Book 35 Chapter 13 – Escaping Via The Water
Naturally Yang Xuyan was not really disappearing; rather, Xu Ziling’s eyes were dazzled by his unique skill of inciting the sword light and sword qi, combined with his Huan Mo Shenfa, so that Xu Ziling was unable to grasp either his position or his movements.
Since Yang Xuyan made his debut, the number of outstanding talents and towering heroes who nursed a grievance under this kind of flying-banner-on-a-solitary-tree [idiom: lone ranger] fierce and severe swordsmanship was really too numerous to count.
Xu Ziling was unable to grab the initiative, momentarily he could only take a beating, and could only rely purely on his instinct in brandishing his sleeves.
The arm protectors inside his sleeves repeatedly clashed against the Shadow Sword.
This move was greatly beyond Yang Xuyan’s expectation; he never thought that Xu Ziling, who had always been barehanded in facing the enemy, would suddenly hide arm protectors inside his sleeves. Both in terms of applying the power and the execution of his move, he simply missed and failed due to making wrong assessment on the enemy’s situation.
The sword shadow dispersed, Yang Xuyan’s acute spirit took a big hit.
Xu Ziling let out a long laugh, both hands shot out from inside the sleeves, using millions of changes he moved backward while attacking Yang Xuyan.
Calm and unhurried, Yang Xuyan let out a cold snort and in a flash sent two sword slashes in succession. No matter how profoundly mysterious and unfathomable Xu Ziling’s style was, he was still pushed back by him.
The third sword strike was even more fierce and severe without equal, forcing Xu Ziling to get away. Xu Ziling did not expect him to be this overbearing; he pulled both hands back inside the sleeves.
Learning from experience, this time Yang Xuyan flashed forward like a streak of lightning; the Shadow Sword producing hundreds and thousands fantastic beams of sword light, bits of sharp sword qi immediately closed in and enveloped Xu Ziling tightly.
Xu Ziling used his left sleeve to brush away and disperse the sword qi, while the other sleeve brushed up toward the sword blade. But when Yang Xuyan thought that he was going to use the arm protector inside his sleeves to meet the sword in a stake-it-all move, Xu Ziling used the deflecting power technique, by utilizing the sleeve’s flexibility to catch and pull so that Yang Xuyan nearly lost his balance, and flashed at angle past his right side.
Horrified, Yang Xuyan pulled his sword back. Xu Ziling made a somersault; flying upside down above Yang Xuyan, he sent out double-palm strike in full power down.
The battle was speed against speed, with fast changes from one move to the next, so that it was hard for others to pin down.
Yang Xuyan let out a cold laugh, his sword turned into a streak of lightning, he soared upward. Unexpectedly he completely disregarded Xu Ziling’s double-palm strike. If both men did not change their style, he would surely be injured under Xu Ziling’s palms, but his Shadow Sword would also penetrate the space between the two palms, and pierced Xu Ziling’s face.
Inwardly Xu Ziling was full of admiration; it could be said that this was the only way he could turn the situation around.
Laughing aloud, his palms closed down, he heavily slapped the sword blade. Qi power collided, violent shockwave splashed in all directions, immediately the table broke, the chairs flipped over; the furniture in the hall was the first to suffer a calamity.
Yang Xuyan staggered sideways. When he was crying ‘Bad!’ inwardly, Xu Ziling already borrowed the reaction force to flip midair like a windmill. In an instant he spun out of the window and landed on the courtyard.
Yang Xuyan unleashed the Huan Mo Shenfa at full power; in the blink of an eye he flew out the window, his long sword flew straight toward Xu Ziling. He thought that if after suffering untold hardships Xu Ziling was finally able to get away from his tight sword momentum, he would definitely escape without a trace immediately.
Who would have thought that unexpectedly Xu Ziling lowered his waist in a horse stance and sent out a punch toward the tip of his sword? The punch and the sword collided, as if they were struck by lightning, immediately both men spewed out blood. Xu Ziling was jolted backward and ‘Bang!’ he hit the courtyard wall. Yang Xuyan was shaken by the explosion and flew back inside the house.
With his back against the wall, Xu Ziling catapulted himself upward, let out a long laughter, and said, “Please forgive Xiaodi for not being able to accompany you any longer today.”
Falling inside the house, Yang Xuyan staggered slightly, but Xu Ziling was already at the top of the wall. Exerting his power to the tip of his toes, he flew up at an angle.
Li Yuanji’s loud voice reverberated across the night sky full of snowflakes; he shouted loudly, “Fire at will!”
Arrows were whizzing, nearly a hundred powerful arrows were shot from adjacent roofs and the streets and alleys, woven into an all-encompassing arrow net, closing down on Xu Ziling.
Right this moment where his life was hanging on a strand of hair, out of nowhere, a snowball was thrown under Xu Ziling’s feet.
Xu Ziling already knew that Kou Zhong would come to his rescue in secret. Lightly stepping on the snowball, he could feel that the snowball was imbued with powerful and fierce true energy. With another bout of long laughter, he borrowed the energy to suddenly change direction and increase his speed; before the arrow-net was formed, he traversed over more than ten zhang of empty air to flee toward the roof of an adjacent building.
Li Mi, Wang Bodang, and more than a dozen martial art masters appeared simultaneously in the direction Xu Ziling was pouncing. Li Mi shouted, “I want to see where you can escape this time.”
Another snowball, again like sending charcoal in a snowy weather [idiom: providing help in somebody’s hour of need], was flying ahead of Xu Ziling’s feet. Against everybody’s expectation, not only Xu Ziling did not change direction, he stepped on the snowball, borrowed its momentum, and increased his speed to pounce on Li Mi, who was about two zhang away, as if he was delivering himself to receive death.
Li Mi’s heart was moved, he soared like a big bird to meet Xu Ziling head-on, extending his two palms rolling up with violently powerful qi, with the intention of forcing Xu Ziling to fall down from the air onto the ground, so that the men from his side, who were gathering together from all directions – could surround him and trap him inside the siege. It was indeed an invincible scheme, worthy of him being the overlord who had once crisscrossed the world unhindered.
Li Yuanji was the first to rush toward the place Xu Ziling was supposedly falling to. If he could intercept him, he dared to write a guarantee certificate that he would be able to kill Xu Ziling.
Although he was fully aware that there was Xu Ziling’s accomplice helping him in the dark, but due to the confusion, he could not even grasp the opponent’s position, so he had no choice but to trap Xu Ziling to his death. And then, Xu Ziling’s accomplice, which was most likely Kou Zhong, would also show up to receive his death.
This moment Huang Gongcuo was rushing to the place where the snowball was thrown from, but he could not even see Kou Zhong’s shadow. He was a Jianghu veteran, immediately he soared into the air and when he reached sufficient elevation, he swept his gaze around to search for the enemy’s tracks.
Yang Xuyan chased out and rushed toward Xu Ziling.
As soon as he left Yun Shuai’s courtyard house, Xu Ziling was like a magnet that attracted iron; he pulled the entire surrounding net toward him.
Of everybody present, Kou Zhong was the only one who understood Xu Ziling’s escape strategy. Taking advantage of the dusk during a heavy snow, when the sky was darkening, he mingled among the enemy ranks, and rushed toward the place where he would be able to provide optimum support for Xu Ziling, so that Huang Gongcuo’s high-altitude search was in vain.
While he was still about a zhang away from Li Mi, the moment the strong wind was pressing down on him, Xu Ziling took a breath midair, he used the backward flying technique inspired by Yun Shuai, to suddenly change direction and flew diagonally outward.
Mei Xun and Yuwen Bao happened to be about to get out of the house and jump onto the roof; they were rushing over from the side when Xu Ziling appeared to change direction toward them. As if gaining the most precious treasure, they soared together, trying to intercept him with all their strength.
As Li Mi was pouncing straight ahead, he could only look on helplessly at Xu Ziling moving away at an angle. He stretched his finger out and sent a stream of finger wind to attack Xu Ziling’s back and shoulder. The changes were fast, plus it all happened in the air, a clear proof that he did not have an undeserved reputation at all.
Who would have thought that Xu Ziling suddenly flew back? Not only he evaded Li Mi’s finger wind, he also made Mei Xun and Yuwen Bao’s attack hit the empty air.
Xu Ziling suddenly curved toward Wang Bodang, who, in Li Mi’s absence, was acting as the great general guarding the pass, leading more than a dozen enemy soldiers.
Longxi Pai’s Sect Leader Jin Dachun, accompanied by two of his disciples, the ‘Willow Saber’ Diao Ang, and ‘Qimei Stick’ Gu Ju [see also Book 31 Chapter 8, back then, his name was Mei Tian], happened to rush over, to join Wang Bodang’s group.
Watching this from below, Li Yuanji’s confidence soared, thinking that no matter how outstanding Xu Ziling was, he would never be able to break this barrier. With thunderous roar he soared into the air. The Splitting Horse Spear attacked Xu Ziling’s back.
In this critical moment, Kou Zhong appeared from behind Wang Bodang and his men. The man followed the saber, the Moon in the Well turned into unstoppable long rainbow, rushing toward the rear of the enemy ranks.
Inwardly Xu Ziling cried that Kou Zhong came just in time; sending out explosive double punches, he separately struck the strongest enemies Wang Bodang and Jin Dachun.
Even if guarding the roof were the strongest among the enemy like Huang Gongcuo, Yang Xuyan, Li Yuanji, Mei Xun, or even Li Mi, under Xu Ziling and Kou Zhong’s pincer attack from the front and the rear, they would still be routed and would scatter to evade, forget about Wang Bodang and Jin Dachun, who were second tier compared to those martial art masters.
The tacit understanding between Kou Zhong and Xu Ziling was superb, there was no third person in the world who could imagine it. Seeing Xu Ziling’s attack was concentrated on Wang Bodang and Jin Dachun, two men, he immediately pushed the wave and added to the billows [idiom: add momentum/add fuel to the fire] by reducing the attack range of the Moon in the Well, with all its changes, to focus on these two men.
Naturally Wang Bodang and Jin Dachun were unwilling to take this risk; they split to the left and right to evade. Seeing the two strongest members of their group separated to escape, also seeing how Xu Ziling, who was soaring in the air, and Kou Zhong, who was mounting surprise attack from behind – were impossible to resist, in an all-out effort to perish together with the enemies, the rest of the men scattered away, completely routed.
The firm, unbreakable net finally exposed a gap.
Xu Ziling landed on the roof tile; he flashed over toward Kou Zhong, both palms struck together, separately attacking Wang Bodang’s double-headed spear and Jin Dachun’s long sword coming from left and right, so that the two men’s, whose acute spirit had been broken – counteroffensive immediately crumbled.
Kou Zhong went straight to the edge of the roof. The Moon in the Well swiftly swept, it fiercely struck the spearhead of Li Yuanji’s stabbing Splitting Horse Spear. He even laughed aloud and said, “Qi Wang, please go back!”
Li Yuanji was forced to follow his spear dropping down to the ground; but he could not do otherwise.
Huang Gongcuo came down from the sky, and flew over the two boys’ head.
Xu Ziling and Kou Zhong struck at the same time; a double-punch and a saber. Even if Ning Daoqi came in person, it would still be difficult to get the desired outcome, forget about Huang Gongcuo. After blocking Xu Ziling’s double-punch strike with an all-out palm counterstrike, he borrowed the reaction force to fly away to evade; otherwise, there was a great possibility that Kou Zhong’s Moon in the Well might chop his head down.
The two boys slammed their shoulders against each other, and borrowing the reaction force to fly upwards swiftly over the top of everybody’s head, unexpectedly they went in the opposite direction.
This move was greatly beyond everybody’s expectation; momentarily they did not know which one to chase.
“After them!” Li Yuanji roared, and took the lead to chase after Kou Zhong.
This moment Yang Xuyan was just rushing over. Unleashing his Huan Mo Shenfa, he was suddenly only two zhang away behind Xu Ziling.
The situation became extremely chaotic.
Xu Ziling knew that in term of qinggong, he had to admit that his was still a notch below Yang Xuyan’s qinggong, which name shook the present age. However, he was fully confident that as long as nobody intercepted him, there was a very high possibility that he could escape.
The two boys split up and fled, each one had a pack of powerful enemies like wolves and tigers pursuing relentlessly, unwilling to let go.
Both sides were leaping from house to house, as if they were in qinggong shenfa competition.
A moment later Xu Ziling and Kou Zhong separately rounded half a big circle, unexpectedly they were coming together; ahead was precisely the Yue Ma Bridge.
The closest pursuer was Yang Xuyan, followed by Huang Gongcuo, Li Yuanji, Li Mi and Mei Xun.
This moment the sky had turned completely dark, but Yang Xuyan and the other pursuing troops had high confidence that they would be able to catch up with the two boys shortly; they definitely would not let them get away.
The enemies were getting closer and closer. The two boys shouted together, and leaped from the roof down to the ground. Again they bumped each other’s shoulder, their speed surged steeply, they rose into the air, and threw themselves into the water of the Yong An Canal.
‘Splosh! Splosh!’ and together they disappeared into the pitch-black water below.