A gut-wrenching scream split the air and sliced through the silence within the mountain village like a razor sharp knife. Wen Lewu lay in a pool of blood as a gleaming flying sword flew into the air. It seemed to show off its powers by spinning in midair before being called back by a young priest
Wen Tunhai grew ashen and waved his hand for two youngsters of the Wen village to lift up the severely wounded Wen Lewu.
Wen Lewu was one of the eldest amongst Wen family’s third generation of disciples. He was like an older brother to Wen Leyang. Although he had not passed the Major Examination of the Decade, he was considered one of the outstanding practitioner of the Art of Poison within the Wen village’s hall of fame.
Wen Lewu gazed towards his eldest uncle with eyes full of despair. Wen Tunhai heaved a long sigh and with skillful fingers, he rapidly compressed the sides of the gaping wounds. The blood which had been spurting out like a bubbling spring immediately slowed its flow.
In four days, they had already lost thirteen battles. With the exception of himself, almost all the elite masters within the Wen village had been defeated, with seven deaths and the remaining six were gravely injured.
The leader of the attackers was a middle-aged priest of fair complexion with a long, black beard. He looked with a smile towards Wen Tunhai and said, “Why don’t you hand yourself over? Even though Wen Bucao is a renowned legacy, yet you are mortal human beings. There is still time to surrender, or would you rather fight to the death?” He spoke with a genuine and sincere tone and smiled benevolently.
Wen Tunhai grunted in reply as he took a few steps forward and stood in the middle of the stone panel. He then declared in an offhand manner, “To which practitioner were you preaching to with such generosity?”
Several hundred villagers of the Wen family, both young and old, erupted in a loud cheer. Their once bleak expressions had been reignited with hope – First Uncle Wen Tunhai was finally entering the battle!
The priest with the long, black beard roared with laughter as he shook his head in derision. He turned around and picked out a young priest whom he gently instructed, “Keep him alive, I still have some questions for him. ”
Wen Tunhai laughed proudly as he called upon his reserves of calmness and patience to return his mind to a serene state. These priests were of average competency when it comes to physical martial arts. The battles had always begun with the Wen family’s disciples leading the fight. However, every time the Wen family was on the verge of a victory, the opponent would abruptly release their flying sword or perform some dark arts and inflict heavy losses on them. The Wen Bucao disciples were unable to fight back against this tactic.
The priests may be of average skills with martial arts, but they were definitely not average when it comes to using underhanded ways to win their fights. Most of the tricks up their sleeves had only been heard of in legends.
The three Elders of the Wen village had left Nine Peaks Mountain a few months ago so in their absence Wen Tunhai was the elected master of the village. However, he was confronted with a crisis that was unprecedented in the history of over two thousand years since the village was first founded in the mountain.
The young priest walked into the battle arena and gave a kowtow in salutation, “I am Yu Jizi from the Sun Dynasty Palace. I respectfully request your guidance.” He then struck a pose by pushing out both of his hands. As he stood in front of the gateway, the young man’s face shone with a full gloss so that under the sun’s illumination, he appeared to be filled with awe-inspiring righteousness.
Wen Tunhai almost doubled over with laughter, “For someone who had used the trick of a hidden arrow to stab someone from behind, why do you even need to strike a pose? You might as well release those flying swords immediately!” Once he finished his sentence, a loud shout was heard and the First Elder took a step forward into the arena.
The two opponents were separated by the distance of seven to eight meters, yet it only took Wen Tunhai one stride to stand before Yu Jizi. There was a whooshing sound and he had punched Yu Jizi into the door in one strike.
Yu Jizi turned pale with fright. They had been winning all the battles ever since they attacked the village; even though the defenders from the Wen family were strong, yet their level of expertise was roughly equal as a whole. He had not expected that Wen Tunhai’s strength would be on a whole different level and that his fist would be so swift that it could only be seen through the opening of a funnel.
Panicking, Yu Jizi reached out his hand to grab Wen Tunhai’s fist. The moment his palm came in contact with Wen Tunhai a spike of heart-wrenching pain radiated from his palm all of a sudden.
Wen Tunhai’s fist passed through Yu Jizi’s palm without much resistance and continued until it struck forcefully against the young priest’s shoulder.
Yu Jizi was sent flying back from the impact. He howled in anger and pain as his fingers began to form the sword-controlling gesture in preparation to launch his flying sword. He could feel the sword slowly begin to tremble at his waist when his ankles were abruptly grabbed and Wen Tunhai held the young priest towards his chest.
The young priest could only make a surprised ‘oh’ sound as a stream of fresh blood suddenly spewed from his mouth!
Within the death hold, every joint in Wen Tunhai’s body surged in an attack like a tide – a total of seventy-three deep blows was emitted from head to toe, repeatedly striking the young priest’s body!
The flying sword had just begun to fly but it abruptly floundered in midair and began to descend in a jerky manner. Yu Jizi was beaten to a pulp and slumped towards the ground. He struggled weakly for a few moments before becoming still.
Wen Tunhai laughed long and loud. He then pointed towards the black-bearded priest whose expression had soured. But Wen Tunhai knew very well in his heart that though the battle may have seemed easy, he had achieved this victory because his opponent had underestimated him and was caught off guard before he could release the flying sword. His opponent will be more cautious in the next battle and to gain a victory would no longer be such an easy task.
The Wen family cheered loudly at their first victory!
As the cheering went on it was suddenly disrupted by two gleaming flying swords which shot skywards from a group of priests. The swords howled with an ear-piercing shriek and raced towards Wen Tunhai!
Wen Tunhai was not expecting such a swift retaliation for just one victory but recovered himself in time. He gave a loud shout and accompanied by loud thuds he threw five punches to the ground. The momentum of the punches propelled him into the air and he began to use the highly agile Faulty Punch to evade the swords. He danced with his hands and feet like one who has lost their mind, managing to duck and avoid being stabbed by the attacking swords by a hair’s breadth each time. There were a few occasions when a sword came close enough to slice through his lapels and if he were any slower at dodging the swords, he would have been sliced into ribbons by now.
The glimmer of the swords danced all over the sky as Wen Tunhai’s figure shuffled back and forth nonstop. As he dodged the attacks, he gradually shifted towards the direction of the group of priests.
The black-bearded priest shook his head regretfully. Wen Tunhai had almost forced his way to his side when the priest suddenly shouted, “Suffer!” A streak of red blinding light immediately shot down from the sky!
Though Wen Tunhai may have appeared to be completely caught up with the action of avoiding the two swords, he was constantly looking out for the opponent’s underhanded tricks as well. Yet he would never have thought that the black-bearded priest’s flying sword had been hidden in the sky all along. He was completely caught off guard and only barely managed to avoid serious injury to a vital part of his body. He cursed in rage and his well-built figure dropped down from the air.
The red, dragonfly-shaped sword had stabbed itself deep into Wen Tunhai’s shoulder blade. The two other swords buzzed and hummed as they chased after Wen Tunhai like a shadow chasing a person!
The entire Wen family shouted and cursed in unison and each individual prepared themselves to leap out and put up a desperate fight. Wen Tunhai could see that the situation was futile and sighed deeply in his heart.
All of a sudden a dark shadow appeared before his eyes and next to his ear he heard a voice call out, “First Uncle!”
A familiar silhouette shot forward like an arrow and leaped upwards through the piercing cold wind, engaging the two flying swords!
Wen Leyang had just entered the village when he witnessed Wen Tunhai on the verge of being stabbed to death. He yelled in rage and soared high into the air. After regaining consciousness he found that The Faulty Punch had fused together the Corpse Poison from the Yin Chi, the Fire Poison from the Buddha’s Light Bug, the poison from the hundreds of vermin from the Sickness Trademark, and the poison from the medicinal potion in his meridian vessels, which were all then tempered and refined into his body. As he gathered his power he could feel his body becoming denser than before, his movements rippled with a force of inertia so strong it was inconceivable. Even his speed has increased by many folds and as he jumped he left behind a streak of gray human-shaped shadow in midair. He extended his arms and grabbed on to the two flying swords.
A muffled sound was heard.
Wen Leyang fell heavily back onto the ground!
This was followed by two light ringing sounds.
A pair of gleaming silver swords were grasped securely by Wen Leyang’s hands and the swords struggled resentfully like two poisonous snakes!
The old priest’s expression changed suddenly as his hands formed the sword-controlling gesture. Wen Tunhai gave a loud yell of pain as his body, which had been lying on the ground, was lifted up as the Flying Red Sword brutally pulled out of his shoulder and flew back to its master’s hand.
Behind the old priest, two younger priests with ashen faces also formed the sword-controlling gesture, hoping to call their flying swords back into their hands.
Wen Leyang’s hands felt like they were holding on to two pieces of red-hot soldering iron as waves of stabbing pain flowed from his palms into his body. The skin on his arms began to tighten and after a moment, the two swords were overcome by a sudden eruption of strength which emanated from Wen Leyang’s body.
The foolish uncles roared with laughter as they ran towards the defeated swords while swinging the rocks in their hands.
The two young priests quivered with fear and protested helplessly, “Please, don’t!”
There was a vivid sound of clanking metal and an instant later the ground was scattered with sword fragments like a mirrored mosaic.
Wen Leyang could not care less about his defeated opponents and went over immediately to where his First Uncle was. He carefully lifted his injured uncle up while still carrying Wen Xiaoyi on his back.
At present one side of Wen Tunhai’s body could not move at all due to the stabbing and tearing damage from the Flying Red Sword. Countless lines of scalding Qi from the sword was racing all over his body and he was in agony, but all of a sudden the pain faded away. Wen Tunhai opened his eyes wide, looked at Wen Leyang as if he had seen a monster and asked, “You… What the f*ck? Is that really you?”
Wen Leyang giggled slyly and nodded his head as he quickly reassured his uncle, “Yes, it’s me, it’s me.”
With the sound of a multitude of footsteps, the young and old of the Wen village gathered around to help stop Wen Tunhai’s bleeding and dress his wounds. Meanwhile, the black-bearded priest raised his voice and asked, “From where did the other respected arrival come from? Yu Lingzi of the Sun Dynasty Palace pas his respect. May Your Excellency be blessed with longevity and… Prosperity!”
From Yu Lingzi’s observation, the person who had caught the flying swords with his bare hands had a very ordinary appearance and the act itself was not much different from catching a flying dart with one’s hand. However, most disciples knew that each flying sword would contain a powerful charge of Qi when commanded by the sword-controlling gesture. Needless to say, it would have been impossible for an ordinary person to grab a hold of a flying sword. The Sun Dynasty Palace’s followers had thoroughly investigated the Wen village before attacking, and from their understanding, the Wen family were of the reclusive but strong type. The final analysis had shown that they were normal people, yet as soon as Wen Leyang appeared he was able to hold on to two of his apprentices’ flying swords. Therefore the black-bearded priest naturally accorded him as one of the Wen family’s disciple.
As the sound of the final word prosperity faded away, a loud thunderous explosion boomed across the mountain, scaring the birds which flew away in droves while squawking with fear.
Wen Leyang eyes flashed like lightning as he stared ferociously at his opponents!
The black-bearded priest met in eyes and cried out in pain an instant later. He jumped abruptly and stumbled a few steps back.
The group of priests behind him began to scream in pain as well.
Wen Leyang cheered proudly in his heart and thought that he had used thePoison Eye technique without being aware of it.
First Uncle roared with laughter though it was cut short by a fit of coughing. Clearing his throat, he croaked, “Don’t be so smug young fellow, I had placed poisonous moss on the ground earlier!”
Upon careful inspection, it could be observed that at the location where Wen Tunhai had thrown five punches earlier, a layer of black-colored substance had crept its way under the priest’s feet. This poisonous substance then slowly crawled up onto the priest’s feet while they were distracted by the critical battle in the air.
Wen Leyang laughed mockingly and said, “I can say that I’m not cruel at all, the real merciless one here is you, First Uncle!” He then expressed his admiration by giving Wen Tunhai a thumbs up.
Wen Tunhai spat and cursed, “These priests are not normal beings! If it were not for their flying swords and tricks, they would have been dead three times over! Young fellow, get into the battle, quick!”
The group of priests finally understood Wen Tunhai’s approach, at this point their bodies were already covered in green-red rashes. A few of the younger priests began to scratch frantically at their bodies while moaning in fear like pigs at a slaughterhouse.
Wen Leyang hesitated for a moment before shaking his head slowly and said, “Don’t you worry, First Uncle, they won’t be going anywhere!”
As the leader of the opposing party, the black-bearded priest made a lightning-fast opening strike. He released his Flying Red Sword and set it to guard the group of priests against any sneak attacks by the Wen family. He then quickly took out numerous paper talismans and muttered the spell in his mouth. He withstood the extreme discomfort from the poisonous moss and ran quickly amongst his fellow priests, placing a paper talisman on each person’s body. He then shouted, “Body cleansing divine charm, clear the effects of this poison, quickly!”
A coil of black smoke immediately rose from each person’s body and the rashes that grew on their skin wilted and disappeared.
A quick-witted and eloquent disciple of the Wen family ran to Wen Leyang and quickly explained to him about the background of this group of enemies.
Four days ago, this group of self-proclaimed priests of the Sun Dynasty Palace suddenly appeared outside the village. They declared that one of their apprentices had died at the hands of a disciple of Wen Bucao a hundred days ago on the mountain and they were here to find the murderer.
However, these old priests had an eccentric way of handling the situation, instead of fighting directly, they used various ways to subdue those who opposed them and would only stop when the Wen family handed over the murderer.
Wen Leyang looked with great astonishment at the group of priests standing at the opposite side.
Wen Tunhai laughed scornfully, “Which apprentice of theirs was murdered? I have never seen such a method of getting justice! The priests are behaving peculiarly, I am sure that they are plotting a scheme!”
Wen Leyang scratched the back of his head sheepishly and confessed to Wen Tunhai in a low tone, “A hundred days ago I did kill a young fellow at the Red Leaves Forest. He was leading a pack of enemies and they were trying to attach the Place of Birth, Life, Sickness, and Death. Just like these people, he also commanded a flying sword.”
Wen Tunhai looked towards his nephew in utter surprise. He then deliberated for a short while before instructing quietly, “The old and young of the Wen family, listen and obey!”
“Escort the Inner Disciple Wen Leyang down the mountain…” Before Wen Tunhai could complete his directive, Wen Leyang put a hand on his mouth and said, “First Uncle! Please give me a chance!”
Wen Tunhai insistently pushed away Wen Leyang’s hand and said, “Stop fooling around! You have already missed the perfect opportunity to attack the enemy, you are not their worthy opponent…” Before he had even finished his sentence, he was greeted by Wen Leyang’s confident smile.
“First Uncle, did you know that there was an ancestor in our family named Wen Lazi? He had left behind his legacy of breaking the meridian vessels and refining the poison directly into the body. By chance, I’ve managed to learn it!”
Wen Tunhai’s mouth gaped so widely one could stuff an electric iron into it, “Why would you say something so absurd in broad daylight?”
Wen Leyang laughed and let Wen Xiaoyi off his back. He patted her head reassuringly before walking slowly into the battle arena.
The black-bearded old priest held out his hand and retrieved his flying sword. He asked with a stern expression, “And who may Your Excellency be?”
Wen Leyang looked towards the group of priests who had regained their solemn and sanctimonious looks. He then chuckled loudly, “Are you done with cleansing your bodies?”
The black-bearded old priest Yu Lingzi smiled benevolently, as though he had not a single care in the world for this earthly joke and answered courteously, “Your Excellency must be joking, Wen Bucao had murdered our people first and afflicted great suffering upon the world. The Sun Dynasty Palace will implement the punishment accordingly, and we’ve brought along three hundred apprentices to take to observe the divine judgment!”
Wen Leyang did not reply but only raised his eyebrows, and motioned for Yu Lingzi to continue speaking.
Yu Lingzi calmly continued his explanation. His tone was polite with a slight arrogance as he said, “A hundred days ago, my apprentice was traveling through the Nine Peaks Mountain when he was murdered by someone from the Wen family. Luckily the apprentice had some spiritual ability and a wisp of his spirit escaped back to the Sun Dynasty Palace. Only then did our respectful elders command us to leave our mountain.”
Wen Leyang asked lightly, “What does your apprentice look like?
Yu Lingzi waved his hand and a photograph slowly spun in the air towards Wen Leyang. He caught the photograph as it arrived while in his heart he was envious of the old priest’s ability to use the Gambler King’s trick to summon the photograph out of thin air.
In the photograph, the Baby Faced Man who had died in the Red Leaves Forest was smiling with red lips and pearly white teeth. His faint smile implied a hint of shyness, his gaze appeared bright and clear.
The black-bearded old priest’s tone of speaking had not changed at all, “Has Your Excellency met my apprentice before?”
Before Wen Leyang could reply, the Baby Faced Man’s expression in the photograph suddenly turned fierce, the faint smile on his face was filled with hate and hostility. His portrait struggled in the photograph as if trying to free itself from the confines of the paper and devour Wen Leyang. A blaze of green flame ignited on the photograph before it disappeared in a cloud of green smoke!
The black-bearded Yu Lingzi howled in anger, “It’s you! You are the murderer!” Immediately there was a humming sound as the red dragonfly sword swopped out of the air and flew towards Wen Leyang’s chest!
Wen Leyang was stunned, it’s not easy to deceive those who are engaged in self-cultivation.
Under the same theory, those who are engaged in self-cultivation are really good at deceiving others.
It was obvious that the black-bearded old priest had sheathed his flying sword, yet it was unknown when the sword had been sneakily released again. Wen Leyang barely had time to react before the Flying Red Sword was before his eyes. He instinctively used The Faulty Punch to dodge the sword by leaning diagonally, while the fingers on his right hand spun like wheels and reached towards the sword’s blade.
To the eyes of the other Wen family members, they could only see a ray of bright light appearing in the middle of the sky. It took great effort to even see the shadow of the Flying Red Sword. Wen Leyang however, was able to see the little sword’s motions and direction clearly due to him having tempered the Corpse Poison and hundreds of other kinds of poisons into his body.
Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding!
The sharp sound of metal being struck echoed through the village. Wen Leyang had knocked lightly with each fingertip of his right hand onto the Flying Red Sword, as what one would do when one was bored and drumming their five fingers on the table.
After a few taps, Wen Leyang looked as if he was struck by thunder and gave a fearful cry before slamming onto the ground. His face flushed scarlet and the scar on his cheekbone appeared almost alive, glowing with a sullen glare. The black-bearded Yu Lingzi sneered scornfully. His flying sword was no mere item from the mortal world. It was named Firetail and even his respected elders were in awe of the sword. For someone like Wen Leyang who attacked the sword with their own flesh and blood, it was akin to them putting their hands into a guillotine.
However, his triumph was short-lived as the little sword, after being hit repeatedly by Wen Leyang, began weaving about in a crooked manner in the sky. Yu Lingzi tried to command the sword using the sword-controlling gesture yet the Flying Red Sword would not obey and continued to weave drunkenly through the air. It flew past the priests and elicited some fearful screams, then it flew above the people of the Wen family who cursed at it.
Yu Lingzi was completely mystified and all the color drained from his face. He ran onto the battleground in a great hurry and repeatedly switched his hand gestures as he followed the Flying Red Sword and tried to regain control over his previous weapon.
Wen Nine watched with great excitement. He turned to face his foolish brother and said, “That flying sword seems like it no longer wants to be ordered around.”
Wen Thirteen giggled foolishly in reply.
The awfully busy Yu Lingzi overheard the foolish man’s comment and a murderous look flashed upon his face. Out of nowhere, a strange noise rang out from beside his ear. Yu Lingzi was astonished and asked, “What is happening?” He turned and saw Wen Leyang who had stood up from the ground and was laughing triumphantly. He raised his supposedly crippled right arm and pointed towards the drunken sword weaving about in midair.
Similar as before, when the external force entered his body, Wen Leyang’s pores constricted and shut suddenly, causing his skin to tighten and wrap around his body as waves of resilient strength from all directions annihilated the force within his body.
Wen Leyang had gradually got used to the sensation and now, the tightening of his pores brought upon a feeling of joy filled with strength.
Yu Lingzi stopped trying to control his wayward sword and without uttering a word he raised his fist and rushed towards his enemy. Before his fist could arrive, Wen Leyang’s clothes were already whistling in the wind.
Wen Leyang raised his fist in anticipation!