou said, "The vile criminal organization here is one of the branches of 'Heaven's Sovereign'."

    The old monk said, "For the moment, we are not strong enough to cut them out by the roots, so we can only begin by damaging them in minor ways!"

    Second Master Chou said, "The child you wish to rescue was sent here by 'Heaven's Sovereign'!"

    The old monk said, "The orders of 'Heaven's Sovereign' were all carried out by him in secret. The Boss and Zhu Yeqing were nothing more than his puppets."

    He slowly continued, "By now, you should understand why we cannot spare him."

    Ah Ji's face was deathly white. Judging from the reputation of the ten great swordsmen of Jiangna, they definitely would normally never hurt a child. He could not help but believe their words.

    The old monk said, "Since you now understand, do you still wish to rescue him?"

    Ah Ji said, "Yes."

    The old monk's expression changed as well.

    Ah Ji didn't wait for him to speak. He asked again, "Is he the head of 'Heaven's Sovereign'?"

    The old monk said, "Of course not."

    Ah Ji said, "Who is the head of 'Heaven's Sovereign'?" The old monk said, "The head of 'Heaven's Sovereign' is simply known as 'Heaven's Sovereign'."

    Ah Ji said, "If someone were to exchange the life of 'Heaven's Sovereign' for this child's life, would you be willing to take the exchange?"

    The old monk said, "Of course. Unfortunately, even though we are willing to, there's no way this trade can be made."

    Ah Ji said, "Why!"

    The old monk said, "Because nobody can kill Heaven's Sovereign. No one is his match."

    His voice suddenly paused. A very strange look suddenly appeared on his face. His thoughts seemed to have suddenly drifted far away. After a long time, he slowly continued, "Perhaps there is one person."

    Ah Ji said, "Who!"

    The old monk said, "Third-..." After having said only this word, he paused. Letting out a long sigh, he said, "Unfortunately, this person is no longer of this earth. There's no point in speaking his name!"

    Ah Ji said, "But it will cost you nothing to say it nonetheless!"

    The old monk's gaze seemed distant once again. He mumbled, "In heaven or in hell, only a unique and unmatched person such as him, wielding a unique and unmatched sword such as his...only his sword skills can truly be described as 'walking alone throughout the ages, towering above all others beneath heaven'."

    Ah Ji said, "Who are you referring to." The old monk said, "I refer to the Third Young Master."

    Ah Ji said, "Which Third Young Master."

    The old monk said, "The Peak of Jade-Blue Clouds, the Lake of Green Water, the Manor of the Divine Sword...the Third Young Master of the Xie family, Xie Xiaofeng."

    A very strange look suddenly appeared on Ah Ji's face as well. His thoughts appeared to have disappeared into the distance as well. After a long time, he said, one word at a time, "I am Xie Xiaofeng!"

    In Heaven or in Hell, there was none other like him. Not only was he an unmatched and unequalled swordsman, he was also a gifted scholar. Since he was born, he had been showered with more glory and love than anyone else ever had been. He was intelligent and handsome, healthy and robust. Even those who hated him couldn't help but admire him. Everybody knew what type of person Xie Xiaofeng was, but who could truly understand him?

    Could it be that it made no difference if no one understood him? Some people simply were not meant to be understood by others, and stand apart like demigods.

    It was precisely because no one understood him that he was treated with awe and reverence by the world.

    In the eyes of the world, Xie Xiaofeng approached the level of the gods themselves.

    What about Ah Ji?

    Ah Ji was nothing more than a penniless wanderer. A good-for-nothing Ah Ji.

    How could Xie Xiaofeng turn into someone like Ah Ji? But now, he insisted on claiming, "I am Xie Xiaofeng!"

    Was he truly?

    The old monk laughed, laughed loudly. "You are the Third Young Master of the Xie family, Xie Xiaofeng!"

    Ah Ji said, "I am."

    He did not laugh. This was his secret and his pain. Originally, he would rather die than admit to it, but now, he had to. Because he could not let the Kid die. Definitely not."

    The old monk's laughter suddenly stopped. He coldly said, "But everyone in the martial world knows that he is dead."

    Ah Ji said, "He is not."

    His eyes were suddenly filled with sorrow and pain. "Perhaps his heart has already died, but he himself remains alive."

    The old monk stared at him. "And precisely because his heart has died, he turned into Ah Ji!"

    Ah Ji slowly nodded. He mournfully said, "Unfortunately, Ah Ji's heart has not yet died. And so, Xie Xiaofeng has no choice but to continue living as well."

    Second Master Chou suddenly said, "I believe him."

    The old monk said, "Why do you believe him!"

    Second Master Chou said, "Because aside from Xie Xiaofeng, no one in the world could make Mao Yiyun bend his knee."

    Liu Kuzhu said, "I also believe him."

    The old monk said, "Why?"

    Liu Kuzhu said, "Because aside from Xie Xiaofeng, I cannot think of anyone else in the world who can take away my sword in just one stroke!"

    The old monk said, "And you?"

    This question was directed to the Immortal of Riches and Wealth.

    The Immortal did not respond, but his two 'madam-like' hands had slowly dropped down, and his dagger-like fingernails had softened.

    This is the best response of all.

    Xie Xiaofeng flipped his hand, and Liu Kuzhu's sword re-entered the sheath by his side.

    The Kid turned around and stared at him. Within his eyes, too, there was a strange, indescribable expression.

    The Immortal of Riches and Glory had already reached out and patted the Kid on the shoulder, using his madam-like hands. Smiling, he said, "Haven't you forgotten to do something? You've forgotten to thank Third Young Master Xie for his kindness in saving you."

    The Kid lowered his head. Finally, he slowly walked over and slowly knelt down.

    Xie Xiaofeng took him by the hand. His tired, sallow face seemed to radiate light.

    The Kid suddenly raised his head and asked, "You...why did you save me?"

    Xie Xiaofeng didn't respond. He only chuckled. His chuckle seemed to be very joyful, but also very sad.

    Although a smile was still on his face, the meridians on his left hand had already been seized.

    It had been seized by the Kid, using the most fearsome seizing technique of the "Seventy Two Seizing Techniques".

    Right at this moment, Dan Yifeng jumped up and shot a kick towards Xie Xiaofeng. With a clinging sound, a sword suddenly shot out of his wooden leg. Just as he flew upwards, the sword pierced into Xie Xiaofeng's shoulder.

    This was his second sword!

    This was the real killer skill he had used to become famous!

    Xie Xiaofeng did not dodge this sword. Because right at this moment, he was still staring at the Kid. There was neither fear nor anger in his eyes, only grief, disappointment, and pain.

    Even up to the point where the sword pierced into his shoulder and blood began to spurt out, his gaze still did not leave the Kid.

    At this moment, Second Master Chou and Liu Kuzhu's swords thrust towards him as well, as well as that pair of madam-like hands. The Soul-Seeking Hand of the Immortal of Riches and Glory.

    Xie Xiaofeng still did not move, did not dodge. Although the acupoints on his left hand had been seized, he still had his right hand.

    Why didn't he move?

    Could it be that this peerless, unmatched swordsman wasn't even able to free himself from a child's grip? Second Master Chou's sword was faster than Liu Kuzhu's sword. His sword was aimed at Xie Xiaofeng's left knee. Although the left knee wasn't a lethal point, it could cause a person to become immobile. His strikes were accurate and lethal. If it were aimed at Xie Xiaofeng's vitals, he definitely would not miss.

    They didn't actually want to immediately kill him.

    Xie Xiaofeng didn't dodge this strike either. The tip of the sword flashed by, and blood splattered the Kid's face.

    Liu Kuzhu's sword pierced towards him as well.

    The Kid suddenly roared. Releasing Xie Xiaofeng's hand, he forcefully pushed him away and used his own shoulder to block Kuzhu's sword. The sword just so happened to become trapped in the middle of a joint.

    "You've gone insane!"

    Liu Kuzhu roared angrily. He wanted to pull the sword out, but it was stuck.

    Dan Yifeng flew through the air as the sword in his peg leg once again struck out, 'Twin Swallows Take Flight'!

    Second Master Chou's sword slashed downwards towards Xie Xiaofeng's face.

    Three swords, coming from three directions, all as fast as lightning, and as vicious as adders. Only to hear a cracking sound, as Second Master Chou's sword was knocked aside by some stream of force and nailed itself into Dan Yifeng's peg leg.

    Dan Yifeng's center of gravity had been suddenly disrupted. He fell down from midair, and with a cracking sound, his arm was broken and his sword suddenly disappeared.

    Liu Kuzhu's sword had become trapped by the Kid, but the Kid was also now skewered by Liu Kuzhu.

    The Soul-Seeking Hand of the Immortal of Riches and Glory once more appeared in front of the Kid's eyes and throat.

    But suddenly, with a flash of sword light, all ten of the Immortal's sharp fingers were chopped off, one after the other as fresh blood spewed forth.

    With another flash of sword light, blood once more spurted out. Liu Kuzhu let out a miserable cry as the Kid suddenly flew out of the room.

    Nobody pursued him, because someone stood in the doorway.

    Xie Xiaofeng had snatched the sword, brandished it, chopped off ten fingers, stabbed someone, and then threw the Kid out of the door with a backhand. Now, he was standing in the middle of the doorway.

    By now, everyone knew for certain that he was Xie Xiaofeng. Who would dare to act rashly without thinking!

    Even though he was injured, even though he was still bleeding, no one dared to move. Only long after he left did the old monk let out a long sigh. "That really is a matchless, peerless sword technique. He really is the unmatched and unequaled Xie Xiaofeng!"

    Zhu Yeqing, who had been knocked down earlier and lay prostrate on the ground all this time, suddenly said, "Although his sword technique is very good, it isn't necessarily unmatched and unequaled."

    He actually slowly sat up. There was actually a smile on his face.

    The old monk actually didn't seem startled. He only glanced at him and said coldly, "Mr. Ye, you are an excellent swordsman as well. Why didn't you draw your sword earlier and duel him for supremacy?" Zhu Yeqing smiled. "I can't compare to him."

    The old monk said, "Do you know a person who can compare to him?"

    "At most, there is one person!"

    "The Lady!"

    Zhu Yeqing smiled without responding. Instead, he asked, "Have you ever seen the Lady strike?"

    The old monk said, "No."

    Zhu Yeqing said, "That is because the Lady never needs to become personally involved if she wishes someone to die."

    The old monk said, "Who can strike on her behalf and send Xie Xiaofeng to the grave!"

    Zhu Yeqing said, "Yan Shisan!"
    Last edited by Ren Wo Xing; 05-25-10 at 01:20 AM.
    Blademaster. Hero. General. He was the best there ever was.
    Butcher. Murderer. Traitor. All that he loved, he had destroyed.
    Matheius Randas.
    That Merciless Blade - Legend of the Arctic Wolf.

  18. #58
    Senior Member kyss of the sword's Avatar
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    do you think this story parells a bit with bordertown wanderer.
    click to show/hide spoilers
    the part where a jilted woman gathers some expert fighters to get revenge on her heartless lover and uses her sons as a pawn.


    so yan shisan should be showing up soon?
    THE KYSS OF THE SWORD IS DEADLY BUT EXQUSITE
    he's the strongest in history but he's the disciple.
    http://www.mangafox.com/manga/histor...ciple_kenichi/

  19. #59
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    Awesome work Ren! It won't be long now until you get to the infamous duel that time itself can't bear to watch, literally. Keep up the great work!
    明月心跳起來,又回頭,嫣然道,ď你還要不要我帶上那面具?Ē
    傅紅雪冷道,ď現在你臉上豈非已經戴上了個面具?Ē

  20. #60
    Senior Member rati4u's Avatar
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    Oh Ren da ge u r becoming a master of cliff hangers

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