And the rain continues ... just like here.
Book 15 Chapter 8 - Lover of Flowers
When Xu Ziling was about to apply his power to row the boat, Ba Fenghan spoke in heavy voice, "As much as possible, we must not arouse his attention. This is an assassination operation, not a decisive battle following Jianghu's rules.”
Xu Ziling hung his head low to prevent Dugu Ba from seeing his appearance. His oar paddled the water slowly, seemingly without a lot of strength, giving the impression of relaxed, easy and comfortable rowing.
Like an arrow Dugu Ba's gaze shot at the two men.
Because Ba Fenghan, who was sitting on the bow, had his back against him, plus the continuous drizzle floating in the air, he was unable to see his particularly magnificent build. Xu Ziling's face was obscured by the wide bamboo rain hat, plus he was stooping his back, hence he looked like an ordinary boatman.
Dugu Ba only shot one look, and then his mind turned to many other things.
If the two men's boat were coming from behind, his vigilance would have been raised considerably; moreover, he had just come across Hua Lingzi, two martial sister and brother, naturally he did not have any concern even more.
If even Ba and Xu, two men, had never thought that by strange coincidence [lit. the gods pull, the ghosts push] they would run into Dugu Ba, much less Dugu Ba himself.
This moment Dugu Ba's fast boat was only about twenty zhang away from the small pier, while Xu and Ba, two men's small boat was approaching from the opposite direction approximately thirty zhang away. With regard to Luoyang's busy waterways, it was a totally common scenario.
Ba Fenghan had already put the Beheading Mystery Sword, still in its sheath, on the bottom of the boat near his feet, so that Dugu Ba did not have the slightest suspicion.
Dugu Ba's small boat reached the pier first. Evidently this man was impetuous and ruthless; even the patience to wait until the boat was moored properly onto the pier was lacking. His feet kicked lightly, he leaped over the two zhang of water and landed on the pier.
Without waiting for Ba Fenghan's order, Xu Ziling suddenly applied his power, propelling the small boat three zhang forward, bringing it to only about five zhang away from the dock.
The man rowing Dugu Ba's boat looked at them in shock, and shouted, "Ba Ye, be careful!”
Ba Fenghan already hooked the Beheading Mystery Sword with his foot, and somersaulted backward.
Dugu Ba turned around abruptly. The pair of thin, grim and ferocious-looking eyes on his long and narrow face revealed a startled, strange look.
The Beheading Mystery Sword left its sheath.
Dugu Ba's reaction's speed was also first-class; while Ba Fenghan was still two zhang away in the air above the water, he twisted his waist and lowered his body, taking a horse stance, sending out a punch over the empty air, so it would be difficult for the opponent to get close to him.
At the same time, Xu Ziling pulled the oar from the water, and tossed it away, while shouting, "Watch this!”
The oar was one step ahead of Ba Fenghan's feet. Ba Fenghan has been through fire and water several times with Xu Ziling; he knew exactly his intention. One foot pushed on the oar, he soared again. Not only to avoid the opponent's heart-destroying, lung-splitting fist power, it was also to cover the rest of the distance, bringing him flying above Dugu Ba's head.
After throwing the oar, without wasting any time, Xu Ziling flew behind Ba Fenghan toward the dock.
Dugu Ba's boatman also shouted, pulled the saber hanging on his waist, and leaped toward the dock.
As soon as his punch missed, Dugu Ba knew he was in a bad situation. Worse yet, the oar was originally used to help Ba Fenghan alter the momentum of his movement, but due to the push from Ba Fenghan's toes, not only did it chang direction, it was shooting straight toward Dugu Ba, plus Ba Fenghan added his own power to Xu Ziling's original throwing force, so that the speed increased rapidly, just like a lightning striking Dugu Ba.
If Dugu Ba blocked the incoming oar, he would not be able to block Ba Fenghan's sword chopping down on his head; but if he sidestepped, he would lose the momentum of his initiative earlier.
After considering the pros and cons, he chose the latter. Fast as lightning he moved sideways.
Letting out a cold laugh, Ba Fenghan turned his Beheading Mystery Sword into sword qi and sword shadow filling the air, as if he already knew which direction Dugu Ba would move, and thus shrouded the area completely. As his feet touched the ground, his left palm, accurately and at the precise moment, tapped on the oar, brilliantly executing two of the consummate skills from his unique school.
This moment Xu Ziling landed at the edge of the dock. Remembering this man's misdeeds, he decided not to be lenient. From the other side, he charged toward Dugu Ba's back, and launched both fists in succession.
Dugu Ba's attendant was still in the air. The oar, which flew faster and stronger, was shooting toward his chest.
Ignorant of the fierceness of this oar, he used his saber to chop down.
‘Ding! Ding! Dang! Dang!'
A series of clear ringing noise of metals clashing against each other rang out from the direction of Ba Fenghan and Dugu Ba. Turned out Dugu Ba was wearing a pair of arm guards under his sleeves, which he used to strenuously block Ba Fenghan's sword strike upon sword strike, which strength grew with each strike, a terrifying sword technique that attacked like surging tide or breaking waves. The most difficult thing to grasp was Ba Fenghan's mysterious footwork, which changed the angle of his sword attack indeterminately, almost to the point of strange beyond human comprehension.
The swift and fierce wind from Xu Ziling's fists came from behind.
Although the attendant's saber hit the oar, it was like a dragonfly trying to move a stone pillar; the oar was not swayed the least bit. He could only look helplessly as the top of the oar struck the pit of his stomach, sending him flying backward. By the time he entered the river, he already perished with broken sternum.
Under the pincher attack from two major martial art masters, Dugu Ba reached the critical moment between life and death. In this most dangerous moment, this Dugu Clan's martial art master, whose prestige in Jianghu was second only to You Chuhong and Dugu Feng [‘peak', not ‘phoenix'], showed his real strength and his survival ability, which he honed over the vicissitudes if life [lit. ‘a thousand hammer and a hundred refinement (as in smelting metals)].
Just before he was pressed from front and back in a narrow space, his body swiftly, beyond human understanding, swayed to the left and right several times. His right hand rose up at an oblique angle to block Ba Fenghan's killer sword strike toward his chest, while his left hand picked the arm guard from his flank and shot it toward Xu Ziling.
Ba Fenghan changed his sword from stabbing to chopping, but it was still blocked by the arm guard on Dugu Ba's right arm, although Dugu Ba was jolted by the impact that he staggered two steps sideways.
Xu Ziling swiveled around; the arm guard missed him by a hairsbreadth. His right palm swept toward Dugu Ba's left arm, which was losing his footing.
The sound of shattering arm bones against the palm was heard.
Dugu Ba staggered. Ba Fenghan's Beheading Mystery Sword came again.
Xu Ziling was jolted by Dugu Ba's true qi protecting his body that he recoiled half a step back.
Dugu Ba had no choice but to throw his remaining arm guard toward Ba Fenghan, while at the same time he soared toward the small boat, which by this time was still drifting three zhang away from the dock, splashing away the fine droplets of the rain.
The two men did not expect he would be this formidable, under this kind of disadvantageous condition he was still able to break through the siege and landed on the boat to run for his life.
Ba Fenghan struck the shooting arm guard down. He was just about to pursue and attack, Dugu Ba's scream was heard from the water surface.
The two turned to look, and could not believe their eyes.
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