Sentimental Swordsman, Ruthless Sword - Chapter 67
Chapter 67 - The Pinnacle of Martial Arts
Everyone in the world knew that ShangGuan JinHong's skills were unfathomably deep and profound. However, no one had ever seen him attack. And now, everyone still hadn't seen him attack.
His hands didn't appear to have moved at all. They only saw him lightly press down onto the table before the chopsticks shot through the air. Then, XiMen Yu fell limp and dropped to the floor.
"Take him away and examine him carefully." ShangGuan JinHong said.
The men in yellow came over and carried XiMen Yu's body with them.
XiMen Yu's lips appeared to move slightly, but he was in so much fright that not a sound came out.
"If that food is really still in your stomach, I'll pay with my own life so that you won't die without a reason." ShangGuan JinHong said.
No one dared to speak. No one dared to move.
Everyone looked like they were sitting on a cushion of nails. Each one of their clothes were soaked in cold sweat.
One of the men in yellow finally walked over and said, "We have finished examining him."
"What did you find?" ShangGuan JinHong asked.
"Nothing. His stomach was empty." the man in yellow said.
"Good." ShangGuan JinHong said.
His eyes swept across the faces of everyone there and said, "If you lie in front of me, you will suffer the same fate as him, does everybody understand?"
They all nodded their heads.
"Is anyone else also not hungry?" he asked.
"No, we're hungry ... we're hungry." everyone answered back.
They all started fighting eagerly over the food on the table. No one even bothered to chew, piece after piece of food went straight into their stomachs.
Suddenly, a person soaked from head to toe rushed in and stood by the doorway, his eyes were blood red and he looked disheveled and sluggish. He kept mumbling to himself, "A person clothed in purplish red, a person clothed in purplish red."
Long Xiao4Yun immediately stood up.
Ah Fei's eyes made their way to him and he said, "So it is you."
Although his eyes were dull and he looked drowsy and in disarray, there was a sword in his hand!
As long as there was a sword in his hand, it was enough to make Long Xiao4Yun feel uneasy.
Long Xiao4Yun started to take a few steps back.
Ah Fei slowly made his way forward.
The sword wobbled in his hand. His footsteps and the sword were both unsteady.
But once Long Xiao4Yun saw his sword, he turned around and ran.
Ah Fei leapt towards him. Before he reached them, everyone could already smell the stench of wine.
Long Xiao3Yun's expression changed now. He hooked the chair that his father was sitting on and hurled it towards Ah Fei hoping to block his path.
Ah Fei didn't see the chair at all and tripped. His entire body fell down and the sword flew out of his hands.
He couldn't even hold on to his sword!
Long Xiao4Yun was shocked but overjoyed. He turned around and picked up the sword. In a flash, the sword was pointed straight at the back of Ah Fei's head.
But he didn't stab forward.
Because in the corner of his eye he had caught glimpse of the expression on ShangGuan JinHong's face.
ShangGuan JinHong's face was expressionless to the point of horror. He sat there like a statue, not moving a single inch.
Because he didn't move, no one else dared to move either.
"This person dares to cause a scene in front of Big Brother, he deserves to die!" Long Xiao4Yun said.
ShangGuan JinHong was quite for a long while. He finally said, "There is a dog outside, have you seen it?"
"Yes, I think I have." Long Xiao4Yun answered.
"If you want to kill this person, then why not kill that dog instead." ShangGuan JinHong said.
"Big brother, so what you're saying is, this person can't even be compared to a dog?" Long Xiao4Yun said.
"And what about you?" ShangGuan JinHong asked.
"Me ... ?" Long Xiao4Yun said, with a look of shock.
"He can't compare to a dog, but you're even worse. When dogs see him, even they don't run away." ShangGuan JinHong said.
Long Xiao4Yun looked dumbfounded.
ShangGuan JinHong's eyes looked to the crowd and asked, "Would any of you be willing to become sworn brothers with a dog?"
"Of course not!" everyone answered.
"Even they're not willing. Let alone me ..." ShangGuan JinHong said.
ShangGuan JinHong looked towards Long Xiao4Yun and said, "I think you and this dog would make the best of friends, why don't you two become sworn brothers instead?" His words were irretractable. But who could endure this kind of insult?
Long Xiao4Yun's face was filled with sweat, and stuttered, "You ... you ..."
Long Xiao3Yun suddenly ran over and took the sword in his hand, and said, "This was all my idea, I had no clue that it would cause so much shame to me and my father. I am already unable to wash away my misdeeds. Only when my blood is spilled onto the floor can I repay what my father has done for me. It is a pity that my mother is not present, for I can't decide life and death without her presence."
He suddenly took the sword and cut off his own hand.
No one dared to react to this.
Long Xiao3Yun was in such pain that his entire body shook. Nonetheless, he bit down on his teeth and took his severed hand to ShangGuan JinHong and said, "Are you satisfied yet?"
ShangGuan JinHong's expression didn't change as he looked at him coldly and said, "You want to exchange this hand for the lives of you and your father?"
"I ..." Long Xiao3Yun said.
Before he could finish, the pain became too much and he fainted.
Even though Long Xiao4Yun felt extremely grieved inside, he dared not show it. He just stood there quietly.
"On your son's behalf, I'll let you two live. Now leave and don't ever let me see you again." ShangGuan JinHong said.
Ah Fei finally got up.
He looked like he was completely oblivious to what just happened. He looked like he was completely oblivious to everyone around him as well. His eyes finally spotted a jug of wine on the table and he slowly made his way towards it and snatched it into his hands.
He hugged the jug of wine in his arms extremely tightly as if it was his life.
*DING*, the jug was suddenly shattered.
Wine poured down.
Ah Fei's hand was trembling as it still held on to a piece of the broken jug.
"This wine is for humans. You're not worthy!" ShangGuan JinHong said.
He threw a piece of silver onto the floor and said, "If you still want to drink, go buy your own."
Ah Fei lifted his head and looked at him. He slowly turned his body and walked.
The piece of silver was by his feet.
He stared at the piece of silver for quite a while, before finally bending down ...
A smile flashed across ShangGuan JinHong's face.
He looked even more intimidating when he smiled than when he didn't.
Suddenly, there was a cold flash of light.
A dagger struck down like lightning and pinned the piece of silver to the ground.
Ah Fei flinched and lifted his head up, his whole body suddenly froze.
A person who stood at the doorway looked at him and said, "The wine here is better than outside. If you want to drink, I'll pour a cup for you."
There was still one jug of wine left on the table.
The person walked over, poured a cup, and presented it to Ah Fei.
No one said a word. Even the sound of breathing could not be heard.
ShangGuan JinHong didn't say a word either.
He just silently stared at this person.
This person wasn't tall, but wasn't very short either. His clothes were raggedy and old. He looked like a feeble and decrepit middle-aged man.
But as ShangGuan JingHong watched him pour the wine, watched him give the cup to Ah Fei, not only did he not stop this person, he didn't show any reaction at all.
No one had ever dared to disobey ShangGuan JinHong's orders!
But this person took no heed in ShangGuan JinHong's orders whatsoever.
The cup of wine had reached Ah Fei's hand.
Ah Fei stared childishly into the cup. Two drops of tears slowly fell into the cup of wine.
He had always only been willing to bleed, his tears were something that he held back.
The middle-aged man's eyes began to water up as well, tears overflowed from the corners of his eyes. But on his mouth was still the same warm, friendly smile.
That warm friendly smile seemingly changed the decrepit looking man into a bright and radiant person. No one had ever imagined that a smile could be so powerful.
He didn't say a word either.
The feelings behind his warm smile and brimming tears were something that no one in the world could ever express into words.
Ah Fei's hand began to shake again uncontrollably. He suddenly let out a roar and smashed the cup of wine onto the floor. He turned around and ran towards the door.
The middle-aged man looked like he was just about to chase after him.
"Wait a moment!" ShangGuan JinHong said.
He kept walking for a second before stopping in place.
"If you wanted to leave, then you shouldn't have come in the first place. Since you have come, then why would you leave?" ShangGuan JinHong asked.
The middle-aged man stood silent for a while, before saying, "You're right. Since I am already here, why should I leave?"
Before, he hadn't laid an eye on ShangGuan JinHong. Now, he slowly turned around.
His gaze finally met the gaze of ShangGuan JinHong.
A fiery blaze!
The glances exchanged by the two of them seemed to ignite a fiery blaze.
A silent, formless fiery blaze. Although none of them saw it with their own eyes, every single one of them felt it.
Every single one of their hearts were thumping wildly.
ShangGuan JinHong's eyes were like the hands of a demon, his gaze could suffocate any man's soul.
That middle-aged person's eyes were like an endless sea, vast and refreshingly blue. A vastness that could entrap all the monsters and demons in the world.
If ShangGuan JinHong's eyes were a blade, this person's eyes would be the sheathe!
Seeing those pair of eyes, everyone knew that he wasn't just any ordinary middle-aged man.
Some of them had already gussed who he was.
ShangGuan JinHong's voice finally broke the silence. "Where is your weapon?"
With a flicked of his wrist, a dagger appeared between his fingers!
Little Li's flying dagger!
After everyone saw the dagger, they knew that their guesses were correct!
It was Li XunHuan!
Li XunHuan had finally arrived!
His hand was incredibly steady. As if it was frozen in midair.
His fingers were long and slender, his fingernails neatly trimmed.
This hand seemed more appropriate holding a pen than a dagger. But in the martial arts community, this hand was the most valuable, and the most frightening hand of all.
The dagger was a very plain and ordinary dagger. But in this person's hand, that dagger became a terrifying weapon!
ShangGuan JinHong slowly stood up and walked to face Li XunHuan.
The distance between the two was no more than seven meters.
Yet, his hands were still inside his sleeves.
ShangGuan JinHong had dominated the world nearly twenty years ago with his "Dragon Phoenix Rings". In the "Book of Weapons", they were ranked second, which was one higher than "Little Li's Flying Dagger"!
In the twenty years after, no one had ever seen him use his rings.
Even though everyone knew that they were powerful, no one knew for sure just how powerful they were.
Were the rings in his hands right now?
Everyone's eyes shifted from Li XunHuan's dagger to ShangGuan JinHong's hands.
ShangGuan JinHong's hands finally emerged from his sleeves.
His hands were empty.
"Where are your rings?" Li XunHuan asked him.
"They are here." ShangGuan JinHong answered.
"Where?" Li XunHuan asked again.
"In my heart." ShangGuan JinHong replied.
"Your heart?" Li XunHuan said.
"The rings aren't in my hands, the rings are in my heart!" ShangGuan JinHong said.
Li XunHuan's eyes suddenly shrunk.
ShangGuan JinHong's rings, they could not be seen!
Because they cannot be seen, they could be anywhere. They could be right before your eyes, right in front of your throat, or right next to your soul.
Even when your entire being has been destroyed, you still wouldn't know from where they came!
"The rings aren't in hand, but the rings are in the heart."
This is the pinnacle or martial arts!
This was the level of gods and immortals.
But no one understood. That is, no one except Li XunHuan.
Everyone else looked slighly disappointed.
A good number of people had wanted to see those rings, so they could recognize what true power was. But who would have known, that it was what they could not see, that was truly powerful.
In that moment, the radiance in ShangGuan JinHong's eyes were pressing down intensely on Li XunHuan.
"Seven years ago, my hands had finally become formless." ShangGuan JinHong said.
"I'm in awe." Li XunHuan said.
"You understand?" ShangGuan JinHong asked.
"Subtle and exquisite, there are no rings, there is no self. No trace left to be found, and no barrier left that is unbreakable." Li XunHuan said.
"Wonderful! You really do understand!" ShangGuan JinHong exclaimed.
"To comprehend is to not comprehend, to not understand is to understand.
The two of them were like two Zen masters engaged in a duel of rhetoric.
Except for the two of them, no one else understood a word.
They did not understand, that's why it was so terrifying ...
All of them slowly stood up and retreated to a corner of the room.
ShangGuan JinHong stared at Li XunHuan and said, "Li XunHuan, really is Li XunHuan."
Li XunHuan responded, "And ShangGuan JinHong can only be ShangGuan JinHong."
ShangGuan JinHong spoke, "You were originally a third generation Tan Hua, worldy and educated, illustrious and famous, the envy of the entire world. Why have you ended up as a wanderer in the underworld of the martial arts community?"
"I come as I please, I go as I please." Li XunHuan replied.
"You can still leave?" ShangGuan JinHong said.
Li XunHuan paused for a second and responded, "I can't leave, nor do I want to leave!"
"Very well, make your move!" ShangGuan JinHong said.
"My moves are already here!" Li XunHuan said.
ShangGuan JinHong looked a little confused and asked, "Where?"
"In the heart. The moves are not in this dagger, the moves are in my heart."
ShangGuan JinHong's eyes suddenly shrunk as well!
Those who couldn't see where ShangGuan JinHong's rings resided, couldn't see where Li XuHuan's moves were either.
But when the rings arrive, the moves would emerge!
Everyone thought they could feel their presence.
Even though they all stood there quietly, they all felt as if they were in a struggle for life and death. Life and death that could be decided in a single breath!
Even though they had all retreated into a corner of the room, they all still felt a dreadful aura.
Every single one of them felt their hearts contract!
The blood in Ah Fei's body was beginning to bubble!
When he ran out frantically, he didn't know what he was thinking, nor did he know what he was doing.
He was running from the truth.
But where could he run to? And how long could he hide for?
He couldn't run forever, because what he was running away from, was himself.
Li XunHuan and ShangGuan JinHong were staring at each other. Neither made a sound, neither made a move.
The only thing anyone could hear was the beating of their own hearts. The only thing anyone could feel was the sweat dripping from the hairs on their own arms.
Because once one of them made a move, it was bound to be a move that shook the heavens and earth.
This standoff could erupt at any second. This standoff could break at any moment.
And it could end in the exact same moment.
Because in that moment, one of them would definitely fall!
But who would be the one to fall?
"Little Li's flying dagger, never leaves the hand unless it hits!"
In these twenty years, no one has ever evaded Li TanHua's dagger!
But since ShangGuan JinHong's dual rings were ranked higher, were they more formidable?
The two of them were frozen in place.
The two of them were gleaming with confidence.
Was there anyone in the world who could guess the outcome of this battle?
Ah Fei had fallen to the ground, he was panting heavily. After a while, he lifted his head and looked around. He had no idea where he was.
He was in a small courtyard.
In the middle of the courtyard was a lonely willow tree shaking in the autumn wind.
On top of the porch was a half curled banner. The door was shut tight. Everything was silent inside the building.
This was where he had spent the night in a drunken stupor.
He had no idea how he wound up back here.
The door suddenly opened. A beatiful face peeked out of the door. As soon as waves of desire shot through his body, the face withdrew back into the house.
This was one of the people who had accompanied him.