Book 28 Chapter 13 – Difficult To Fly Even If They Grow Wings
The newcomer pushed the door and entered in. He sat down slyly on the empty chair across the marble-top table from the two men, his gentle and soft eyes emitted bluish, but as sharp as a knife blade – light, as he fixed his gaze on Kou Zhong, and then he shook his head and said with a sigh, “Shao Shuai could be smart sometimes, but could also be stupid sometimes. If after leaving the city you went far away immediately, how could you fall into current desperate straits?”
Kou Zhong and Tuli felt their scalp went numb. They looked in disbelief at the Cloud Commander sitting calmly on the other side of the table.
Taking a deep breath, Kou Zhong struggled hard to calm his tumultuous heart. He said, “I wonder if Guoshi [teacher of the state] could speak a bit more clearly.”
Yun Shuai did not even cast half a glance toward Tuli, as if he did not exist at all. “Two sichen ago,” he began, “Shao Shuai returned to Nanyang, the news of your intention to assassinate Ji Yinong immediately spread. At first I did not believe it, until just now I saw it with my own eyes Shao Shuai entering the pleasure house, and then I knew that all along Shao Shuai’s movement has been inside other people’s calculation.”
Xu Ziling slipped in through the window. As if nothing had happened, he exchanged greetings with Yun Shuai before sitting down and said, “Guoshi is right; Li Yuanji and Kang Qiaoli’s men have already surrounded this place heavily. Naturally Ji Yinong did not show up. We have fallen into Zhu Yuyan’s borrowing-someone-else’s-knife-to-kill us scheme.”
Kou Zhong slapped the table and said with a sigh, “Good ol’ yaofu! She is indeed formidable.”
Only this moment did he realize where the problem was.
From the beginning Zhu Yuyan had already guessed that they were still in the hotel, hence she put on an act by revealing that Ji Yinong might come to Yue Lan She tonight to lure them to walk voluntarily into the trap, and then borrowed other people’s power to put them in order.
The most formidable part of her plan was that Zhu Yuyan intentionally came back and stayed for a while, so that they would believe her words without any doubt.
If at that time Zhu Yuyan had forced them to come out and fight, although she would definitely win, she might not have the ability retain all three of them. It could be said that the power of Xu Ziling and Kou Zhong joining hands was renowned throughout the world. Without Wanwan by her side, no matter how conceited Zhu Yuyan was, she knew the difficulty of capturing one of them alive.
The best strategy was to sit and watch them fighting a desperate fight against Li Yuanji or the Cloud Commander’s sides until all three sides were defeated and injured, and then perhaps she would be able to catch all three sides’ men and horses in one net.
This demoness’s intelligence and scheming mind certainly surpassed others’; no wonder Yin Gui Pai could flourish like this.
Based on the timing of the spreading information, by the time You Qiuyan came to see them, she must have already received the order to put this malicious scheme of borrowing-someone-else’s-knife-to-kill-them in motion. Unless they left immediately, Yin Gui Pai people waiting in ambush outside the hotel would not make their move.
You Qiuyan deceiving them by pretending to go out to scout for information was to stall for time to wait for Li Yuanji, Yun Shuai, and the others’ arrival to deal with them.
One by one everything fell into place, and now, even if they could pass Yun Shuai and Li Yuanji, these two hurdles, perhaps in the end they would still be unable to escape Zhu Yuyan’s evil clutch.
But regret has never been Kou Zhong’s habit; suddenly he calmed down and thought it over carefully. When everything became clear to him, he laughed aloud and said, “Thank you very much Guoshi for your directions. We have fallen into Zhu Yaofu’s evil scheme. It would be best not to mention the course of events within it. Currently I just want to know what would Guoshi want to do to us, and what is your position in this matter.”
Yun Shuai replied indifferently, “If Shao Shuai asked me that question two sichen ago, I might have a completely different answer.” His gaze turned toward Tuli, he went on, “How could Kang Qiaoli join hands with Li Yuanji to deal with Khan?”
Tuli knew that the long story ought to be cut short, because the martial art masters that Li Yuanji deployed outside the city to hunt them down continuously received orders to hurry back, therefore, with passing moment their strength would increase by a notch. He spoke heavily, “This whole thing, including Guoshi is sitting here this instant, has been set up by Xieli and Zhao Deyan. They wanted to borrow Guoshi’s hands to kill me, Tuli, first, and then they would concentrate their strength to deal with Guoshi. The one threading the needle was An Long. All along he and Zhao Deyan have been in collusion. If Guoshi would just think about it, you would understand.”
Yun Shuai revealed a thoughtful look.
The three waited quietly for his respond. It could be said that this moment they had fallen into desperate straits; just one thing went wrong, they would have to fight with all their might and might end up perishing.
But if Yun Shuai was willing to fight on their side, their chance of escaping with their life would be greatly increased.
Since their encounter with Li Yuanji, they have been playing this Yun Shuai card, which could either be a lucky card or a terrible card – in their mind. And now that the critical moment has arrived, they finally had to play this card for real.
Under the three men’s unblinking stare, Yun Shuai smiled and stood up; he softly said, “Three gentlemen are on your own.”
Just like that, he pushed the door and stepped out; he still took the time to gently close the door for them.
Stunned, the three looked at each other. Yun Shuai’s reaction was still a bit beyond their expectation.
Snorting coldly, Tuli said, “How about killing our way out?”
Kou Zhong’s pair of eyebrows rose up, he thundered, “Li Yuanji, the defeated general under my hands, do you dare to have another duel against me, Kou Zhong?”
His voice spread far away, shaking every nook and corner of the Yue Lan She, other noises receded like a tide and disappeared completely, so that all the second story of both the east and west building was like the crow and peacock made no sound.
Both Tuli and Xu Ziling were startled by him; they did not expect Kou Zhong would be this bold, this recklessly disregarding life and death, because once they fell into the heavy siege, forget about the Tujue’s martial art masters from Kang Qiaoli’s side, merely Li Yuanji, Mei Xun, Li Nantian, Qin Wutong, and Qiu Tianjue, five leading martial art masters already had enough power to take their little lives away.
Presently their only stratagem was to break the siege with all their might, by exploiting the delicate enmity-without-any-friendship relation between Yin Gui Pai and Li Yuanji/Kang Qiaoli’s side, to create the confusion, which would be beneficial for them to flee for their lives.
Kou Zhong’s challenge to Li Yuanji was akin to throwing their lives away. Even if Kou Zhong gained the upper hand, the rest of their men would not watch with folded arms; otherwise, how could they answer Li Yuan and Li Jiancheng?
Li Yuanji’s voice came from the room at the west end of the wing, diagonally opposite to their room; he angrily said, “Who’s the defeated general under your hands? You three have already reached a dead end [orig. the path exhausted, the end of the road]. If you are willing to kneel and beg for forgiveness, this king can guarantee happiness for you.”
Another male voice said, “Zaixia Hainan Pai’s Mei Xun. Since Kou Shao Shuai is in the mood, why not play with Zaixia for one round?”
Pleased with himself, Kou Zhong whispered to Xu Ziling and Tuli with a laugh, “Did you see that? With just one sentence we sound out the enemy’s strongest point. The dead place is the gate to life. We go out!”
The two suddenly saw the light. Meanwhile, Kou Zhong already leaped up and said, “Ling Shao! Tabletop! Old man Huang!”
‘Bang!’ Kou Zhong smashed the door and broke out.
While Tuli was still confused, Xu Ziling unexpectedly heaved the entire marble-top table, shook the food and wine, the cups and plates off the table, and then applying his power he shocked and broke the four table legs.
By the time the sound of another smashed wooden door was heard, Kou Zhong already pulled the Moon in the Well and attacked Li Yuanji, Mei Xun, and Kang Qiaoli, three men, who hastily rose up from their chairs to meet the enemy head-on.
This moment Xu Ziling exerted all his strength to toss the marble tabletop out. Like a storm ravaging dried up branches and pulling up rotten wood it crashed through the broken door and split wall to make the opening even wider. The tabletop spun like a windmill as it flew toward Kou Zhong, who was charging through the broken door into the enemy’s room.
It was only then did Tuli understand. This could be said to be the only ‘breaking the enemy’ method. Otherwise, with just Li Yuanji and Mei Xun’s power, it would be enough to entangle the three that it would be hard for them to escape.
Due to Yue Lan She’s terrain, it was natural for the enemy to concentrate their power on the roof and the garden on the east side; they did not expect the three would abandon the easy to choose the difficult by escaping via the garden in between the two buildings.
Tuli drew the Subduing Eagle Spear; together with Xu Ziling they charged out of the room. There were more than a dozen enemies charging in from either side of the corridor. But of course the two would not want to meet the enemy head-on, they charged straight into Li Yuanji’s wing.
Lightning fast, Kou Zhong’s Moon in the Well struck three times, hitting the three powerful enemies’ weapon in succession. He was shivering inwardly.
While admittedly Li Yuanji’s spear power was fierce and severe, the threat that he received from Mei Xun and Kang Qiaoli’s counterattack did not differ much from Li Yuanji’s. It is thus clear that the two’s martial art skill was quite high, they were only slightly inferior to Li Yuanji. Between the two, Mei Xun was perhaps half a notch above Kang Qiaoli.
“Kid, you are courting death!” Li Yuanji thundered.
Spear light flared out, it attacked Kou Zhong from the right side, the qi power produced screaming noise, enveloping Kou Zhong inside it. Just this offensive move from Li Yuanji was not easy to break through.
Mei Xun jumped on top of the table. Pushing it with the tip of his toes, he created millions of golden lights, raining down like torrential rain. Although the momentum was violent, his posture was still graceful and pleasant to watch. Just from this particular point, it was clear that he was able to be the head of the biggest sect in the south was due to him having real talent and solid skill.
Kang Qiaoli attacked from the other side of the table. Brandishing a pair of cavalry sabers like a whirlwind, he pressed on hard toward the enemy.
Kou Zhong laughed aloud. While the three opponents were confused, he suddenly knelt down on one knee, while using the Moon in the Well to poke the leg of the table. The entire table immediately flew toward Li Yuanji on the right side.
This moment the tabletop broke the door bolt and flew in. Unexpectedly Mei Xun’s golden spear, which was originally raining down on Kou Zhong’s head – was entirely blocked by the tabletop. The spear was jolted by Xu Ziling’s power concentrated inside the tabletop that it shot up toward the beam.
While Li Yuanji pulled his spear back to avoid the table and Kang Qiaoli was slightly distracted by the spinning tabletop, he saw Kou Zhong’s saber light was surging on from under the tabletop, rolling close to the ground toward him, scaring him so that disregarding everything, he simply crashed through the wall on the left and rolled into the adjacent room, scaring the guests and the prostitutes inside that they scrambled out with a shriek. The chaos reached its extreme point.
The round tabletop crashed through the wall and flew out; it finally fell into the garden between the two buildings.
Tuli and Xu Ziling charged into the room at the same time; Tuli let his Subduing Eagle Spear loose. The moment he evaded the table in great difficulty, like a tornado he rolled up toward him. [I believe there are some missing texts here.]
Xu Ziling moved both hands together, a vortex of true power burst across the empty air to pursue Mei Xun, who was leaping up toward the beam; it was swift, severe, and astonishing to the extreme point.
In an instant, the enemy’s strongest disposition’s, led by Li Yuanji, three men, their most brilliant strategy and chain of offensive, melt like ice and broke like tiles, no longer able to withstand their assault.
Kou Zhong flashed through the space between Xu Ziling and Tuli; the Moon in the Well swiftly hacked onto Qiu Tianjue charging in from the broken door. Even with Qiu Tianjue’s brilliance, he could only retreat to evade. Immediately the troops from his own side swarming in behind him were knocked over that they fell to the left and tumbled to the right, and their troop formation was destroyed.
‘Clang! Clang! Clang!’
As Li Yuanji parried Tuli’s Subduing Eagle Spear, Kou Zhong’s Moon in the Well arrived again. In order to save his own little life, he no longer cared about blocking these men. Roaring angrily, he followed Kang Qiaoli’s lead by breaking through the wall on the other side and rolling into the adjacent room.
This room was originally full of his own men waiting in ambush, but because they already swarmed outside to meet the enemy, it became an empty room.
Mei Xun’s palm chopped backhandedly to meet Xu Ziling’s full-strength strike. This was the first time that he encountered spiraling qi power. He felt the opponent’s qi power was like a pillar of wind, but with something solid inside. Unable to endure, he let out a stifled grunt, and instead of opposing the force, he rode on it to catapult him upward, breaking through the beam and the roof, and continued shooting up into the sky.
The men from his side, who were lying in ambush on the roof, could only stare blankly. They had no idea what has been happening below.
Mei Xun wanted to tell Li Nantian, who was in command of the ambush on the roof, that the enemy might flee in the direction of the western building, but because he was busy with trying to neutralize Xu Ziling’s qi power invading his body, he simply could not open his mouth to talk, and could only continuously roll upward in an attempt to disperse the qi power attacking his system, and nearly spurted out blood.
After disposing Mei Xun’s threat, Xu Ziling’s left palm pushed the air, while secretly performing hand image to push Kang Qiaoli, who was attacking from the hole in the wall – back.
Kou Zhong broke another wall and rushed out toward the garden space between the east and west, two buildings, only to see more than twenty Li Clan and Tujue martial art masters under the ‘Two Malevolent of Changbai Mountain’ Fu Zhen and Fu Yan, rushing out of the western building to attack with quite a momentum.
Yet inwardly Kou Zhong was greatly delighted, knowing that his guess was correct. Because nobody expected them to charge from this side, the force to guard this area was the weakest. As long as they did not allow the opponent to intercept them, Li Yuanji and the others could only catch empty space at their tail.
After thundering, “Triangular formation!’ Kou Zhong dropped down swiftly.
One after another Xu Ziling and Tuli followed suit by jumping out and down from the hole. As soon as their feet touched the ground, the three formed a triangular formation, with Tuli’s Subduing Eagle Spear at the head of the formation, mercilessly stabbing the attacking enemies, sending them scattering about like a sheet of loose sand.
Li Nantian and his men jumped down from the roof to run after them in wild chase.
Suddenly somebody shouted from the lower level of the eastern building, “Fire! Fire!”
Thick smoke and fire appeared from one of the rooms in that wing.
The guests and the ladies, who were hiding behind the windows to watch the excitement, were immediately thrown into chaos; they scrambled out through the doors and windows to flee for their lives. The sound of people screaming shook the heavens; the scene was like the arrival of the doomsday.
Under protection of Xu Ziling and Kou Zhong on his two wings, which removed any threat from the left, right, and rear, three sides, Tuli unleashed his spear technique to the fullest. First he attacked Fu Zhen and Fu Yan, forcing them to evade to the left and right, and then his long spear pierced through the pit of an enemy’s stomach, before sweeping two more enemies, sending them falling to the east and stumbling to the west, so that all of a sudden they broke through the enemy ranks and entered the ground floor of the western building.
Kou Zhong and the others did not know who set the fire to help them, but by the time they reached the corridor of the west building, it was already packed with people, men and women, trying to flee the disaster area. The sound of people screaming and wailing shook the heavens; the chaos has already reached its extreme point.
Tuli took them bursting into another wing. They broke the wall and charged out, and came to the wall of the Yue Lan She’s western courtyard; behind the wall was precisely the main street leading to the north city gate.
The three were about to jump over the wall to escape, when suddenly they halted their steps in shock.
They saw three figures standing on top of the wall: Zhu Yuyan in the middle, Pi Shouxuan and Bian Bufu on her left and right.
Laughing tenderly, Zhu Yuyan said, “You can escape to this place, I’ll say you do have some abilities. Xiao Zhong, didn’t you say you want to have a one-on-one duel against Qi Wang [king of Qi]?”
From behind, the sound of people shouting and yelling was approaching very fast, while from both left and right ends of the wall the enemies were appearing.
Unless they could turn into birds soaring high into the sky, their only option was to fight with all their might and end up dead in this place.