+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 5 12345 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 81

Thread: Tale Of A Falling City (Qing Cheng Ji)

  1. #1
    Senior Member charbydis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    White Camel Mountain
    Posts
    4,934

    Cool Tale Of A Falling City (Qing Cheng Ji)

    Hello, i know i posted this before but i deleted it without finishing it due to too much work. Now that I have finished it, I would like to post it up again for you guys to enjoy.

    Sorry guys, This is yet another ancient fanfic story. <IMG SRC="smilies/bow.gif" border="0"> Apologies that this may bore you.

    ---------------------------------------------------

    CHAPTER ONE: Ten Thousand Poison Manual

    A young girl ran crying quietly through the courtyards, taking caution to make light steps to minimize the noise. Suddenly, a strong grip formed around her arm and she was spun around to face him. She found herself staring into eyes of deep sorrow, mixed with grief and hopelessness.

    Pain and hopelessness reopened the wounds in her heart and they exchanged words, and glances, and feelings. The girl turned to go again but stopped at some words of the older man, which held her back. Suddenly after a speech, a flash of silver suddenly appeared in the girl’s hand, and at the girl’s neck. The man held out his hand, which was holding something green, but then retracted it. He could do nothing except watch her leave, trying to suppress the deep feeling in his heart.

    It started to rain soon after she had left, but the man still stood there. Finally he collapsed onto his knees and wept, swearing at the heavens and lamenting his fate.

    Time passed like the ragging torrents in the rivers, the continuation of the erosion on the rocks.

    Bang! Clang! Han Qing Feng slammed the hammer onto the glowing metal on the anvil as hard and as fast as he could. He had no time. Song Nan and his new men would be here any moment. The sword he needed was not yet ready. His life depended on it, his life of sorrow and disappointment.

    Bai Shi Yue had treated him like his own son, ever since he was brought to learn medicinal knowledge from him. Engaged to his beloved shi-mei, Bai Fang Lian, Han Qing Feng had thought his life was complete, not knowing that he had fallen in a web of deceit and betrayal.

    As a marital gift, Bai Fang Lian had given him a gourd of ancient wine, brewed many years ago with a long period for its taste to slowly strengthen, accompanied by her gentle smiles and tender eyes. Unsuspectingly, he took the jade cup she offered him and emptied it until not one drop was left.

    At the same time, Bai Shi Yue and his students had opened the casket of ancient wine that his daughter had offered him, and to the happy couple, they drank. Minutes later, all save Song Nan and his acquaintances, had fallen unconscious to the floor.

    Han Qing Feng woke abruptly to the hard cold winds blowing against his face. Overcoming the drowsy sensation over him, he opened his eyes, to find a blur of white attacking his eyes. Raising his hand to shield his eyes, he tried to construct what had happened. The last thing he could remember was Bai Fang Lian’s smiles and how her face blurred and gradually dimmed to darkness.

    Snow settled into onto his purple stiff fingers. Snow? Where was he? He looked frantically around for something that will identify his location, but all he found was an old, small body curled beside him on the forming layers of snow.

    “Mentor!” he cried when he turned the body over. He held his finger under his nose, and breathed a sigh of relief that he was still breathing. Noticing a rocky cave beside a clear freezing form of a river, he dragged his mentor into the cave. The cave was dark and deep, channeling into other tunnels to where, he had not the strength to go and explore.

    Their body temperatures were slowly decreasing, and their colour was deepening into dark blue. Hugging his mentor close to him, Han Qing Feng tried desperately to regain his mentor’s consciousness.

    “Please don’t die! Please!” he muttered under the shudders.

    Finally, Bai Shi Yue woke up. “Feng Er! It was Song Nan and Fang Lian!” he staggered weakly when he saw Han Qing Feng.

    “What? How? Why?” cried Han Qing Feng. He won’t believe it! Song Nan was his good shi-xiong and Bai Fang Lian was his beloved fiancée. Why would they try to kill him and his mentor?

    “Ten Thousand Poison Manual” was the simple answer. <IMG SRC="smilies/read.gif" border="0">
    "Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
    Cyril Connolly

  2. #2
    Senior Member charbydis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    White Camel Mountain
    Posts
    4,934

    Smile

    CHAPTER TWO: I Die To Let You Live!

    Seeing the confused look on his beloved student’s face, Bai Shi Yue continued, “It contains the cures for many poisons but also lists the productions of deadly poisons. It is the heirloom of the Green Medicine School. To possess it, would increase one’s power by many times. Song Nan’s father tried to steal it once, but was captured and executed. I could not bear to leave his infant son uncared for as his mother had committed suicide, so I accepted him into the school. I had always suspected him of wanting to avenge his parents, but tried to treat him as indifferently as I could, hoping he would forget the past. But nevertheless, he left me disappointed and the fake manual I kept in my sleeves has disappeared.”

    Han Qing Feng’s mouth dropped open at this new information, and cried, “But what does that have to do with Fang Lian shi-mei?”

    Bai Shi Yue sighed and tears flowed from his wrinkled eyes. “Fang Lian … Fang Lian and Song Nan were in love. I knew about them but nevertheless gave her hand to you, after noticing Song Nan’s suspicious acts in my study. I thought you would give her happiness, but never would I have suspected my own daughter siding against me!” and he buried his face in his sleeve.

    Han Qing Feng tried to comfort his mentor when suddenly; a bony hand quickly sealed his pressure points, making him able to move, only able to talk. “Mentor, what are you doing?” as Bai Shi Yue positioned him into a cross-legged position.

    Bai Shi Yue pressed his palms on Han Qing Feng’s palms, as the warm internal energy started flowing from him.

    “Feng Er!” Han Qing Feng’s heart skipped a beat when he heard the echoing voice of his mentor calling him. However, when he opened his eyes, Bai Shi Yue had his eyes closed and his mouth wasn’t moving.

    “Feng Er, don’t be afraid. I am communicating to you through the internal energy that I am transferring to you now. If you want to tell me something, just think of it in your mind. Don’t say a word or we will both die. When I die, rip the clothes that are covering my chest and you will find the real Ten Thousand Poison Manual.”

    Thinking hard, Han Qing Feng expressed, “Mentor, no! Why are you doing this? You will die!”

    “I am doing this to atone for my sins. If I had not foolishly believed given you the hand of Fang Lian, you would have not been drawn into all of this. We would both die here if I don’t do this. Take my internal energy and use Lightness Skills to escape. Song Nan had dumped us in here to let us freeze to death, but by his inner personality, he will surely return to kill us. Promise me. Kill Fang Lian and Song Nan. Don’t let this thread of revenge carry on. Goodbye. Take care!”

    The warm feeling flowing into Han Qing Feng’s body ceased and Bai Shi Yue slumped lifeless to the floor. Knowing that his mentor had died, Han Qing Feng removed the Ten Thousand Poison Manual, and carried his light body outside. The winds were less strong and the amount of snow falling had decreased. <IMG SRC="smilies/crying.gif" border="0">
    "Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
    Cyril Connolly

  3. #3
    Senior Member charbydis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    White Camel Mountain
    Posts
    4,934

    Smile

    CHAPTER THREE: Massacre

    Stretching out his fingers, he plunged them into the soft but piercing snow, digging and digging. His fingers started bleeding from the cold but still his dug on, until he struck the freezing ice. Taking up a small dagger he stabbed at the hard layers for many hours, until suddenly, the ice shattered, and a deep channel developed as the ground split into two.

    Lying at the bottom was a large, shiny, green piece of metal. Climbing down the jagged edges of the channel, a sharp piece of ice cut his hand and drops of blood dripped onto the metal, which was immediately absorbed and strangely, glowed brightly.

    The metal was in an unassembled shape, but with his dagger, he hurriedly dug it out and climbed back out to leave before Song Nan arrived to kill him. He wrapped Bai Shi Yue in his cloak and set him carefully into the channel and filled it with snow. Smoothing out the surface of his mentor’s new grave, Han Qing Feng took from his medicine pouch, a single seed and planted it, marking the grave. After kowtowing in respect, he took off with his newly increased Lightness Skills.

    Han Qing Feng arrived in a small hunting village just after sunset. A kind family offered him the sty to sleep in and despite the strong pungent smell, he was very grateful. Later that night, Bai Shi Yue came to him in a dream. His long beard was flowing peacefully but his face was consumed with a worried expression.

    “Feng Er, Song Nan and Fang Lian are on your trail. Take the metal you have found and set it in cold water with three drops of your blood - it will then soften. Form it into a thin sword and then hammer it, as you will to a normal sword. This sword contains a hidden potential, which will help you defeat Song Nan if you combine your body with the sword, and fulfill a great destiny. Hurry! And remember; reverse the circulation of qi! Remember!” and he faded away like mists.

    Han Qing Feng had awoken with sweat pouring down his brows, just as sweat was pouring down his brows as he hammered away at the sword. With one final strike, green sparks emitted from the sword. It was now complete.

    The green sword was light to hold, and when he tried out its sharpness on the edge of the anvil, the thin blade moved through the hard iron as if it were silk. Amazed and proud, Han Qing Feng quickly engraved on the blade, “Green Silk Sword”, as it gleamed brightly from the bright forge fire.

    Then suddenly, loud screams came from out side the forge and he quickly ran to see what was happening. The blacksmith, who was lamenting over the damage to his anvil, forgot his sorrow and followed Han Qing Feng, only to receive a sharp arrow to the chest. Han Qing Feng caught him as he fell and dragged him to safety. But it was too late! His lips had turned black and his heart had stopped beating. The arrow was poisoned!

    The whole village was set alight. The streets were littered with the corpse of the innocent villagers, killed because of him, which were later trampled by the hooves of the white steeds that carried the killers.

    Han Qing Feng’s eyes drifted angrily from the archers one by one until he found his target. Song Nan was seated upon a chestnut steed, drawing his bow and aiming for another innocent victim. Han Qing Feng’s righteous and grateful nature could permit it no more. In a fit of anger, he leapt off the ground and flew towards his shi-xiong. As he passed by his traitorous colleagues, their heads rolled off their shoulders as the sharp, thin blade moved smoothly through their necks.

    In fear at this new prowess in his shi-di, Song Nan pulled tightly at the reins, urging his horse to gallop away. But his horse had been terrified by all the howling and screaming, and even more by the blazing fires, that it reared up in fright, dismounting its rider.

    Song Nan toppled to the ground, but his legs were too stiff to move. Hatred and anger consumed Han Qing Feng as he flew towards his enemy, but suddenly; Song Nan released a series of lethal darts from his sleeve. Han Qing Feng’s mind suddenly recalled back to his dream. His mentor had said, “reverse the circulation of qi”. But what would that do.

    He had always been taught that reversing the circulation would cause fire deviation, making one go crazy. But nevertheless, he concentrated as the darts flew closer, and made a swipe at them, even thought they were metres away.

    A miraculous thing happened. A wave of frosty mist exited from the blade, freezing the darts in mid air, which later fell motionless to the ground. Song Nan cowered back in fear as the tip of the blade approached him, when suddenly, a white shadow leapt in front of him.
    <IMG SRC="smilies/ninja.gif" border="0">
    "Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
    Cyril Connolly

  4. #4
    Senior Member charbydis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    White Camel Mountain
    Posts
    4,934

    Cool

    CHAPTER FOUR: New Friends, Old Tales

    Han Qing Feng pulled his arm back as he saw Bai Fang Lian slide in front of her lover, and landed safely before them. Remembering his promise to his mentor, he raised his sword to behead her, but couldn’t bring himself to do it. Instead, he kicked her aside and screamed as he plunged his sword into the chest of Song Nan, “Mentor! I avenge you today!”

    Song Nan passed away without a single utter, but suddenly, a cry of pain came from behind him, to which he spun around, just in time to catch Bai Fang Lian as she fell forwards. Impaled in her back was a small dagger. Even as she died, she muttered, “I have no regrets. I will meet with Song shi-xiong in the next life!” And as her soul left her body, there was a clang of metal as the dagger she held in her hand fell to the ground.

    Han Qing Feng raised his head to find who had rescued him, to find a young man, and a young girl running towards him. And what beauty the girl had. Her eyes were soft and kind, her nose straight and the sides of her mouth automatically curling into a sweet smile. This smile was even more enchanting than that for his late shi-mei, and it was complimented with rosy cheeks that emphasized her fair skin.

    “Are you okay?” the young man asked as he approached Han Qing Feng. Han Qing Feng put down Bai Fang Lian’s corpse and looked up at his rescuer. He had medium, tall build, and was around his age. With his handsome face that was like a well-polished jade, he and his lady friends seemed like a match made in heaven.

    Seeing the nod of the stunned man before him, the young man pulled his dagger out of the body and sheathed it back in its leather cover.

    He introduced, “My name is Hong Zheng Tian. This is Qi Qian Yu. We were passing by when we were drawn here by the sound of swords clashing and the screams of people. Anyway, why happened here? And who are you?”

    Han Qing Feng told his tale and how all the innocent villagers died because of him. Qi Qian Yu remained silent, but smiled kindly and sympathetically at him.

    Hong Zheng Tian suggested, “Well, Han xiong, since you have nowhere to go, why not accompany us up north to find my mentor-uncle? We three would make great company!”

    Qi Qian Yu smiled again, and repeated in her soft, gentle voice, “Yes, come along with us. After we escort Hong da-ge up north, you can take me to travel everywhere. I have never been anywhere before! Please?”

    Her gentle smile finally convinced him to agree, and they set off after burying all of the deceased that night.

    The journey was long and tiring, and the horses always seemed thirsty. To maintain some atmosphere, they exchanged a tale of their own. Han Qing Feng had already told his, but after hearing the other two’s stories, he felt that maybe his life wasn’t all that bad.

    Qi Qian Yu started off, “I was stranded on this strange island and both my parents had died. Some scary people surrounded me when suddenly; a fairy descended from the skies and saved me. I then fainted and found Grandmother. The strange people worshipped her and she buried my parents.”

    Just talking about it, made Qi Qian Yu recall back to that dreadful moment when her life changed. How she had woken up from a deep sleep with her memory blank, surrounded by her sickly parents, who she could not recognize then, and in a wild, lush green environment with no sign of civilization, which they dared not enter. A few days later, she had accepted the two as her parents, but then she lost them.

    The two died of malnutrition and dehydration, as they saved all of the remaining nutritious rations and clean water for her, while they ate the dirty leaves of plants in the area. But she was still young then and did not realize what had happened when her parents did not wake up. She only found out when her Grandmother told her years after.

    She could never forget the fear in her when dark silhouettes emerged from the spooky forest, and chanted chillingly in a language that she did not understand. They were dressed, and some of them half-naked. They carried spears and axes in their hands, and gathered around her with strange smiles on their faces. As they closed in on her, she had fainted.

    But just before her eyes closed, a beautiful being dropped from the heavens with a bright light around her, and dispersed the natives. With her vision blurred, Qi Qian Yu could not clearly see her face but that image of the flying being remained in her mind forever. When she woke up, only the savages and an old woman were there.

    She only sighed but smiled happily as she recalled, “ I could only remember my surname as Qi, but forgot my name. Grandmother adopted me, and gave me the name “Qian Yu” meaning “snow” and “rain”. But where I lived, there was never any snow; yet, Grandmother insisted that it was the most magical thing in the world. She wouldn’t let me go out onto the mainland, but eventually, I stole out on a raft and finally saw snow. And it was in Luo Yang City that I first touched snow, and when I first met Hong dai-ge, who had also never seen snow.”

    Her face was so happy, cheerful, and showed no sign of grief when she retold the death of her parents. From this, both the men deduced that this Grandmother must have treated her very well to let her continue this innocence.

    Now, it was Hong Zheng Tian’s turn. By now, they were nearing the gentle slope of the rocky hill, and the path was lined with individual standing rocks, as courtiers would to greet their Emperor. A lush vegetated forest stood nearby, and behind it among the mists, towered a tall, pointed mountain.

    “Now I must warn you, “ he cautioned, “before I tell my story, that we are all in danger. I have created some trouble in my own clan, the Holy Snake Clan, and they might be waiting for a chance to kill me. So we must be alert, and careful at all times!”

    Suddenly, a voice from behinds some rocks cried, “But you are not careful enough! You traitor! How dare you speak of your shameful deeds to outsiders? Prepare for your deaths, and their deaths too!” and a net of silver swords appeared from behind the rocks and lunged at them. <IMG SRC="smilies/knocked.gif" border="0">
    "Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
    Cyril Connolly

  5. #5
    Senior Member charbydis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    White Camel Mountain
    Posts
    4,934

    Cool

    CHAPTER FIVE: Hand of Friendship

    Ten Highlanders were moving towards them with their deadly net, formed by the continuous circling of their swords. Each was dark in complexion, very unlike Hong Zheng Tian who was fair-skinned.

    The horses reared high at this sudden attack, much to the anxiety of their surprised riders. Han Qing Feng drew his Green Silk Sword, and slashed at the air. To his amazement, no wave of ice vapour appeared. But instead, a whirl of red light came from behind him and flew towards the company of Highlanders that they was forced to disperse. The soft red light clashed with some large rocks and leaving a soft black, burn mark, with a thin mist of smoke.

    Astonished, Han Qing Feng looked behind him and saw a bright red sword in Hong Zheng Tian’s hand, the source of the miraculous wave. Qi Qian Yu was not looking, but busy ravaging her own side bag for something.

    However, the Holy Snake Clan members soon reunited and one of them spoke angrily, “You traitor. You not only humiliate the Clan Master, offending your superiors, but also stole the treasure of the clan, No Name Sword, and secretly learning forbidden skills. Even death is too advantageous for you!” and saying so, they reached into their side bags and a cloud of gold rose, moving towards them.

    “Ten Thousand Poison Powder! Don’t let it touch you!” cried Hong Zheng Tian to his companions as he dodged the upcoming cloud of gold by driving his horse up the side of the mountain. But Qi Qian Yu’s horse had gone stiff, and she was stuck! Luckily, Han Qing Feng reached over, grabbed her by the waist and lifted her to safety while his trusty steed rushed up to join Hong Zheng Tian.

    Qi Qian Yu looked back at her horse, which was now surrounded by the golden dust. Immediately, its skin cracked, revealing bleeding red flesh and it reined helplessly at the pain as the poison entered into its body. She felt like crying when she saw the fate of the horse. Suddenly, three thin green darts hit the horse, making it collapse lifeless on impact, painlessly. Han Qing Feng read her mind and to spare it any more pain, released the quickest poison darts he had.

    Qi Qian Yu turned around and blushed red when she found herself face to face with Han Qing Feng, and his hand still around her waist. Han Qing Feng also felt a bit hot when he saw how beautiful her blushing had made her. But this romantic moment was spoilt by the Holy Snake Clan members, who were climbing up the mountain the same way they had gone, and were only metres from them now.

    Faster than any of the men could react, Qi Qian Yu reached into her bad and released a octagonal net of shimmering silk, decorated by tiny silver pins at each joint. The net closed around the men, who struggled to get out, only to find that the net contracted more every time they stretched it. Han Qing Feng and Hong Zheng Tian rode their horses up the rocky flat slope, dragging the men along with them.

    Everything seemed fine until the net started to sizzle and its strings burned away one by one. Some yellow (sulfur) powder had been applied to it, and its bruised, cut and angry captives were released.

    Noticing the escape, Hong Zheng Tian and Han Qing Feng tugged at the reins and urged their horses to accelerate. Wind was blowing hard in their faces as they sped away, leaving the Holy Snake Clan members trying to catch up with their low Lightness Skills.

    “Hong Zheng Tian!” cried Han Qing Feng to his friend as they galloped down the slope, “Before all three of us get killed, I think you owe me and Qi gu-niang, an explanation and a reason for why we are to be killed.”

    Hong Zheng Tian looked at his two friends next to him and breathed a sigh of sadness, and he explained, “I was sent to study martial arts by my parents, at the age of six with my mentor, Chen Xu, Clan Leader of the Holy Snake Clan. All went well until two months ago, when my mentor’s wife summoned me to her audience.”

    His face went all red, much to the curiosity of his listeners, but he continued, “Then she told me she liked me very much and made advances on me. I of course rejected her and ran quickly out of the room. For several days, I avoided her but she never seemed to give me any peace until I agreed to her demands. But then some busybody eavesdropped on us and informed Mentor, which made me fall into such a deep mess. The next day, I accidentally spilt my tea and found it to sizzle away into the ground. I fled away from the Highlands that very instant I discovered an attempt to poison me had been made. I have heard that my mentor-uncle is kind and powerful, so I hope to take refuge with him. But I also heard that he and my mentor hated each other so he might suspect me. So to gain his trust, I stole my Mentor’ prized sword, the No Name Sword, to present to my mentor uncle as a token of my sincerity.”

    “I never meant to draw any of into this danger with me. But I want to tell you that I treat you as my closest friends.” Then looking quickly behind him, he continued, Quickly! Leave me alone and they won’t follow you! Farewell!”

    Qi Qian Yu suddenly broke her silence, and replied as loud as she could in her quiet voice, “Hong da-ge, we won’t be as cowardly as to leave you alone in a time like this!”

    “Yes!” agreed Han Qing Feng, “If not for you, I would have already died under the dagger of my treacherous shi-mei. I owe you my life, and to repay you, I will accompany you even to the depths of hell!” And he stretched out his hand in friendship.

    Hong Zheng Tian was moved by the words of his friend and extended his hand to catch it, and then Qi Qian Yu clasped her small hand on top of both theirs. Then suddenly, the horses reared and the three grew alert. They had already entered the forest! <IMG SRC="smilies/eek.gif" border="0">
    "Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
    Cyril Connolly

  6. #6
    Senior Member charbydis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    White Camel Mountain
    Posts
    4,934

    Cool

    CHAPTER SIX: Snakes and Vines

    Crows laughed mockingly at them from their unseen perches and the calls of insects filled the humid air. Qi Qian Yu shrieked as a brown snake hung off a branch above and dangled next to her head. All three of them spun frantically around, only to find themselves lost in a web of dark green vines, thick hard trunks, and mysteriously animals which hid stealthy under the left letter and in the thick layers of leaves.

    Just outside the forest, ten men in shredded and dirty clothing stood examining some tracks on the ground. Their skin was scratched bleeding by the tiny needles, and were originally poisoned. Luckily, they had carried some antidotes that could subdue its effects.

    “The horse tracks lead into the forest! Should we enter?” said one of them. He looked into the eerie forest that gave such an uninviting welcome. Strange sounds were coming from inside of the forest, and the fact that the forest was so dark that it was impossible to see what was in there unless you enter it.

    “Should we enter? If course we should!” answered a second man, “If we can get that traitor’s head and the No Name Sword, Clan Leader would most likely award us with so much money and probably even a title.” And he laughed evilly to himself as he thought of his reward, and walked into the forest. The other nine shrugged their shoulders and followed their companion.

    Back in the forest, the three wondered what to do. A huge python lay ahead in their path and had already swallowed both of their horses. It was menacingly sticking its tongue out at them, and its greedy eyes glared upon all three of them in hunger. Fear had struck both Hong Zheng Tian and Han Qing Feng, that they could not concentrate and use their swords.

    At hearing the crackling of leaves getting louder as their enemies approached, the two men panicked and their minds went blank. But that was only the men. Qi Qian Yu quickly grabbed a long vine and jumped into the branches of the trees. The leaves were so dense that the two men could not see what she was doing up there, but seconds, she flew back down with an armful of long vines and began jumping from branch to branch, trunk to trunk. Amazingly, in a matter of minutes, she had constructed a web of vines around them, with eight long ends of the vines dangling in front of them.

    “Qi Mei Mei,” cried Hong Zheng Tian, “What are you doing?”

    But Han Qing Feng snapped, “Shut up and be quiet!” He turned to Qi Qian Yu and smiled, saying, “I trust her!” She smiled back at him and grabbed four ends in each hand, one between each finger and waited for their enemies to arrive.

    “What the?” cried the men as they caught sight of their bounty hiding inside of a harmless web of vines. How stupid could they get to think that such a poorly constructed thing could protect them? They laughed as they raised their swords to hack at the web in front of them but suddenly, the web moved and other webs of vine dropped from the trees towards them. Their hands fitted exactly into the holes and as Qi Qian Yu pulled on the ends, the snares tightened and they were disarmed.

    But three men escaped and tried to rescue their companions. But Qi Qian Yu pulled another vine and a curtain of vines fell and whacked them in the face. Then, she trapped them in the same way as she did to the others, entangling them in the webs. Hong Zheng Tian stared wide-eyes at his companion. He would have never guessed that such a weak looking female as she could handle ten armed men. And this vine trap was just unbelievable; it seemed so harmless yet it was so effective. Han Qing Feng smiled happily to himself. He had always believed in her.

    But then, the ten men began to pull backwards. Light as she was, Qi Qian Yu was pulled up into the air, had not if Han Qing Feng grabbed onto her waist and pulled her down. But still, their weight was not sufficient to oppose the strength of the ten men, and they continued to be dragged upwards. Think quickly, Hong Zheng Tian removed his leather whip from his waist and aimed it under the web of vines, and at the feet of the ten men. One by one, the whip wrapped around each man’s foot, and with on strong pull, all twelve of them fell down.

    Taking this chance, Qi Qian Yu cried, “Quick, help me pull!” and the other two rushed to her aid. All three of them weaved the vines around the trunk of a tree as a pulley, and easily swung all ten of them right – in front of the hungry python. Qi Qian Yu released them from the vines as the python began advancing on the men.

    Surprisingly, one of them took out a single pipe and blew a high-pitched tune on it. The python froze for a moment, and then continued movement. The python was not affected, but something else was. Immediately, hundreds of smaller snakes burst out of their hiding places and headed towards them. <IMG SRC="smilies/help.gif" border="0">
    "Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
    Cyril Connolly

  7. #7
    Senior Member charbydis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    White Camel Mountain
    Posts
    4,934

    Wink

    CHAPTER SEVEN: Xuan Yuan Sect

    Seeing all this moving food heading towards it, the python flicked out its tongue and began engulfing the snakes. This was the Snake Summoning Tune of the Holy Snake Clan. The clan originated in the south regions of Yun Nan, where snakes were more common than people. Under this tune, all species of snakes found in the Highlands, no matter where they grew up, would hasten to the call.

    The men took this chance to escape and also attack the three. Qi Qian Yu had lost her hold on the control vines and could do nothing but watch her fabulous web be severed and torn to shreds by their whips. Han Qing Feng immediately drew his Green Silk Sword while Hong Zheng Tian held his whip. And whip to whip, sword to whip, the twelve fought valiantly while Qi Qian Yu rummaged her bag, still sobbing over the destruction of her web.

    Finally, after a gush of strong wind blew across her face from nowhere, she found what she was looking for – star-shaped leaves. She threw them at her enemies with fast speed and those leaves acted like projectiles, embedding into the flesh of what they encountered. But it was not enough to kill them, and made them even more furious. However, the leaves also hit Han Qing Feng and Hong Zheng, and in a matter of minutes, they were defeated.

    Suddenly, two figures flew from the trees and landed just behind the Highlanders. One was a girl, around the age of eighteen or nineteen, and her face was so sweet that Hong Zheng Tian’s heart almost jumped out of his mouth. Another was a young man slightly older than his friend. He was not as handsome as Hong Zheng Tian, but his facial features were clear and his face was kind. Both were dressed in black, and were armed with swords. With out a word, they greeted the ten men with a fast sword stance, which stressed them a lot.

    “Heavenly Snake Swordplay!” they cried amazed at the familiar sword stance.

    One man cried, “You are not from the Holy Snake Clan, who are you and how dare you obstruct our business?”

    The girl pouted arrogantly and exclaimed, “You stupid men! Of course I am not from your stupid clan! Only stupid people will join your stupid clan!”

    “Shi-mei, Mentor said not to insult the Holy Snake Clan.” her shi-xiong warned, “You know, Mentor originated from the Holy Snake Clan too!”

    Another man went up and tugged the first man on the sleeve, whispering something in his ear. “What?” yelled the first man, “Don’t tell me we are in the regions near Black Demon Peak? Oh no! We are dead!”

    The young man pointed backwards and said, “Over there is Black Demon Peak.”

    The men panicked for a moment then decided to quickly kill the two and escape. Using Snake Imitation Whip, the ten lashed out at the two, each of lashes moving like the body of a snake.

    Suddenly, another high-pitched came from the tree branches. Qi Qian Yu, Hong Zheng Tian, and Han Qing Feng looked up and saw standing on a branch above them, were a green clad man playing a long bamboo flute. He seemed to be in his late thirties, but his regality and handsome looks complimented his age. Yet, there was no smile on his face, and when looking closely, one could see the pain in his eyes.

    Responding to the tune, the huge python immediately darted towards the men and started doing a dance. Squirming its scaly body elegantly like a wave, it lunged its head forwards at the men, who tried to defend themselves with their whips. But to no avail; they were quickly disarmed by the lashing of its powerful tail, and soon became entrapped in the scaly prison as it constricted around them. <IMG SRC="smilies/sweating.gif" border="0">
    "Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
    Cyril Connolly

  8. #8
    Senior Member charbydis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    White Camel Mountain
    Posts
    4,934

    Smile

    CHAPTER EIGHT: Guilt and Innocence

    The man on the branch dropped lightly to the ground and removed the flute from his lips. The python laid his head on the ground, as if bowing to its master.

    “Mentor!” greeted the young man and his shi-mei, and bowed.

    Hearing that, Hong Zheng Tian immediately ran forward and collapsed on his knees in front of him, crying, “Holy Snake Clan follower, Hong Zheng Tian, pays his greetings to Mentor-uncle Yang, and begs for shelter and protection from my mentor, Chen Xu! Me and my friends have been attacked and beg for refuge!”

    Yang Ji Fan was the son of the previous Holy Snake Clan Clan Leader, Yang Zai Sheng, and shi-di to Chen Xu. After Yang Zai Sheng passed away, the two disagreed over some conflicts and Yang Ji Fan left the clan. By marrying Yang Ji Fan’s sister, Yang Li Shan, Chen Xu became the next clan leader. The two’s level of martial arts were on common ground, but for one to defeat the other, it would not be easy.

    Yang Ji Fan solemnly asked, “What is the matter? Have you been wronged by Chen shi-xiong?” His voice was strong and calm, yet not loud but authoritative.

    Before Hong Zheng Tian could reply, one of the captives yelled, “This traitor not only stole the clan’s treasure, the No Name Sword, but also attempted to seduce his mentor’s wife, your sister, Madam Chen. How could you protect this bastard from his deserved punishment?”

    “No!’ protested Hong Zheng Tian, “It’s not true. I did not seduce my mentor’s wife, and never in my life would I dare to. As for stealing the No Name Sword, I stole it to present to you, Mentor-uncle Yang, as a token of my sincerity!” and he held the heavy sword up in front of him. The young girl behind Yang Ji Fan started giggling and looked at him with her large eyes.

    Yang Ji Fan looked down at Hong Zheng Tian and found his desperate eyes staring back at him. This young man had a slim fair face, yet with a manly build. His looks were handsome, but from his eyes, he could see that this was an innocent person. Then he looked behind him to his two friends. They too, were looking at him with sincere eyes.

    Yang Ji Fan suddenly burst out laughing and replied, “My sister had always had an eye for handsome young man, but I don’t believe that she wasn’t the one who made the first move. I trust him and believe his innocence. Go back and tell your Mentor that from now on, Hong Zheng Tian will be of my Xuan Yuan Sect. If you send any more men after him, prepare to face both my human and non-human forces!” And saying that, he took up his flute to play a single note, and the python uncoiled and slithered away.

    The men breathed relief as their bodies were released from the scaly bonds, and stood up, tidying themselves. But yet, they did not leave.

    “But what about the No Name Sword, it belongs to our clan. You can’t take that too!”

    Yang Ji Fan touched the familiar blade of the No Name Sword, feeling the rush of memories through him. How long ago was it when this sword served him? And how long ago was it since…? He blinked twice and he controlled his emotions. He turned away and waved his sleeve at them. The sword flew up into the air and landed at their feet.

    “Take the sword and go. But never come back. And tell Chen Xu that not every one of his disciples barging onto my territory will escape alive. Go!” And at that, the ten scrambled out of the forest and back to Yun Nan.

    Yang Ji Fan said nothing and flew back through the forest, disappearing behind the clusters of leaves. But his two disciples lead all three of them back to their home, Black Demon Peak. <IMG SRC="smilies/cool.gif" border="0">
    "Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
    Cyril Connolly

  9. #9
    Senior Member charbydis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    White Camel Mountain
    Posts
    4,934

    Red face

    CHAPTER NINE: Music At Midnight

    The young man’s name was Zhuang Jian Cheng, and the girl’s was Lian Le Yi. Both had been born into the sect and were proud of it. The path up Black Demon Peak was long and narrow, dark and damp. The path winded up the narrow peak, and was lined with large rocks, and occasionally, the shadows of hidden people were noticed by the three newcomers, making them walk even faster, hoping to arrive at the top of the peak as soon as possible.

    At the top of the peak, they found the most beautiful building ever. A large castle had been dug out of the peak. It seemed dark and mysterious, but the engravings on the pillars, the perfection of each carving, was seen nowhere else before.

    “Mentor is in a bad mood today.” explained Lian Le Yi, “He will receive you early tomorrow. I am sure you are tired after your long journey. Please refresh yourselves in our rooms until tomorrow!” and she showed them their rooms.

    Each room was very spacious, but very cold in appearance. There were no curtains to enliven the atmosphere, nor any sunlight was admitted into the room, which was only lit up by candles. Lian Le Yi flashed Hong Zheng Tian one of her irresistible smiles, which made him lightheaded for moment, to the amusement of Han Qing Feng and Qi Qian Yu.

    Just before Zhuang Jian Cheng left, Qi Qian Yu asked, “Zhuang Gong-zi, I feel a strong urge to play the qin tonight. Would any of your shi-jies or shi-meis have one that I could borrow for the night?” Zhuang Jian Cheng replied, “Yes, Lian Le Yi has one!” and when told, Lian Le Yi ran back to her room to bring the qin.

    Han Qing Feng had undid his belt to get ready for bed when suddenly, the door burst open and Qi Qian Yu came in carrying a qin. He quickly tied up the belt as Qi Qian Yu set the qin down on the table.

    “Umm, Ahhh!” said Han Qing Feng, quite embarrassed, “What are you doing in here?”

    Qi Qian Yu smiled sweetly at him, and said, “Didn’t you once say you wanted to listen to me playing the qin?”

    “Hmmm. Ummm. Okay!” he responded. Then suddenly, another person burst in.

    Hong Zheng Tian’s room was just next to Han Qing Feng’s and had heard their voices. “What are you two doing here in the middle of the night?” he accused teasingly, “ Oh, I know. You two are …”

    Qi Qian Yu blushed while Han Qing Feng protested, “Mind your words! Qi gu-niang and me are pure. She has come in to play the qin to me!”

    “Oh really,” continued Hong Zheng Tian, trying to get revenge for being teased about Lian Le Yi earlier, “How come she comes to your room and not mine?”

    Qi Qian Yu ignored him and proceeded to pluck the strings. Han Qing Feng flinched away as her first notes were out of tune and Hong Zheng Tian ran around the room covering his ears.

    Meanwhile, two young people were walking in the courtyard, engaged in a conversation.

    “Shi-xiong, do you think that Mentor will really let that Hong Zheng Tian stay? I hope he does!”

    “Of course you do,” laughed Zhuang Jian Cheng at his shi-mei, “If he doesn’t stay, who will be so great to sacrifice himself by marrying you?” Lian Le Yi punched her shi-xiong on his arm with all his might and he screamed in pain. Suddenly, she put her hand over his mouth to silence him, and when she pointed towards the pavilion, he understood and they walked away.

    Back in the room, Han Qing Feng and Hong Zheng Tian finally sat down quietly to admire Qi Qian Yu’s music. She had eventually got her notes right and started to play the most wonderful tune they had ever heard. It was slow and soothing, making the listener feel very calm and relaxed. Then just at the height of their concentration, the door burst open and a tall figure rushed in. <IMG SRC="smilies/bang.gif" border="0">
    "Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
    Cyril Connolly

  10. #10
    Senior Member charbydis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    White Camel Mountain
    Posts
    4,934

    Smile

    CHAPTER TEN: Memories

    It was Yang Ji Fan. His expression was totally different from what it had been before. His face was drained of colour and his lips were left pale. He seemed anxious and desperate, unlike how calm and controlled he was earlier in the day.

    He rushed over and grabbed Qi Qian Yu by the shoulders, shaking her as he asked, ‘Tell me, how did you know this tune? Tell me! Who brought you up? Who taught you? What does she look like? Where is she? Tell me!”

    Zhuang Jian Cheng and Lian Le Ye followed their master into the room and were surprised to see him so irrational. But Qi Qian Yu was scared stiff. She could only stutter, “I ... I …”

    “Tell me!” and she was shaken so violently that she started screaming.

    “I don’t know. Grandmother taught me. She is about sixty. She has wrinkles all over her face and has a hunched back. She is short and fat and… and I don’t know!” she blurted out. Tears were coming to her eyes. No one had ever treated that roughly before, and she was scared.

    But Yang Ji Fan seemed dissatisfied, but had gotten control of his emotions. He loosened his grip and Qi Qian Yu immediately shrunk away and ran crying to hide behind Han Qing Feng and Hong Zheng Tian. All three of them jumped when Yang Ji Fan started walking towards them. He waved his sleeve and took out a roll of paper.

    The three stood terrified, not knowing what the roll contained. Yang Ji Fan let one end of the paper go and it rolled out into a portrait. A portrait of a beautiful lady. She seemed about eighteen, but had such beauty and grace that stunned both of them. Dressed in a blue dress, she sat with her long slender fingers were curved over the strings of a pipa.

    “Have you seen her anywhere?” Yang Ji Fan asked as he broke them from their trance. Qi Qian Yu shook her head but he asked suspiciously, “Are you sure?”

    “Really, Cult Master Yang!” defended Hong Zheng Tian, “Who could someone forget a face like that? Who is she anyway?”

    Yang Ji Fan sighed, but turned to Qi Qian Yu and asked, “Tell me where this grandmother of yours lives! Maybe she will know!”

    Seeing the desperate look on his face, Qi Qian Yu took a deep breath answered, “We live on a small island off the coast of Gu Su. I can take you there if you like!”

    Her words ignited hope in him and Yang Ji Fan thanked her deeply. Twelve years ago, Luo Yang, the Eastern Capital, was a crowded place, especially on Mid-Autumn Moon Festival. Fireworks were set all over the city, lighting up the sky, even brighter than the stars. Young females and young males walked about the streets, most hoping that they will find their true love. However, one particularly good-looking man stood out from the crowd that watched the lantern quiz competition. Not from his handsome looks, but from his cold behaviour.

    Several young girls had smiled at him, but were severely disappointed when he just looked ahead and walked on. He passed by stalls that sold lanterns, fans, paintings and food; yet, he never took a second glance at things. He sharply turned into a narrow dark alley, where another man, dressed all in black was waiting for him.

    The man kneeled and greeted, “Greetings to City Master Yang!”

    Yang Ji Fan raised his had to signal him up and asked, “What news do you have of the Immortal Exterminating Network? Are they collaborating with Chen Xu to attack Smoke Gathering City? Where will they be meeting?”

    The spy quickly reported, “Yes, City Master. Chen Xu will be paying a huge amount of money to employ the Immortal Exterminating Network to eliminate our city. They will be meeting tonight at the brothel, Drunken Stars House. The contact people will be Chen Xu himself and the notorious Hua Bi Rong.”

    “The Thousand-Faced Rare Flower, Hua Bi Rong? I wonder what she will be disguising as tonight?” Yang Ji Fan paid the spy and sent him of with some other business, while he himself, headed to Drunken Stars House to pay a surprise visit to his senior martial brother. <IMG SRC="smilies/evillaugh.gif" border="0">
    "Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
    Cyril Connolly

  11. #11
    Senior Member charbydis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    White Camel Mountain
    Posts
    4,934

    Cool

    CHAPTER ELEVEN: Depression Or Murder

    Drunken Stars House was the most famous brothel in Luo Yang. All of the ladies there were beautiful, gentle and courteous. Even the dancers and instrumental entertainers were different from normal everyday women. There was not a single customer who never went back after the first visit, r ever complained about bad service. But that night, Drunken Stars House was more crowded than usual. It was not because of the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, but because of one Tidal Phoenix.

    Tidal Phoenix (Chao Feng) was the new lady at the house. Her skin was as smooth and fair as her lips were rosy. She hardly ever appeared in public and she had the privilege of choosing her customer for the night. Bur it was said that one smile from her will swoon even the strongest man. Many interested men, no matter scholars or Wu Lin members, all flocked to Luo Yang just to catch a glimpse of her celestial appearance.

    But also new at Drunken Stars House, was the newly recruited harem of dancers. Yang Ji Fan looked upon the place with disgust as the smell or alcohol, perfume and vomit gushed up his nostrils. There were so many customers that no one was free to welcome him as he entered. Yang Ji Fan walked around, carefully looking for any sign of his shi-xiong’s men.

    Yang Ji Fan and Chen Xu were originally from the same clan, the Holy Snake Clan. Being the Clan Leader’s son, Yang Ji Fan was naturally more favoured, which did not compromise with the ambitious Chen Xu. But surprisingly, Yang Ji Fan did not crave for the leadership position. He just saw it as a duty to his elderly father, Yang Zai Sheng, and was ready to accept it when the time came.

    But that time came fast as in their teenage years, Yang Zai Sheng suddenly became inflicted with a strange disease. He could not move his limbs and lost the ability to speak. He could only gargle and moan at times but nobody understood what he wanted to say. But Yang Ji Fan did. Communicating with their eyes, Yang Ji Fan got the idea and openly accused Chen Xu of poisoning his father. But it proved useless as many people believed that the cause of the sickness was not poison, but the loss of his concubine, Yang Ji Fan’s mother.

    In the few months after she died from a sickness, Yang Zai Sheng fell ill. She was his favourite and his only consort left. Furthermore, being experts in poisons, the specialists could not find any trace of poison. But Yang Ji Fan knew. Chen Xu had recently made a trip up north to the Ice Regions, to bring gifts for his clan to the Green Medicine Clan as a sign of friendship. Except being knowledgeable in healing, the Green Medicine Clan was also familiar with poisons, some of which, the Holy Snake Clan had never seen before. Just a few months ago, the Clan Leader of Green Medicine Clan had also passed away with similar symptoms, leaving the position to Bai Shi Yue, a good friend of Chen Xu. But as the elders of the clan did not believe his case, Yang Ji Fan gave up but always kept an eye on Chen Xu.

    Yang Ji Fan had promised his late mother to bring her ashes to Xian Yang for burial, but delayed the journey, as his father was severely ill. He immediately left for Xian Yang after his unsuccessful accusations and hoped to return before the new Clan Leader was chosen. It was the tradition of the clan to postpone the coronation of the new leader after one month of the late leader’s death, but what a big mistake Yang Ji Fan had made.

    Even before he arrived in Xian Yang, his faithful followers and their families caught up with him after their near escape. During his absence, Chen Xu had killed all opposition and made himself the clan leader. He even married Yang Ji Fan’s stepsister, Yang Li Shan to stabilize his position, even though they were already in love. Yang Ji Fan could do nothing but leave and form his own organization, the Smoke Gathering City. But even after so many years, the hatred still existed and both of them wanted the other dead.

    Today, Yang Ji Fan had to stop the deal or Smoke Gathering City and its inhabitants will be finished. Yang Ji Fan looked up to the first floor and nodded to two men in blue. It was his followers, Miao Shi Zhong and Qu Wan Quan. He looked at another part of the first floor and saw two other men, also his men, Qiao Kong Chao and Ou Yang Hua, pointing towards a room. Yang Ji Fan nodded and understood. Chen Xu was in that room. <IMG SRC="smilies/guns.gif" border="0">
    "Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
    Cyril Connolly

  12. #12
    Senior Member charbydis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    White Camel Mountain
    Posts
    4,934

    Post

    CHAPTER TWELVE: Choice of Tidal Phoenix

    But suddenly, a large copper gong was sounded and music broke out. Fifteen young maidens rushed out to the centre of the ground floor and ascended the stage. Dressed in colourful clothing with ribbons sprouting from the sleeves and waists, they danced gracefully to the music. Golden hairpins and hair accessories decorated their jet-black hair, and each of them had made themselves very white by heavy layers of powder and strong red lipstick.

    These were the only things noticeable as the girls spun and twisted around gracefully like swans, but kept their mysteriousness by waving their ribbons in front of their face all the time. Even Yang Ji Fan who had the sharpest eyes couldn’t see their faces. But one of the girls stood out of the whole harem and caught his eye. She seemed to be lighter than the others, and floated across the floor as if her feet did not touch the floor. Her body moved as slender as a snake but her grace was too distinguishable.

    Suddenly, something else caught Yang Ji Fan’s attention. A room door opened and a tall, strong built man walked out followed by three other men. This man was neither handsome nor regal, and had this slouched way of walking. It was Chen Xu. Opposite to that room, another door opened. And this time, a more beautiful figure stepped out. Dressed in a light yellow low cut outfit, this fair beauty caught the eyes of everybody in the room as she approached the railing of the first floor. Her eyes were almond shaped like a vixen, and her lips were delicate and coloured like a rose. She was just stunning. She was Tidal Phoenix.

    While everyone else’s eyes were feasted upon Tidal Phoenix’s beauty, Yang Ji Fan alone paid attention to the dancers that had stopped dancing at her arrival, and now were moving away. The girl who was so distinguishable from the rest had finally revealed her face. Her was face was not beautiful, but it was not plain. It carried a certain kind of gentleness, with her fair skin and graceful movements. But Yang Ji Fan was not disappointed. He knew that there were a limited number of rare beauties in the world and that beauty to him was not all that really important.

    The girl seemed to have noticed him staring at her, and looked backwards at him. As her soft gaze met with his eyes, Yang Ji Fan felt a huge beat in his heart. The girl quickly left, but the feeling still remained. Such elegance and grace was not meant for a brothel. Yang Ji Fan decided to buy her freedom later, after he had spoiled Chen Xu’s plans.

    A charming voice came from Tidal Phoenix’s open mouth and announced, “Tidal Phoenix is very honoured to have so many gentlemen here just for me. But I can only choose one among all of you. Here is a basket full of leaves. There are two golden leaves inside with all the real leaves. Whoever can bring me the two golden leaves will gain my company tonight!’ And saying that, she knocked the basket of leaves over the railing onto the crowd below.

    The light shone through the falling red leaves and lit them up like rubies floating in the air. It was hard to find the golden leaves among the lot. The majority of men did not know martial arts, and could only jump and grab at the falling leaves. However, the men who were familiar with Lightness Skills flew up and grabbed at the leaves. In the air they fought, until only two were left. They exchanged palms and flew back to where they were originally.

    Yang Ji Fan stood quietly at the back of the room, viewing all of the action. One of the men was Chen Xu, and the other was the vice clan leader of the Blue Ocean Clan. Each of them possessed a golden leaf. To this, the men who did not get the leaves argued and demanded for another go, hoping that this time they will be luckier.

    But Tidal Phoenix silenced them all and spoke, “Although both of these men have obtained the golden leaves, but I am only one person and can’t serve two people in one night. May the two gentle men please follow me to my quarters were another competition will be held to decided the victor.” She flashed each of them her enchanting smiles and reentered her room. The two men were led by her pretty maids up to her room, mesmerized and bewitched. <IMG SRC="smilies/drool.gif" border="0">
    "Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
    Cyril Connolly

  13. #13
    Senior Member charbydis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    White Camel Mountain
    Posts
    4,934

    Smile

    CHAPTER THIRTEEN: Daggers Within Smiles

    Yang Ji Fan signaled to his men and they slipped out of the building among the wave of disappointed suitors and meet outside.

    Yang Ji Fan deduced, “If I am not mistaken, that Tidal Phoenix is the Thousand-Faced Rare Flower, Hua Bi Rong. Miao Shi Zhong and Qiao Kong Chao, gather a troop of men and attack Tidal Phoenix’s room in the time it takes to burn a quarter of the incense. Qu Wan Quan and Ou Yang Hua, take control of the rest of the men, and attack only when recruitments are needed by the signal of the horn. But it you see Chen Xu or his men escaping, do not follow as it might be a trap. If the operation is not successful retreat before any more men are lost. Do not wait for me! I will return to the city by myself! Go and prepare!”

    The four men were only in their late teenage years, but were the most reliable to capably carry out instructions. They hurried out to prepare their men while Yang Ji Fan hurried to his hiding place.

    Tidal Phoenix was standing alone in front of the two men. Opening her mouth, she said, “Gentlemen, this stage is very easy. I will ask a question then the two of you will answer it. The one who I am most pleased with will win.”

    She took a deep breath and asked, “I am planning to go south for a visit. What sight would you think I would most be pleased with?”

    The Vice Leader of the Blue Ocean Clan quickly blurted out, “The seaside scenery is peerless in the world. The food of the south is diverse and delicious. But I think that you, miss, will most be pleased with the silk materials produced down south, which is light and soft, and will make you look even more beautiful than you are now!”

    Chen Xu laughed and answered, “Down south-east of here, is a small independent city, with a population of four hundred, mysterious and clever. I think that you, miss, will be most pleased with the flames that will reach the heavens when I turn that city into a furnace.”

    His opponent looked at him will surprise. What a rude and stupid person? Why would such a polite and courteous lady be interested in such a violent sight? But Tidal Phoenix said nothing but her wide sleeve at him and he immediately fell down dead. In her hand was a gleaming piece of blade with drops of red blood on it. She had cut the man’s throat in such a short time and so unpredictably that all three men were taken by surprise.

    Tidal Phoenix roughly kicked the body under the table, then turned to Chen Xu and smiled. “Clan Leader Chen is indeed punctual and trustworthy. I had made the right choice in choosing to work with you.”

    Chen Xu smiled and replied, “Miss Hua’s words are too worthy for me. So let’s discuss the plan.”

    Hua Bi Rong leaned over to him and hung onto his arm. With a sly smile, she exclaimed, “Why, of course! But first, let’s get to know each other first.” She rubbed her smooth white hand across his face and extended her neck to him flirtatiously. Chen Xu understood her meaning and with a perverted look on his face, they approached the bed.
    Suddenly, loud screams and thundering of feet could be heard downstairs in the building.

    The two jumped immediately from the bed and opened the door to see what was going on outside. The place was a mess. The guards at the brothel were busy fighting some thirty intruders, among the rush of escaping customers and prostitutes. But suddenly from behind them, tiles dropped from the roof and a black clad man descended from the roof, pointing a silver sword from a distance at Chen Xu.

    The man smiled and greeted, “How has it been with you, Senior Martial Brother? Busy planning?” <IMG SRC="smilies/devil.gif" border="0">
    "Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
    Cyril Connolly

  14. #14
    Senior Member charbydis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    White Camel Mountain
    Posts
    4,934

    Smile

    CHAPTER FOURTEEN: Faint Fragrance

    Chen Xu laughed and replied, “Junior Martial Brother is indeed clever and cunning. But what a pity, I am cleverer!” And saying so, he blew a loud, high-pitched whistle and quickly lashed out his leather whip at him. Hua Bi Rong also joined in. She waved her long sleeves around, but in each hand, she had a number of small blades, hiding them in her sleeves on time and releasing them when the time was right.

    But Yang Ji Fang was not threatened. He easily deflected both their blows by spinning and twisting around, no matter jumping into to the air or moving on the ground. The silver blade was moved so fast that it seemed that a protective shield was formed around him. As he twisted and spun, the light from the lanterns reflected off the blade and gleamed in all colours of the spectrum.

    This was called Dance of the Colourful Snake. Yang Zai Sheng had invented this technique just before his concubine’s death but only taught it to his son, and not Chen Xu so if he rebelled after he was gone, Yang Ji Fan would have something to surprise him with. And it did. Chen Xu was amazed at the speed of this swordplay and knew immediately that this was one of the skills that his mentor had never taught him.

    However, Hua Bi Rong saw the weakness of the skill and attacked it. A metal chain appeared from her sleeve and she threw it towards Yang Ji Fan. Just as she expected it, the chain muddled up the stance and slowed the sword down. But Yang Ji Fan quickly compromise by releasing a series of needles, previously hidden under his tongue and they shot out at both of his opponents. These needles reflected a bright light, which made Chen Xu and Hua Bi Rong turn. Taking this chance, Yang Ji Fan leapt and kicked both of them out of the door, over the railings and down onto the fighting crowd.

    Yang Ji Fan ran outside, only to find that men in Highlander costumes had caught Chen Xu as he fell over the railings, while Hua Bi Rong had fallen onto some fallen curtains on the ground. It seemed that while the three were busy fighting, another group of men had arrived. They were from the Holy Snake Clan, previously ordered by Chen Xu to hide outside and respond if an ambush occurred. They had heard their clan leader’s loud whistle and rushed into help. Seeing his men outnumbered, Yang Ji Fan quickly sounded the horn and his second wave of men entered.

    But as he turned back around to look at Chen Xu and his men, they were already heading to the door, screaming, “All of you, attack Yang Ji Fan!” Yang Ji Fan leapt to stop them but was obstructed by several of the holy Snake Clan members that were daring enough to fight him. Ina matter of seconds, they were defeated but by that time, Chen Xu had already gone.

    His attackers kept coming and he had to think fast. He had to leave and sounded the horn for retreat. He had already let one escape, but he wouldn’t let the other. There were two writhing forms on the floor and a thick curtain had covered them, but one was Hua Bi Rong. Taking a guess and having not much time to think, he grabbed the one the left and pushed her paralysis pressure point. He leapt out of the window and landed a horse outside, speeding off into the night.

    Yang Ji Fan reined his horse to stop when they had reached the wilderness of thick bushes, tall trees and noisy hidden creatures. He jumped off the horse and pulled the paralyzed Hua Bi Rong with him. He laid her on the floor and unrolled her out of the curtain. He was going to interrogate her about the plan and force her with death to help him kill Chen Xu.

    But as he bent over to release her, he smelt a faint fragrance. Surprisingly, it was not strong and artificial like how Hua Bi Rong smelt; it was the faint natural smell of a girl. He uncovered her head and was astonished to find it was not Hua Bi Rong. The girl had her head hung down and breathed heavily. Yang Ji Fan lifted her head and gasped at her face. It was that dancer from the brothel, the one that had touched his heart.

    He quickly released her pressure points and she moved away in fear. “Get away from me? Who are you? Why have you brought me here?” she screamed

    “I am sorry. I mistook you for another person.” he replied politely. And she tried to move away, but his hand had rested on the side of her clothes so when she squirmed backwards, her outer dress was ripped, revealing her snow-white shoulder, that was now bare in the cold wind.

    The girl screamed and quickly gathered her clothes around her. Yang Ji Fan immediately took off his outer clothing and draped it around her. She looked up at him and he saw that her make-up was very thick and colourful, but yet, something shone through that made her seem different from the other girls, something that he could not describe. However, the girl wavered and nearly fell to the ground had not he caught her. But she pushed his hands off her and moved away.

    “Don’t worry, Miss!” he said soothingly, “I am Yang Ji Fan. I am a good man. I mean no harm or disrespect. I will buy you another dress as soon as we get back to Luo Yang.”

    The girl did not look at him but said in a shy, gentle voice, “How can I go to back to Luo Yang looking like this?”

    Embarrassed himself, Yang Ji Fan jumped back on the horse and galloped away, shouting, “Wait for me here, Miss. I will be back as soon as possible with dress for you. Don’t go away!” The girl stood up and looked tenderly at his back as he disappeared into the night air. She smiled and huddled his clothes close around her shoulders. <IMG SRC="smilies/luv.gif" border="0">
    "Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
    Cyril Connolly

  15. #15
    Senior Member charbydis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    White Camel Mountain
    Posts
    4,934

    Cool

    CHAPTER FIFTEEN: Journey to the Past

    Han Qing Feng and Qi Qian Yu left the next morning when it was announced that there was going to be no journey to that island. A message came by a pigeon later in the night, revealing the activities of Chen Xu in the next three months. Yang Ji Fan had to stay and plan for an ambush, so the trip was cancelled. Qi Qian Yu didn’t mind anyway as her Grandmother would still be angry with her for escaping without a word, and decided to roam the world for a while before returning. Being fascinated with her, Han Qing Feng offered her his company, using the excuse that he had no home to go back to.

    Yang Ji Fan was reluctant to let her go, but she promised to come back in half a year’s time to take him to the island. Hong Zheng Tian was a little sad at his new friends’ departure, but was contented to stay on Black Demon Peak with the bewitching Lian Le Yi.

    Four months later, there was a stir in both the Central Plains and the Wu Lin World. The Turkish An Lu Shan and his powerful arming was gradually fighting its way towards the capitol, Chang An. People rushed south in panic from the war as the Tang armies rushed up northwest to combat the invading Turks. Martial clans originally situated up north abandoned their headquarters and moved south, creating insecurity among the martial arts people of the south.

    Shortly afterwards, members from both sides started to die mysteriously, with no organization owning up to the murders, but each insisted that it was the other side. In truth, none of them were responsible. Chen Xu used this sense of insecurity to create a disturbance between the two sides, hoping that he can get the fisherman’s spoils from the war of clams and storks, and dominate the Wu Lin World. But Yang Ji Fan would not allow this. Truthfully, he didn’t much care about the welfare of the Wu Lin World, as his Xuan Yuan Sect was too isolated and secure to be involved in any disputes, but as long as it had something to do with defeating Chen Xu, he was interested.

    Leaving the affairs of the sect to a trustworthy subordinate, Yang Ji Fan took some men and headed to spoil Chen Xu’s plans at Gu Su, where he currently was, stirring trouble in the southern clans. Miao Shi Zhong, Ou Yang Hua, Qu Wan Quan, Qiao Kong Chao and Zhuang Jian Cheng all followed as well. Attached to her senior martial brother, Lian Le Yi charmed her way through with tantrums, and wherever Lian Le Yi went, Hong Zheng Tian would go.

    But also accompanying them was a person staying silent and straight-faced all the time, was an anonymous person, who never revealed his identity. Hong Zheng Tian asked Lian Le Yi and Zhuang Jian Cheng, but none of them knew and the other four would not tell. Yang Ji Fan flew into a rage when he was approached so Hong Zheng Tian knew not to ask again.

    It was unwise to travel by land due to the wars going on, so they rode down to the seashore and a large sturdy ship served them for the rest of their journey. However, the journey was not enjoyable for Hong Zheng Tian. Lian Le Yi finally got tired of charming him and started to ignore him and instead, spent more time with her senior martial brother. Probably of this, he somehow broke free from his subjective perception and saw what was beneath her beautiful appearance. He saw her oppressive behaviour, her annoying tantrums and her aggressive personality to have everything go her way. Soon, every moment he spent with her seemed like a nightmare, and he started to yearn for Qi Qian Yu’s passive but comfortable company.

    Back in his cabin, Yang Ji Fan sat by the window and let the sea breezes blow across his face. He reminisced back to the time when he was in the same position, the same ship, the same destination. But it was all twelve years ago.

    Receiving a message that Bai Shi Yue, the accomplice of Chen Xu in his father’s murder, had been staying in Gu Su, Yang Ji Fan had rushed to Gu Su, like he was now, hoping to gain revenge. Seating himself by the window of the same cabin, he had been thinking about the girl who he had seen at Drunken Stars House. He had knocked on the tailor’s closed shop door and bought a dress for a hundred times the amount it was worth. But when got back, she was gone. The next day, he went back to Drunken Stars House and found the whole building empty. And he never saw that face again.

    But as the ship got caught in a terrible thunderstorm and wrecked upon the eastern shores. Thus, they could do nothing but continue the journey on horses while the ship was hauled out for repair. One day as he and his men sped past a dense forest, one of the horses’ hooves triggered a thin string pulled tight between the forest path, and triggered a swoosh of wind. A wooden frame decorated with huge ends of sharpened sticks swung towards them as impaled on of their men. The men panicked but calmly, Yang Ji Fan urged them to ride on by dismissing it as a mere hunter’s trap, but just in time to evade the multitude of arrows that were shooting at them behind a dense line of tall trees. <IMG SRC="smilies/yikes.gif" border="0">
    "Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
    Cyril Connolly

  16. #16
    Senior Member charbydis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    White Camel Mountain
    Posts
    4,934

    Cool

    CHAPTER SIXTEEN: Continuous Challenge

    This was no normal hunter’s trap. Someone obviously wanted them to die. Suddenly as they galloped away, small darts shot out from a hollow log lying of the ground and pierced the horses’ hooves. The horses fell crippled to the ground and the men fell off into a tangle of net that rose from the ground and trapped them. But Yang Ji Fan extended his sheathed sword to the ground and pushed off, landing safely elsewhere. Then as planned, a team of black veiled men somersaulted off the hidden branches of the trees.

    The assassins surrounded Yang Ji Fan and attacked him continuously with fast movements and speedy swipes of the sword. Then as Yang Ji Fan displayed his Release of Nine Snakes, a thick metal chain suddenly appeared in each of their hands. They tossed an open end to the opposite person, forming a net around their victim. They whipped the chains at a great speed at the centre, much to amusement of Yang Ji Fan, who immediately recognized this as the Immortal Imprisoning Formation of the killer organization, the Immortal Exterminating Network. Yang Ji Fan protected himself with the Dance of the Colourful Snake, then unexpectedly, kneeled with one knee and leaned backwards, right under the union of chains.

    With one upward swipe, he severed all the chains save one that had quickly been twisted around his feet. But Yang Ji Fan pushed of the ground with his hands and leapt into the air. Midway in the air, he twisted the chains even more, thus pulling the two assassins holding it closer. When they came into range, he summoned up his strength and spread his legs, breaking the chains and at the sane time, kicking both of them in the chest. The parts of the broken chain traveled outwards and hit the backs of the other assassins that were about to escape. All of the killers had died from internal injuries, save one that was running behind some trees to safety.

    But suddenly, he was thrown back and landed on the ground with a wound on his chest. A brown robed middle-aged man jumped out and finished him off with a slash. Yang Ji Fan rushed to stop him, but it was too late, and seeing that his source of information was severed, Yang Ji Fan made a fast stroke at the man. The brown clad man blocked the blow and returned it with ten times the power by ten times the number. The man pushed a button on the sword hilt, and the blade disconnected from the hilt and flew at Yang Ji Fan. But as soon as he avoided it, another struck out at him. The sword that the other man had been used had two blades, one inside the other.

    The sword stance that the man used was very unusual. Each movement was supposed to be fast but yet, the weight of the sword seemed to slow it down, thus decreasing the strength of each attacking blow. But yet, the defense technique was superb. He did not move much but he seemed to be able to slide the sword down the length of his arm to where it was needed.

    Then the man pressed another button and the second blade flew off as well, revealing a long leather whip. Yang Ji Fan again deflected the blade, but this time towards the rope that held his men and they dropped free to the ground. The whip flew freely in the air, but lashed out deadly as a scorpion. The brown clad man used the same technique as he did with the sword, only that this time, it was his arm that traveled along the length of the whip. His hands formed into the shape of a crane when attacking, but when obstructed, the end of the whip would come to his rescue. But Yang Ji Fan used the Golden Snake hand and would not let the man’s hand away from his own when attacking. Yang Ji Fan’s hand pushed the man’s hand backwards along the whip, by twisting it anticlockwise around the whip. Finally, he had reached the handle of the whip and then, Yang Ji Fan lashed out his fingers and pushed the immobility pressure point on his shoulder.

    Miao Shi Zhong, Ou Yang Hua, Qu Wan Quan, Qiao Kong Chao and the other men had now gotten out of their net prison, and angrily walked towards the frozen man. But before they could get close to him, a flash of silver could be seen and the voice of a girl yelled, “Don’t bully my Father!” <IMG SRC="smilies/hmph.gif" border="0">
    "Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
    Cyril Connolly

  17. #17
    Senior Member charbydis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    White Camel Mountain
    Posts
    4,934

    Wink

    CHAPTER SEVENTEEN: Autumn Peace

    A young girl started warding them off from the middle-aged man, using the same technique as her father did before. But it seemed that she was better at the skill than her father. With her lightness and agility, she could display the full potential of the sword stance, its speed and power. As she somersaulted away from their attacks, her hair covered her face, but when she flung it backwards, it revealed the most beautiful of all faces. She seemed only seventeen or eighteen, but had the grace and elegance of a much older woman. Her facial features were small and delicate, her eyes soft and kind, her skin fair and smooth.

    Feeling ashamed to be outnumbering a young girl, the rest backed away while Qu Wan Quan battled with her alone. Was it that Qu Wan Quan saw her innocence and decided to soften his attacks, or that the girl was truly superior, she seemed to push him further and further away from her father. Suddenly, a hand reached out from behind and caught her hand with the sword. She quickly threw the sword to her free hand and swung it behind her at her attacker. Yang Ji Fan flicked the blade with his fingers, grabbed her other hand and twisted it around the front of her, locking her within her arm.

    “Let go off me! What do you want?” she pleaded in her soft voice and she struggled to get free. She turned her head to the side and met with Yang Ji Fan’s handsome face. Yang Ji Fan did not know how she felt but it had been if an invisible hammer had hit him, just like he had felt at Drunken Stars House. Her beauty was stunning. It was unlike the seductiveness of Tidal Phoenix, but contained a certain pureness and innocence that was rare in the world.

    Yang Ji Fan quickly gotten control over himself as his men were watching but the maiden stumbled. Concerned and surprised, Yang Ji Fan turned her around and asked, “Miss, are you alright?”

    The girl did not look at him but pleaded, “Please, let my father go! He means no harm!” Yang Ji Fan nodded and Qiao Kong Chao went over and released the frozen man.

    “Father!” cried out the girl as she ran to her father like a child. But her father merely patted her on the arm and walked over to Yang Ji Fan.

    Holding his hand clasped over his fist, the man apologized, “Heroes, my daughter and I were just passing through this forest when we heard you fighting. I killed the man to prevent him from getting away, and meant no disrespect or hostility towards you! If I have offended you, the please accept Wan Neng’s apology!” and he tried to kneel down.

    Yang Ji Fan reached over and put his hand under Wan Neng’s arm, stopping from bowing. But Wan Neng increased his insistence to kneel by applying inner strength but instead, he felt an even stronger force pushing him upwards. He turned and saw Yang Ji Fan’s calm and smiling face. It seemed that he was not using any strength at all. But even still, Wan Neng put even more force down, until the single word, “Father!” came out form his daughter’s mouth.

    Wan Neng then stopped this absurdity and introduced, “Hero, my daughter and I are traveling down south to for some business and did not expect to meet all of you. Since it was fate that we fought and met, would you like to join us for dinner? Anyway, this is my naughty daughter, Wan Qiu Ning.”

    Wan Qiu Ning. Wan Qiu Ning. How long had it been since he had heard that name? How long had it been since he had seen her face? How long had it been since he had heard her gentle voice? Twelve years. Twelve long years. Where was she? Suddenly, a loud shout brought him back to the present and he got up to see what was going on.

    “Mentor, Mentor! Senior Martial Brother and Hong Da-ge are bullying me! They won’t let me join in their duel!” called Lian Le Yi.

    Then followed the call, “No, Mentor! Don’t listen to her? We asked her first but she declined. How can three people play a game of chess?”

    To this, Yang Ji Fan plainly laughed. He loved to see the innocence of Lian Le Yi, which reminded him of Wan Qiu Ning, allowing him to tolerate Lian Le Yi’s bad temper all these years.

    Suddenly another call could be heard and this time it was from Qu Wan Quan. “Cult Master Yang, we have arrived in Gu Su!” <IMG SRC="smilies/blob.gif" border="0">
    "Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
    Cyril Connolly

  18. #18
    Senior Member charbydis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    White Camel Mountain
    Posts
    4,934

    Smile

    CHAPTER EIGHTEEN: Horses Bring Trouble

    A school of silver scaled fish was happily swimming in the shallow but cool waters, enjoying their peaceful tranquil life when suddenly, a dark shadow spread over them and a loud splash could be heard. A large object had been thrust into water, and dispersed the frightened fish to the deeper waters where they later reunited. Small boats had been launched into the calm waters, disturbing the underwater life there and the men aboard rowed towards the shore.

    Finally, they were on land. The tall trees swayed slightly in the weak breeze, to which the doves that nested in its branches, cooed gently. The sky was slowly darkening in a deep black, but first into a spread of reds, pinks, and yellows. Now that the ship had been anchored, the waters regained their calmness and the environment regained its tranquility. But then a loud gallop of horses on the road ahead spoiled the peace.

    Lian Le Yi was trying to beat everyone to be first across the road and rushed ahead. The two horses were galloping at a great speed and despite noticing her on the road; the riders could not stop their steeds. The others ran ahead to push her out of the way although knowing that they would never arrive in time. Meanwhile Lian Le Yi was scared stiff and even though she had above average martial arts, her mind went blank.

    Hong Zheng Tian was already in front, using his Lightness Skills, when suddenly, two small stones flew pass and hit the horses on the side of their bodies. The two horses froze immediately but their riders continued to move forward. They tumbled over in front of their frozen mounts and wondered what had happened.

    The stones were the result of Yang Ji Fan’s quick reaction and he walked calmly to the fallen riders. Lian Le Yi was about to scream at them when suddenly, she saw their faces.

    With delight, she cried, “Qi Jie Jie, Han Ge Ge, what are you doing here?” and she kneeled down and grabbed Qi Qian Yu’s hands lovingly. Lian Le Yi had been so bored on the ship as the only female and now seeing another female of a similar age as her that she was filled with glee.

    “Qi Gu-Niang. How have you been?” greeted Yang Ji Fan. But Hong Zheng Tian, who had been missing her, called out intimately, “Qian Yu Mei Mei!” Han Qing Feng was happy to meet his friend again, but somehow, a hint of jealousy arose when those words were spoken.

    Seeing Yang Ji Fan, Han Qing Feng immediately jumped up and ran to him, pleading “Please help us, Cult Master Yang!” taking very deep breaths, “We have been pursued by some organization that we don’t even know. Help us, I am afraid that they might arrive soon!”

    For the past month, they had been running and running and running. It had all started when they had run into a fight between three armed men and ten black clad men and women. The three men were covered with skin cuts and bruises; one of them even had a bleeding eye, but still, they fought on valiantly. But they were slowly weakening but their attackers were no less lenient in their attacks and forced them towards a forest.

    Being righteous at heart, Han Qing Feng and Qi Qian Yu could not stand these outnumbering bullies and gave them a hand. Quickly releasing a series of projectiles at black clad group, Han Qing Feng and Qi Qian Yu quickly grabbed the three men and ran into the forest.

    “Who were those people and why were they trying to kill you?” they asked when they all had ran out of breath and stopped running.

    Between deep breaths, the man with the bleeding eye replied, “We are the three brothers of Mighty Horse Mountain. Those people are from the killer organization, the Immortal Exterminating Network, all killers, paid to kill us. They are scheming and devious. They set up traps, formations and use dirty stances. They are everywhere and can be any person. We have been running for three whole days without rest and they are still on our trail!”

    Qi Qian Yu thought for a while then proudly challenge, “As if they are the only ones who can use traps and formation!” And she quickly ran and gathered all the materials she could lay her hands on besides the materials in her bag, before the assassins arrived.

    Han Qing Feng let the three men rest on a fallen log and sat beside them on the ground. Suddenly, he turned around and noticed a familiar thin stalked plant. “Aha! I’ve got a plan!’ and an immediately set to uproot the plant. The Immortal Exterminating Network was up for a challenge! <IMG SRC="smilies/idea.gif" border="0">
    "Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
    Cyril Connolly

  19. #19
    Senior Member charbydis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    White Camel Mountain
    Posts
    4,934

    Cool

    CHAPTER NINETEEN: Hidden Meaning

    Finally, the assassins arrived. A few of them had swollen faces and hands, as the projectiles that had been thrown at them were previously dipped into sweet-smelling nectar, much to the please of the bees that inhabited the area. After much work and distress, they managed to rid them of the bee colony and continue for their bounty.

    But what they met with was unexpected. For in front of them was no one to face them. In the middle of a treeless space, was a large circle of rocks and nothing else. The assassins looked at the circle this way and that, but it did not seemed dangerous.

    Suddenly, a young girl’s voice came from nowhere and asked, “What are you lot gawking at? If you are curious, just step in! I dare you to!” The ten looked all over the place but could find not sign of anybody else. No even a single footprint, other than their own were found – the place was obviously swept prior to their arrival.

    A middle-aged man, obviously the leader of the group raised his chin at one of his younger subordinates, and obediently stepped it not the circle. Nothing happened.
    “What is the meaning of this?” the leader called out to the trees.

    The girl’s voice came again. “If you want to know the real meaning, please step into the circle!”

    “It’s a trap!” whispered a girl beside him, but the leader arrogantly dismissed her warning and ordered the rest to step in. Then came the real meaning of the circle.

    The assassins screamed in fear when suddenly, a series of silver needles, as dense as a curtain would be, rose from under the leaf litter they were standing on. They quickly leapt out of the circle, but were quickly trapped by the falling of vine webs, all except the leader and the girl who had warned him. The eight assassins still trapped in the web had to suffer a progression of sharp pricks and burns from the vines, and were hung in the air like the victims near Black Demon Peak. The two that had escaped quickly drew their swords and cut the vines, but Qi Qian Yu had learnt from her previous mistake. As soon as a vine was cut, the three men from Mighty Horse Mountain who were hidden in the dense branches threw down a shower of large rocks at the two.

    But the leader was not the leader for nothing. He threw his sword high up into the air and with his bare hands; he struck the closest rocks with the palms of his bare hands, and generated a strong force through them, pushed the rocks back into the approaching ones and shattered them as if they were ceramic pots.

    While this was going on, Han Qing Feng pulled a vine and released hundreds of freshly made poisonous thorns. The trapped assassins screamed out in pain as they defenselessly stood as targets for the darts. Just as another succession of darts were coming, the girl who was free quickly raised her blade and deflected them with a continuous circling of her sword, while the leader used his internal energy to force the shattered rocks to sever the vines from a safe distance.

    The web of vine fell, but before the killers could get away, there came a glitter of gold and again, the eight were targeted. The falling litter was in fact hundreds of thin golden leafs that looked harmless, but as they floated in the air, the wind on their thin bodies provided them with a deadly speed and in a matter of seconds, series of golden leaves found their place imbedded into the slit throats of the once living men.

    The girl gasped and exclaimed, “Mystery of the Leaves (Ye Zhong Qian Kun)!” and backed away. But the leader picked up a fallen vine and leapt into the air. Swinging the vine around him as a protective shield, he passed the glitter of golden leaves harmlessly and even flicked one of the leaves at a branch, making a clean cut in two. The falling branch revealed the hiding place of the five, who ran as fast as they could.

    As the leader passed under the tree they were on, something fell on his head, which made him scream like a girl. It was a leafy tree branch, no, a snake, no, hundreds of snakes, no, in fact thousands of snakes. The sap of that sickly looking plant Han Qing Feng had pulled up earlier was an attraction to all local snakes, and by sprinkling them on the leaves above where they sat hidden, all the snakes in the forest came to this aroma. As they leapt of the tree, Han Qing Feng drew his sharp sword and cut the branch, unloading all the gathered snakes.

    Little did he know that this leader who was not afraid of the heaven or the earth, was in fact paranoid about snakes. He lost all his rational thinking and jumped around like crazy. He screamed for help but no one was there to help him, the girl was gone!

    The five ran and ran until they were nearly out of the forest. Suddenly, a shower of pink rose petals fell in front of them and when they looked up, to find that a young girl was hanging off the branch of a tall tree. The trees were less dense now and they could hear the crashing of waves. The sea was just metres away!
    The girl was no other than the one who had identified the Mysteries of the Leaves, who now exclaimed, “I have been waiting for you lot for a long time! I thought with those traps you would have been more skillful in Lightness Skills, and you made me wait so long. But it doesn’t matter now, I will collect my bounty now anyway!” <IMG SRC="smilies/spidey.gif" border="0">

    [ August 19, 2002: Message edited by: charbydis ]
    "Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
    Cyril Connolly

  20. #20
    Senior Member charbydis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    White Camel Mountain
    Posts
    4,934

    Smile

    CHAPTER TWENTY: Duel of Snow and Ice

    “Don’t think you are so smart,” continued the girl, “You’re not the only one who knows those traps. In the whole wide world, there are only three living people who know those traps. The first one is you; the second is I. The third is my senior martial sister, Wan Qiu Ning. Where is she now, that traitor?”

    “What? Who is Wan Qiu Ning? I don’t even know anyone by the name Ning!” retorted Qi Qian Yu, “But even if I knew, I would tell you!” And she slid her hand in her bag, ready to defend any attack.

    The girl laughed again, “Don’t pretend you don’t know her! That vine web you just used was invented by that traitor, only that she did not use vines for that Heaven and Earth Web and was so much better at it than you!” Inside her mind, the girl bitterly thought about her childhood.

    Her mentor had always compared her to her senior martial sister more, even thought she had committed betrayal to the organization. No matter what she did, her mentor would always think of her as inferior to Wan Qiu Ning, in beauty, in martial arts, in wit and in traps. They never met face to face, but her mentor’s comments had made her had this senior martial sister very much. Even on his deathbed, he had advised her to be more like wan Qiu Ning. What was so good about her that she, the both beautiful and nimble Li Bing Xin, could never beat? But even if she were inferior to her in those areas, it would not matter. She would also be better at something than her. Wan Qiu Ning could have been a great assassin, but failed on the word, “emotions”. But she, Bing Xin, who was as cold as ice and as hard as stone, would never fall victim to that. Never.

    “If you don’t tell me, fine!” she continued, “Then wait until the other assassins arrive and you will be sorry! Meanwhile, have a taste of my Mysteries of the Petals!” and she immediately released several handfuls of rose petals at them at so fast a speed that from harmless they became deadly. Leaves or petals, the skill was the same. It was only that Li Bing Xin did want to be remembered in the shadow of Wan Qiu Ning so she changed the weapon to thin silver petals.

    Qi Qian Yu called, “Stay back!’ and released a long chain of silver segments. She spun the chain around deflecting the petals then pulling tight the string that connected them, she shortened it into a turgid solid sword and lunged at the coming petals. But Han Qing Feng was not enjoying this moment either, for the petals that were deflected were now targeting him, as well as a new wave sent by Li Bing Xin.

    Qi Qian Yu displayed a swift swordplay, defending herself while at the same time, sending the petals back to where they came from with the force emitted from the sword. But Li Bing Xin merely laughed and reflected them back with even more petals. The rush of petals coming at Qi Qian Yu was becoming more dense, and harder to defend. “Move away!” called Han Qing Feng to her as he drew the Green Silk Sword.

    With one clean swipe, a narrow beam of green light shot towards Li Bing Xin and broke the branch she was hanging off. But as the beam passed by the shower of petals, they turned into thin ice pieces and fell to the ground. Then striking the ground before him, the energy conducted through the sword and into the soil and erupted just before the frozen petals, sending them towards Li Bing Xin. Li Bing Xin hand no weapon at hand and was forced to take steps backwards, but one step too far, and she fell down among the roaring waves of the cliff close by.

    And at that second, the second wave of assassins came and surrounded them, but were easily dispatched by the Green Silk Sword. Somehow, Han Qing Feng was getting more used to creating those beams, and the chance of him being able to do so was getting harder every time. In a matter of minutes, he and Qi Qian Yu ran off, leaving either frozen men or fleeing killers.

    After making sure that the two were gone, the assassins reemerged again and gathered at the side of the cliff, staring down at where Li Bing Xin fell.

    “Leader” said one sturdy looking young man, “Should we go done and scavenge for Bing Xin?”

    The leader coldly shook his head and replied, “No. As an assassin, her life should be at her own hands. If she wants to survive, she would have to brave all hardships by herself. Let’s go!”

    “But, she is Master’s favourite, if we don’t save her …” the young man continued, but them gave up under the leader’s hard gaze, and followed him away. In side the head of the leader, he was smiling evilly. Without Li Bing Xin, Hua Bi Rong would be weaker now, and soon, the Immortal Exterminating Network would be in his hands. But meanwhile, finding Wan Qiu Ning was the most important thing on his mind.
    <IMG SRC="smilies/thinkingof.gif" border="0">
    "Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
    Cyril Connolly

Similar Threads

  1. Another sect - Qing Cheng
    By PJ in forum Wuxia Fiction
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 07-23-12, 01:05 AM
  2. Da Qing Hou Gong (Concubines of the Qing Emperor)
    By cweyy in forum Mainland China TV Series
    Replies: 34
    Last Post: 06-19-09, 04:28 AM
  3. Replies: 0
    Last Post: 04-04-07, 04:10 AM
  4. The Four Brothers Of Peking 《京城四少》
    By Meh in forum Mainland China TV Series
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 09-11-05, 04:06 PM
  5. Did Cheng Jia Luo ever get together with Huo Qing tong?
    By mephisto04 in forum Wuxia Fiction
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 08-23-05, 10:02 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts