Translator: Foxs' Wuxia
Xu Ziling knew that he had fallen into the trap that Da Ming Zun Jiao carefully laid. One scheme failed, the other side immediately followed with another malicious scheme; they were doing everything they could so that he would be incapable to break through and they could put him to death.
First, Xinnaya impersonated Shi Qingxuan to lure him to take the bait; if he rushed to take the fake as the real one, most probably the opponent would catch him off guard and attack him. If the plot succeeded, he might be unfortunate to sustain injuries, and then it would be difficult to resist the other side’s must-kill attack from all sides.
Next, as the body, which was still unknown whether it was the real or a fake Shi Qingxuan’s remains – was thrown to him, the enemy’s five major martial art masters launched the most violent and ferocious assault to him at the same time.
Although he did not have the chance to turn his head around to look, he deduced that other than Duan Yucheng’s, the two swords attacking his back belonged to the Huo Nu [Fire Girl] and Shui Nu [Water Girl]. The three swords were woven into hiding-the-sky-and-covering-the-earth sword net, completely sealing off his retreat path. Its ingenuity made him unable to dodge sideways to the left or to the right even more, forcing him to only be able to charge forward.
Duan Yucheng’s sword posed the greatest threat to him. The sword qi constantly shifting, the point of attack was indeterminate, putting his terrifying power after mastering the ‘Yu Jin Wan Fa Gen Yuan Zhi Jing’ in full display. Even in a one-on-one duel, in order to put Duan Yucheng in order, Xu Ziling would have to spend a considerable effort, much less this time he was facing the enemy from four sides, plus there were the Water and Fire, two girls providing support, so that he was caught in absolute inferior situation even more.
The retreat route was blocked, ahead was even more extremely dangerous.
The seemingly-losing-her-life female body in the air continued to roll, the enemy’s most formidable Da Zun Xu Kaishan swept from below to attack Xu Ziling’s lower torso position, countless streams of fist power brimming with destructive power and vicious qi power surging continuously to attack and press in. Even without other people’s threat, to block and seal this punch was still extremely strenuous.
Xinnaya’s two daggers circled and danced, it was transformed into layer upon layer of sword shadows, pressing down to the top of his head from above, breaking his path to flee upward.
In an instant, the five major martial art masters of Da Ming Zun Jiao sealed his escape route completely, leaving him the only option to stake everything he had and meet the attack head-on, which was not much different from him throwing away his life.
In this moment between life and death, Xu Ziling discharged the misgivings over Shi Qingxuan’s life and death out of his mind, his heart and spirit entered the Moon in the Well realm, inwardly he concentrated his attention on the Motionless Fundamental Image, and shouted an incantation.
His voice shook the entire valley, the Incantation Method Image was the highest secret in the Buddhist school, it had even more marvelous innate subduing efficacy if used toward the heretic, demonic, external way, plus Xu Ziling combined it with the true power of the Taoist school’s Long-Life True Qi, the Jade Annulus of He Clan’s amazing qi, and the unusual qi accumulated inside the Demonic Emperor’s Relics as he shouted it out, so that as if it had substance, it pierced through the enemy’s five persons’ ten ears at the same time. This move could not be guarded against, plus it was greatly beyond the other side’s expectation. Immediately, no one, Xu Kaishan included, was not directedly affected, their entire body shook, the originally ten-thousand-jun-thunderbolt momentum of the pincer attack slowed down a hairbreadth, and the formidable power suddenly diminished.
The most brilliant was that the ‘female corpse’ also heard the incantation and was severely shaken, so that Xu Ziling discovered that the female corpse was actually an enemy posing as dead person, thereby he knew that his beloved Shi Qingxuan was still alive and well. Immediately his spirit was greatly aroused, which, in turn, stirring up a powerful will to fight in his heart to defeat the enemy and to seek survival.
In that lightning-flash, flint-spark moment, he recalled Shi Zhixuan strategy in breaking out of the meditation room. Not daring to hesitate, from the Motionless Fundamental Image he changed into Vajra Chakra Image, he shouted another exploding-the-heavens-moving-the-earth, able-to-make-evil-spirit-demon-and-goblin-heart-startled-guts-tremble, pushing-them-to-retreat-three-day’s-march incantation.
One punch exploded toward the ‘female corpse’ impersonating Shi Qingxuan, ignoring the other people’s offensive.
Xu Kaishan was worthy to be the Da Zun; he could see through Xu Ziling’s strategy and tactic. In this situation, where the woman from his side, who was disguised as a female corpse – was unable to evade Xu Ziling’s full-powered strike in time, the tip of his foot tapped one side of the sharp rock protruding out of the stream, cancelling his attack toward Xu Ziling, he soared at an angle to snatch the ‘female corpse’.
The ‘female corpse’ came back to life, she became Rong Jiaojiao; her face showed a look of horror, she raised both fists to seal and block Xu Ziling’s spiraling fist power, which locked her tight and enveloped her.
At the speed faster than an ordinary person was capable to see clearly, Xu Kaishan displayed his grandmaster-level skill, he was one step ahead in grabbing Rong Jiaojiao’s waist and took her soaring at an angle, while his right foot kicked Xu Ziling’s fist.
Xu Ziling laughed aloud, he swayed to break away from Xu Kaishan’s enormous threat, his entire body relaxed, he used his unique school’s ability to rapidly change true qi, suddenly he moved two steps forward, the fist changed to palm, it met with the other palm to form a lotus flower, a highly concentrated spiraling Treasured-Vase energy took shape inside the lotus palms, he pushed it upward, the Treasured-Vase Qi left the palm and rushed upward to meet Xinnaya’s attack head-on, while at the same time he rolled on the ground, and dropped into the cool stream of water, momentarily neutralizing the disaster of being killed, which was pressing on his eyebrows and eyelashes, and escaped out of the heavy siege.
Duan Yucheng, the Fire Girl, and the Water Girl’s, three long swords chipped away at a task and not abandoning it [idiom: persevering], chasing after him, separately stabbing down at the underwater Xu Ziling from three different angles.
Xinnaya let out a muffled groan; although she was able to block, albeit barely, the Treasured-Vase true power, which Xu Ziling bestowed on her, her tender body was still knocked hard that she was thrown away, and she still, to certain degree, received a bit of injury. How could she easily bear this full-strength strike from Xu Ziling, which she never expected?
Xu Ziling disappeared six chi deep into the creek water, he turned over and lay on his back. Via the rippling clear water, he was able to see clearly the three attacking swords’ angle and timing. Sucking in a mouthful of water first, applying his power into his two hands, three streams of water arrows shot out from both hands and his mouth, like three columns of water from deep below the surface, broke through the water surface and spiraled out, attacking Duan Yucheng, Fire Girl and Water Girl’s faces, which they simply had to protect.
After releasing the water arrow blended with spiraling power, still staying close to the bottom, he suddenly moved several zhang away, so that the other enemies could not attack, they were unable to grasp his position.
Duan Yucheng, three persons had no choice but to pull their swords back to swiftly block Xu Ziling’s unique [orig. hitting on something new (idiom)/display originality] strange underwater move, and were forcefully shaken that they returned to the bank of the stream.
Overhead, a shadow covered the sky.
Overhead, ‘Da Zun’ Xu Kaishan’s foot pounced down from the sky, his pair of palms pressed down on the water. Although it was not a solid strike, the staying-underwater Xu Ziling could no longer feel relaxed feeling like swimming-fish-moving-to-and-fro like before. Heavy as Mount Tai, the pressure put stress on his head. The most terrifying thing was that his hands and feet were difficult to budge; he had tasted the formidable method of this Da Ming Zun Jiao’s supreme leader.
Perhaps Xu Kaishan has not reached Shi Zhixuan’s level yet, but definitely his power did not differ too far from Shi Zhixuan’s. However, instead of being alarmed, Xu Ziling was delighted, because in his eagerness to kill him, Xu Kaishan has made a serious mistake.
Actually, Xu Kaishan’s technique was extremely brilliant; he concentrated his internal energy into the river water, so that the river water became as heavy as ten thousand catties boulder, pressuring Xu Ziling so that he could not budge, and could only meet force with force, resisting his incoming stored-up momentum, the full-strength blow striking down from the air, no longer like just now, using water arrow against the enemy.
The problem was that Xu Ziling learned the method of measuring the enemy from Shi Zhixuan; as it turns out, in this particular situation he was able to display its greatest usefulness. When Xu Kaishan’s true qi was combined with the water of the creek, the creek water, about six chi in diameter, immediately stopped flowing, as if a huge rock suddenly rose up from the bottom of the creek, so that the water flowing into the creek was also excited that it splashed in all direction. But the most wonderful thing was that the intensity distribution of Xu Kaishan’s qi power, the style in which his true qi was moved, unexpectedly was like an open book, it was written on every single cun of the creek water. This has given Xu Ziling the convenience of fully grasping the mystery of Xu Kaishan’s move, enabling him to pry into his ‘escaping one’.
Know yourself and know your enemy, and you will never be defeated [idiom, from Suntzu’s ‘The Art of War’].
From the bottom of the creek, Xu Ziling’s two fingers jabbed out to meet Xu Kaishan’z pair of palms coming down, piercing through the water. The distribution of the finger power was not even either; the right finger meeting his left palm took possession of more than eighty-percent of the power inside his entire body, while the other finger only carried about twenty-percent of his strength. Moreover, he was using the focused deflecting force.
The ‘water boulder’ was smashed to pieces, the water was flowing again.
Fingers and palms met each other.
Xu Ziling’s left-hand’s index finger slightly withdrawn, it stabbed a hair later compared to the right-hand index finger to meet the hollow of Xu Kaishan’s right palm. This subtle difference actually determined the high/low, success/failure of both sides.
The right index finger, using penetrating character spiraling power, clashed directly with Xu Kaishan. Immediately Xu Kaishan suffered a big loss; his entire body shook, the spiraling finger power split the palm power, penetrated his meridians and invaded in.
Turns out Xu Kaishan’s two palms’ force distribution was also uneven: his right palm was strong, his left palm was weak, in 60-40 ratio. What Xu Ziling used was the upper-quality horse against the lower-quality horse tactic, using the strong to strike the weak, using the weak to meet the strong. The profoundness of this tactic was that he used the strong to control the weak one step ahead, so that the other side’s strong became weak as well.
Only this moment that the left index finger stabbed Xu Kaishan’s comparatively stronger right palm. Qi power flowed out swiftly sideways, the water splashed everywhere.
Outsiders only saw the two men’s fingers and palms collided, how could they figure out the mysterious, marvelous aspect within this encounter?
Xu Kaishan’s severe shout grew without restraint, he was jolted hard and was thrown into the air over the surface of the stream, and spurted out blood.
Xu Ziling was also shaken by the impact that his blood and qi were surging, stars appeared in his eyes. Knowing that the opponent already received internal injury, which was not light, he forcefully suppressed his blood and qi, borrowing the water power to emerge, both legs kicked backward, he shot out of the water, and sent an explosive punch over empty air toward Xu Kaishan, who was still in the air.
Duan Yucheng, Rong Jiaojiao, Xinnaya, the Fire Girl, the Water Girl, rushed over in shock, but they were still one step too late.
Xu Kaishan was, after all, a grandmaster-level martial art master; facing death, he did not panic. Making a somersault in the air, he used both palms to block.
What Xu Kaishan was blocking was the highly-concentrated Treasured-Vase Qi, how could he be able to endure it? Injury on top of injury, he spurted out another mouthful of blood, like a kite with cut string he rolled toward Xinnaya and Rong Jiaojiao, who were rushing over along the stream.
Hou Xibai’s shout came from the direction of the valley’s mouth, saying, “Bad guys [lit. evil/wicked disciples], stop committing vicious things, Hou Xibai is here!”
High up in the air, Xinnaya caught and held on to the heavily-injured Xu Kaishan, while shouting tenderly in Huihe language, which Xu Ziling did not understand.
Xu Ziling thought that the other side wanted to run away, “Where do you think you are going?” he shouted coldly.
The seemingly-heard-and-retreating-swiftly Fire Girl and Water Girl unexpectedly shot several dozen dots of cold light at the same time, raining down to cover Xu Ziling.
Rong Jiaojiao was rushing over to meet the coming-to-help Hou Xibai.
Xu Ziling felt a burst of weakness in his body, he realized that due to pursuing and attacking Xu Kaishan, his internal injury was getting heavier, plus the consumption of his true essence was extremely serious, so that he was unable to block the two women’s secret projectiles head-on; immediately he took a breath and moved to evade.
The Fire Girl and the Water Girl continued to retreat, but they did not run away at all, instead, they helped Rong Jiaojiao to cope with Hou Xibai’s folding fan.
On the other side, Xu Kaishan sat cross-legged, while Xinnaya, setting aside everything, pressed her palm onto Xu Kaishan’s back, in order to heal him on the spot. Xu Ziling was certain that they had their unique school’s secret method to treat internal injury, which would enable Xu Kaishan to recover his primary energy in a short period of time; if that happened, then his and Hou Xibai’s last day would come.
Hou Xibai’s Fan of Beauty turned over and flew up and down, he was barely able to block the three women’s deadly vicious and ruthless moves, he had no time to pay attention to other things.
“Xu Ziling, surrender your life!” Duan Yucheng’s being became one with his sword, it transformed into a long light attacking him.
Xu Ziling groaned inwardly; it does not matter whether Duan Yucheng was a thousand times in the wrong, ten thousand times in the wrong, he was still unable to harden his heart to harm him. However, if he could not get away from his entanglement, by the time Xu Kaishan recovered his combat ability, with Xinnaya, three female generals joining hands with him, how could the two of them have a chance?
Sword light flared out severely, the qi power covered the air and pressed in.
Xu Ziling’s heart and spirit were shaken again. Before his eyes, Duan Yucheng has displayed his talent and strength for a decisive victory; it was clear that previously he did not use all his strength. But now, in order to protect Xu Kaishan, he no longer had any reservations, and has shown the marvelous accomplishment and ultimate skill he learned from the ‘Yu Jin Wan Fa Gen Yuan Zhi Jing’. In Xu Ziling’s current situation, even if he wanted to kill him, he would still be having the intention but not the power, let alone on this issue he was still having three hearts and two intentions.
Xu Ziling leaped back to a big rock by the stream. His left hand drew a circle, his right hand drew a square, generating two opposite streams of energy, one sucking in, the other pushing out, to deal with the other side’s hiding the sky and covering the earth’s sword qi coming to attack.
Duan Yucheng’s sword momentum was fierce and severe, but his expression was as calm as still water; however, if his original attack style did not change, half of this sword qi would be absorbed, while the other half would be deflected. As long as Xu Ziling succeeded in absorbing part of his true qi, his counterattack move would be extremely difficult for him to withstand.
Suddenly, myriad of sword shadows was restrained, they changed back into one sword, Duan Yucheng performed strange footwork, he darted to Xu Ziling’s left side, the sword rose up, but suddenly went down, it split and swiftly chopped, the changes were hard to estimate, furthermore, the person and the sword became one entity, there was a feeling that it did not have the least bit of flaw.
Xu Ziling had never thought that he would be this brilliant, the use of real power path became a fancy move instead, he was unable to suck, he was unable to deflect. If he were not internally injured, he might still be able to block this ten-thousand-jun-thunderbolt strike head-on; however, this moment he knew that it was beyond his reach.
The enormous without equal sword qi covered and locked him completely.
Xu Ziling carryout the Great Vajra Chakra Image, while flying back at the same time, to retreat toward the opposite bank of the stream.
Laughing coldly, Duan Yucheng said, “You are courting death!”
His original style did not change, it still rose up at an angle, it was still stabbing on his head. Under the pull of the tendency of the qi, Xu Ziling’s retreat provoked his sword qi so that it was like mountain flash flood flowing out violently. The long sword generated the ‘Chi! Chi’ ear-piercing shrill noise as it split the air, carrying an abundant subduing-the-enemy momentum.
Xu Ziling laughed calmly and said, “Yucheng’s experience in facing the enemy is still not enough!”
The Great Vajra Chakra Image, which was originally moving up to meet the attack, suddenly pressed down, immediately the water of the stream splashed everywhere; a thick column of water shot up from inside the creek, it shot like a solid pillar toward the vital part on Duan Yucheng’s lower torso.
Duan Yucheng had never expected that he would have this move, moreover, it was carried out heavily, so that immediately his hands and feet were in chaos, he changed the direction of his long sword to hack on the water column.
Water splashed everywhere, Duan Yucheng was hit hard and he fell back to the opposite bank.
Xu Ziling let out a roar, he sent a punch blasting across the stream toward Duan Yucheng.
Duan Yucheng has not steadied his footing, hurriedly he raised his sword horizontally to block.
Xu Ziling saw Duan Yucheng revealed a shocked expression. Naturally he was horrified because he was unable to block even half a thread of the power of the punch. This moment the Treasured-Vase Qi has been formed, it left the fist and shot forward.
Duan Yucheng’s entire body shook severely, he staggered back, the color of blood completely drained from his handsome face, evidently he was injured.
Xu Ziling also felt a burst of empty and fluttering feeling, he was unable to seize the opportunity to pursue and attack. He originally thought that Duan Yucheng would be unable to withstand the punch and would be injured and fall to the ground. This moment, seeing him still able stand and did not vomit any blood, he knew that the martial art of the ‘Yu Jin Wan Fa Gen Yuan Zhi Jing’ was indeed not a common chord.
This moment Xu Kaishan suddenly stood up; the divine light in his eyes visible under his hood was flashing, he shouted, “Good martial arts! This Zun [revered, venerable] wants to ask advice again.”
Xinnaya leaped to Duan Yucheng’s side, the concerned look on her pretty face was shown in full light.
Xu Ziling raised his qi inwardly; looking at Xu Kaishan coming over from the opposite bank, he spoke indifferently, “Xu Xiong changed your voice, and you put on a hood, but can you hide from other people’s eyes and ears?”
Xu Kaishan halted his steps at the opposite bank. Shaking his head, he said with a sigh, “I never thought that the able-to-move-unhindered, consider-himself-unexcelled-in-the-world Xu Ziling unexpectedly will lose his life in this valley. What a pity! What a pity!”
Xinnaya and Duan Yucheng separately moved to his left and right, storing up their momentum in waiting.
Xu Ziling secretly determined that even if he had to die, he must pull Xu Kaishan along to accompany him on the journey.
Right this moment, a sharp warning whistle came from outside the valley, carrying a sense of urgency.
Xinnaya and Duan Yucheng’s countenance changed at the same time, while Xu Kaishan’s pair of eyes revealed a shocked expression.
Xu Ziling had never thought that they still had their companions outside the valley; he was shaken inwardly.
After Xu Kaishan’s eyes changed repeatedly, he spoke in heavy voice, “Just consider yourself lucky. Let’s go!”
They left as soon as they said they would go, flying toward the mouth of the valley.
Xu Ziling called out loudly, “Xibai, retreat!”
Hou Xibai restrained his fan and retreated, Rong Jiaojiao, three women did not have the heart to zealously continue fighting, following Xu Kaishan and the others, they turned around and were gone in an instant, neat and clean.
Xu Ziling’s pair of legs went weak, he sat on the ground.
Hou Xibai rushed to his side and asked on consternation, “Is Ziling all right?”
Xu Ziling spoke urgently, “Go out and see, quickly! If Qingxuan is back, immediately warn her, I have to recover as quickly as possible, only then will I be able to come out to help the two of you.”
Immediately Hou Xibai’s countenance changed; not saying anything further, he bolted at top speed toward the path in the woods out of the valley.
Xu Ziling swept his gaze around. The small valley was tranquil and harmonious, the water in the creek was gurgling, insects and birds were singing.
The sun had just reached its culmination point, illuminating the inside of the valley that the gradation of the forest looked even more distinct, its shade covered the ground, as if the intense battle just now had never happened.
He was worried not only for Shi Qingxuan, but for Hou Xibai as well; although he has not fully recovered, he could not help rising to his full height.
Previously, in frontal confrontation against Xu Kaishan, there was only a fine line between victory and defeat. In term of power, Xu Kaishan was still a notch better than him, hence the lost was actually because of luck [good or bad], and Xu Ziling won also because of luck. Were it not for the method of detecting the enemy that he learned from Shi Zhixuan, which enabled him to find Xu Kaishan’s flaw, he would have missed the golden opportunity. In this multitude-of-enemies, few-friends situation, it would be difficult for him to escape the disaster of being killed.
If he could use this detecting the enemy method outside of being underwater, it would be tantamount to him knowing half of the Bu Si Yin Fa, not only he would know when to advance or to retreat, he could also, because he could grasp the enemy’s qi power distribution and the manner in which the power was applied – borrow the force and deflect the force to subdue the enemy, which means he had reached the Bu Si Yin realm.
But how could he reach such level?
Warning signal suddenly appeared in his heart, Xu Ziling looked at the direction of the mouth of the valley. Hou Xibai appeared from the bend in the forest path, his expression grave as he came in front of Xu Ziling and spoke heavily, “Shi Shi is here!”
Xu Ziling was shocked, “What did you say?” he blurted out.
Hou Xibai said, “I said Shi Shi is here, but I should have said that he was here. When I got to the outside of the valley, the fight was already over, Da Ming Zun Jiao is finished!”
Xu Ziling understood. Unexpectedly Shi Zhixuan was the reason Xu Kaishan left. This time, Da Ming Zun Jiao people came to Bashu to deal with his daughter, but it has come as no surprise to him.
An Long received his order to warn Xu Ziling, to tell him to be on guard. Shi Qingxuan was not in the small valley, most likely it was Shi Zhixuan who made the arrangement so that his daughter would avoid the disaster. Xu Kaishan and the others were eager to take revenge for Sha Fang, they tragically fell into the trap that Shi Zhixuan ingeniously set up. To a certain extent, Xu Ziling was also being used by Shi Zhixuan.
Hou Xibai said, “Two dead bodies were lying face down on the road, but I did not see the other four people. In my opinion, they won’t be able to escape Shi Shi’s hands.”
Xu Ziling was afraid one of the deaths would be Duan Yucheng, he spoke hastily, “Let’s go out to take a closer look.”