Lowering himself slightly so that he could place the body of Yellow Air on the floor, Hua Ling Do continued, “Master, wake up! You cannot die! There are many great deads that await you! Don’t leave this world now!”.
The body of what he thought was his master had started to turn cold as the chi energy was slowly departing from its body. It was certain that he would die soon without immediate intervention. Realising this, Hua Ling Do motioned to channel his own internal energy in an attempt to save his master. But before he could do so, he noticed two Taishan apprentices running towards him at full speed followed by a group of masked men. Both of the Taishan apprentices were bleeding freely, indicating that they had been badly hurt.</p>
“Brother Hua, help us”, cried one of the men. It was his 2nd senior apprentice brother Ling Wu Mun. Moments later the other Taishan apprentice cried “Ah Ya” as he was struck down by a halberd and died instantly.
Hua Ling Do immediately drew his sword to assist his 2nd senior apprentice brother and confront the various masked men who had arrived at the graveyard.
“If you want my master, you’ll have to kill me first”, shouted Hua Ling Do in defiance standing in between the body of his master and the masked men. The masked men had now arrived and were all laughing wickedly. None dared to make the first move.
Ling Wu Mun walked behind Hua Ling Do, took one glance at the body on the ground and asked casually, “How is Master?”.
Still keeping an eye on the masked men, Hua Ling Do replied, “Master is mortally wounded”.
“If we can fight off these masked and channel our chi energy into Master’s body there might still be a chance to save him”, continued Hua Ling Do having not yet given up on hopes of miracously saving his Master, the man whom raised him like a child.
Upon hearing this the masked men laughed even harder. Pointing at Hua Ling Do, the man with the fencing sword shouted, “Do you really think you stand a chance against us?”.
Hua Ling Do did not reply but instead looked carefully at the masked men for the first time. He now realised that they were not all dressed the same. Some wore shashes and others wore masks. He couldn’t help but point at the two separate sets of masked men and asked, “Who the heck are you? What do you want?”.
But they did not immediately reply. Instead, the masked man wielding the red fan turned to the other masked men wielding the fencing sword and asked, “For what purpose are you here?”.
“The same as you, why bother asking?”, was the cold reply from the masked man wielding the fencing sword.
The man wielding the red fan suddenly laughed out loud and remarked, “Heaven is on our side then, the Gentleman Sword is really going to die tonight!”.
With this the man with the red fan attacked Hua Ling Do and Ling Wu Mun. At once Hua Ling Do launched a strike at the man with the red fan when he screamed “Ah Ya!”, and dropped his sword. Ling Wu Mun had stabbed him through the right shoulder from behind.
Shocked and bewildered at the sudden turn of events, Hua Ling Do could only turn around to face his 2nd senior apprentice brother and stammered, “You… You… You…”.
As he was saving this, he was struck by the red paper fan. Coughing up a mouthful of blood and still stunned by the treachery of his 2nd senior apprentice brother, Hua Ling Do could only ask, “Why”, with a shocked expression.
The masked men wearing the shashes, including the man with the red fan, were totally shocked by Ling Wu Mun’s actions. Only the men wearing the black masks understood, as the man with the fencing sword walked forward while laughing. He said, “Well done, leadership of the Taishan Sect should surely be yours soon”.
Upon hearing this, Hua Ling Do, became furious. He picked his sword, shouting “YOU BASTARD”, before attacking Ling Wu Mun despite being injured. Ling Wu Mun avoided his strikes which were lacking in power because of the injury just sustained. Hua Ling Do charged again, but this move was in desperation because he no longer had the strength to hold his sword. Ling Wu Mun simply turned to the side and struck Hua Ling Do with a palm. Such was the force that it sent Hua Ling Do crashing against a tree nearby. He coughed up some more blood before sitting in a meditating position to channel his inner energy to heal himself.
Smiling wickedly, Ling Wu Mun said, “Don’t blame me brother Hua, blame Master for always favouring Yik Ching Fung for the leadership”.
Hearing no response, Ling Wu Mun continued, “Besides I am only acting as circumstances dictate. Would you want to remain at Taishan once senior apprentice brother Yik becomes the new leader?”.
Hua Ling Do did not reply as he was still furious. At this moment he was trying to heal himself in a last stictched effort to save his master. He knew the masked men would act soon to take his life and that of his master’s.
Placing a hand on Ling Wu Mun’s shoulders, the man with the fencing sword said, “You’ve proven to be loyal after all”.
Handing to Ling Wu Mun the fallen sword of Hua Ling Do, he continued, “There will be no doubts after you’ve killed your Master”.
Ling Wu Mun nodded to indicate that he understood the orders of the man with the fencing sword. At once he took the sword and aimed a strike to pierce through the heart of the motionless body of what appeared to be his master lying on the ground. Just as the sword was about to pierce through the body, one of the coffin’s suddenly opened. This caught everyone by surprise as they had not expected this. Ling Wu Mun was also frozen on the spot and did not continue with his strike. An aged man in his late 60’s suddenly appeared before them. He was wearing a flowing white robe and carried a white paper fan in his hands. Stroking his beard he remarked while pointing to Ling Wu Mun, “Attacking your Master is really lowly”.
Shaking his head he continued, “Gentleman Sword, Gentleman Sword, who would have thought that a gentleman like you would accept such a treacherous apprentice”.
Nodding, to indicate that he liked the looks of what he saw, as he turned to Hua Ling Do he said, “A very excellent apprentice. Both brave and loyal”.
But Hua Ling Do was concentrating on healing himself at this point that he did not reply.
Raising his fan in an attacking position, the aged swordsman pointed at Ling Wu Mun before remarking, “A man like you must not be allowed to live”. With this the aged man attacked towards Ling Wu Mun, aiming to slice off his head with one fatal blow. Ling Wu Mun ducked and rolled to the side of the man with the fencing sword. Tugging him by the trousers, he pleaded, “There’s no benefit to you if I die”.
The man with the fencing sword seemed to hesitate for a moment, uncertain as to whether Ling Wu Mun was still of any use to him.
Seeing this, Ling Wu Mun added, “I know the secrets behind the Gentleman Sword’s inner energy”.
Hearing this, the man with the fencing sword stood forward and said, “Elder, I cannot let you kill him as he is very important to me”.
Snickering, the aged swordsman replied, “Do you think you can prevent me from killing him?”.
Again the man with the fencing sword hesitated, he wanted to find out the identity of his opponent first before attacking. He questioned, “Who are you and why do you wish to interfere?”.
“I do not wish to interfere, but this is not an appropriate place for your fueds”, replied the aged swordsman.
“Why is this not an appriopriate place?”, asked the the man with the fencing sword.
“Because this place is for people who do not wished to be involved in fueds”, replied the aged swordsman.
Smiling slightly, thinking that the aged swordsman feared him, the man with the fencing sword stated, “Why wouldn’t this be an approptiate place for our fueds?”.
“Because this is the territory of the ‘Forgetting Villa’ so its best that you leave immediately”, replied the aged swordsman.
“Humph, other people may fear the ‘Forgetting Villa’ but not me”, replied the man with the fencing sword.
With this he attacked the aged swordsman. The fencing sword was very flexible and wound around the aged swordsman like a tiger’s claw. Though there was only one blade, the sword appeared to be like a five fingered claw grasping at the aged swordsman looking to scar his face. The aged swordsman blocked this with is fan, but noticed that his fan had been ripped to pieces. He immediately lept backwards and shouted, “Excellent move”.
Without a weapon the aged swordsman would surely be defeated, so he scanned quickly on the ground for another weapon when he noticed a sword on the ground with a slight yellowish tinge. The chilling aura of death sent a shiver down his spine. It was the ‘exquisite snake sword’. Yet he did not look worried, but instead smiled. Like a flash he utilised his lightness kung fu and picked up the sword. Placing two fingers and running it down the blade of the sword, the old man remarked, “A most excellent sword”.
The man with the fencing sword just laughed as he said, “That’s a useless sword. Only those with incredible martial arts skills and inner energy would find that sword useful. Not someone with ‘cat and mouse’ kung fu like you!”.
He was feeling confident now having disabled the aged swordsman’s fan. But how could the man with the fencing sword possibly realise that the paper fan was not the weapon of choice for his opponent.
The aged swordsman beamed, for after running his fingers down the side of the blade, the sword had become black. Ash black in fact, as if everything it touches would die and turn to ash. The sword also underwent another slight change. It started to make a rattling sound like that of a rattling snake and appeared to have come alive.
The man with the red paper fan almost dropped his red paper fan due to his shock. He immediately became terrified upon recognising who the swordsman was. Pointing an index finger, he stammered, “It cannot be… It cannot be… You’re… You’re… Dead!”.
The man with the fencing sword did not see what the fuss was all about and simple remarked, “If you’re afraid, get lost, this is none of your concern”.
The man with the red paper fan did not hesitate at this suggestion. Waving a hand to his fellow masked followers, they immediately retreated from the battle scene. All 40 of the masked men wearing shashes to cover their faces. They looked very terrified as they left. The only ones that remained were the five men wearing masks to cover their faces. The one with the sword with the skeleton on the hilt of the sword also looked to be terrified by the aged swordsman. He would have immediately left also had it not been for the fact that his comrades had remained.
Upon seeing so many people leaving the graveyard at once, the aged swordsman smiled. He let out a short laugh before remarking, “Only people from orthdox clans could leave like that for they still remember my terrible reputation”.
The man with the fencing sword had initially been jesting when he asked the man with the red paper fan to leave. He just wanted to insult him for being a coward and nothing more. Never in his wildest dreams did he expect that all 40 of those masked men would actually leave all of a sudden, leaving just the five of them to deal with the aged swordsman. Although he was not in partnership with the other asked men, his years of expierence in wulin warned him that something was not quite right. Who was that aged swordsman who stood in front of him. Pointed the tip of the sword forward, he suddenly asked, “Who are you?”.
Just as he said this the aged swordsman attacked. It look like a live snake was about to wrap up the man with the fencing sword and strangle the life from him like a python. The man with the fencing sword blocked this move but the black sword twisted like a snake and rolled pass this defensive stroke. The tip of the blade was about to strike into his left shoulder when the man with the fencing sword twisted backwards. Moments later he lept several paces backwards to create a distance between himself and the aged swordsman. The man with the fencing sword suddenly broke out into cold sweat, as he stated, “Impossible, how could it be you. You’re already dead!”.
“Ha Ha Ha. Who could have guessed that I decided to retire for a few years and everyone thought I had died. This is really amusing”, remarked the aged swordsman.
“The Gentleman Sword did not kill you?”, questioned the man with the fencing sword in shock.
Looking at the body of what appeared to be that of the Gentleman Sword on the ground, the old man stroked his beard before continuing, “A gentleman does not kill an injured man, hence he let me live”.
The five masked men now understood that the person whom stood before them was the much feared 2nd senior apprentice of the 13 Ghost Mountain Assassins. The one they called the ‘Romantic Assassin’ and the ‘Black Snake Assassin’. He was thought to have been killed many years ago by Bak Fung Wan, the Gentleman Sword. The fact that the Gentleman Sword had in his possession the ‘exquisite snake sword’ and had started to use it as his own weapon seemed to have confirmed that fact that the Black Snake Assassin had died in his hands. For in the world of wulin, giving up your sword was virtually giving up your life. So all five were shocked to see that the Black Snake Assassin is very much alive.
Many people in wulin were aware that the Gentleman Sword had seeked out the Black Snake Assassin for a duel. But many people did not realise that upon finding and defeating the Black Snake Assassin, the Gentleman Sword noticed that he was injured. So in the end the Gentleman Sword decided not to kill him but instead requested that the Black Snake Assassin retire from wulin and not intererfere in these matters anymore. The Black Snake Assassin thus retired to the ‘Forgetting Vila’. He decided to remain behind at the ‘Graveyard of Wandering Souls’ upon hearing from Undertaker Tao that there was trouble on the outskirts of the ‘Forgetting Villa’ involving the Gentleman Sword. So the Black Snake Assassin stayed to save the Gentleman Sword and repay a favour.
Realising that he was confronted with a very powerful opponent, the man with the fencing sword bowed before cupping his hands together. Looking apologetic he said, “Sorry for my rudeness earlier for I did not know who you were”.
Lowering his sword, the Black Snake Assassin coldly replied, “It’s nothing. Now leave while you can before I change my mind”.
Bowing lowly, to indicate that he would comply, the man with the fencing sword said, “Yes, we’re leaving”.
But as he said that, several swoosh sounds could be heard through the air, as he released in quick succession, 10 projectives. They were all claw shaped. 5 were launched at the Black Snake Assassin and the other 5 were aimed at the motionless body of the Gentleman Sword. Having not expected a sudden ambush, the Black Snake Assassin could only leap several paces backwards to avoid being struck by the projectiles. But doing this he had allowed the other 5 projectiles to hit the body of the Gentleman Sword on the ground. If he wasn’t dead before and had hopes of being revived, he was certainly dead now.
Hua Ling Do could do nothing as he was still sitting in a meditating position. Although he could guess by now what had happened. His ‘chi’ energy was becoming very unstable to a point that he was now at a critical point.
Seeing that he had been successful in his strike, the man with the fencing sword had achieved his primary objective. He did not wish to remain behind and fight a powerful foe like the Black Snake Assassin, so he immediately waved to his comrades to make a dash for it and escape. His comrades turned and followed him.
The Black Snake Assassin was going to pursue after them but was stopped in his track by smoke bombs containing knock out gas. He decided to stop and check whether the Gentleman Sword was still alive or not.
At this moment, one of the lids on the various graves were slid open. A young girl wearing a flowing green dress immediately jumped up from the ditch and cried “Father!”.