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Thread: Swordsman the Lost Duel

  1. #21
    Senior Member Mandred Skavenslayer's Avatar
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    Childhood dreams, Adult Life



    The winter had brought many changes, some good some not so good. But the people touched by the them would never be the same again. Lin Pingzhi had spend his first winter away from his parents and without all the comforts he had grown up with. Being forced to share food and accommodation with his fellow Mount Hua apprentices kept him in a permanently depressed mood.

    He could not get use to their coarse behaviour, dubious hygiene and bawdy jokes. As a result he interacted with them as little as possible spending most of his time practising his Martial Arts and only saying the absolute minimum to them. His attitude made him few friends with one notable exception.

    Yue Lingshan had taken a shine to the new Mount Hua apprentice. At first it was out of pity for he had lost his family and always seemed to be on the brink of tears. She would eat with him when he sat apart from the other apprentices, listen to him when he talked about his past and comfort him when he cried. Slowly she began to look forward to their time together, for he made her feel special, being the only person he would open up to.

    Gradually pity turned to friendship, and friendship to companionship, until one day Yue Lingshan found herself fantasising about spending her life with him. At first the idea confused and frightened her. Ever since childhood she had thought she would one day marry Linghu Chong. They had grown up together and he had always doted on her. For her part Yue Lingshan was always been happy in his company for he was witty and knowledgeable.

    However as she got closer to Ling Pingzhi she came to realize her true feelings. She loved Linghu Chong like a brother, but her love for Lin Pingzhi was so much more. It was passionate, it was fierce, it overwhelmed her to the point where she couldn't imagine living without him.

    As one love was born another died. Linghu Chong had been banished to Repentance Cliff by Yue Buqun for not killing Qu Yang when he had the chance. Although he still believed his decision was correct Linghu Chong could not disobey his Shifu. His exile had began in late autumn and to begin with Yue Lingshan had visited him every day from dawn to dusk.

    Her visits however had got shorter as time went by, until whole weeks would pass without Linghu Chong seeing her. From the apprentices that brought him food Linghu Chong had learnt of the growing friendship between Yue Lingshan and Lin Pingzhi. At first he was not concerned, after all Yue Lingshan had always been kind-hearted so it was natural for her to look after someone who had been through so much.

    But as the apprentices continued talking the seeds of doubt slowly took root in his mind. One day Linghu Chong couldn't control his fears and followed Yue Lingshan down the cliff after one of her brief visits. Hiding behind some rocks he spied her as she ran towards Lin Pingzhi. He watched in horror as they embraced and then kiss.

    Part of him wanted to run out and confront them. He wanted to denounce Yue Lingshan for the ***** that she was. He wanted to smash his fists into Lin Pingzhi's face and destroy that handsomeness. He wanted to throw them both of the cliff and watch their bodies shatter on the rocks. But he didn't. The part of him that was still sane stayed his hand. With a heavy heart he went back up the cliff. For once he welcomed the solitude of his exile.

    He cursed Lin Pingzhi, Yue Lingshan, himself and the Heavens in roughly that order. In his frustration he drew his sword and hacked at the walls of the cave he was living in. He imagined the wall was Lin Pingzhi and his blows got fiercer. He struck with a brutality he didn't know he possessed, carving great chunks out of rock. Suddenly a part of the wall collapsed and revealed a man size tunnel.

    His surprise temporally overcame his anger. Lighting a torch he entered the tunnel and stumbled on the remains of a body. It was the first of many that filled the tunnel. The bodies were no more than bones covered with scraps of clothing showing the ravage of time. Besides them were weapons that obviously been used to create the tunnel.

    Linghu Chong deduced that they had dug the tunnel in an attempt to escape, but had came to the last of their strength just short of their goal. He could not understand why these people had been in the cave located within the forbidden territory of his school. After several minutes he reached the end of the tunnel and entered a cave similar to the one he had been staying in.

    The cave mouth was blocked by a massive boulder made from a rock much harder than the cave walls. It would seem that the tunnel's creators had been lured into the cave, then the boulder was dropped trapping them inside. As Linghu Chong looked around he saw that there were carving on the walls. Written in large characters were the words:

    “Despicable Five Mountain Sword School Alliance.
    Unable to best us with their inferior skills they resorted to trickery.
    May all who read this know their shame”

    At first Linghu Chong was enraged by the words. But as he looked at the other carvings he saw that they depicted the techniques of the Five Mountain Sword Schools. But what shocked him most was that the depictions also showed how to counter each and everyone of them.

    Linghu Chong's mind refused to comprehend what was happening. Within the space of a day he had lost two things he had considered constants within his life. First Yue Lingshan no longer loved him. Now he had discovered that the school whose martial arts and integrity he had always been proud, was capable of such horrendous acts of deceit. He felt like he was loosing his mind. Hammering his fist into the rocks he wanted drawn his sorrows in pain. As the blood flowed down his hands something dropped from his chest.

    Crouching down he picked up a purple hair band with three pearls sown into it. The image of Dong fangbo appeared. Along with the image came memories of friendship, laughter and a sense of peace he now sorely missed. Linghu Chong held onto these pleasant memories using them to calm his turbulent thoughts. Slowly his mind settled and he found a small measure of peace.

    ####

    Bai Xuesheng had spent the winter as always at White Tiger Palace. It was a pattern he had establish early on in his reign. He would spend the spring and summer months roaming the Martial Arts, then return to the Palace in late autumn. His winter months were spent going over the family accounts and planning for the year to come. However this winter the Palace servants detected a change in their Lord.

    Where once his return was marked by celebration and feasting, this year he returned without ceremony. Bai Xuesheng had arrived quietly and ordered that all planned celebrations to be cancelled. He had spent most of his time in his study, the family shrine and in the Training Hall, places where he could be alone. The deaths of Qu Yang and Liu Zhengfeng had made him reassess his life.

    Perhaps it was time to put aside playboy lifestyle? Maybe he should take his position as one of the major powers within the Martial Arts world more seriously? Was there anything he could do to prevent another tragedy from happening? He brooded over these and many other questions over the cold months but could find no answers.

    As winter loosened its grip Bai Xuesheng received two messages. The first was an invitation to a meeting he loathed but could not avoid. The second brought him some joy. His agents had reported success in their search for the owner of the pink charm. Quickly he wrote a letter and enclosed it in an envelope along with the pink charm. Summoning a messenger he gave his command:

    “Take this to Black-wood Cliff and deliver it into Lord Dongfang's hand. No one else is to have this letter.”

    The messenger bowed and took the letter. As he left Bai Xuesheng smiled as he pictured the look on his friend's face when she received his letter. He would pay a lot to be able to see that.

    ####

    Yilin walked into the Audience Hall with her heart full of curiosity. One of the nuns had told her that she had a visitor. At first Yilin's heart had leapt as she thought it might be Linghu Chong, but her hopes were dashed when the nun told her that it was a young lady. Now as she entered the Hall she saw a young woman about 6 or 7 years older than herself sitting on one of the chairs in the Hall.

    Yilin's visitor wore a purple dress with the sleeves and hem cut short for ease of movement. When the woman turned to Yilin she was struck by how beautiful she was. The visitor rose and smiled nervously, then reaching into her chest she pulled out a small pink object:

    “I am sorry I didn't return in time to save you, but I am happy that this has protected you for all these years”

    Long forgotten memories came flooding back to Yilin. She remembered burning buildings and screaming crowds. She saw herself chasing a rabbit then being taken up in familiar embrace. She recalled a scared but determined woman pressing the pink charm into her hand then hiding her in a water bucket. Yilin looked at the woman in front of her and saw the same face, this time filled with guilt and joy. With trembling lips Yilin spoke:

    “Jiě jiě? Is it really you?”

    Emotions choked Dongfang Bubai's throat and all she could manage was a nod. Yilin ran into her sister's open arms and cried onto her shoulder. Dongfang Bubai held her sister tightly as if afraid she would disappear at any moment, her own tears running freely down her face. The sisters' fierce embraced lasted for several minutes, until finally breaking apart they sat and talked. Their conversation was constantly interrupted by tears of joy, heartfelt laughs and longing hugs. It was as if they wanted to catch up on nearly a decade of separation within a day.

    Morning soon turned to afternoon, and still the sisters talked. Finally a bell rang announcing afternoon prayers. Reluctantly Yilin rose to perform her duties. Dongfang Bubai took her hand:

    “Yilin, don't stay here. Come with me. I am a person of substance in the world now and can give you whatever you want.”

    “I am happy here Jiě jiě, but please visit me as often as you can.”

    “I promise.”

    With a final embrace the sisters parted. As Dongfang Bubai followed a nun outside she remembered that when she promised Yilin her heart's desire a strange look came over her sister. It was neither happy nor sad, but Dongfang Bubai had saw a spark of excitement in her eyes. Politely she asked the nun:

    “Sister, are you close the Yilin?”

    “I grew up with her, are you her family?”

    “Yes, but we got separated along time ago. I would like to get her something but am not sure what. Do you think you can help me?”

    “Yilin had always been a happy person and never asked for anything. But since coming back from South Mount Heng she had been distant and sad. All of us are quite worried.”

    Dongfang Bubai thought back to what had happened at South Mount Heng and concluded that there could be only two people who could possibly be responsible for her sister's present condition. If they had caused Yilin's depression then they would have to relieve it.


    ####'

    Bai Xuesheng arrived at the pavilion to be greeted by a man in his late forties with a well tended drooping moustache. He was dressed in sombre black which gave the impression of a dignified statesman. This was Tang Yong head of the Tang family. Like the Bais the Tangs were an old Martial Arts family and much respected amongst the Martial Arts community. Although the Tangs could not compare with the Bais in terms of power, the two families had a long history of association, so when Tang Yong sent his invitation Bai Xuesheng could not refuse.

    After saluting each other Tang Yong invited Bai Xuesheng inside the pavilion where Zuo Lengshan waited. Bai Xuesheng had known that the leader of the Five Mountain Sword School Alliance would want to bring him to account for the death of Fei Bin. However Zuo Lengshan knew that Bai Xuesheng would never agree to meet him at Mount Song, so he had arranged for the meeting to take place on neutral ground, namely the Tang land.

    Bai Xuesheng studied Zuo Lengshan. The man was in his fifties and clean shaven with a strong build. He was dressed in a purple and silver robe whose majestic look befitted a man of his rank. It was his eyes however that drew Bai Xuesheng's attention. They had the predatory look of a wolf and reminded him of Ren Woxing.

    After introductions and the necessary niceties the men sat down around the stone table at the centre of the pavilion. Bai Xuesheng and Zuo Lengshan sat facing each other while Tang Yong sat in between them. The three of them got down to business:

    “Lord Bai, I think you know the reason I asked Lord Tang to arrange this meeting?”

    “I assume Lord Zuo wishes to discuss the incident at Liu Manor?”

    “That was an internal affair of my Alliance, may I ask why you thought you had the right to interfere?”

    “Liu Zhengfeng was my Lǎo​shī, he was in trouble so I decided to help.”

    “Your help caused the death of my Martial Brother”

    “Your Martial Brother? I don't remember killing anyone of such standing. I do remember getting rid of a mad dog that savaged a child.”

    “She was a spawn of the Evil cult!”

    “She was fourteen!”

    Tang Yong stood up and placed a placating hand on each men's shoulder:

    “Gentlemen, gentlemen please calm down” He turned first to Zuo Lengshan: “Lord Zuo, I have also heard of what went on at Liu Manor and must say that your people's actions were excessive”

    Before Zuo Lengshan could reply Tang Yong turned to Bai Xuesheng: “However Lord Bai. Was it really necessary to kill Fei Bin?” Bai Xuesheng did not respond to the rhetorical question so Tang Yong continued “I suggest some kind of compensation, say a thousand pieces of silver for Fei Bin's family.”

    “I have no objection” replied Bai Xuesheng. Although he resented paying even a copper piece for the life of that scum, he decided to give this face to Tang Yong.

    “I am afraid that won't do” declared Zuo Lengshan.

    “So what would Lord Zuo take as adequate compensation?” asked Bai Xuesheng with an edge to his voice that made it clear he was coming to the end of his patience.

    “The only fair compensation is a life for a life” Zuo Lengshan's eyes took on a dangerous glint as he delivered the words.

    “You go to far Lord Zou!” shouted Tang Yong.

    Zuo Lengshan slammed his palm into his side of the table intending to send it crashing into Bai Xuesheng's face, but found himself checked when Bai Xuesheng placed his palm onto his own side of the table. As the two lords strained against each other, the table weighing over a tonne, started to rise into the air and waves of Qi energy rippled out from it.

    Tang Yong looked in awed silence, knowing that it would be suicide to interfere in this contest. In fact it was all he could do to not be washed out of the pavilion by the waves of Qi power. After nearly a minute the stone table could withstand the pressure no more and shattered into dust.

    Zuo Lengshan flew backwards out of the pavilion and took a defensive stance, while Bai Xuesheng remained in his seat and gently brushed the dust from his clothes. The young man's cool demeanour rattled Zuo Lengshan but he kept his voice steady as he spoke:

    “Bai family's martial arts certainly live up to its reputation” The words were enhanced by Qi and carried much further than the pavilion. The reason for this soon became clear as hundreds of Mount Song apprentices emerged form the woods with swords bared and murder in their eyes.

    Zuo Lengshan smiled in triumph at the fruition of his plan. Tang Yong had thought to thwart any attempts at ambush by not announcing the location of the meeting until three days before the event, reasoning that the short time frame would leave no room for either Zuo Lengshan or Bai Xuesheng to gather sufficient men-power.

    What Tang Young didn't know was that Zuo Lengshan had been sending his men into Tang territory for months. They had travelled in small groups of no more than two or three and by the time the meeting was announced there were over two hundred men ready for Zuo Lengshan to deploy.

    Tang Yong glared at Zuo Lengshan:

    “Zuo Lengshan is this how you keep your word?”

    “Lord Tang please stay out of this. Today I am going to cleanse the Martial Arts world of an Evil Cult lover!”

    Bai Xuesheng clapped his hands in a slow applause and wore a smile that did not reach his eyes:

    “Well done, then again I expected nothing less of the Great Lord Zuo. But tell me, are you prepared to trade your family line for mine.”

    Zuo Lengshan looked at Bai Xuesheng in confusion until he heard a familiar voice cry out for him:

    “Father!”

    Turning in the direction of the voice Zuo Lengshan saw his son, Zuo Jinbao being lead out of the woods. Zuo Lengshan's son was about the same age as Bai Xuesheng, but this was the only similarity the two men shared. Zuo Jinbao was short, fat and dressed in contrasting colours that made him look like a child's ball. Where Bai Xuesheng looked like a well reared stallion, Zuo Jinbao had the appearance of an overfed pup.

    Zuo Jinbao was flanked by two Mount Song apprentices, but their drawn swords were resting against his flabby throat which trembled in fear.

    “How dare you!” barked Zuo Lengshan as he stared daggers at Bai Xuesheng.

    “Please Lord Zuo not so loud, you might cause me men to panic and their swords could slip.”

    “Release my son and you can go free”

    “I am afraid that won't do.” said Bai Xuesheng in a mocking imitation of Zuo Lengshan's words: “I will take a little stroll with your son. When we are done he will be returned to you safe and sound.”

    “You expect me to take your word when you wouldn't take mine?”

    “I have never broken mine. Besides its not like you have a choice” so saying Bai Xuesheng stepped out of the pavilion and without so much as a backwards glance walked away.

    ####'

    When they were clear of the Mount Song apprentices, Bai Xuesheng called a halt. Turning he smiled at his men. He had planted them in Mount Song years ago with the instructions that they should ingratiate themselves with Zuo Lengshan. Unfortunately the Master of Mount Song had proven to canny to take them into his confidence, so the men had redirected their attention to Zuo Jinbao instead.

    They had indulged the young man's taste for wine and gambling, flattering the young fool until they became his close companions. Now that same fool cowed before Bai Xuesheng. Shaking his head in disgust Bai Xuesheng ordered his release:

    “Are you sure My Lord. He could be a useful bargaining piece” asked one of his men.

    “I gave my word, and unlike his father I keep mine.”

    As soon as he was released the young man fled through he woods as if afraid that Bai Xuesheng might change his mind. The man who had questioned releasing their prisoner turned to Bai Xuesheng:

    “Are we returning to White Tiger Palace my Lord?”

    “You two are, I am going to North Mount Heng.”

    ####

    Tian Boguang leapt from branch to branch as he fled, all the time casting scared glances over his shoulder. He racked his brains trying to figure out how he had ended up in this predicament. Had he taken the wrong woman and now her vengeful family was after him. It was possible but unlikely for the rapist was intelligent enough never to antagonise anyone really powerful.

    It all happened 10 days ago while he was paying a visit to one of his favourite brothels. The establishment was famous for providing exotic beauties including girls from the north with the strange coloured eyes and southern beauties who wore tantalising bells in intimate places. Barely had Tian Boguang stepped through the door, he was set upon by half a dozen men. All of them were highly skilled and it was only he legendary light-footedness that allowed him to escape.

    This was a beginning of a long chase, with Tian Boguang being hounded out of ever place he had once thought safe. Whoever it was that he had upset, they seemed to have an infinite pool of men-power for it seemed like the entire Martial Arts world was after him. Despite his title of Lone Traveller of Ten Thousand Lis, he doubted even he could run far enough to escape his pursuer.

    He came to a dead stop as he saw her standing on a branch in front of him. For a moment his scared mind could not understand how this demoness could be standing there. Tian Boguang had always considered his speed and agility amongst the elite of the Martial Arts world, so when he had ran from her several Lis back, he had fully expected to leave her in his dust. Could she really be that fast?

    His answer came when he reached for his blade. One moment she was several feet away from him and the next she was in front of him. Tian Boguang froze as his acupoint sealed. His blade wasn't even half way put of its sheath. Tian Boguang tumble to the ground and fell roughly, but his groans were stopped when the woman put her foot on his neck:

    “Who are you?” asked the frightened man.

    “Do you remember Yilin”

    “I never violated her!” shouted the rapist

    “I know, otherwise you would be a headless ghost already”

    “So what do you want?”

    For answer the woman flicked a pill into his mouth then clamped her hand around it. The pill melted almost instantly. Removing her hand the mysterious woman unsealed his acupoint and stepped back. With a smile that reminded Tian Boguang of a snake she spoke:

    “That pill you just took was poison. If you do not get the antidote within 10 days your digits will begin to blacken and drop of. The rot will then spread to the rest of your body slowly killing you over the course of months.”

    “Why are you doing this?”

    “All you need to know is that I will spare you the fate of a slow death, if you will do something for me”

    With little choice Tian Boguang fell to his knees and agreed.

  2. #22
    Senior Member Mandred Skavenslayer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sjohnb View Post
    Nice work so far Mandred. Interested to see where you're going with Bai Xuesheng. Introducing a new character on par with Dongfang Bubai was a good idea.
    Thanks for dropping by and your kind words.

  3. #23
    Senior Member szfong's Avatar
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    Thanx for the update, please update soon...

  4. #24
    Senior Member Dongfang Xue's Avatar
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    Next chapter please Mandred, I ran out of inspirations

  5. #25
    Senior Member Mandred Skavenslayer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by szfong View Post
    Thanx for the update, please update soon...
    Will do my best

  6. #26
    Senior Member Mandred Skavenslayer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dongfang Xue View Post
    Next chapter please Mandred, I ran out of inspirations
    If you want to brain storm let me know

  7. #27
    Member Christos200's Avatar
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    Nice story. I've read the first post. When I read all others, I will post more feedback.

  8. #28
    Senior Member Mandred Skavenslayer's Avatar
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    Eastern Dawn, Clear Wind and Fresh Snow



    Linghu Chong sent a decapitating slash at his opponent. It had been a month since his discovery of the cave and Yue Lingshan's change of heart. In that time he had cried, he had wailed, he had even thought about ending his own life. But in the end his natural stubbornness would not let him take that way out. He had decided to face his problems. If Yue Lingshan no longer loved him then so be it, but he was not going to give up without a fight. He was determined to at least try to win her back.

    That same determination also helped him overcome the shock of learning his school's secret. So what if his predecessors had committed a horrendous act. It just meant he had to work harder at winning back honour for them. So someone had countered the Martial Arts of his school. He would just have to improve his own skills to the point where he could counter the counter techniques.

    To this end he had studied the techniques carved onto the cave walls. The sophistication of the techniques were breath taking and opened his mind to the true power of his art. He doubted even his Shifu knew some of the techniques depicted there. It was not just Mount Hua techniques that he studied but also those of the four other schools as well. His intensive studies had greatly improved his own skills but even so he knew he had only scratched the surface and was still along way from being able to counter the counter moves.

    Now however there was an opportunity to put to practice what he had learned. Tian Boguang had arrived an hour ago demanding that Linghu Chong leave the Cliff with him. Of course Linghu Chong had refused and drew his sword ready to fight to the death. To his surprise Tian Boguang seemed reluctant to used force, instead he had proposed a contest. If Linghu Chong could last up to thirty moves in a fight with him, then Tian Boguang would leave, however if Linghu Chong could not last the designated number of moves then he had to go with Tian Boguang.

    Linghu Chong thought the proposal over. He knew that he could not overcome the rapist in a fair fight so this offered the best chance he had of getting rid of him. Besides if he did loose then he would kill himself and deny Tian Boguang his prize. Having made up his mind he attacked.

    Tian Boguang parried the blow and returned a backhanded swipe aiming at Linghu Chong's head. Linghu Chong backed away using the footwork of South Mount Heng to evade the rapid strikes of his opponent. The unexpected change in style confused Tian Boguang allowing Linghu Chong to keep his distance then counter attack with the devastating sword work of Mount Song.

    But in his eagerness to finish the fight he got too close and Tian Boguang used his superior strength to brush the attack aside and take the fight to the close range that he favoured. Linghu Chong tried to use the South Mount Heng footwork to get away but this time Tian Boguang was ready for him and used his own footwork to keep close to his opponent.

    Linghu Chong leapt into the air and did a backwards flip using the light aerial attacks that were the signature moves of North Mount Heng. Striking with the weightlessness of floating flower petals, Linghu Chong unleashed a series of lightning fast strikes to Tian Boguang's head. Tian Boguang's sword became an shield of steel as he fended of the attack.

    Landing lightly Linghu Chong used the powerful ground hugging sweeps of Mount Tai to try and literately cut Tian Boguang's feet from under him. However his inexperience in executing the move meant that he was a second slower than he needed to be and Tian Boguang stepped on the flat of his sword trapping it, then followed with a punch to the chest that knocked Linghu Chong to the ground.

    Looming over his defeated opponent Tian Boguang spoke:

    “Impressive, in a few short months your sword art has improved greatly. But the moves you used didn't seem to be of Mount Hua”

    “My school's art are as unfathomable as the ocean, how could a simpleton like you understand them” replied Linghu Chong as he picked himself up.

    “More like a puddle. They couldn't even last thirty moves against me” barely had the mocking words left his mouth then something struck him in the chest with so such force that he was sent sprawling to the ground. As he touched his chest Tian Boguang found a single leaf there. For a moment he thought that the mysterious person who had saved Linghu Chong the first time they met had returned.

    Laughter came from the cave and a man emerged. He looked to be about 70 or 80, and wore a rough hemp jacket with matching trousers. His white hair was held loosely in place by a piece of string and his unkempt beard grew like a bush from his face. When he spoke it was with a surprisingly cultured voice which seemed at odds with his appearance:

    “If this boy had learnt the true art of our school then it would be you who would have been defeated.”

    Linghu Chong stared in dumb silence at the new arrival. Who was this man? Was he really an elder of his school? If so what was he doing at Repentance Cliff and why had he Shifu never mentioned that someone of such importance was here?

    Cautiously Tian Boguang picked himself up. As he stared at the man he remembered stories of a legendary Mount Hua swordsman. Could this be him? Bowing low he saluted the man:

    “If I may be so bold, I would like to enquiry if elder is the legendary Feng Qingyang?”

    Linghu Chong could feel his jaw hit the ground. Surely this caveman could not be his granduncle, the same man that once claimed to be one of the three most powerful martial artist under Heaven.

    “You are quite knowledgeable for your age.” replied Feng Qingyang with a chuckle. The old man turned to Linghu Chong and was annoyed that the youngster had not greeted him. Clearly he had some doubt about his identity.

    Tian Boguang spoke with as much respect as he could muster:

    “Elder Feng, please accept my humble apologies for my earlier remark. But I have an agreement with your grandnephew. I trust Elder Feng would not force us to break it?”

    “Don't try that trick with me boy. If I wanted to break your deal you would not be breathing right now. However your agreement did not specify when Linghu Chong had to take those 30 moves of yours, nor how many attempts he gets. Now I have decided that he gets two attempts and you will return tomorrow morning for the second contest. Have you any objections?”

    Although far from satisfied the rapist knew better than to press his luck. Bowing once more he beat a hasty retreat.

    ####

    Linghu Chong walked into the cave after Feng Qingyang. Swift as a gust of wind the old man spun around and took the sword form Linghu Chong's hand then leapt into the centre of the cave. Linghu Chong stared in awe as Feng Qingyang started performing the Mount Hua sword art. The moves were executed with a precision and power Linghu Chong never thought possible. Feng Qingyang went through the entire set of Mount Hua sword art in breathtaking speed, the sword in his hand become an extension of his will and seemed to move with a life of its own.

    It was as if the carvings on the walls had come to life and showed Linghu Chong the peak of what his school's art could achieve in the hands of a true master. Never before had he seen Mount Hua's art performed with such perfection, compared to this man even his Shifu seemed like a novice.

    As Feng Qingyang finished Linghu Chong fell to his knees and saluted him:

    “Humble apprentice greets Granduncle Feng”

    “So you don't suspect that I am a fraud any more?”

    “Humble apprentice would never dare”

    “Why not? I would” Feng Qingyang chuckled as he spoke and Linghu Chong had to fight the urge to join in. It seems that his Granduncle had a very healthy sense of humour.

    Feng Qingyang helped Linghu Chong up then patted him on the shoulder:

    “So that fool Yue Buqun is not quite blind yet. At least he still knows how to pick apprentices.”

    “Granduncle, with all due respect I ask you not to insult my Shifu.”

    “And what if I continue insulting him?”

    “Then your humble apprentice would have no choice but to excuse himself from your presence”

    Linghu Chong had expected his words to be met with anger but instead Feng Qingyang laughed even louder:

    “I didn't think there was anyone like you any more. So few youngsters know how to show the proper respects to the Shifus these days. Very well I promise not to insult him again. Now will you stay and learn from me?”

    “Providing Granduncle does not insult my Shifu then yes”

    “This feels like its me begging you to learn”

    “Humble apprentice would never dare”

    Feng Qingyang stroked his heard:

    “Tell me why did you loose to Tian Boguang?”

    “He was too fast, too strong.”

    “So?”

    Linghu Chong stared blankly at Feng Qingyang, unable to comprehend his words. The old man shook his head and continued:

    “If strength and speed was all that martial arts is about, then an Ox would be the best Martial Artist in the world. Heaven gave men intelligence so I suggest you use it. Now think, why is a farmer able to lead an Ox, many times his own weight, around the field without the Ox trampling him?”

    “Because the farmer leads the Ox by the ring in its nose”

    “And why does that work?”

    “Because the nose is the weakest part of the Ox.”

    “Exactly! No matter how strong the Ox is, if you find its weakness then it is powerless.”

    Linghu Chong felt like a great fog had been lifted from his mind. To beat Tian Boguang he needed to find the man's weakness. Going through his encounters with the man he tried to think of any holes in his fighting style. Unconsciously he started musing out loud:

    “Tian Boguang's greatest strength his his speed, so if I can stop him building up speed then I can beat him”

    “At last you get it. For a moment there I thought I was wasting my time.”

    “But Granduncle how am I suppose to achieve this?”

    “I hope you have a steady supply of candles and a good memory, for tonight I intend to teach you an art that will allow you to do just that.”

    “What art is that Granduncle?”

    “Dugu Nine Swords.”

    ####

    Tian Boguang walked up the cliff just after dawn, eager to get the duel over with. The appearance of Feng Qingyang had unsettled him, but he was still confident of victory. After all it had been only one night and legend though he was, even Feng Qingyang could not perform miracles.

    As the plateau came into view he saw Linghu Chong standing in the muddle of the flat ground, his hands resting on the pommel of his sheathed sword. Feng Qingyang was sitting in the pavilion stroking his beard and wearing an amused smile. As Tian Boguang met his opponent's gaze a small seed of doubt was planted in his mind. Linghu Chong was completely relaxed, as if the upcoming battle had already been decided.

    Tian Boguang drew his blade and let out a huge roar as he charged, trying to unnerve Linghu Chong and drive away his own growing fears. As soon as the blades met Tian Boguang knew he was in trouble. No matter how fast he moved or were placed his strike Linghu Chong's sword would always be there. His opponent placed his sword at precisely the right place to stop him building up the momentum he needed.

    In desperation Tian Boguang tried to shoulder charge into Linghu Chong hoping to disrupt his tactic with the unexpected move. He froze as the point of Linghu Chong's sword rested on the side of the neck. Tian Boguang could not comprehend how his opponent had read what was supposed to be a random move. But what he did know was that he was no longer a match for Linghu Chong:

    “Bravo Linghu Chong. Well are you going to finish this?”

    “Our deal was that you leave if I win. But be warned, if we ever meet again I will bring you to account for all the women's lives that you have ruined.”

    Tian Boguang offered a final salute to his vanquisher and Feng Qingyang before taking his leave. Linghu Chong turned to see his own smile reflected on his Granduncle's face:

    “Not bad boy. You anticipated his last attack by studying his body movements and placing your sword were he would be.”

    “Humble apprentice thanks Granduncle for passing this supreme art to me” said Linghu Chong as he knelt at Feng Qingyang's feet:

    “You are still far from obtaining supreme art. But it seems fate has degreed that our destinies are linked. I will stay and guide you until you have mastered the whole of Dugu Nine Sword.”

    There were no words sufficient to express Linghu Chong's gratitude at this honour Feng Qingyang was bestowing on him. So he just bowed his head and accepted the priceless gift.

    ####'

    Dongfang Bubai was practically dragging Yilin with her as they reached the foot of Mount Hua. Dongfang Bubai had appeared at North Mount Heng ten days ago and insisted Yilin come with her. After obtaining permission from Dingyi the sisters had left. The trip had been taken in high spirits as both sisters relished the chance to spend sometime together. However when Yilin asked her sister about the destination of their trip Dongfang Bubai would give her an impish smile and say it was a surprise.

    Yilin took her hand away from her sister and refused to go any further until she knew why they were at Mount Hua:

    “Oh very well. As we are here I might as well tell you. I have brought you to see the person you've been pining over”

    “​Jiě​jiě, you don't mean?”

    “Yes. Linghu Chong will be here soon”

    Yilin's face burned with embarrassment and anger. Turing sharply she started to storm off:

    “Yilin where are you going?”

    “Mount Heng”

    Quick as a flash Dongfang Bubai was standing in front of her sister:

    “Yilin...”

    “Jiě​jiě, I can't believe you did this. I am to take holy vows next year. The fact that I have these thoughts about Linghu Dage is already a sin.”

    “But...”

    “Jiě​jiě! If you ever want to see me again then never mention this again”

    Pushing pass her sister Yilin walked off without looking back. As Dongfang Bubai stared after her she whispered to herself:

    “My silly girl, you don't know how fortunate you are to have the chance to express your feelings. Others can only bury them deep inide their hearts.”

    ####

    Tian Boguang approached her sheepishly. It had been a day and a night since his defeat at Linghu Chong's hand and he greatly feared reporting his failure to her. Despite her obvious beauty the only emotion he felt in her presence for uncontrollable terror. Seeing him approach Dongfang Bubai spoke:

    “Well where is he?”

    “I am sorry but I was unable to fulfil my mission.”

    “Impossible, with your skills you should have been able to capture him with ease.”

    “I would have but an unexpected obstacle showed up.”

    “Oh and what was that?”

    “Feng Qingyang was staying at Repentance Cliff and my meagre skills were no match for that legend”

    “Well this is interesting. One of the three legends are back in the Martial Arts world. I may have to investigate this myself” thought Dongfang Bubai to herself.

    Tian Boguang fell to his knees:

    “Lady I have tried my best, I beg you to show mercy”

    “But of course” Dongfang Bubai's words were accompanied by a flick of her fingers. A needle travelling faster than the eye could see penetrated Tian Boguang's throat and severed the nerves connecting his body to his head crippling him from the neck down.

    The paralysed Tian Boguang stared up in horror at Dongfang Bubai:

    “Why?”

    “Did you really think I was going to let you get away with destroying the lives of all those women. Now you can wait to eaten by wolves, die of thirst or bite of your own tongue. I leave the choice to you.”

    “No please don't”

    “No please don't? How many woman begged you with those words before to ruined them. Today I return the same mercy you showed them.”

    Dongfang Bubai walked away her ears deaf to the pitiful cries of Tian Boguang.

    ####

    Yilin wondered if she was born under a cursed star. Not even two hours had passed since she had left her sister and already she was in trouble. She had ran into three bandits and now found herself fighting for her life. It seems that she always got into trouble whenever she was alone. She would have laughed if she wasn't in such peril.

    The bandits were armed with short single edged swords. They were all large burly men and while not very skilled, were competent with their weapons. Yilin had managed to wound one of them in the arm, but now the other two were attacking her from both sides. She twisted and turned using the agile movements of her school's art to stay away from their blades.

    However the bandit she had wounded, got to his feet and threw some kind of white powder in her face. As soon as she inhaled the powder she started feeling drowsy and fell to her knees. Her sword was kicked away from her and the bandits jumped on her like animals, tearing her clothes and groping her with their filthy hands. Yilin tried to fight but could find no strength.

    One of the bandits flew into the air as if pulled by an invisible rope. Before the other bandits were even aware of what happened to him, strong fingers gripped the back of their necks. There as a loud snap and both men slumped to the ground dead. As darkness overwhelmed her Yilin looked up and saw a pair of emerald eyes, then she saw no more.

    ####

    Linghu Chong staggered from the cave still groggy with sleep. He had spent most of the night studying with Feng Qingyang. His Granduncle was a hard taskmaster and only when the first rays of dawn appeared did he call a stop. The scene that greeted Linghu Chong woke him up immediately.

    He stared at what could only be described as a mini hurricane in the middle of the plateau. But this was no natural phenomena. For one thing it was red and occasionally Linghu Chong could spot flashes of a hand coming from the hurricane and striking at something in its centre.

    To Linghu Chong's horror he saw it was his Granduncle standing in the centre of the crimson hurricane. Like the eye of the storm, Feng Qingyang was the still centre surrounded by chaos. The legendary swordsman was making tiny adjustments to his stance and posture as he avoided the phantom hands the came at him from the hurricane.

    Suddenly the figure of a woman emerged from behind Feng Qingyang. With index and fore fingers extended she lunged for the back of his head. Feng Qingyang leaned to his right and the fingers passed harmlessly to his side. As he leaned to the right he sent his left palm out in a backhand blow aiming for the woman's chest. The woman leapt over the attack and landed in front of Linghu Chong.

    As Feng Qingyang stepped forwards to continue the fight but Linghu Chong ran between the combatants:

    “Granduncle please stop. She's my friend...I think?”

    “You think? Boy are you still asleep?”

    Dongfang Bubai turned around and giggled at the exchange:

    “Brother Dong is that you?” asked the confused Linghu Chong.

    “Yes and no.” replied Dongfang Bubai his a cheeky smile.


    ###

    Linghu Chong laughed as they talked in the cave. Dongfang Bubai had explained that her name was Dongfang Bai and that Dong fangbo was a pseudonym she went by when travelling. The scene outside the cave was a misunderstanding with Feng Qingyang. She had come bringing food and wine for Linghu Chong but ran into his Granduncle. Unable to resist the opportunity to test herself against such an opponent they had had a friendly spar.

    Linghu Chong could not believe the audacity of his friend in challenging someone as prominent as his Granduncle but secretly he admired her courage. Feng Qingyang had decided to leave the youngsters alone when it was obvious that they knew each other, but as he left he gave Dongfang Bubai a smile that showed he had enjoyed their little contest as much as she had.

    As they talked Linghu Chong felt himself relaxing in a way he had not felt in months. For some reason being in the company of Dongfang Bubai made him feel completely at ease and he soon found himself telling her everything in his heart. Afternoon turned to evening and evening to night yet still they talked.

    As he talked about his relationship with Yue Lingshan, Dongfang Bubai noticed his eyes drop in sadness. It was obvious that the memories were painful to him and she wanted to ask him to stop. But then an idea came to her:

    “You know there is a woman who greatly admires you”

    “Bro..I mean lady Dongfang you don't mean you...”

    “No not me! My sister Yilin”

    “Yilin is your sister?”

    Dongfang Bubai nodded:

    “We got separated years ago and recently found each other. I think the two of you...”

    “Lady Dongfang, I appreciate your sentiment but love is not something that can be replaced or substituted. If I was to be with Yilin for the reason of easing my own pain it would be unfair to her.”

    “Even so you should tell her this face to face so that she can stop pining after you.”

    “You're right. Once I've served my punishment I'll make a trip to Mount Heng and explain it to her.”

    “When would that be?”

    “About six months”

    “What six months? That's far too long. I am taking you to she her now.”

    “Lady Dongfang I respect your concern with your sister, but I cannot disobey my Shifu.”

    “You owe me two lives, I am claiming one of them back now, so lets go.”

    “Yes I owe you my life and if you wish to take it I won't resist, but I will not leave here alive.”

    Dongfang Bubai had never had any difficulty in killing people but the idea of killing Linghu Chong filled her with dread. She tried telling herself that it was because they were friends but deep down she knew it was more than that. Pushing the thought aside she concentrated on the problem of getting him away from the cliff. As physical force was out of the question she decided to adopt another tactic.

    Ignoring Linghu Chong see walked to his bed and laid down. Shocked by this breach of etiquette Linghu Chong shouted after her:

    “Lady Dongfang, what are you doing?”

    “I am staying until you decide to leave with me”

    “But you can't, its not proper for a man and woman to spend the night alone”

    “That's your problem. Goodnight”

    Linghu Chong could only stare at her, unable to decide whether to be angry or amused.

  9. #29
    Senior Member Mandred Skavenslayer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Christos200 View Post
    Nice story. I've read the first post. When I read all others, I will post more feedback.
    Thanks for you comment. Hope you enjoy the rest.

  10. #30
    Senior Member szfong's Avatar
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    Thanks for the update, really like the changes!

    The TV series glossed over their story way too quickly... esp. the RYY part... I wonder if he gets both ladies...

  11. #31
    Senior Member Dongfang Xue's Avatar
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    Thanks for the extra details Mandred. Couldn't have written it better myself.

    As for my story, I did think about finishing / ending all enmity at huashan and then smile proudly in the wind

  12. #32
    Member Silverhawk's Avatar
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    Looking forward to your next update

  13. #33
    Senior Member Mandred Skavenslayer's Avatar
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    Hi all.

    In this chapter I often refer to Dongfang Bubai by her real name Dongfang Bai. Just letting you guys know so you won't get confused.

    Bad Company




    Yilin woke to the tantalising smell of roasting meat. Her tired eyes took a moment to orientate themselves but gradually her environment became clear. It was night and she was lying against a tree in a clearing, within a forest. In front of her was a small fire tended by a man who was roasting a rabbit. There was something familiar about the man but she could not remember why what. Then he turned his face to her.

    Yilin scrambled backwards pressing her back against the tree, as if she wanted to merge into the bark in order to get away from the man. Seeing her reaction Bai Xuesheng spoke in a gentle voice:

    “Don't be scared. I mean you no harm.”

    Yilin looked around for a means of escape, then noticed she was wearing clothes that weren't her own:

    “Where are my clothes!?”

    “They were torn and as I didn't have any spare clothing I dressed you in the clothes of one of the bandits.” As he spoke Bai Xuesheng kept his hands at eye level hoping to convince the frightened girl that he had no ill intentions.

    “Then that means you have seen me...”

    “It couldn't be helped.”

    “You fiend! How could you do something so despicable!?”

    Bai Xuesheng fought to keep in temper in check. Few people have ever dared insult him and fewer still lived after doing so. He told himself that she was frightened and didn't mean to offend him. Taking a deep breath he continued speaking in his gentle tone:

    “I am going to reach into my chest and show you something. I will do this slowly so don't be scared.”

    Reaching into his robe Bai Xuesheng slowly pulled out his charm then laid it on the ground between himself and Yilin. Slowly he got up and backed away all the while keeping his hands where she could see them. Gingerly like a scared puppy Yilin inched forwards and snatched up the charm. As she examined it she was shocked to discover that it was exactly like her own , except green and larger. She stared at Bai Xuesheng her frightened eyes slightly softened:

    “How did you get this?”

    “I am a friend of your sister. She made it for me.”

    “I don't believe you”

    “Your sister's name if Dongfang Bai. The two of you got separated when bandits attacked your village. You have a similar charm on you.”

    His words and gentle voice lessened her fears, but still she did not completely trust him. Bai Xuesheng moved slowly back to the fire but kept his distance from Yilin. Picking up the rabbit he tested it:

    “You must be hungry?”

    The young woman's stomach replied before her lips could and she flushed with embarrassment. But as she looked at the rabbit the look of horror began to return. Bai Xuesheng pushed a small bundle towards her before stepping back to a safe distance. Yilin opened the bundle. It was filled with dry biscuits and wild fruits. She started nibbling at the food but kept her frightened eyes on Bai Xuesheng as he ate the rabbit.

    The meal was eaten in tense silence. When it was finished Bai Xuesheng reached into a nearby sack and produced a flute. He started playing a soft tune while Yilin continued to stare at him, as if expecting him to turn into a monster. She remembered her Martial Art sisters telling her stories of a mighty warrior who had defeated the Mount Song apprentices in order to rescue Liu Zhengfeng and Qu Yang.

    Yilin remembered how the girls had whispered about his prowess and good-looks, with the latter comment being accompanied by girlish giggles. For herself Yilin couldn't see what all the fuss was about. Sure he was handsome and his eyes gave him an exotic air, but she couldn't shake the image of him murdering Fei Bin. All she saw was a killer with the savage beauty of a tiger.

    Her Linghu Dage was a much better person. Heroic yet kind. Intelligent but humble. Handsome without being prudish. Much better than this murderer she was sharing the fire with. Slowly Yilin's eyes began to get heavier, the warmth of the fire and the music surrounded her like the caress of a warm summer's breeze. Soon she was sleeping soundly.

    ####

    Bai Xuesheng stared at the sleeping woman with an amused smile on his lips. How could this timid creature be the sister of the ferocious Dongfang Bubai. He shook his head as he remembered the circumstances which had brought him to her rescue. He was on his way to North Mount Heng intending to meet up with Dongfang Bubai, when his agents had told him that his friend had left the mountain along with a young woman. The agents had told him of the rough directions the women were headed in and he had followed.

    As he travelled it soon became clear that they were headed to Mount Hua as this was the only place of any significance in the area. He had no idea why his friend was headed to the heart of enemy territory but was determined to meet her there in case she needed help.

    When he reached the foot of Mount Hua he had ran into Yilin being attacked by the bandits. At the time he had rescued her out of instinct, and what had his heroic deed brought him? Insults, accusations and fear. For a moment he contemplated abandoning her to her fate, but his natural sense of chivalry prevented him from doing so. Besides Xiao Bai would never forgive him if anything happened to her.

    With a sigh he turned his back on her and stared up at the stares. Slow he drifted of to sleep.


    ####

    Linghu Chong woke with a sharp pain in his back caused by sleeping against the hard rock of the cave mouth. He had chosen this sleeping place in order to maintain propriety. With Dongfang Bai sleeping on his bed he had taken the one spot outside of the cave, but still provided some shelter. In this way he would not break etiquette by spending a night in the same room as a lady.

    As he woke Linghu Chong noticed that he was covered by a blanket and the remains of a small fire smouldered besides him. He smiled as he realised that it must have been Dongfang Bai who had done all this. Getting up he looked over to the bed and his heart sank as he saw it empty. Although he had been annoyed at loosing his bed the absence of his friend made him feel like a part of his heart was missing.

    Feeling restless he reached for his sword and started practising the Dugu Nine Sword. Unlike most other the sword arts, this fabled style had no set patterns or forms but evolved from the experience, temperament and skills of the individual practitioner. If one was naturally strong then the sword strokes were powerful and dominating. If one was agile then the moves would be light and evasive. There was only one underlining principal in studying Dugu Nine Sword, attack. Every move is to attack with no defensive strokes.

    In the case of the current practitioner the moves were sophisticated, varied with a touch of playfulness. Linghu Chong quickly moved between the styles of the Five Mountain Sword Schools Alliance, however unlike his previous duel with Tian Boguang, this time he didn't get hang up about performing the techniques perfectly. But rather he followed the principals of the styles. When attacking he was aggressive and fearless like the Mount Song style. When moving he was swift and elusive combing the footwork of both Mount Heng schools. When fighting at close range he used the varied attacks of his native Mount Hua mixed with the low sweeps of Mount Tai.

    Gentle clapping came from the cave mouth and Linghu Chong turned to see Dongfang Bai. She was holding a food basket hooked around her elbow, while her hands applauded his performance. Linghu Chong's heart leapt at seeing her and a bright smile lit his face. The smile struck Dongfang Bai in the heart and she could feel it missing a beat. The leader of the Sun-Moon Cult had a lot of difficulty in keeping the blush from her cheeks.

    Linghu Chong ran towards her and stretched his arms out as if to embrace her, but stopped himself at the last moment:

    “Lady Dongfang you didn't leave” Linghu Chong wished he didn't sound so desperate.

    “Why, you bored of my company already?”

    “No never!...I mean, you are my guest...and I...am...”

    Dongfang Bai couldn't keep from smiling at Linghu Chong's incoherency. Finally she decided to spare him further embarrassment by taking over the conversation:

    “I went to get us breakfast. Shall we eat?”


    After the meal of steamed buns and rice porridge Linghu Chong was a lot more relaxed and more like his old witty self. Dongfang Bai smiled at the return of her friend:

    “So tell me Lady Dongfang what do you think of my sword art?”

    “I've never seen such a style. It follows the broad principals of the Five Mountain Sword Schools Alliance, but does not slavishly copy them. I deduce your style is ever evolving and will improve as you gain more experience.”

    “True, but here I can only work on theory. What I wouldn't give for someone to practice with” A smile accompanied his words which reminded Dongfang Bai of a naughty schoolboy.

    “Guess I could use some exercise” declared Dongfang Bai and she leapt into the centre of the cave.

    Linghu Chong reached for his sword and joined her. The fight that followed was completely one-sided. Linghu Chong knew that his opponent was going to fast so he attempted to use the same tactic that had given him victory over Tian Boguang. However Dongfang Bai's speed for on a completely different level. He would see her move and then try to place his sword where he knew she would be, only to find that she was not there. Trying to predict her was like trying to predict lightning, by the time you see it, you had already been struck.

    It soon became clear to Linghu Chong that intercepting Dongfang Bai was not a viable tactic, so he decided to take the initiative and attack. Using the most powerful blows he could think, he rained attack after attack on Dongfang Bai. But no matter how swift or powerful he made he strikes, Dongfang Bai would turn them away with a simple flick of her fingers. The Qi energy she was able to generate with just two digits was enough to deflect his sword with ease.

    Finding no more success with a direct attack, Linghu Chong changed tactics again. Using the clever footwork of both Mount Heng schools he tried to confuse his opponent and hopefully cause her to make a mistake. Dongfang Bubai dealt with this by simply ignoring the fancy moves and striking at his torso with her blinding speed. Her attacks were simple and if anyone else had used them Linghu Chong would have countered them with ease. But Dongfang Bai executed them with such unimaginable speed that it was all he could do get out of the way.

    Despite being hopelessly outclassed Linghu Chong found himself enjoying the fight. Dongfang Bai's skill pushed him to reach further than he had ever done before. He had to draw on all his intelligence, speed and skill just to keep up with her. He knew that he was achieving new peaks in his art with every passing minute. Yet he also realised that even at this new level he was nowhere near defeating his opponent. In fact he suspected that he was only lasting this long because Dongfang Bai was going easy on him.

    After three hours of punishing practice the combatants slumped on the ground next to each other. Linghu Chong was exhausted but it was a good kind of exhaustion and he couldn't help grinning at his sparring partner. A thin layer of sweat covered her face making it glisten in the candle light as if her complexion was covered by tiny diamonds. Suddenly Linghu Chong forgot his tiredness as other thoughts flooded his mind.

    Dongfang Bai stared back at him and she started panting. Her shortness of breath had nothing to do with the sparring session. The same thoughts that had been entering Linghu Chong's mind also started seeping into hers', but she forced them back:

    “Your swordsmanship is most impressive. I guess your Granduncle must be proud.”

    Her words broke the hypnotic spell Linghu Chong was under and soon they were talking like they did the night before. However today their words seemed slightly forced, as if they were talking in an effort to stop from thinking about something else. Even so, laughter soon floated out of the cave.

    ####

    Feng Qingyang heard their laughter from outside of the cave and he smile as he remembered how he had once laughed like that. He just hoped that these youngsters had the courage to do what he did not.

    ####

    Bai Xuesheng's head broke the surface of the water and he let out a relieved breath. Steam rose from his bath and he sank into the warm water glad to be washing away the dust of the last three days travelling. It had been three very long and uncomfortable days with his companion saying almost nothing throughout the journey.

    Yilin's scared demeanour hadn't altered from their first night together and Bai Xuesheng had grown tired of trying to engage her in conversation. The only time the young woman had shown any signs of emotions was when Bai Xuesheng had offered to take her to Mount Hua to see her sister. Yilin's eyes had smouldered with an anger that reminded him of Dongfang Bai when she was enraged.

    With no choice Bai Xuesheng had to escort his surly charge back to North Mount Heng. They had arrived to this town just after dawn and taken accommodations in the largest inn they could find. As both of them were travelled stained they had decided to bath before looking around town. Bai Xuesheng had suggested that Yilin buy some new clothes after she had refreshed herself and given her a bag of silver to do so.

    As he closed his eyes and relaxed the image of Yilin's naked body came to his mind. Her stature was small, but her figure quite full and her limbs well toned from martial arts practice. He had seen many naked women and she was not particularly outstanding, but thinking about her now brought a smile to his lips. Feeling that he had better get out of the bath before his amorous thoughts got the better of him he got up and dried himself. He put on his only set of clothes. Deciding that he too could use another set of clothes he went to Yilin's room to see if she was ready.

    He knocked gently on her door and called out to her. There was no reply so he opened the door a crack. The room was empty. Bai Xuesheng assumed that she had gone shopping already so asked the inn's staff if Yilin had been seen. One of the waiters said that she had asked for directions to the nearest tailor. Receiving the same directions Bai Xuesheng set of to catch up to his companion.

    ####

    Yilin ran through the streets fighting back the tears that threatened to spill from her eyes. The tailor's wife had taken one look at her in her borrowed robes and snubbed her. Yilin had tried to get her attention but the woman just ignored her until finally turning around and telling her she had no rags for beggars. Yilin had never been so humiliated in her life and did not know how to respond. Not wishing to make a scene she fled.

    She was so upset that she didn't notice Bai Xuesheng until she almost collided with him. Seeing her unsettled condition he asked her what had happened. At first she refused to answer him and just insisted that they go back to the inn. But Ba Xuesheng refused to move until she told him. Finally she relented and related to him her experience at the tailor. Barely has she finished speaking, then Bai Xuesheng took her hand and started marching to the direction she had just come from.

    ####

    The clerk was tidying up bolts of fabric when Bai Xuesheng stormed into the shop, dragging Yilin with him. Bai Xuesheng threw down a piece of gold and demanded to see the owner. The clerk quickly darted into the interior of the shop. The portly tailor and his equally plump wife soon emerged. Their eyes were drawn to the gold on the table. The tailor bowed to Bai Xuesheng:

    “Honourable sir, how can I be of service?”

    “How much do you earn in a year?” asked Bai Xuesheng.

    “I am sorry sir?”

    “How much to you earn in a year?”

    “About 100 pieces of silver.”

    “My friend here is in need of some new clothes. I will leave her in your care and be back in three hours. If on my return she is smiling then I will give 200 pieces of silver on top of any clothes she buys. But if I see so much as a crease on her pretty brow then I will only pay for the clothes. I assume I don't need to repeat myself.”

    The tailor and his wife all but fell over themselves as they toadied up to Yilin. The young woman looked at Bai Xuesheng with uncertain eyes as the tailor's wife lead her inside to get her measurements:

    “Its alright. They won't dare be mean to you again” declared Bai Xuesheng. As Yilin was taken away Bai Xuesheng had the tailor take his measurements and placed his order for a few sets of traveling clothes.

    With his measurements taken Bai Xuesheng decided to take a walk around town. It was a small place with little in the way of entertainment, but that did not matter as Bai Xuesheng's intention was not pleasure. He spent the next three hours purchasing provisions, medical supplies and a horse drawn carriage. Although he was more than capable of roughing it, he didn't think the delicate Yilin could as well.

    On his way back to the tailors he passed by the inn they were staying at and asked the innkeeper to have a message delivered to the city. Bai Xuesheng needed to let his people know where he was and there somethings he needed to be done.

    He arrived at the shop at the agreed time and the tailor greeted him with a low bow and a greedy smile. Bai Xuesheng ignored the sycophant and asked for Yilin. No sooner had he spoken then Yilin stepped through the inner door. Bai Xuesheng smiled as he saw her. Dressed in a formfitting pink and white dress she entered the room with small shy steps. But it was her face that drew the most attention. She was smiling a sweet smile that would melt the heart of any man.

    Bai Xuesheng stepped forward and admired the exquisite beauty before him. How had he not noticed this gorgeous maiden who was ever bit the equal of her sister. Those sparkling eyes, that creamy white complexion and her dazzling smile. Bai Xuesheng had often thought that Dongfang Bai's beauty was like that of the moon. It was beyond this mortal world, but cold and distant. If that was so then Yilin was the Sun. Also beautiful beyond mortal standards but warm and inviting.

    Yilin knew that as a nun in training she should be above material attachments, but she was also a young woman of less than twenty summers. Her new dress made her feel like a princess and Bai Xuesheng's glance made her feel like a queen in the way those emerald eyes admired her. Gone was the cruel killer to be replace by a handsome hero.

    “I take everything is satisfactory sir?” asked the tailor with a sly smile.

    “Well Yilin are you happy?” Bai Xuesheng asked and received a little shy nod in reply.

    “So whats the bill?”

    “Two hundred and thirty pieces of silver sir. The young lady also ordered another two sets of clothes which will be ready along with yours in the next couple of days sir.”

    Bai Xuesheng produced three large gold nuggets from his sleeve. Each one was worth a hundred pieces of silver pieces and he placed them on the table. As the tailor reached for them Bai Xuesheng covered the gold with his hand:

    “A word of advice. Next time watch who you snub.”

    With those words Bai Xuesheng and Yilin left the shop. When they were gone the tailor tried to pick up the gold but they seemed to be stuck. Looking closer he was shocked to find that they had sunk an inch into the wood.

    ####

    While Linghu Chong perfected his skills with Dongfang Bai, and Yilin thawed in her feelings towards Bai Xuesheng, other events were taking place. At the foot of Mount Hua four people met and plotted a sinister coup. In Black-wood Cliff a young lady planned a desperate escape. Although they didn't know it yet, these events were soon to change the lives of the four young people forever.

  14. #34
    Senior Member Mandred Skavenslayer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by szfong View Post
    Thanks for the update, really like the changes!

    The TV series glossed over their story way too quickly... esp. the RYY part... I wonder if he gets both ladies...
    You'll just have to wait and see.

  15. #35
    Senior Member Mandred Skavenslayer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dongfang Xue View Post
    Thanks for the extra details Mandred. Couldn't have written it better myself.

    As for my story, I did think about finishing / ending all enmity at huashan and then smile proudly in the wind
    Hope to read your new chapter soon

  16. #36
    Senior Member Mandred Skavenslayer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silverhawk View Post
    Looking forward to your next update

    Thanks for popping by

  17. #37
    Senior Member Mandred Skavenslayer's Avatar
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    Best laid Plans



    The clothes arrived on the appointed day, yet Bai Xuesheng's showed nothing but disappointment. It was not the quality of the clothing that had brought on his frown but what they signified. The past few days in this quiet little town had been as enjoyable as the previous three days had been arduous. Ever since the events at the tailor's shop Yilin had been a completely different person.

    Although still sometimes painfully shy, she no longer seemed to be afraid of Bai Xuesheng. The two of them would spend their days walking in the woods and admiring the natural beauty of the land. Their evenings were spent talking about their favourite subject, Dongfang Bai. Yilin's previous anger towards her sister had faded away to be replaced by an insatiable curiosity about her sibling's life during their years of separation.

    Being Dongfang Bai's closest friend, Bai Xuesheng knew more than anyone alive about those lost years and was eager to tell his companion. However he was careful to avoid directly mentioning the Sun-Moon Cult. From Yilin, Bai Xuesheng learnt of reason why the sisters had been at Mount Hua and of the man called Linghu Chong. However Bai Xuesheng felt strange when Yilin talked about her Linghu Dage.

    The young woman's eyes would take on a wistful look when she talked about Linghu Chong and her cheeks would take on a slight blush. A strange sense of frustration would enter Bai Xuesheng's heart whenever he saw that look in her eyes. His frustration was not directed at Yilin but at Linghu Chong. How could this fool not see the admiration she had for him?

    The arrival of the clothes signalled the end of their stay at the town and this made Bai Xuesheng sad. His time spent in the company of Yilin had given him a sense of contentment he rarely found. Although she was not as knowledgeable or as witty as her elder sister, Yilin was intelligent and patient. She would listen quietly, her bright eyes showing that he had her complete attention as they sparkled innocently. Bai Xuesheng guessed it was this innocence that he was attracted to, for very few of the women he normally spent time with had this.

    As if by design another event occurred that reminded him of the outside world. A messenger had arrived bearing news. One of his stewards called Yan Xi was under attack and requesting aid. Although unwelcome the news was not surprising. Yan Xi's domain bordered on Mount Song and Bai Xuesheng had sent word to his steward to take precautions after his encounter with Zuo Lengshan.

    Unfortunately Yan Xi had reported that one of his lieutenants had sided with his attackers, taking nearly a third of his men with him. The steward was now besieged in his headquarters deep in a bamboo forest. So far the enemy had been unable to penetrate the deep forest, but it was only a matter of time before they found a way through.

    Quickly Bai Xuesheng wrote two letters and gave his command:

    “Have these letter sent to White Tiger Palace and Mount Hua immediately. The letter to White Tiger Palace is to be given to captain Tai Zhong. The letter to Mount Hua is to be delivered to a young lady by the name of Dongfang Bai. She is in her mid twenties and extremely beautiful. Have our best Martial Artist available deliver the letter. In addition, when the letter is delivered they are to stay and help her escort a man called Linghu Chong to North Mount Heng.”

    The messenger took the letters and backed out of Bai Xuesheng's presence. With a sigh the Lord of White Tiger Palace rose and went looking for Yilin.

    ####

    Feng Qingyang nodded his head as he watched Linghu Chong practising. It had been over half a month since he had started teaching his grand-apprentice and he was proud of the young man's progress. He had memorised the sword formula of Dugu Nine Sword and his spars with Dongfang Bai had allowed him to reach a phenomenal level of swordsmanship.

    In terms of sword art Linghu Chong was now superior even to Yue Buqun, in fact by Feng Qingyang's estimate the only person within the Five Mountain Sword Schools Alliance that might be able to best him with blade-work alone was Zuo Lengshan. Feng Qingyang knew that in a fight to the death Linghu Chong might still run a foul of people with superior Qi power, but he will learn to cope with this in time.

    Linghu Chong finished his display by leaping ten feet into the air and spinning three times. As he spun his sword stabbed out so fast that it appeared as a ring of steel surrounding his body. Linghu Chong landed lightly and turned to see his Granduncle smiling proudly at him:

    “How did I do Granduncle?”

    “You're getting there. Another decade or two and you might even be able to rival your friend”

    The mention of Dongfang Bai brought a smile to Linghu Chong's face. For the last half a month she had been visiting him in late morning and staying till late evening. Always she brought food and wine, which they shared. Sometimes Feng Qingyang would join them and the atmosphere would be like a happy family meal. After eating Feng Qingyang would leave them alone and they would ever talk the hours away, or engage in friendly sparring.

    The presence of Dongfang Bai brought a welcome sense of tranquillity to Linghu Chong's heart and he found himself dwelling less and less on Yue Lingshan. Feng Qingyang's hand on his shoulder brought Linghu Chong back down to earth:

    “Its time I go.”

    “I'll see you tomorrow Granduncle”

    Feng Qingyang shook his head sadly:

    “I am afraid you won't”

    “But why Granduncle? Have I done something to upset you?”

    “No my boy. It is a decision I have made.”

    “But Grand...”

    “Chong'er! This is my command. After today you will not look for me or mention me to anyone is that understood?”

    Not daring to disobey his Granduncle Linghu Chong nodded his head. Feng Qingyang smiled:

    “You are a sentimental boy and I am proud that to have you as my successor. One last piece of advice. Make sure you treasure those you have now.”

    Before Linghu Chong could reply he heard Lu Dayou calling for him and turned to the direction of the voice. He had only turned his head for a matter of seconds but when he turned back to Feng Qingyang he had disappeared without a trace. With a heavy heart Linghu Chong went to greet his Martial Arts Brother:

    “What's the matter Dayou?”

    “There's trouble at the school”

    “Trouble? Quick lets get down the cliff”

    “But your punishment...”

    “I'll worry about that later come on.”



    The two of them were at the bottom of the cliff when they ran into a group of men. There were six of them and they varied in age between 30 to 50 with a strong family resemblance running through them. The oldest of the men stepped forwards:

    “Have you seen who we are looking for”

    “Who are you looking for?” asked Linghu Chong

    “We are looking for the person we are to deliver the letter to” replied another one of the men he stepped next to the first man.

    “And the name of that person is?”

    “There name is on the letter” replied the first man.

    Linghu Chong let out a slow breath trying to control his annoyance:

    “Look my name is Linghu Chong, who are you?”

    “LINGHU CHONG! WE FOUND HIM, WE FOUND HIM!!” all six men yelled at the same time.

    Running forwards four of the men grabbed Linghu Chong's limbs and lifted him of the ground all the time shouting 'we found him'. Lu Dayou tried to come to his Martial Arts brother's aid but the other two men pinned his arms to his side immobilising him. A streak of blue lightning crashed in between the four men holding Linghu Chong and a ripple of Qi energy spread out knocking them of their feet.

    Linghu Chong was released and started falling backwards. He closed his eyes expecting to feel the impact of the hard ground but instead felt the embrace of a pair of strong yet tender arms. Opening his eyes we found the amused face of Dongfang Bai staring back at him:

    “You know I am starting to get a little tired of saving you life. Just how did you make it to adulthood without me?”

    “Lady Dongfang. Would you mind putting me down?”

    Dongfang Bai complied, then turned to look at the two men holding Lu Dayou:

    “Release him. NOW!” Dongfang Bai enhanced her voice with just enough Qi to make them realise that she was someone best not to antagonise. The men holding Lu Dayou quickly released him then along with the companions ran for their lives.

    Dongfang Bai turned to Linghu Chong:

    “So were are you going? Were you trying to escape from me?”

    “No of course not!” Linghu Chong winced as his voice took on that desperate tone again. “My school's in trouble.”

    “Then I am coming with you”

    “You can't. It might be dangerous” The idea of putting Dongfang Bai in danger filled Linghu Chong with a sense of unreasonable terror.

    “You really think there is anything that can endanger me?” Although her tone was mocking in her heart Dongfang Bai felt a surge of joy at her silly hero's concern.

    “The two of you can argue about this later, lets go!” yelled Lu Dayou as he took of. Quickly the two of them followed him.

    ####

    Sparks flew as Ning Zhongze's blade met her opponent's. The mistress of Mount Hua unleashed a flurry of powerful sword thrust trying to overwhelm her enemy with her Qi. Her opponent, Cheng Buyou, weathered the attack by using a series of intricate defensive moves, redirecting her power away from him, before launching his counter attack. His sword seemed to turn into liquid and the metal threatened to engulf Ning Zhongze. Retreating quickly Ning Zhongze parried as she went, surprised by the ferocity of Cheng Buyou's attack.

    Watching the duel between the two opposing Mount Hua experts were the Mount Hua apprentices, Feng Buping who was Cheng Buyou's elder Martial Arts brother and Yue Buqun. Surprisingly there were also apprentices of Mount Song present, led by Lu Bai and Deng Bagong both of whom were Martial Arts brothers of Zuo Lengshan. The Mount Song representatives had arrived along with Feng Buping and Cheng Buyou earlier that day. Carrying the Five Mountains Flag of Command they had demanded that Yue Buqun hand over the leadership of Mount Hua to Feng Buping.

    Ning Zhongze had been outraged by this and challenged Cheng Buyou to a duel. Sitting on his chair Yue Buqun watched in despair at his wife's predicament. It was clear that Cheng Buyou's swordsmanship was superior to Ning Zhongze's and it was only the latter's well honed reflexes that had allowed her to survive this long. Just as it seemed that Ning Zhongze was about to meet certain defeat something flew through the air towards Cheng Buyou.

    Cheng Buyou leapt backwards and saw a broom sticking out of the ground where he had been standing. Following in the wake of his impromptu spear Linghu Chong swept up the broom and took a defensive stance:

    “So you think you are worthy of challenging my Shiniáng do you? Well lets see you get pass me first”

    Enraged by the taunt Cheng Buyou let fly his deadliest attacks. Every move targeted neck, eyes, chest stomach and groin. If even one of them had found their mark they would have killed or crippled Linghu Chong in an instant. However Linghu Chong's footwork was as nimble as a cat's and he danced just out of reach of each blow. After around twenty moves Linghu Chong seemed to tire of the duel and went on the offensive. Reading Cheng Buyou's next attack he swung the broom's head at exactly the correct angle to connect with his opponent's sword wrist and send his blade spinning from his hand.

    By the rules of the Martial Arts World, once someone had been disarmed in a duel then they are considered to have lost. Linghu Chong expecting his opponent ro honour this rule swept his broom behind his back and bowed in respect. To the shock of everyone watching Cheng Buyou hurled his palm into Linghu Chong's chest sending him skidding across the ground.

    Everyone started to move forwards to aid their respective champion but a blue streak beat them all. Cheng Buyou felt a light breeze brush pass him. He tried to move but his legs would not obey. Looking down he saw a hole where is chest had been. This was the last thing he ever saw as his body told his brain that he was dead.

    Six figures fell from the sky and encircled Linghu Chong then scattered in different directions. When the circle cleared Linghu Chong had vanished. Dongfang Bai was standing next to the dead Cheng Buyou, her fingers stained red with his blood. Seeing Linghu Chong being kidnapped she took to the air in pursuit.

    Everything happened so fast that no one had time to react until Dongfang Bai and the six mystery men had left. Yue Lingshan fainted into Lin Pingzhi's arms, Ning Zhongze looked like she was going to retch and everyone else looked at the mangled corpse in horror. Fearing that the deadly woman might return Feng Buping and the Mount Song representatives hurled a few quick threats at Yue Buqun then beat a hasty retreat.

    ####

    Four men stood over the unconscious Linghu Chong, their hands prodded and probed at his unmoving form. They were in an abandoned temple at the foot of Mount Hua where they had chosen to rest while they decided what to do with the injured charge:

    “What should we do?” asked the eldest of the four “If he dies the Lord will be most displeased”

    “Displeased...” echoed his for companions.

    “I know. Lets pass some Qi into him. That should keep him alive long enough for us to deliver him to the Lord” suggested the second oldest of the group.

    The other men shouted their agreement, but then started bickering about how they should channel the Qi into Linghu Chong's body. One suggested they channel the Qi through his head, another argued for channelling the Qi from the feet upwards, yet another suggested channelling their power through the arms:

    “Enough!” shouted the eldest of the group. “Lets all try from a different position and who ever cures him is the right one”

    “Yes...” chanted the other the other men.

    Any practitioner of Qi cultivation would know that what they were planning was utter madness. Forcing Qi through so many places at once, would be like emptying out the waters of four rivers into a small lake. The lake would quickly overflow and water would flood the surrounding lands causing catastrophic destruction.

    Unfortunately for Linghu Chong these men were not sane and in their own warped minds the plan made perfect sense. Placing Linghu Chong in a sitting position they placed their hands on his head, feet, palm and back and started channelling their Qi into him. Within a few minutes Linghu Chong woke up with a scream of pain. He could feel something expanding in his body and like an overfilled water-skin he felt like he would explode under the pressure

    Two figures came crashing through the temple doors and landed at the feet of Linghu Chong. The four men recognized the badly beaten up forms of the comrades and turned to see Dongfang Bai come storming into the temple. Her dress and hair billowed in the wind making her look like some vengeful spirit. But what sacred them the most was the look in her eyes. They were devoid of all emotions except for undiluted rage.

    The four uninjured men let go of Linghu Chong and charged the intruder. Channelling Qi into her aura Dongfang Bai solidified it into a hard transparent bubble which she expanded towards her enemies. The bubble hit them like a moving stone wall and not one of them could remain standing. As they fell to the ground the eldest of the group dropped an envelope out of his clothes.

    Dongfang Bai saw the object out of the corner of her eye. She looked at it for a moment and was surprised to see it was addressed to her. Ignoring the six injured men she picked up the envelope tore it open to read the letter inside:

    My dear Xiao Bai I write to inform you that I am travelling with Yilin.
    She is safe but didn't want to see you.
    I will be escorting her back to North Mount Heng so you needn't worry.
    The person or persons delivering this message our my men and are yours to command.

    Fair well, your snowflake.


    There was no mistaking Bai Xuesheng's handwriting and Dongfang Bai's murderous rage subsided enough for her not to pursue the six fleeing men.

    What could Xuesheng be thinking sending these fools to help me” thought Dongfang Bai to herself.

    A groan from Linghu Chong pushed such thoughts aside as she rushed to him. His face had become deathly pale and his breath barely a whisper. Taking his pulse Dongfang Bai was horrified at the damage done. The four streams of Qi energy were running as rampant as crazed horses and trampling everything in their path. If something wasn't done soon then irreparable damage would be done.

    With her powers Dongfang Bai could easily destroy the energy streams, but to do so would require to much energy as to be fatal to Linghu Chong. It was the classic damned if you do and damned if you don't scenario. With time running short Dongfang Bai took the one course that would save Linghu Chong's life, at lest for now.

    ####

    He felt warm and comfortable. A pleasant fragrance surrounded him making him reluctant to wake. But as the sun touched his face wake he did. Opening his eyes Linghu Chong noticed a pair of arms wrapped around his chest, turning he saw Dongfang Bai's sleeping face. It felt like a sin to wake such a serene face, so he stayed as still as he could. Staring into her beautiful features he noticed how young she looked.

    Only now that she was asleep did Linghu Chong appreciate the fact that his friend was not match older than himself. Yet she held herself with as much dignity and confidence as a grandmaster. Linghu Chong wondered what she must have went through to achieve such a demeanour at so tender an age.

    As if woken by his thoughts Dongfang Bai's eyes fluttered, then slowly opened. On meeting Linghu Chong's eyes she smiled. It was an unconscious reaction which made her look even younger. Suddenly, as if she had been caught doing something she shouldn't her smile fell and she took her arms away from him. Rising swiftly to her feet she turned her face away from him and spoke:

    “You were cold and I had no wood to start a fire.”

    “Thank you.”

    “I did it for Yilin, you should thank her”

    Dongfang Bai spoke the words without emotion, but she kept her face turned away for fear that he might she her blush. Linghu Chong got to his feet and let out a sharp hiss of pain. It felt like his internal organs had been ravaged by an animal. Dongfang Bai reached out and helped steady him:

    “Those men put four streams of Qi into your body. I have managed to suppress them for now, but this is only a temporary solution.”

    “Take me back to Mount Hua. My Shifu can cure me.”

    “I doubt that very much.”

    “Please I have already defied my Shifu be leaving Repentance Cliff, I can't deepen my crime by not returning.”

    Dongfang Bai shook her head but complied to his wishes.

    ####

    Dongfang Bai watch Linghu Chong be taken away and fought back the urge to call out for him. She had decided to leave Mount Hua and head of North Mount Heng in the hope of catching up with Yilin. Although she trusted Bai Xuesheng to protect her sister's life, she could not completely trust him with her chastity. Now with Linghu Chong out of immediate danger she would make sure her sister was safe.

    Besides there was really nothing else she could for him at this time and her presence might cause him trouble with his Shifu. She had explained her decision to him on the way up the mountain and his look of disappointment had felt like a dagger in her heart. But she had made her decision, so had steeled her heart to his pleading gaze.

    Yue Buqun looked at Dongfang Bai for a moment. He was unsure how to act in her presence. The power she had displayed in killing Cheng Buyou demonstrated a level of Martial Arts he could never hope to match. Deciding to be cautious he saluted her:

    “I thank young lady for returning my apprentice.”

    “I was doing it for his sake not yours”

    The bluntness of her reply took him by surprise, but he kept a jovial smile on his face and continued:

    “Would young lady care for some refreshments?”

    “No need to bother, I was just going.”

    With these words Dongfang Bai turned her back to Yue Buqun and started strolling of, leaving the Master of Mount Hua fuming in impotent rage.

    ####

    She was so beautiful that he thought his heart would stop from looking at her. That radiant complexion rivalled the moon which hung above her head like a halo. Gently she placed her hands on his chest and kissed him on the corner of his mouth. Electricity tingled from his lips through his entire body. He felt himself loose control as he reached for her.

    But she pushed away from him and floated on the night breeze, her long dress trailing like red mist. For a moment she stood suspended in mid air, then with a sad smile she turned and flew away.


    Linghu Chong woke with a shout as he reached up to grab that which was not there. He was in an abandoned temple surrounded by the sleeping forms of his fellow apprentices. Since Dongfang Bai had returned him to Mount Hua he had been slipping in and out of consciousness. Vaguely he remembered his Shifu giving the order for everyone to leave Mount Hua and journey to Mount Song to ask Lord Zuo to explain his actions.

    As Linghu Chong took a deep calming breath he tasted something odd in the air. As his eyes adjusted to the night he noticed that other apprentices were all lying in strange positions. Then he saw the pools of blood.

    ####

    Eight masked men encircled what looked like a column of violet smoke. Each man was armed with a different weapon ranging from long polearms to short swords. As the circled the column jets of purple smoke would shoot out like rockets and explode as they made contact with trees or boulders. The smoky missiles were not launched at random but aimed at the men encircling the column.

    However the men moved in a strong formation, the ones with longer weapons deflected the missiles while the ones armed with shorter weapons darted back and forth striking swiftly at the column. Inside the column stood Yue Buqun. He stood in an en-garde position his sword pointed to the sky as he activated his Violet Mist Divine Skill. So far the fight had become a stalemate, with the masked men unable to penetrate column of mist and Yue Buqun unable to breakout of the men's formation.

    Around the combatants lay the still forms of Mount Hua apprentices including Ning Zhongze, Yue Lingshan and Lin Pingzhi. The three of them and the other apprentices had been subdued by the masked men and now lay paralysed on the ground.

    One of the masked men leapt out of the circle and landed next to Ning Zhongze:

    “Yue Buqun, either you surrender or I'll take of your wife's arm.”

    The threat to his wife's safety caused a momentary lapse in Yue Buqun's concentration and the mist surrounding him thinned. Four pairs of hands stabbed through the mist and sealed four major acupoints in his body freezing him to the spot. The leader of the men, distinguished by his golden mask as opposed to other's silver masks, saluted Yue Buqun:

    “Gentleman Sword surely lives up to his title. Even the combined power of all eight of us was barely able to suppress you.”

    As the men spoke Feng Buping, Lu Bai and Deng Bagong emerged from the woods:

    “Well done my friends. So Yue Buqun are you ready to relinquish the leadership of Mount Hua to its rightful head?” asked Lu Bai

    “Kill me if you must, but I will not disgrace my ancestors my bowing to your demands” declared Yue Buqun in a defiant voice.

    “Spoken like a true hypocrite. Lets see how brave you are with my sword through your heart” said Feng Buping as he drew his sword and stalked towards Yue Buqun.

    Just then something disrupted the air behind Feng Buping and he spun around. Lashing out with his sword he knocked away a sheath that had been flying towards the back of his head. Looking up he saw Linghu Chong standing before him with his sword drawn:

    “So you want to be Master of Mount Hua. Have you asked my permission yet?”

    Feng Buping grunted in anger and lunged forward, his quick steps eating up the space between him and Linghu Chong in a heartbeat. Fen Buping had expected the fight to be a short one, but was surprised when his attack was blocked. His surprise doubled as he realised his attack wasn't blocked, it was intercepted. Some how this boy had knew where his blow was going to land and had placed his sword in exactly the right place to nullify his attack.

    Immediately Linghu Chong went on the offensive his blade moving like a steel snake as he unleashed increasingly faster and deadlier attacks on Feng Buping. The elder fighter found himself on the back-foot as his opponent seemed to predict every move he made before he made it. If he retreated Linghu Chong pressed forwards denying him room to regroup. If he attacked he found Linghu Chong's blade ready to dissipate his blows. In desperation he channelled his Qi into his sword and forced Linghu Chong back by sheer brute strength.

    “What a joke. The so called heir to the Sword Branch needing to use his Qi to fight. Why don't you join our Qi branch instead” shouted Ning Zhongze.

    Feng Buping's face burned with shame and he retracted his Qi. However he had allowed Ning Zhongze to distract him and that was to cost him dear. Linghu Chong leapt towards him his sword coming down in a glistening arch. Feng Buping raised his blade in an overhead block, but Linghu Chong rolled his wrist and his blade bit into the back of Feng Buping's hand making him drop his sword.

    For a moment Feng Buping stared at his sword then turned to the Mount Song elders:

    “Brother Lu, please inform Lord Zuo that my meagre skills make me no longer worthy to compete for the leadership of Mount Hua. Please convey my apologies for failing him.”

    Feng Buping then turned to Linghu Chong and saluted him:

    “Young sir, your swordsmanship is beyond anything I have seen and leaves Yue Buqun in the dirt. May I enquire which Master taught you such a supreme art?”

    Linghu Chong was touched by the man's honour but could not break his promise to Feng Qingyang:

    “Elder flatters me. I was merely fortunate today.”

    Seeing that Linghu Chong wasn't going to answer him Feng Buping walked away with his head bowed in shame. The Mount Song elders realising that Linghu Chong's skills were beyond even them, saluted the young man and also fled. However the eight masked men quickly encircled Linghu Chong:

    “Young sir, with your skills the leadership of Mount Hua should belong to you. Honour demands that we should retreat in the face of one such as yourself, however we have been paid to get rid of Yue Buqun. As such we have no choice but to defeat you by sheer numbers.”

    Their leader's last words were the signal for all eight men to attack as one. Linghu Chong leapt into the air and executed the three spins he had demonstrated to Feng Qingyang. The ring of steel fended away every weapon then angled upwards and all eight men fell to the ground clutching their ruined eyes.

    Linghu Chong stood in the centre of his defeated foes then turned to look at the people he had just saved. His heart sank as he saw then looking at him in fear as if he was some kind of monster. The only person whose gaze was not afraid was Yue Buqun, for his eyes were filled with hatred.

  18. #38
    Senior Member szfong's Avatar
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    Thanks for the update, MUCH appreciated!! Please update soon..

  19. #39
    Senior Member Mandred Skavenslayer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by szfong View Post
    Thanks for the update, MUCH appreciated!! Please update soon..
    Thanks for the comment. Will write as fast as possible.

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    Member Silverhawk's Avatar
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    Thanks Mandred

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