The Flower Guarding Bell - Chapter 15
Chapter Fifteen - The Noble Lord with the Almighty Laugh
Nangong Changshu slowly put Diancang Yan down.
Mistress Nangong took out a handkerchief to bind the open wound on Nangong Ping’s shoulder. She gently said. “Child, try to swing your arm and check if you have hurt your nerves.”
Nangong Ping swung a few times and felt warm by his mother’s concern. He muttered. “Don’t…have…”
Lu Yixian when he looked at this mother and son remembered how lonely he was. So he unwittingly lowered his head.
Suddenly there was the sound of horses outside.
Nangong Changshu lifted his head and asked. “Brother Sima, are they your reinforcements?”
Sima Zhongtian rushed to the entrance.
In the rainstorm were four horses carrying a red banner but there was no one else within sight.
Sima Zhongtian was jolted and moved back three steps as he muttered. “It is all over…all over…”
Nangong Changshu was flabbergasted. “Are those brothers that are outside the manor come to harm too? …”
Sima Zhongtian slowly said. “Only horses but no people, naturally it will mean…” Suddenly he shouted. “The rats of the Devil Flock Island! Cowards! If you have the guts to come out and fight with me, Sima Zhongtian instead of making sneak attacks. Are you not man enough!?”
These four horses were startled by his loud voice and trotted off. Nangong Changshu said. “Brother Sima…”
Before he could finish, there were three dark flying objects flying from the dark woods. Sima Zhongtian grabbed his spear and pieced through the three dark objects only to see that it was three bloodied heads!
Everyone’s hearts chilled when they saw it.
Nangong Changshu was afraid that Sima Zhongtian would be rash therefore he hit him on seven of his accupoints to calm him down. “Brother Sima, calm down first!”
Sima Zhongtian looked at the three heads and looked idiocy for awhile before he said. “My brothers…” And he dropped his spear. Lu Yixian clapped his hands with his fist and hatefully said. “The people of the Devil Flock Island, are they all rats that only know how to do sneak attack…”
Then he shouted. “I don’t care how omnipotent they are. With my skills, do I really…”
Nangong Changshu interrupted. “Second Brother.” His voice seemed to have a calming effect. Just a soft call and immediately Lu Yixian was calm and did not say anything.
Nangong Changshu began to analyze. “Let us first not determine who is strong or weak. We are now in a disadvantage position. The enemies are in the dark while we are in the open. If we do not calm down first and use inaction to counter action, before we even fight, we will have lost.”
Nangong Ping lowered his head.
Lu Yixian said. “How long do we have to wait?”
Sima Zhongtian turned his head and said loudly. “I rather charge into the darkness and fight them to the death than to wait here. It is really much more unbearable than death to wait here.”
Nangong Ping slowly looked at his father. Although he did not say it but he rather fight to the death than endure this unbearable waiting.
Nangong Changshu sighed and added. “Life and death is not important. But losing a promise is important. In the entire history of our Nangong family, from the start to the end, we have never done a single thing that breaks the faith. Now that our Nangong family are facing a breakdown, all the more we shouldn’t do anything that will break our pact with the others. No matter what happens, I, Nangong Changshu must wait for the Messenger of the Divine Creator to come and take the chests away. Or else even if I were to die, I will not die in peace.”
When he had finished, he seemed to have an authority over the others that could not be resist. Now no one was talking and looked at the rain that was outside.
Mistress Nangong softly said. “Pinger, can you change into something clean?” Her attention was forever on her beloved son.
Nangong Ping shook his head but he was feeling appreciated.
Lu Yixian laughed merrily. “Look at his clothing, who will believe that he is the sole son of Nangong Master. I think if you put him and me together, it will be more alike.”
Mistress Nangong softly sighed. “If today your Big Brother and I have come to harm, you really have to look after this child in the future, he…”
Lu Yixian looked into the heaven and laughed. “If something happen to the two of you, do you think I will want to remain in this world?”
Mistress Nangong said. “Why can’t you remain alone in this world? There is still many things left for you to be done!” Lu Yixian said. “Why should I want to remain alone. Although there are many things to be done in this world, I don’t care for it. As long as I can die with the both of you, at least when we are in the underworld, it is merrier. It is better than when in future when I die, I will become a lonely ghost. Big Brother, you say, am I right?”
Nangong Changshu sighed and then smiled awhile.
Sima Zhongtian spirit was suddenly arose as he shouted. “They have come…”
Three figures appeared on the steps of the stair. Although they moved very slow but everyone was feeling very nervous. They looked very peaceful and did not have any ill intention.
Lu Yixian shouted. “Who are you? If you do not tell us your name, I will treat you as bandit and deal with you according!”
One of the three was a monk who walked to the front of Lu Yixian and said. “I do not move around in the Pugilistic Fraternity often. Even if I tell you my name, you will not know me.”
The monk looked solemn and serious. The other two people had also appeared into view. One of them was carrying a sack, wearing a straw hat and looking like a beggar. It was almost impossible to see his face. The another was a priest in blue white robe.
Although all three of them looked different but their expressions were that of a pacifist.
Yu Yixian said. “There is a sudden event here. What brings the three of you here?”
The monk with white eyebrows raised both his hands to greet and smiled. “It is precisely the reason why we are here, for the sudden event of the Nangong Manor. If you are all doubtful, let me go in and explain to you.”
Lu Yixian took some time to move aside for them to enter the great hall.
Nangong Ping was jolted suddenly and thought. “At this moment, the malevolent aura outside the manor is so heavy. How could they have come through here without any harm?” Therefore he was suspicious of them. But when he lifted his glance to look at his father who appeared to be very composed, he calmed down as well.
When the monk stepped into the great hall and saw all the appalling scenes, he slowly closed his eyes and said. “For a sheer material thing, so many people lost their lives. Don’t you all feel it is sinful?”
Nangong Changshu sighed. “It is not my intention and it is under a forceful circumstance. After today, I will surely go to the temple to pray for forgiveness and to wash away the sinful consequences of the bloodshed!” The monk widened his eyes to say. “The way Mister say it, It seems like you have not yet been touched by kindness. I will advice you to turn over a new leaf and put down your weapons. Why can’t you remove the root of the source of the misfortune and turn it over to be the cash offering for Buddha? For the sake of your grandson and granddaughter, do some good.”
Everyone expressions underwent a slight change.
Nangong Changshu said. “Although I do have this intention but most unfortunate, all these chests of riches are no longer mine.”
The monk smiled. “It is hilarious talk, isn’t it? These riches are obviously still by your side so why you say it doesn’t belong to you?”
Sima Zhongtian shouted. “Even if it is his, we will not give you as alms. Do you want to force us to give you alms?”
The monk was still smiling, it seemed like he did not mind. “If Mister are not willing to give alms, then what happen next is none of my business.” He raised his robe and took three steps back and said. “Since I have the fate to know you, when next time you happen to die, I will surely say prayers for your soul.”
Everyone looked at one another while Sima Zhongtian shouted. “Even if I will to die, I will not bother you. Get out of here…”
The blue robe priest laughed and said. “Mister, your countenance is dark and your color do not look good. Remember to control your temper or else you will surely have a cataclysm heading your way. Remember in heart, remember in heart.”
Sima Zhongtian was even angrier by the looks on his face.
The old man with the sack walked in front of him, adjusted his straw hat and coldly said. “Do you not believe what he say?”
Sima Zhongtian retorted. “So what if I do not…” He lifted his glance to look at this man with the straw hat and saw a knife scar above his nose and did not continue.
Nangong Master and Mistress, Nangong Ping was silent while Lu Yixian was even more regretful that he had allowed them to enter.
The old man with the sack laughed. “Don’t be afraid, don’t be afraid.
Although I may look malicious but in fact my heart is like gold. I am an honest businessman while the other two are here for alms and are empty handed. As for me, I have a business proposal and will use my goods to conduct a fair trade.” He started to smile when he finished.
Nangong Changshu smiled and said. “What goods did you bring, why don’t you show it to all of us?”
The old man said. “Nangong Master is indeed a businessman…” He reached into his sack and took out a bloodied head. “This goods is guaranteed to be fresh. One head for a chest, I say it is a very good trade!” And he started to laugh evilly.
Nangong Changshu coldly said. “One head for one chest, this offer can be considered. But a pity the goods are not as fresh.”
The old man that looked like a beggar asked. “You want something more fresh?”
Nangong Changshu flashed toward a chest and lifted it up. And said. “If you will agree to cut off your own head then this chest will be yours!”
The old man laughed. “Although the trade is off but righteousness remains. Why did Mister forcefully wants my life?” He started to put his hands on his back and then turned around to leave.
Suddenly the old man turned around again and lifted his left leg to kick a head directly into Sima Zhongtian’s face, right hand on Nangong Changshu chest and left palm on Mistress Nangong shoulder. Then he lifted another head to kick towards Yu Yixian. His actions and swiftness was like a shooting star.
Sima Zhongtian was unable to evade in time. So he punched the flying head and sent it shattering. The blood was still warm when he hit it. Suddenly remembered that it was his own man, he felt nauseating.
Yu Yixian simply just evade and the head hit headlong against the wall with a mighty impact.
Nangong Changshu with five fingers gripping the chest felt a very strong force asserting from the top of the chest.
Nangong Mistress evaded the attack with some swift leg movements to hit the old man on his wrist.
But the old man simply laughed and slipped away from her attacks.
Nangong Ping was too startled and thought. “This old man can use his hands and legs at the same time. One stance four strokes to hit four different people at the same time and yet have such almighty force. His martial ability is very frightening. Why is that in the Fraternity, no one has ever heard of his name and background?”
The monk smiled and said. “Nangong Master internal strength isn’t too bad, Mistress Nangong Mistress is swift with her movements and reflex. If I were to use literature to describe their martial ability, then the two of them are like two top scholars. As for that Mister…” He looked at Sima Zhongtian and laughed. “He is only a kindergarten kid. If he wants to be the top scholar, he has to put in a few years of efforts.”
Lu Yixian coldly said. “Then what about me?” His body flashed and he was besides the monk in an instant and attacking him.
The old man said. “I am the examiner. You have looked for the wrong person.” And he stepped in between Lu Yixian and the monk.
Lu Yixian immediately turned his fists around in a stance ‘Iron Chains Locks’. If that old man could not evade it, he would break both of his shoulders.
The monk smiled to say. “Good!”
The old man simply turned his fingers to poke at Lu Yixian eyes. Lu Yixian saw that his stance would not work now and his own eyes would be hit instead.
Therefore he raised a kick.
But the old man simply blocked with his left hand and continued the attack on his eyes in split second.
Suddenly Lu Yixian opened his mouth to bit the old man’s fingers.
The monk laughed. “Not bad, not bad. Just this bite you can save your eyes.” The old beggar exclaimed. “Is that consider a stroke too?”
Lu Yixian replied. “You never seen it before? Hehe! You are so ignorant.” In another split second, both of them had exchanged more than ten strokes.
Lu Yixian stances were fast and slippery, almost illogical but his attacks were all very sharp that even the old man began to focus just on him now.
Sima Zhongtian stood on the same spot, seeming stunned by their display. The priest in blue sighed slightly and said. “I never expect that in the entire
Fraternity, there is still three to five of these types of expert exponents. To ask me to kill them all, makes me feel a little unbearable.”
Nangong Ping coldly said. “If on the Devil Flock Island, the people are just like you, then the Devil Flock Island that everyone have feared like a tiger, may not appear to be so fearsome after all.”
The priest in blue widened his eyes and said. “Young man, how did you know that we are from the Devil Flock Island!”
Nangong Ping cold laughed awhile and said. “The appearances are kind, but the hearts are vicious, the language are slippery, martial techniques aren’t too weak and old enough to enter the coffin. If you are not from the Devil Flock Island, where do you come from?”
The priest laughed. “Very good. Young people usually have some brains…” But before he could finish, Nangong Ping had picked a sword from the ground and make a sword stance at him.
But the priest did not even evade and raised his robe and exhibited the Iron Cloth Skill to deflect Nangong Ping’s sword.
Although Nangong Ping’s this stroke looks solid but it was actually a feint.
It appeared to come from the left but in fact it now appeared on the right now. The priest was startled for he missed with his Iron Cloth Skill and now
Nangong Ping looked like he would pierce his throat. Immediately he moved back five steps. He did not expect to see such a young man demonstrating such a superior and flexible swordplay.
The monk was startled now and had furrowed his eyebrows. He asked Nangong Ping. “How long have you been training in martial arts?”
Nangong Ping replied. “You don’t have to know!” And he did a whirlwind to once again attack the priest.
The monk said. “You are so young but such potential, such martial abilities. I feel so pity to see you getting wasted. If you come back with me, in ten years you will be a scholar of the Heretic Palace. In twenty years, you will be a top scholar.”
Nangong Ping said. “I, Nangong Ping who is an upright man will rather die than be in league with the devils!”
The monk was again startled. “Nangong Ping? You are the eldest son of the Nangong Manor?”
Nangong Ping shouted. “That is right!”
The monk slowly said. “I feel compassion for the Nangong family therefore I decide to bring the entire Nangong family to the Island to enjoy wealth. But if Mister you still want to insist on your own will, don’t blame me for a bloody massacre later. I just don’t want those ignorant and useless old men from the Divine Creator Temple to make use of such vast wealth and I also don’t wish that such a talent like you will come to waste.”
Nangong Changshu suddenly said. “Second Brother, Pinger, hold your hands!”
Nangong Ping turned his body and he was instantly besides his family.
Lu Yixian was breathing very hard as he had used all his strength to deliver a few fists to force that old man to move back three steps. He then turned around to stand beside Nangong Changshu and said aloud. “Big Brother, don’t be fool by this monk flowery words. The Devil Flock Island is said to host the most cunning and most evil people while the Temple of the Divine Creator is the place for those with great loyalty and great benevolent. Other than this, just base on the names itself speak volumes. ‘Divine Creator’ and ‘Devil Flock’, who is good, who is evil by now is quite obvious. Today, I only wish to fight with these Heretics till my last breath.”
Sima Zhongtian flexed his shoulders in agreement. “Indeed, let's fight them!”
Nangong Changshu said. “Who is good, who is evil is only from a legend.
So how we use it as a comparison?”
The monk eyes were delighted as he said. “Praise the Merciful Buddha.
Nangong Master is indeed a fair analytical.”
Nangong Changshu was solemn when he said again. “But the pact with the Divine Creator Temple have been going on for at least a hundred years. No matter who is good or evil, I cannot defy my ancestor’s pact. Today's fight is still undetermined. Escort Chief Sima, my Second brother, my son and I together may not necessary win your two other friends. The key to victory lies between you and me. If you are to duel me, then the victory shall be determined very soon!”
The monk said. “Nangong Master analysis may not be far off but base on just your martial abilities, you are definitely not my match.”
Nangong Changshu solemnly added. “This is the situation right now. Why should we want to be like the others, to rest till all are dead. We are not petty people…”
The monk interrupted. “Therefore you mean you want to duel with me.” Nangong Changshu replied. “Indeed that is my intention.”
The old man with the sack said. “This method is not…”
Lu Yixian said. “Big Brother, let me take the challenge for you!” Nangong Ping said. “Your Child is here, how can I let my father fight!”
The monk smiled and said. “Your brother and your son are afraid that something may happen to you, therefore they want to take your place. Why don’t you understand their hearts…”
Nangong Changshu replied. “I have already made up my mind. What are your decision?”
The monk said. “What happens after you and I have determined a victor?”
Nangong Changshu said. “If I lost, the entire Nangong family will be up to you to be dealt with!”
Lu Yixian and everyone had all felt that this monk martial ability had to be unfathomable. Therefore they thought it was strange that Nangong Changshu would issue him a personal challenge. Nangong Changshu would never do anything that he was not confident of, although they were doubtful, they kept quiet now.
The monk laughed and said. “Although I have this intention but I am afraid that my two companions will not agree.”
The priest and the poorly clad old man said in unison. “We definitely will not agree!”
Lu Yixian felt that it was strange. It was to their advantage but why did they firmly not agreed?
Nangong Changshu laughed. “My guess is indeed correct…” The monk expression changed. “What's your guess?”
Nangong Changshu laughed for awhile before he replied. “Everyone say that Lady Proudness is a master in disguise. Now that I have seen it today, it is indeed measure up to your fame. But a pity, although Lady you are a very smart but you forget something.”
Everyone was startled by this revelation. The monk asked. “What did I forget?” Nangong Changshu said. “Lady, although you try to act like a secular monk in your speech but you forget that a monk has dots on their head to denounce their worldly desires, your hands will carry beads, their hand are pointed in prayer. Even though you wearing a monk robe but you are wearing such beautiful shoes. And your facial disguise although is good but your eyes keep moving, it doesn’t look like a respected monk to me.”
Nangong Changshu paused a while before he added. “Although you try to be as detail as possible and are smart but if your martial abilities are higher, I will never have guessed who you are. But it is a pity that you know that your martial skills are weaker, therefore you did not dare to fight with me. It seems that all the tricks and flowery words in the Fraternity to boast a person’s martial ability are faked. Only actual martial ability is the true façade.”
The monk was stunned for awhile before she giggled. “This is because I have thought of your intellect as too low. Therefore I am careless. Although you have see through my disguise, I applaud you for that effort. I shouldn’t have use the ‘Soul Snatching Music and the Bewitching Enchanting Dance’ earlier and allow you to guess that Lady Proudness is nearby. The most unforgivable must be my eyes. Although I have disguised myself as a monk but which monks have eyes that lovely as mine!”
Everyone seemed to notice now that although she looked very solemn but her eyes seemed so seducing. They secretly praised her ingenious disguise, next they praised Nangong Changshu for his keen observations. Although when Lady Proudness first walked into the hall, everyone could see her eyes but none ever noticed she was actually Lady Proudness that had disguised as a monk.
In between her laughs, that monk rubbed with both her hands to reveal a beautiful radiant mature woman.
Nangong Changshu said. “Now that Lady your identity has been blown, you should go now unless you are really not afraid of the bloodshed later.”
Lady Proudness shifted her eyes and laughed. “The three of us against the five of you, we are indeed at a disadvantage…” Her voice had totally changed and was not that of an old monk anymore.
Nangong Changshu said. “Lady is indeed a fair analytical as well.”
Lady Proudness laughed. “But a pity, although Nangong Master has a brilliant mind but you forget something.”
Nangong Changshu asked. “What did I forget?”
Lady Proudness started to giggle before saying. “You forget that Lady Proudness other than knowing disguise, is also well known for another technique…”
Nangong Changshu expressions changed. “Using poison…” Lady Proudness said. “That is right. You have guessed correctly again. But it is a pity that you have guessed it too late…”
Nangong Changshu moved back and grasped. “Hurry and hold your breath.”
Lady Proudness laughed. “I have said it is too late and it is too late. Now you have breath in all odorless, colorless and formless poisonous gases. In less than an hour, your body will rot and you will die. Even if you try to hold your breath now, what use will it do? Remember my nick is ‘Lady Proudness’. If I am always unable to be proud, then why then did the people in the Pugilist realm nick me as Lady Proudness?”
She continued in a captivating laugh. “If you have changed your mind now, you should listen to me. I can even be merciful and remove your lethal poison. Or else in another hour time, even if Hua Tuo (A famous physician in the three kingdom period) was to come back to life again, he would not be able to help.”
Nangong Changshu turned ashen and solemnly said. “Flowery and trickery words, what a load of rubbish. Although you can say it in such beautiful manner but no one will believe you.”
Lady Proudness rolled her eyes and laughed. “Although you can say so but in your heart, you have already believed. Because you have already heard of the rumors of Pugilist realm that Lady Proudness’ ‘The Proud Soul Snatching Cloud’ is colorless and odorless. If you do not take the antidote beforehand, within thirty feet, anyone that has contact with it will not live past two hours. It is a pity that this poisonous cloud cannot extend far enough. That is why I painstaking disguised myself as a monk, braved this rainstorm to move step by step into here so that all of you will be caught unaware by my act to invite me to the hall so that I can without any much effort, poison all of you.” She looked so sweet, so captivating when she said all that. Even her eyes lovely looked around.
Nangong Ping suddenly thought of Guo Yuxia and he said to himself. “Why is that all the vicious ladies are all the same!”
Lu Yixian shouted. “What a vicious Lady, let me fight you to the death!”
Sima Zhongtian picked the spear on the ground while the priest and the beggar appeared in front of them.
Lady Proudness coldly said. “Why don’t you all beg me now? Don’t you all want your lives anymore?”
Sima Zhongtian froze in his tracks as he suddenly remembered his wife and family.
Lu Yixian sternly said, “I have already lived long enough.”
Lady Proudness asked. “You have already lived long enough but what about the others?”
Lu Yixian stopped in his tracks and moved back three steps and looked at Sima Zhongtian who looked pale and at Nangong Changshu whose face was as still as water.
Mistress Nangong was simply looking at her beloved son.
Lu Yixian sighed. “What to do.” He thought to himself. “Lu Yixian, Lu Yixian. You are lonely and have no sons or daughters therefore you have already placed your life as inconsequence. But what about the others? They have wives and families, are they the same as you? Moreover she is still in her prime, how could you in a moment of rashness, cause her to lose her life?”
One must know that he was a emotional person that was why he would lose his senses for twenty years because of a broken heart. That was why he tried all methods to gather wealth yet he seemed not to care about himself, his clothing was broken, he did not have enough to eat. So when he thought of Mistress Nangong, his head cooled down, he lowered his arms and did not say anything more.
Mistress Nangong thought to herself. “Second Brother Lu because of me, he rather endured this humiliation. Actually when did I ever place life and death in my heart. But Pinger…” She looked at Nangong Changshu who happened to look at her too. Both of them were thinking of the same thing. What could they do now except to sigh secretly.
Nangong Ping was thinking in his heart. “Although I have the intention to fight to the death but how could I cause the deaths of my parents due to my recklessness? But I have to ask about my Big Brother, Long Fei.”
Nangong Ping asked aloud. “Why did you cause my Big Brother Long Fei to become like this? Where is he now?”
Lady Proudness smiled. “As long as you are obedient, I will tell you all about your big brother.” Her eyes moved and added. “It is soon dawn and the poison will be acting very soon. You are not fighting and not surrendering. Are you all just waiting for your death?”
Nangong Changshu suddenly laughed awhile before saying. “Lady, let not be proud yet. In this world, there is no such thing as a poison that cannot be cured…”
Lady Proudness giggled and said. “You don’t have to say anymore. I know you are trying to talk in circles just to try to find out the origin of my poison. I can tell you honestly, only two groups can make the antidote. And one of the group is far away outside the Pass. Even if you can sprout wings, it will still be too late.”
Mistress Nangong sighed. “What you want us to do before you will…”
Before she finished, a black feathered Mynah (Parrot) flew from a window and landed on one of the chests. It shook off the rainwater from its body before it shrieked aloud. Although this bird was small but it looked magnificent.
Nangong Changshu suddenly exclaimed in delight. “Is here, is here!” And that parrot spread its wings and landed gently on Nangong Changshu shoulder and mimic. “Is here, is here…”
At the entrance of the great hall, a tall imposing figure could be seen. He had a black eye cover on his left side of his eye and he clutched a staff. The parrot flew from Nangong Changshu shoulder to his shoulder now.
Nangong Changshu extended both his hands to greet. “We been waiting for a long time, please come in!”
The tall imposing man nodded and asked. “Is this your son?” And his eyes looked at Nangong Ping. “Very good…indeed an outstanding young man…”
Lady Proudness secretly moved her hands beneath her clothing.
The priest and the beggar appeared to be solemn too and looked at this single eye of a giant.
The tall imposing man smiled, did not even turn his head and said. “I advise you not to try. Your ‘The Proud Soul Snatching Cloud’ is useless against me.” Although he looked so relax and lazy when he said that but he seemed to command an authority all over the others.
Lady Proudness was jolted.
The tall imposing man walked over to the chests and said. “Very good. All this chests have been readied.”
The parrot shrieked. “Very good…”
The priest and beggar glanced at one another and slowly walked to the back of the tall imposing man.
The tall imposing man said. “Don’t move!”
He turned around and smiled lazily. “So many years already, how come the two of you still like to be so sneaky as ever before…”
The priest laughed. “It has been so many years since we last met, I am only trying to greet my enemy only. How can it be consider a sneak attack?”
The tall imposing man said. “Very good…” He caressed the parrot and continued. “The two of you have finally found that Devil Flock Island? Then today, you are here to oppose me, right?”
The beggar exclaimed. “That is right!” And he took a step back but did not
The tall imposing man looked at him for a while before he turned back
laughing. “Nangong Master, since your son has arrived and all the chests have been prepared. If you still got some good wines, why not serve them now so that after we have eat, we can go!”
The beggar said. “I know that you look down on us. But if today if you want to take these chests out, it is as hard as ascending the heavens.”
The priest laughed and added. “Although our martial skills may not be as good as you but with two of us versus you, you may not seem to be having it easy. Moreover…hehe! The Nangong family may even stand on our side.”
The tall imposing man did not even blink his eye and said. “Very good…even if the two of you did not say all these, I know it as well. But if that Lady over there did not hand over the antidote today, can she walked out of the Nangong Manor alive?”
Lady Proudness expressions changed but yet she lovingly laughed. “Yo! If you don’t want me to go, I will accompany you then.”
The tall imposing man laughed lazily. “Very good…Wu Touwen, Hei Xinke, hurry and grab her here so that I can let her enjoy some pleasures.”
Sima Zhongtian was startled. These two were actually the ‘The Heartless Twin Evil’. No wonder their martial skills were so extraordinary, their methods so ruthless.
The Three Swashbucklers expressions changed too. Only Nangong Ping who was young did not that know the ‘The Heartless Twin Evil’ were the most vicious killers for the past hundred years or more in the history of the Pugilist realm.”
The old man that looked like a beggar, Wu Touwen laughed. “Ask the two of us to capture her?…Hehe! After you joined the Divine Creator Temple, it seemed like you have become crazy.”
The tall imposing man coldly asked. “Did the two of you happen to grow sick of living and don’t wish the antidote anymore?”
Wu Touwen and Hei Xinke with their expressions changed, asked. “What do you mean?”
The tall imposing man laughed aloud. “I see that the both of you are still in the dark…good… good. Let me ask you, did the two of you sniff the antidote beforehand?”
The Heartless Twin Evil was jolted and they turned ashen.
The tall imposing man added. “The two of you only think that she says it to scare the Nangong family and that she did not really use poison because the two of you cannot tell when did she ever uses the poison, right?”
Lady Proudness laughed softly. “Don’t listen to him.” But her voice was shaking now.
The Heartless Twin Evil turned to her and asked. “Did you really use poison?”
Lady Proudness turned ashen as she said. “Have…don’t have…” She really did not know to replay ‘have’ or ‘don’t have’. She did not look proud for an instant.
Wu Touwen moved step by step towards her and said word by word. “Hurry and hand over the antidote!”
The tall imposing man added. “The real antidote after you sniff it, you will sneeze seven times in a row. Hope you do not get trick by her.”
Lady Proudness took a step back and said with a frightened expression. “He…he tricking you!”
Wu Touwen rebuked. “If you do not hand over the real antidote, I will cut you into thirty-eight pieces and boil a stew with it.”
Hei Xinke coldly said. “Her skin is smooth and white, surely the taste will be good.”
Lady Proudness who had turned ashen now, trembling said. “I will hand…it over to you…” She reached into her clothing and out flew more than ten shining dots with a wave from her hands. She then turned around and ran through the window.
Wu Touwen and Hei Xinke raised their hands and robes to deflect the secret projectiles all the while moving. They shouted aloud together. “Where can you go!” And they went after her.
One of the secret projectiles was aimed at Nangong Ping, who lifted his fingers to catch the projectile and to check what kind of secret projectile was it!
Suddenly his wrist grew numb for the tall imposing man had caught his wrist and he did not know how the tall imposing man had deflected the secret projectile. He was startled to see how suddenly the tall imposing man had appeared before him!
The tall imposing man said. “This plaything is untouchable.” The parrot that was resting on his shoulder shrieked. “Is untouchable.”
Nangong Ping asked in surprise. “Untouchable?”
The tall imposing man rubbed his chin and laughed. “Although Lady Proudness did not really any use her poisonous cloud but those secret projectiles have been cloaked with lethal poison. Therefore you can’t touch it. Look at my this piece of leg, I lost it when I come into contact with her husband secret projectile when I burned the Wanshou Manor down. I almost lost my life.” He showed them his leg under his robe.
Everyone was startled while Sima Zhongtian asked. “What did you say?”
The tall imposing man laughed. “There is no such thing as a odorless and colorless poison in the world. If there is, won’t that Lady Proudness be invincible then?”
He explained. “The Proud Soul Snatching Cloud’ is only a slight poison cloud and can be seen with the naked eye. This, I have witnessed long ago. Just now why I say that to them is to cause them to fight one another. Haha! How would she going to have a antidote that cause others to sneeze seven times but…that Lady is not to be trifle with. I afraid something may happen to the Heartless Twin Evil instead.”
He was filled with smiles and laughter causing the stiff air of the hall to slowly revive.
Sima Zhongtian laughed. “Good, good. I was almost fooled by her.”
The tall imposing man with the sole eye looked at him and coldly said. “If it is those that are not afraid of death, they won’t be fooled by her.”
Sima Zhongtian was startled and he shouted. “Do you not fear death?”
The tall imposing man said. “If I say I am not afraid of death, then all the people that are not afraid to die, will be fools.”
Sima Zhongtian was startled and lowered his head to mutter. “You really is not afraid to die…or else why you could brave Wanshou Manor alone in the dark and burned a hundred beasts. You even fight the Lord Hunter of the Beasts…”
The tall imposing man laughed. “That is only a activity that I did when I was young. Today I don’t wish to fight with anyone therefore I just pull some tricks instead.”
Nangong Changshu smiled and said. “I know that your martial abilities are astonishing but never expected that Senior is actually Feng Mantian, Hero Feng. Ever more unexpected is that ever since the Huangshan gathering, you will be still be alive.”
Feng Mantian laughed. “That Huangshan gathering, everyone in the Fraternity only know that all those old freaks have died to the last people standing, only to leave the Divine Dragon and the Phoenix. No one knows that those old freaks did not die but grows into older. I don’t know how many of those old freaks are still alive up to this day but most of them have gone to either the Devil Flock or the Divine Creator. Honestly speaking, they are as good as dead.”
Nangong Ping was startled and asked. “Hero Feng, are you the Adventurer Gentleman and also the Noble Lord with the Almighty Laugh?”
Feng Mantian laughed. “This is only the nicks assigned to me by the people in the Fraternity. I am not really a gentleman but I am not petty too.”
When he laughed, he looked so spirited. Once his laugh ceased, his mannerism became lazy.
Mistress Nangong took out some good wine jars and a clean clothing. The wine jars were for Feng Mantian while the clean clothing was for Nangong Ping.
Feng Mantian and Lu Yixian without an exchange of word, sat across one another and started to drink. In an instant, they had drunk everything.
Feng Mantian laughed. “What good wine capacity.”
Lu Yixian laughed merrily. “Your wine capacity is not that bad too. I really don’t know why did you have to go to that Divine Creator Temple. Staying in the mortal realm to ravish all the fine wines, isn’t it a joyous thing instead?”
Feng Mantian suddenly became solemn and was lost in thoughts for awhile before he rose up and muttered. “Joyous thing, joyous thing…pui! There is no gathering without parting. Now that it is dawn, if it not the time to leave, how long must we wait?”
Mistress Nangong was startled. “You are leaving now?”
Feng Mantian said. “Before those beasts can return, it is better to leave now or else it will be troublesome.”
Mistress Nangong looked at Nangong Ping quietly for awhile before saying. “There are some more wines in the cellar. Why not finish drinking it before you go?”
Feng Mantian solemnly said. “The wine will eventually be finished and we will eventually have to go. Am I right, Mistress?”
Nangong Mistress was quieted for awhile before she nodded her head. “Eventually have to go…”
She extended her hands to help Nangong Ping to button up his clothing. One must know that all the loving mothers in the world when they had to leave their beloved sons, they would attempt to retain them for as long as they can.
Even though Nangong Ping was closed to tears but he smiled. “It isn’t the first time child is leaving home. I will be very careful on the road.”
Lu Yixian turned his head around because he could not bear to watch any longer.
Sima Zhongtian was sitting on the chair with his head lowered. If at this moment, if anyone happened to see him, they would not believe that he was actually the Escort Chief of the Red Flag Escort Agency.
Nangong Mistress was trembling when she was buttoning for Nangong Ping.
It seemed like it could never be finished.
Nangong Ping felt his hand go cold. He did not need to look and knew that it was his mother’s tears that were dropping.
Nangong Ping suddenly said aloud. “Mum, you don’t have to worry. Your child swears to return.”
Lu Yixian clapped on the table and said aloud. “Good, good aspirations! No matter how solid is the cage, it can never trap a real man’s aspirations and his determination. Hero Feng, do you agree?”
Feng Mantian opened his eye and said. “Yes? So what if it is yes? What if it is a yes?”
Lu Yixian was stunned. He sighed deeply and said. “Yes? So what if it yes…”
Nangong Changshu said. “Hero Feng, can the two of you carry all those chests? …”
Feng Mantian asked. “Are you thinking of escorting me? Although we have to part sooner or later but it is good to have a accompany for awhile longer. Am I right to say so Nangong Master?”
Nangong Changshu glanced around and said. “Brother Sima, I wonder can you stay here for awhile until the new owner of the Nangong Manor has come?”
Sima Zhongtian slowly nodded his head and said. “Brother Nangong, don’t you worry. Although your little brother is old now but this is a small matter to me.”
Mistress Nangong smiled. “Sorry for bothering you.” And immediately that button on Nangong Ping’s clothing was fastened.
Sima Zhongtian said. “There is some horses outside the manor to serve as reinforcements. I wonder if it is still there?”
Lu Yixian sprang out. “I go and check.”
Nangong Ping exclaimed after him. “Second Uncle, wait for me awhile.” And he sprang after him.
The two of them were at the mountain path now and in the dark woods.
They saw the place littered with corpses and weapons. Both felt the loneliness and grief of this battle. Finally they spotted a couple of horses without any riders.
Suddenly they heard a terrifying cry from a distant. They looked at one another in surprise and sprang together towards the direction of the scream.
Finally they spotted two poplar trees, which had been gnawed, and its barks stripped apart by the use of the inner aspect of martial strength.
The two of them glanced at one another before proceeding to check.
Suddenly from the tall grasses and flowers, two figures stood up.
Nangong Ping was startled and grasped. “Who is that?” Before he could finish, he had seen that those two figures were the Heartless Twin Evil!
Their clothing appeared to be in shreds. Their ears, nose, mouth and ears were all bleeding. Although Lu Yixian and Nangong Ping were naturally very gutsy but when they saw them in such a condition, they shivered at the sight and their hands broke into a cold sweat.
Wu Touwen was laughing hilariously. “Antidote, antidote, give me the antidote…” Suddenly he plunged forward.
Nangong Ping was startled and he tried to move back but Wu Touwen suddenly collapsed onto the ground.
Hei Xinke shouted. “Give me back my life!” Before he collapsed, he shot a dart of dazzling light as it flew towards Nangong Ping. This dying attack was indeed very powerful and startling. One had to know before a man died, he could muster a strength that normally he could not be able to muster when he was alive.
A sweet fragrant flew past and hit upon a tree that was far away. Lucky he had lost his senses and missed. It was actually a jade box. Unknown to Nangong Ping, he had been poisoned when he caught a sniff the sweet fragrance scent as it flew past him.
Nangong Ping and Lu Yixian was on guard now. They waited for some time before they finally approached the two collapsed men – They were dead now but from the looks of it, it was a most grievous death and they did not die in peace for their eyes were protruding out.
Lu Yixian turned to look at the jade box and sighed. “That Lady Proudness is indeed very vicious. She took out this box of poison and claimed that it was the antidote. The Heartless Twin Evil although they took all precautions, after they tortured her, this box was then hand over. Thinking that it could not be faked, they sniffed it. But it was a trick.”
He had traveled across the Pugilist realm and had a vast experience. His guess was almost like what he had seen. But he did not know that before the Heartless Twins Evil had sniffed it, they had also forced Lady Proudness to sniff it first. Only when Lady Proudness was all right did they sniffed it.
But unbeknownst to them, Lady Proudness was secretly laughing. For she had already sniffed the antidote beforehand. That box of poisonous powder if it were carried by the wind would kill tens or maybe quite possibly hundreds of people. But the Heartless Twin Evil was afraid that just one sniff was not enough, so they actually exhaled almost all the poisonous powder. So now even if the two of them possesses extraordinary supreme inner strength, they could not stop the poison from acting. Therefore Lady Proudness took the opportunity to escape when the poison had seized up.
Although the Heartless Twin Evil had so much blood in their hands and their evil deeds had been well known for so long but when Nangong Ping saw that they had died so horribly, he could not bear to watch. He gathered some grasses and branches as mats to cover their bodies before he walked out of the woods to gather back some of the horses to the manor.
When Nangong Ping returned with Lu Yixian, they saw that Nangong Changshu, Mistress Nangong, Sima Zhongtian was loading the chests to a horse carriage. All of them were looking so sorrowful and upset.
Lu Yixian picked up his sack that was more precious to him than life and wanted to give it to Nangong Ping who thanks him profusely but did not accept it.
Lu Yixian bitterly laughed awhile before he mused. “This sack is the result of my tens of years of painstaking efforts. When it is time to give it away, no one wants it.” Sima Zhongtian said his farewell to everyone and his expressions were very solemn. Suddenly he grabbed Nangong Ping by his wrist and sighed. “Lust is like a knife, nephew, don’t you forget about it.” He was still unable to forget the slander that Guo Yuxia had imprinted on him.
Nangong Ping was startled and could only nodded. For he could not guess the meaning behind it. Because Sima Zhongtian was himself dispirited, he did not wish to elaborate upon it.
There were a total of twenty-six red wooden chests and was divided on two different horse carriages. Feng Mantian and Lu Yixian sat on the first carriage while the Nangong family sat on the second.
Mistress Nangong hoped that this journey would be long and never ending. That was because when the journey ended, she would have to part with her beloved son.
How could Nangong Ping felt any differently? But he suppressed it into his heart and did not wish to reveal it. Instead, he tried to tell his parents the many funny moments that had happened to him over the past few years.
So when others saw them laughing away, they would think that they were so happy. But in fact, they were all grieving in their hearts.
When it was night, they reached an Inn and booked some rooms. The horse carriages were parked in the courtyards. Feng Mantian drew a ‘Guan’ character on the two carriages and then left.
Lu Yixian asked. “Why did you not shift the chests down…”
Feng Mantian laughed. “With this ‘Guan’ word, in the whole wide world, who will dare to look at it.”
It was because the ‘Guan’ word was his insignia when he was so renowned in the Fraternity. Once, he helped a friend to retrieve back thirty thousand silvers from some bandits. In the vast wilderness, he pasted a ‘Guan’ word on it and hurried back to Ludong (a city or province) and asked the owner to retrieve it. The owner was afraid that it might be lost again so he hurried for three days and nights and found out that the silvers was all intact. It was because when the people in the Fraternity saw the ‘Guan’ word, not only did they not rob it but guarded it most carefully in the dark.”
Lu Yixian was listening most intently and he clapped his hands and said aloud. “where is the wine, serve it now.”
Mistress Nangong smiled and said. “Second Brother Lu, do you still remember the peacock brew that I have specifically made for you brothers?”
Lu Yixian sighed. “How can I ever forget it. All these years although I have tasted all the fine wines but none of them can ever compared to your peacock brew. Not even a chance.” Feng Mantian was puzzled and asked. “What peacock brew?”
Lu Yixian smiled. “That is the wine that is created from 11 types of different wines. Although the wines have nothing special but after they were brewed together, it became heavenly. It is the same as the warrior-saint Master Zhu who created the ‘Thousand Flowers Fowl Tail Fists’. Although it is one of the most common seen martial techniques but after he has displayed it, his fist techniques are like a golden touch that become so effective. Unfortunately this ‘Thousand Flowers Fowl Tail Fists’ has been lost. But luckily you and me are lucky that someone else knows the peacock brew. It is our fortune.”
Those who loves wine, how could they resist the temptation not to taste it?
Feng Mantian felt an itch in his heart as he said. “Mistress Nangong, Mistress Sister in law, if it is convenient, can you exhibited your extraordinary skills and let me have a taste of this beautiful wine?”
He was so imposing and strict but when he suddenly said, ‘Mistress’, ‘Sister in law’, Nangong Changshu and Nangong Ping who was feeling sorrowful could not resist to smile.
Nangong Mistress smiled and ordered the shop assistant to bring forth 11 types of wine. She then proceeded to mix the wine together to a bowl, each composite was different, and then she would shake it and then add three drops of clear water and a drop of tea.
Feng Mantian after seeing those 11 types of wines were actually those common types, he took it over from Mistress Nangong when she had done and asked. “Is this the peacock brew?” He was disappointed for it looked so ordinary.
But when he placed to his nose, its aroma was so fragrant and when he took a sip, it tasted heavenly and words could not describe it. And in three big gulps, he had finished the wine. He laughed. “Very comforting, very comforting…”
Lu Yixian laughed. “I did not lie to you. It is only through the hands of my Nangong Sister in law that this extraordinary wine can be brewed.”
Feng Mantian said. “It is not necessary. This peacock brew, I can brew it now too.” Immediately he started to mix those eleven types of wine together, adding three drops of water and one drop of tea. “Isn’t this the peacock brew too!” And he took a drink.
But his eyebrows were raised, his eyes were wide opened and found out that the wine that he could not longer even swallow that mouthful of wine. It was so bitter, sour, so spicy. It was not the same as the aroma wine that he had just drunk earlier.”
Lu Yixian clapped his hands and laughed heartily. “So how is it? Why did you not continue to drink? To tell you the truth, I have tried this method thirty years ago. Although the wine is the same but the mixture is not the same, therefore even the taste will be different. It is the same as martial techniques. Or else that ‘Thousand Flowers Fowl Tail Fist’ I would have invented it too as well.”
Feng Mantian forcefully swallowed that mouthful of wine and hurriedly poured away the wine that he had mixed, that not even a drop of it was left. He then extended his hands and respectfully said to Mistress Nangong while laughing. “Mistress, I, Noble Lord of the Almighty Laugh is really impressed with you.
Please don’t be offended by my antics earlier and can you brew a few more of this type of wine?”
Mistress Nangong cheerfully agreed and made more than ten bowls at a go. “Pinger, come and have a try too.”
Nangong Ping said. “I don’t wish to drink some wine but child will like to taste mum’s cooking…”
Feng Mantian was jolted in his spirits and he immediately exclaimed. “I am sure with such extraordinary hands Mistress you have, your cooking must be very excellent as well…”
Lu Yixian interrupted. “Indeed, indeed. Spinach and tofu, sweet and sour fish, braised chicken are the specialties of my Sister in law.
Feng Mantian laughed most heartily. “Braised chicken is alright but what is there for spinach and tofu? I think you are too poor that even this dish tastes good.”
Lu Yixian shook his head and said. “This you are wrong. One must know that in the great expanses of the thousands of thousands of creatures, all have their own specialties. Even if you and me have blown our heads, we still will be unable to think of that. The same dish of spinach and tofu, the taste will be different and varies from people to people. It is the same as that ‘Shaolin Fist’. When it is used by Eminence Wuxin, it can even subdue tigers and dragons but when it is displayed by the artisans of the street, it become worthless.”
He drowned a cup of wine before continuing. “How mature a martial ability is, depends on the level of proficiency, the internal force, innate talent. When two people fights with one another, the difference between victory and defeat also depends on the timing, terrain and the psychology human factor. It is the same as cooking. Not one factor must be lacking and it cannot be forced. The simpler a fist technique is, the more it can display some one’s martial ability. The more simple a dish is, the more it can display my Sister in law’s cooking skills. The tofu with spinach is indeed extraordinary. If you say that it is nothing, then later you just have to restraint from eating.”
Feng Mantian laughed heartily. “The way you say it, although it sounds so logical. But it is still a tofu dish…haha, it alright if I don’t eat it.”
Mistress Nangong hoped that before she would part with beloved son, she would make him happier so she really went to the kitchen. Nangong Changshu looked at his beloved wife and then his beloved son. Was he feeling sorrowful or delight? Or grieve? Or laudable? For although they were together now but soon they would part.
The parrot flew into the dining hall from the kitchen and shrieked. “It is so fragrant, it is so fragrant…”
A shop assistant walked into the dining hall and he appeared to be drooling too at the dish of spinach tofu that he was carrying.
Lu Yixian took the spinach tofu dish over and laughed. “He is not eating.
Pinger, it up for your father and I to enjoy it.”
Feng Mantian took a glance over and saw that although the tofu on top were as white as jade, but it was very fragrant and mouth watering. He really found it hard to endure in his heart so he laughed heartily. “I say I not eating but actually I still want to eat it.” He reached out with a pair of chopstick and took a mouthful. After tasting it, he really found it hard to put down the chopsticks.
Lu Yixian said. “You say you are not eating, why did you want to eat it now.” He started to shift the dish around.
Feng Mantian said. “One more, one more.” As he attacked the tofu with waves after waves of chopsticks.
Although Lu Yixian had shifted the dish of spinach tofu around, but not one drop of it spilled over. But in an instant, Feng Mantian had eaten it cleanly.
Nothing was left of the tofu and spinach.
Lu Yixian placed the plate down and sighed. “What excellent martial ability.”
Feng Mantian placed down the chopsticks and sighed. “What excellent spinach!”
The two of them looked at one another and laughed hilariously while the parrot was hovering above them shrieking. “What excellent martial ability…what excellent spinach…” It seemed that the parrot had already secretly took a few bites earlier.
This meal lasted all the way to the third watch. Feng Mantian and Lu Yixian was drunk and they did not even removed their shoes and was snoozing now.
Only the three members of the Nangong family were still awake. Nangong Changshu said. “Tomorrow you have to continue your journey. Pinger, you need to go to sleep!”
Nangong Ping said. “Child I need to sleep. Father and mother, you need to sleep too.”
Till the next morning, everyone was still muttering. “Go sleep.” But none of them even went to bed for this night was so precious to them.
When Feng Mantian was awake and saw that the discipline father, the compassionate mother and the filial son expressions, his eyes became darkened. But he tried to laugh. “Mistress, I enjoy greatly your cooking and wine. If Mistress you are willing, can I still have the chance to try your skills today as well?”
Nangong Mistress was very delighted and said. “Naturally!” As long as she still could have the opportunity to be with her beloved son, she would be willing to do anything.
Along the road, she would brew the aroma wine and dished out delicious specialties for Feng Mantian. He would drink and eat everyday till he would be as drunk as dead. Although he wore a cold looks all the time but he was actually a warm person at heart. A typical one-day journey now took as long as three days.
Every time they reached a new place, Feng Mantian would go away for half a day and when he was back, he would always carry some goods back. There were big chests and small chests but all were tightly closed. No one knew what was inside. The biggest chest was as big as coffin and the smallest chest at least three feet long. In the end, the sheer number of the chests that Feng Mantian had brought back overwhelmed the treasure chests.
They were now heading eastbound and passed along many mountains and valleys. Mt. Huangshan, Tianmu, Qilishuang (A river in Guangdong) and Huiji were the places they had passed through. All these places were quite desolate and bandits, unorthodox pugilists, all sorts of undesirable people frequented there.
Therefore this two horse carriages with its truckload of chests caught their attention.
Along the way, there were riders appearing and disappearing but Feng Mantian did not seem to mind. The unorthodox pugilists had already decided that those two carriage definitely were worth a lot but they were wondering why there was no escort chief at all, given the number of chests that could be seen. Since no one knew their background so none dared to seize the goods alone.
Finally one day, when they reached Dong Yang, Feng Mantian ordered several very large iron cages measuring ten feet length and width. No one knew his purpose and was feeling strange. He put all the chests into the two iron cages and then continued on his way.
Those unorthodox pugilists were secretly laughing when they saw the iron cages. They thought. “Since you have put all the chests under lock in the cages, don’t you know that we can simply carry off the iron cages too, along with all the chests? What a laudable idea” Therefore they thought of these five people as fools and decided to act this very night.
Nangong Ping, Mistress Nangong, Nangong Changshu as well as Lu Yixian did not know the purpose why Feng Mantian had brought the iron cages. Finally they could not resist and ask.
Feng Mantian laughed heartily. “Long ago, there is a funny joke. One man was carrying a bamboo pole to the city gate. He could not enter horizontally or vertically with the bamboo pole. In the end he had to cart it over to the city walls. When a man saw it, he laughed aloud and said. ‘What a stupid man. Why did he not cut the bamboo pole into halve? Isn’t it much more convenient?’”
Lu Yixian was startled and barely recovered from his thoughts. He asked. “What did he not go through the city gate with the bamboo pole extending in…”
Feng Mantian laughed heartily. “If he extended in, then it won’t be a funny joke anymore.”
Nangong Ping could not resist a laugh although he was trying very hard not to open his mouth.
Lu Yixian asked. “So then what is the purpose of your iron cages?” Feng Mantian laughed. “If I say it now, it won’t be funny.”
The parrot flew into the air and shrieked. “Jokes, jokes…” Then it flew back and shrieked. “The jokes had come, the jokes had come…”
There were dozens of horse riders coming from all directions. And they appeared to be muttering with each other.
Lu Yixian smiled and said. “It seemed that all these bandits have known one another. I actually wanted to see them fight among themselves but they are actually quite smart. I didn’t think that they would actually be discussing how to distribute the loots. It seems that we will be missing a nice show now.”
Feng Manqing raised his eyebrows and said. “There will still be a nice show.
As long as all of you do not react and follow my intentions accordingly.”
When he had just finished, four men approached them in an arrogant and proud manner. One of them asked. “Who is the owner of the carriages? Please step forward to talk.”
Feng Mantian pretended to be in surprised and glanced around. “Who is talking?”
A thin and solemn man laughed coldly and said. “It is me.” Feng Mantian asked. “What can I do for you?”
The thin man laughed. “I come from Fenglin Zhiyao, Autumn Wind Fortress, Autumn Wind Fallen Leaf Manor, I am Du Xiaoyu…"
Feng Mantian laughed heartily. “Autumn Wind Fortress, Autumn Wind Fallen Leaf Manor, what an elegant name.”
Du Xiaoyu said. “These three are from ‘Fen Shui Pass’ the left and right double sabres Hero Hu, one is…”
Zhao Xiongtu remarked. “Why talk so much to them, Brother Du? Don’t you know well the intentions of us four brothers? Do away with all the idle talk and leave your valuables alive and we will spare your life.”
Feng Mantian appeared to be shocked and said. “I really though that Lord Du is here to discuss poem with me. Why did you suddenly want to ask for my valuables!”
Another man by the name of Tie Dagan laughed. “If you want to recite poem, I will recite some for you… This mountain is owned by me, I am the lord of this forest, whoever pass through here, have to drop their travel expenses…” And he punched his fist on the top of a horse head and the horse immediately collapsed.
Nangong Changshu looked on ever so calm while Du Xiaoyu and the other three glanced at one another and grasped. “What great divine strength.”
Tie Dagan laughed. “Now you understand my poem?”
Feng Mantian was startled and said. “I only thought that you are all elegant people. Never did I expect that you all would be bandits…” He tugged Nangong Ping slightly and shouted. “The bandits have come, where is my escorts? Come and fight the bandits!”
Nangong Ping was secretly laughing as he rose up. The bandits had all suddenly started to look all around them for possible ambushes when they saw that this escort was just a young man.
Therefore they calmed themselves down while Tie Dagan laughed. “What? It is your escort? Ha…ha. Escort chief, which escort agency did you belong to?”
Before he had finished, Nangong Ping slapped him.
Tie Dagan was stunned as he angrily shouted. “Inhuman…”
Before he could finish, he was clapped another time and he was forced to take a few step back.
Just when Tie Dagan wanted to plunge forward, Duan Xiaoyu tugged him by the back of his clothing and softly said. “Wait!”
Duan Xiaoyu laughed. “This escort has wonderful hand and leg techniques. I wonder what is your name is and who is your respected teacher? We are all from the Fraternity. Maybe we are even on the same side if you say it out.”
Nangong Ping replied loudly. “I am the disciple of the Divine Dragon, Nangong Ping!”
Feng Mantian was startled. He did not expect Nangong Ping would say his actual name without hesitation. He did not know that Nangong Ping was a frank person therefore he would not purposefully concealed his name.
Tie Dagan, Duan Xiaoyu, Hu Zhenren, Zhao Xiongtu glanced at one another and turn ashen. “Are you really Nangong Ping?”
Nangong Ping only coldly hummed.
It seemed that ever since Nangong Ping famous fight with the Chief of the Zhongnan Sect and his visit to the Mulong Manor of Master Wei Qi, his name and fame had spread throughout the Fraternity. Therefore the four of them felt a few shiver even though it was their territory.
Hu Zhenren moved aside and the other three followed as well. He then waved his hand and a man appeared. He caught hold of the man and hatefully said. “I ask you to scout very carefully and you only said that the carriage have only some old fellows, a bald man and a frail man. Then did Nangong Ping drop from the sky or sprout from the ground?”
The man was startled and replied in a trembling voice. “He…he is Nangong Ping?”
Zhao Xiongtu said. “Let calm down first. This Nangong Ping although he is a strong fighter but just with his two fists, he cannot fight four hands nor can he fight so many. With the four of us and the tens of our followers, do we still need to be scare of him?”
Hu Zhenren exclaimed. “It is precisely the case. With the four of us, do we still need to be scare of him? At the very least we should try!”
With the four of them secretly discussing at the side, Lu Yixian smiled and said. “I didn’t expect to know that nephew you are so famous. But it is a pity that you have revealed your name. If you managed to scare those bandits away, we will not get to see the joke anymore.”
Nangong Ping smiled and saw that the four men had started to approach them once more and looking overbearing.
Duan Xiaoyu took the opportunity to speak. “Since this escort is Nangong Master’s, usually on account of Old Master Long or your account, we should usually have leave your escort alone. But…hehe, these three friends will like to have the opportunity to learn some pointers in martial skills from you. It is also to let our followers give up their hopes.”
In a few mutterings, he had easily pushed the blame on the three others.
Nangong Ping coldly laughed awhile before he extended his hands and asked. “Who will like to come first?”
Du Xiaoyu had already moved back while the other three were looking at one another. None of them dared to fight one to one. Da Dagan swollen face had not subsided yet, all the more he did not dare to make the first move. These bandits were all used to bully others with numbers, although they looked big sized but in actually they had small guts if not why did they have to bully others in the first place with superior numbers?
Mistress Nangong was very proud of her beloved son who looked so dashing
Duan Xiaoyu coldly said. “The three brothers do not need to fight over who will be the first to display your skills. You are indeed so humble.”
The three of them had a slight red on their face. Although they were afraid but in the presence of their followers, they had to have some face to show.
Hu Zhenren turned his head and laughed. “Why did Brother Du stand at the back? It is something that I am puzzling over.”
Du Xiaoyu coldly said. “If Brother Hu do not want to make any moves, you can stand aside too!”
Hu Zhenren shouted. “Who say I don’t want to make any moves?” And he stepped forward and drew his big sabre.
Feng Mantian suddenly shook his hands and said. “Wait awhile.”
Hu Zhenren stopped in his tracks puzzled while Feng Mantian added. “Nangong Escort, this fight you are not to fight.”
Nangong Ping was surprised.
Feng Mantian said. “If this fight carry on, no matter who wins or loses, all these pugilists will surely attack together. When that time comes, won’t they accidentally kill us old people? I hire you to be my escort because I want to use your fame and name to scare others away. But now, it seem that not only will I lose all my possessions but my life as well.”
The way Feng Mantian had said it sounded as though it was real.
Hu Zhenren was delighted and he exclaimed. “Old sir, you are indeed a understanding person. I promise that no one will cause difficulty for you.”
Tie Dagan straightened his back and laughed, “Luckily you are wise enough.” When he noticed that the situation had changed, he immediately became full of himself again.
Nangong Ping though it was laudable and moved back to a side.
Feng Mantian continued in a serious tone. “The iron cages are not locked. Just take anything you want and leave me with some traveling expenses, that will do.”
Nangong Ping and the rest knew that Feng Mantian was planning something but until now, they still could not figure out.
The three of them were very delighted and was about to order their fellows to take the chest when Zhao Xiongtu suddenly said solemnly. “Wait awhile!”
Hu Zhenren asked. “What is the matter?”
Zhao Xiongtu said. “Brothers, today’s loots aren’t small, there is small chests and big chests. Although we are good brothers but we should have a fair distribution. If the henchmen under us, are to randomly snatch, then it will be a pandemonium.”
Hu Zhenren exclaimed. “Indeed that will be the case. But just now I am the one that make the first move therefore these chests naturally shall be my followers and I to grab first. As for Brother Du, hehe. Because he wanted to watch just now, I will have to invite him to watch now as well.”
But Du Xiaoyu remained unmoved. Because he had already sensed something was not right with this matter - It was too easy. Among the four of them, he was the most cunning and his martial ability was also one notch higher than they were. Once Hu Zhenren had successfully seized the chests, he would strike him down and seized the loots for himself.
Zhao Xiongtu coldly laughed. “Did Brother Hu make the first move?
Brother Tie, did you see? I did not see.”
Tie Dagan said, “If you want to say who has made the first move, it should be me instead.” When he remembered he had taken two slaps, his face became a slight red.
Hu Zhenren expression changed and waved his big sabre around, shouting. “Then in your opinion, how should we distribute the loot?”
And the three of them started to quarrel with words.
Du Xiaoyu had observed that although Nangong Ping and the rest looked their usual self but he detected a tinge of laughter. When Hu Zhenren shouted. “Let Brother Du help us to distribute the loot then since his martial ability is the best and he is well known for his planning.”
But Du Xiaoyu said, “I don’t wish to have the loots anymore. How can I help the three of you to distribute?”
When he said that, his followers from the Fallen Autumn Manor were in a state of unrest but he waved his hand and walked far away.
Feng Mantian laughed and said. “If the three of you still can’t decide, I do have a very good idea.”
As Zhao Xiongtu was afraid that Hu Zhenren and Tie Dagan would conspire to deal with him, he delightfully said. “Marvelous, marvelous. A wise man like old sir will surely think of a fair distribution.”
Tie Dagan and Hu Zhenren glanced at one another. But as they were also suspicious of one another too, they agreed.
Feng Mantian said, “I am most afraid of seeing blood therefore I will be willing to hand over my riches. Since the three of you have agreed, you must not go back on your words, or else…”
He looked very solemn and then continued. “If my this escort were to lose his temper, it will not be beneficence to the three of you.”
The three of them felt a chill in their shiver. Zhao Xiongtu said. “As long as your method is fair, we have no opinion.”
Feng Mantian laughed. “Naturally it will be fair. Since everyone is an unorthodox pugilist, those with the bloodiest hands will be considered a hero. This will include all the pugilists at the back too. If anyone can say a deed that can be considered worthy to be a hero, you can stand in front. When I clap my hand as a signal, everyone can pick one chest. If you unable to say anything heroic, then please stand at the side.”
He stopped for awhile and pointed to a chest that was inside the iron cage. “And I can tell everyone, that the chests closest to me are the most valuable. When it is everyone turn to snatch the chests, it is also the chance for you to display your martial skills.”
When everyone heard his weird method, they were already suspicious but when he opened a chest that was filled with precious pearls, in that instant, everyone eyes had turned red and their greed got the hand on them and immediately agreed.
Tie Dagan patted his chest and shouted. “At one time, in Linhai City, in a single night, I did seven blood cases that even my sabre became blunt. This is something that everyone knows about, I am sure it is a heroic matter.” When he finished, he laughed.
How could Hu Zhenren display any weakness? So he immediately added. “That is nothing compared to me. In a single day outside Taishun City, during the broad daylight, I rounded out ten fragrant women and girls and…”
Du Xiaoyu who was looking by the side, thought it was very suspicious and his hands and legs become cold now therefore he moved even further away. His men trusted him the most. When they saw that he did not rush to the front, they forced themselves to resist the temptation and without a word, stood by the side too.
Fifty to sixty men took nearly two hours to finish all their ‘glorious deeds’.
And they were now eyeing the iron gates greedily.
Feng Mantian laughed hilariously. “Very good. Everyone is indeed a hero. When I clap my hand, everyone can display your skills!” And he opened his hands and watched him his hands for the signal but they did not see the malevolent air that was in his laughter.
When Feng Mantian clapped his hands, there was a big rush to the iron
Nangong Ping and Lu Yixian after hearing of their disgusting deeds, was
filled with anger while Nangong Changshu and Mistress Nangong remained composed, as they knew that Feng Mantian had something up to his sleeves.
When all the men were inside the iron cages, Feng Mantian suddenly shouted. “Lock the cages.”
Immediately Nangong Ping, Nangong Changshu, Mistress Nangong, Lu Yixian moved in four different directions to lock the iron cages. Their movements were all as swift as the eagles!
In an instant, more than twenty of the iron cages were locked and the men was startled and cried out. “What happen?”
Suddenly Feng Mantian laughed, this laugh was getting louder and louder that even the clouds above him was dispersed, the leaves on the ground formed a cloud that flew away from him!
Everyone was stunned, including Nangong Changshu and Du Xiaoyu. Du Xiaoyu who was standing far away, found out that he could not even lift his leg. What about the rest of the people that was in the cage? They had become as white as sheet and even green. All their bodies had become soft and their teeth were clanging in fear now.
From the iron cages, from the chests, sprang out lions, wolves, leopards, and venomous snakes among others. There were different beasts in each cage and when those beasts began to howl, it was indeed very frightening and startling that pierced through the hearts of men. Even the horses that were outside the cage began to foam and collapsed onto the ground!
In that instant, heaven and earth seemed to undergo a change and the malevolent aura overwhelmed the area as the beasts began to kill the men inside. These beasts had been caught by Feng Mantian and trapped in the chests. Now his laughter woke them up and they were now very hungry. It was really a most appalling sight to witness this scene.
At this moment a few people were approaching at a distance. And a beautiful woman could be seen in the midst - Guo Yuxia.
Walking besides her on the left and the right was Ren Fengping and Shi Chen. And the other four men at her back were the four brothers of the Jiangnan Seven Eagles.
Guo Yuxia was startled and said. “Who can this be? How is it possible…”
The man who was nicked Black Eagle trembling replied with his hands on his ears. “I heard that long ago, there was one man by the name of Feng Mantian that burned down the Wanshou Manor. This is his ‘Shattering Shout’, transfigured by his supreme inner strength.”
Guo Yuxia looked around with her beautiful eyes. “Feng Mantian, he is not dead yet?”
Ren Fengping said. “No wonder there is a saying that has been circulating that Feng Mantian Shattering Shout can immobilize a thousand beasts therefore he can totally defeat Wanshou Manor. This shout is even more powerful than the monastic ‘Lion Howl’. But from what I can hear today, it is nothing much.” Guo Yuxia laughed lovingly. “That is only because we are very far away only.” She gently held Ren Fengping by his wrist and said. “Since that Feng old freak is here, consider it our bad luck that we have made a wasted trip. It wiser for us to go instead.” She pulled Ren Fengping and together they turned in the opposite direction.
Shi Chen was looking at Guo Yuxia’s hands that was pulling Ren Fengping. Was he feeling upset or grief? But finally he bowed his head and followed behind Guo Yuxia as they left in a hurry.
When those seven people had left, naturally Nangong Ping and the rest did not know.
Mistress Nangong had turned her head over, unable watch this appalling
The shout became weaker and weaker like a flute that was weakening. It
seemed that this shout of Feng Mantian had the effect of dazzling people.
Nangong Ping could not endure the screams caused by the men inside the cages as the beasts devoured them even though he knew that they were all evil men that deserved to die. In fact, they were even more vicious than those wild beasts.
But he was after all still a human and he felt grief for them. Because his benevolent heart was stirred, the laughter lost its effect on him and he could move. He unlocked all the cages and moved to Feng Mantian shouting. “Stop it, stop it!”
Feng Mantian flashed his eyes, was it a puzzled or a delightful look? He ceased his shouting and began to laugh aloud for some time.
This laugh seemed to have another effect and the power to move the heaven and earth. All the wild beasts and snakes suddenly became powerless and it seemed like they had met their most feared adversary and even ignored the flesh in front of them.
There were still more than twenty men that did not die in the iron cages.
When they had heard this laugh, they became somber and tried to crawl out of the cages.
Tie Dagan had his arm bitten off while Zhao Xiongtu was covered with blood. As for Hu Zhenren, he became the meal of a ferocious lion.
In that instant, all those men that could still move had climbed out of the cages. Du Xiaoyu secretly sighed to himself. “Most fortunate.” And he left without a sound.
Feng Mantian stomped with his iron leg and in an instant picked up all the wild beasts and snakes and threw them back to the chests. Soon the malevolent aura that was in the area was gone and it returned to its usual calmness. It seemed like this tragedy had never even happened before.
Feng Mantian laughed. "Help me to carry all the flesh of the evil men so that it can last me tens of days.”
Nangong Ping asked,. “Is this your method of feeding the beasts?”
Feng Mantian laughed. “Using evil heretics to feed the ferocious beasts, is the most righteous thing to do. Although cows, dogs, goats, horses are their feeds but they are much more pitiful than those evil men are. Moreover these evil men choose to come on their own accord.”
Nangong Ping was too shocked for words but his eyes were watery.
Lu Yixian sighed, found himself a gourd of wine and gulped it before sighing. “I really never expect that you will put all these things in the chests. I only feel strange why did all these beasts became so tame. If I haven’t saw it with my own eyes, I will never believe it.”
Feng Mantian laughed and replied. “It is nothing strange. The way I tame these beasts are actually the same as those top expert opponents in the Fraternity who use accupoints to weaken men. Although beasts and men have different accupoints but as long as you can observe their blood flow, calculate the timing and position, once their blood flows through their blood channel, you can hit their accupoints. No matter how fierce those beasts are, they will still be subdue by you.”
Nangong Changshu asked. “This method of accupoint is not the same as normal accupoint although it is much alike. Instead this method utilize the know how of when to use accupoint techniques and is the same as the Pai Cult.”
Feng Mantian answered. “Indeed, this is the same method used by the Pai Cult. But not many people knows of this method in the Fraternity.”
While they were discussing about the most intricate methods of the Fraternity’s accupoint techniques, Nangong Ping did not bother to listen. He was thinking how should he bury those people and to clean up the blood.
Mistress Nangong softly said to him from his back. “Let me help you.”
Although he had never said anything but Mistress Nangong had already guessed his intention.
Therefore they dug a big trench and placed the bodies inside. The mound was very high too. In the future when words of this incident spread, this mound was named ‘Mound of the evil men’.
The second day they had reached ‘San Men Wan’ and they could see the ocean. At the harbor city, Feng Mantian immediately wrote many couplets for his purchases. Among the couplets were tigers, wolves, snakes etc. Everyone was wondering why the sacred place of the Fraternity that was called ‘Divine Creator Temple’ for the past hundred or so years, would want these wild beasts, snakes and scorpions for.
Nangong Ping saw one of the couplets wrote ‘Ten evil men’. He was startled and asked. “Is evil man also consider a commodity? What do you want it for? And where are you going to buy it?”
Feng Mantian smiled. “Slowly you will know.” In between his smiles, he looked mysterious, in between his mysterious look, he carried a sorrow heart.
Nangong Ping could not guess the meaning of his words that therefore he did not ask anymore.