"It's bad!” Song Shidao blurted out.
Xu Ziling was frowning deeply, while silently mulling over the contradiction in his heart; it was a difficult decision to make.
Song Shidao said to Ren En, "Would Ren Bangzhu please instruct all members and officers under your command to immediately lay down the flag and still the drum, and cease all operations? Also, it is not advisable for Ren Bangzhu to come and see us anymore; later on, depending on the situation, we will come to you.”
Ren En was stunned, "Surely it is not that serious, is it?” he asked.
Sighing, Song Shidao replied, "It is far more serious than you think! By doing that, Xiao Zhong and Ba Xiong practically tell the enemy that we are going to leave the city immediately; the other side will definitely do everything they can to stop us. And Ren Bangzhu must never let the opponent know that you have a part in this affair.”
Ren En was moved, "Er Gongzi is a true friend indeed,” he said, "I will quietly wait for the good news, waiting for further instruction from Er Gongzi.”
After Ren En left, Xu Ziling asked, "How will Yin Gui Pai react?”
Analyzing the situation, Song Shidao said, "Yin Gui Pai is a number one big Sect with nearly a thousand-year history, but the problem they are facing presently is hard for them to swallow. The fact is, they cannot allow anybody, especially Fu Cailin, to know that they have captured Junyu; therefore, unleashing the thousand-catty-thunderbolt momentum, they will try to annihilate Xiao Zhong and Fenghan, two men, while at the same time they will do everything they can to intercept us. Since they already have their main force in Luoyang to deal with Shi Feixuan, dealing with us should be like ‘handling a butcher's cleaver with ease'.”
Pondering deeply, Xu Ziling said, "We still have at least one advantage, which is the opponent still did not know that we have Er Gongzi here helping us. Therefore, if I appear right now, they must have thought that I had hidden Yu Yi somewhere save first before coming out to stake my life against them. Hence Er Gongzi's chance to escape will greatly increase.”
Sighing, Song Shidao said, "Perhaps it is going to be just a bit better. Ay! I might as well go with you, and we fight hand-in-hand together with those two! I can hand Junyu over to Lu Shu [uncle]; he will have a way to bring her back to Gaoli.”
Xu Ziling was about to speak when suddenly the alarm went off in his heart.
Song Shidao also felt it somewhat.
A sweet-sounding female voice rang out from outside the cabin, "Xu Ziling! I have something to tell you.”
※ ※ ※
The tip of Ba Fenghan's sword was pointing down, but his eyes shot incomparably sharp bright light, as he stared at Wanwan and said, "I wonder if there is more to Miss Wan's pair of flying ribbons than meets the eye.”
The ribbons were only about one cun wide [about an inch], but they seemed to be able to extend and retract like an elastic material. The length could be up to three zhang, and were extremely difficult to guard against.
With pained expression in her beautiful eyes Wanwan gazed deeply into Ba Fenghan's eyes; she spoke softly, "At first glance, nujia's ribbon appeared to be a pair, but it is actually only one strip; it is called ‘Bai Yun Piao' [floating white cloud]. When Ba Xiong arrive at the Yellow Springs [i.e. netherworld], you must not forget.”
Ba Fenghan appeared unconcerned; he casually asked, "I wonder what material was it made of?”
Wanwan smiled and said, "Some things are better to be kept in mystery; why don't Ba Xiong try to guess?”
Sitting on the side, Kou Zhong felt strange; in this kind of swords-drawn-and-bows-bent, arrows-on-strung-bows-ready-to-be-shot moment, why would Ba Fenghan, who has always been straightforward and decisive, haggle over every ounce of what material the opponent's weapon was made of?
Naturally Kou Zhong knew that based on Ba Fenghan's character, he could not possibly shoot without aiming.
Wanwan sighed faintly.
It did not matter which expression Wanwan was showing, each one was able to show her thrilling innermost feeling. Combined with her magnificent beauty and alluring charm, which was unmatched in her generation, she was displaying ten thousand kind of flirtatious expressions, which dazzled and intoxicated men.
Even though Ba Fenghan and Kou Zhong were standing in hostility against her, and they were perfectly clear that she was vicious and merciless, able to murder without blinking an eye, they still could not help having some kind of warms-the-heart-and-delight-the-eye feeling.
Her vermillion lips opened slightly as she said, "Perhaps you won't believe me, but nujia really have a bit of reluctance in destroying you. After you're gone, Wanwan will be lost and lonely, yet I cannot but making my move against you, hence my heart is extremely contradictory. Ay! En Garde!”
The bluish green sleeves rose up, exposing a pair of flickering short blades, the ‘Demonic Double-Beheading'.
Ba Fenghan's Beheading Mystery Sword still had a chance to attack, Wanwan already dashed to within eight chi in front of his body.
Like two demonic viper's tongues the Double-Beheading darted forward, in a style that the opponent was unable to guess it drew a fantastic, mysterious arc in the air, striking toward Ba Fenghan.
Wanwan beautiful hair, which was originally draped over her fragrant shoulders, suddenly fluttered in the air; it was both very moving and incomparably weird.
The air surrounding her seemed to be suddenly sucked out, so that it was as if the space about two zhang in diameter around them turned into a bottomless hole.
It was the first time that Ba Fenghan felt the terrifying power of Wanwan's full-strength attack.
She did not lie.
The previous several times she was definitely leaving some leeway.
In this life and death crisis, Ba Fenghan's heart was extraordinarily calm instead; there was not a shred of fear of the opponent's overbearing prowess.
In the blink of an eye, the meridians and true qi inside his body, which was transformed by the Jade Annulus of He Clan, rapidly climbed up to its limit.
His eyes lit up; he clearly grasped every subtle movement of the Demonic Double-Beheading, which in most people's eyes was just like phantom shadow.
In that moment of life and death duel, a strange feeling rose up in his heart.
He felt that the true qi within Wanwan's system was changing continuously, it was shifting around incessantly; sometimes it was concentrated on the Demonic Double-Beheading in her right hand, but suddenly it shifted toward her delicate foot, demonstrating her ability to alter her style and killer move of her attack in lightning-speed, sparks-fly speed.
This kind of demonic skill was certainly terrifying to the extreme.
Ba Fenghan suddenly retreating half a zhang backward, before dashing forward to counterattack.
The suffocating swift and fierce sword qi like a bolt of lightning breaking through the dark, dense cloud met the ferocious killer attack coming at him, unleashed by the most outstanding successor among Yin Gui Pai's new generation's disciples, head on.
※ ※ ※
Xu Ziling stepped out of the cabin.
In the dim light from the flickering lanterns on the ships and boats moored in the darkness along River Luo's both banks, a beautiful and graceful figure was standing on the bow, with her back against Xu Ziling. She was wearing tight warrior outfit, with an ancient, ornamented sword hanging on her back.
Xu Ziling was stunned, "Turns out it is really the Princess honoring me with your fragrant self's presence.”
Dong Ming Princess spoke indifferently, "You did not recognize my voice?”
Xu Ziling walked over toward her and stopped when he was about half a zhang away from her. With his hands behind his back, he said, "How could I not recognize your voice? I just could not believe my ears! May I ask how did Princess know that Zaixia is in here?”
Shan Wanjing answered the question with a question, "Xu Ziling, do you trust me?”
Xu Ziling stared blankly for half a day.
This simple question was actually very hard to answer.
It's not that he did not trust her reason, but he could not put his absolute trust on her either.
After all, the relationship between them has not been too harmonious.
Displeased, Shan Wanjing said, "A hero and a real man, unexpectedly his mind is this narrow?”
Smiling ruefully, Xu Ziling replied, "Princess, please calm down. I just did not understand what you really mean by that question! Nothing more.”
His smile was free and at ease, and very pleasant. With that kind of smile on his handsome face with slightly melancholy expression, he exuded some kind of extraordinarily touching charm that no one could ever surpass.
Shan Wanjing's fragrant heart trembled; unexpectedly she was unable to say anything.
Xu Ziling's eyes emitted an intelligent and clear light. Fixing his gaze at her, he spoke tenderly, "I have never thought that Princess would harm me; would that be enough to prove that I trust you?”
Shan Wanjing was somewhat afraid that his sharp eyes would be able to see the chaos in her fragrant heart; she weakly hung her cicada head down and said softly, "In that case, can you tell me why Yin Gui Pai people are doing everything they can to find you?”
Xu Ziling replied, "Because we succeeded in rescuing Yu Yi back from their hands.”
And then he explained the impossible situation they were facing at the moment.
Finished listening, Shan Wanjing said, "Turns out you have the Song Family's Er Gongzi helping you in secret. No wonder you managed to accomplish such an impossible thing.”
After pondering silently for half a day, she sighed and said, "Now I am afraid only us will be able to send her out of the city. The reasoning behind this is difficult to explain in a few words; in short, my Niang is one of a few people Zhu Yuyan is afraid of, plus she has deep knowledge of their methods.”
After casting a faint glance at him, she went on, "Originally I wanted you to hand over the Jade Annulus of He Clan in return. But if I took advantage of your precarious position, I knew you would hate me even more. All right! Leave her to me! Quickly go to Tianjin Bridge to fight alongside your two brothers! They are intercepted by Yin Gui Pai and are about to be killed!”
Shocked, Xu Ziling stared blankly at her for half a day.
Song Shidao's voice came out from the cabin, "Ziling, just go!”
Xu Ziling raised his cupped fist to salute Shan Wanjing, and then leaped ashore and flew away.