Book 17 Chapter 1 - Surrounded by Distinguished Friends
Hong Funu's speed was high, her shenfa beautiful; she was everything Kou Zhong expected her to be.
The one giving him most headache was her red whisk. Together with her amazing shenfa, they formed seamless heavenly clothes [i.e. flawless], making Kou Zhong practically unable to dodge, which forced him to retreat, and thus giving the opponent the free rein to unleash her swift and fierce offensive, which surged like the waves of Yangtze River.
Momentarily the whisk shadow flared out, like a whirlwind it rolled Kou Zhong inside the violent gale of raging sea of powerful offensive.
And by this time, it was already too late for Kou Zhong, who was not in the mood to zealously continue fighting, to draw his Moon in the Well, so he could only rely on his bare hands to cope with this red-clothed beauty storming him with relentless hard attack from the air.
Worse yet, her whisk could be stiff and could be flexible; it could circle and rotate as she wished, the thread brush, which reached three chi in length, was able to move freely as if it had eyes of its own, like a viper that bore through every gap in the opponent's line of defense. Even the handle of the whisk could be used to pierce acupoint and stab arteries and veins, totally overbearing, extremely fierce.
From the beginning she has launched speed-against-speed type of desperate combat, so that the opponent did not even have time to take a breather.
Kou Zhong has fallen into a completely passive, defensive position; he could only meet a move by a move, waiting painstakingly for an opportunity to strike back.
The thread brush swiped Kou Zhong's left arm, shattering his sleeve, and creating more than a dozen bloody stripes on his flesh. This was Kou Zhong's conscious decision. Just before the opponent's ruthless whisk stab the pit of his stomach, relying on his speed he spun around while traversing sideways, so that he was able to evade the hit on his vital acupoint.
In order to withstand the opponent's attack, combined with her swift and severe footwork, which was like sudden and violent attack of ambushing troops, he simply had to watch for any opportunity in the midst of Hong Funu's flowing-mercury like whisk style he could exploit.
More than a dozen scorching qi power burst into his body.
Kou Zhong knew that if he let this situation to continue, he would end up as a dead body lying on this side street.
Hastily he raised up a mouthful of true qi, not only to neutralize the opponent's invading qi power, but also to focus the power in his entire body into launching a palm chop. In this critical moment, Kou Zhong unleashed the power from the ‘Secret to Long Life' and the Jade Annulus of He Clan to the fullest.
Although Hong Funu gained the upper hand, Kou Zhong's seemingly plain, nothing-special move made her feel as if she had no way to block or to defuse.
Kou Zhong's palm strike was actually made of a succession of moves strung together. It was only through countless confusing-the-enemy changes that he achieved the ultimate position that rendered her completely unable to grasp the sudden outburst of the palm momentum.
Plus all the moves were wonderful as if made by heaven, fused together into one indivisible entity. Furthermore, it synched well with his body, giving the impression that all his power and his entire body and mind have synthesized into this one palm strike.
The most frightening aspect was that she originally thought to follow up the victory by revolving her whisk to sweep his face, but since Kou Zhong's palm cut through the gap, he practically sealed her attack path completely.
Left with no choice, she had to meet the enemy's attack head on. Lowering her wrist to stab downward, she used fantastic changes of technique to blur her movements so that what is true and what is false was difficult to tell.
The whisk appeared to be attacking the qi acupoint on his lower abdomen, but in reality, the brush was flicking upward to strike the artery on the opponent's right wrist.
Kou Zhong laughed aloud, his palm's momentum did not change, only it suddenly turned direction as it moved sideways and up at an angle, the tip of his palm shot toward the beauty's sleek and graceful neck. The qi power created swishing noise.
Hong Funu had never imagined that Kou Zhong would have this kind of amazing move where he was able to flip his defensive position into offensive. Although she did not want to admit it, but deep down she knew that the opponent has already seen through her whisk technique. Letting out a tender shout she pulled her whisk back, while her legs moved lightning fast to kick five times in a row.
It was only this moment that Kou Zhong found the chance to strike back. With a long laugh he made a somersault over Hong Funu's head, both palms pressed down, without the slightest trace he evaded this younger woman's kicking technique, which had made him ashamed of being inferior, by dodging the strong to attack the weak.
Like a tornado the violent spiraling energy enveloped Hong Funu.
Hong Funu snorted coldly. The whisk rose up, it lashed toward the hollow of Kou Zhong's palm pressing down on her.
Qi power collided.
While Hong Funu's tender body was severely shaken, Kou Zhong soared high into the air; amidst his laughter, he called out, "Saozi [sister-in-law] is indeed formidable. Xiaodi is ashamed of being inferior, hence I can only run for my life.”
He continued high into the air, and disappeared without any trace.
Hong Funu stomped her feet in anger, but knew that she would never be able to pursue him.
However, being called sister-in-law by him, plus recalling that he had never pulled his saber, she could not stop the ill will toward him in her heart from somewhat diminishing.
Now she understood why her husband Li Jing valued his brotherhood with those two.
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Tuoba Yu spurred his horse to move forward, and stopped next to Xu Ziling's horse. Smiling wryly, he said, "Xu Xiong and Kou Xiong are figures that Zaixia, after my arrival at the Central Plains, has the highest regards. Being forthcoming and holding up comradeship, my real intention is to wholeheartedly make friends with you, who would have thought that the situation deteriorated to such degree, which made me feel that it is a great pity.”
Xu Ziling heaved a sigh of relief inwardly. He originally thought that the opposite party wanted to fight, but listening to the tone of his voice, it did not appear to be so. Nodding his head, he said, "In life, it is difficult to have everything exactly like what we are hoping for. But even though we do not share the same viewpoint, I, Xu Ziling, still consider Tuoba Xiong as a friend, and what we have promised, we will never renege.”
Naturally Tuoba Yu knew that he was referring to the ‘Secret to Long Life'. Delighted, he said, "I never thought Xu Xiong would go back on your word either, because you are basically not that kind of person.”
And then, lowering his voice, he said, "You might not believe it, but Tuli Khan actually has a very high regard toward the two of you. It's just that due to that kid Ba Fenghan between us, it was hard to talk about making friends. But now that Ba Fenghan is gone, we ought to be able to sit together and talk.”
At first Xu Ziling was stunned, but then he recalled that Tujue people's desire was the more chaotic the Central Plains, the better it would be for them. And Kou Zhong was certainly a master in creating chaos and destroying the balance of power. Immediately he understood the reason behind Tuli wanted to express goodwill toward them.
Changing the topic, he said, "Tuoba Xiong's news is indeed fast and abundant; we have just sent Fenghan Xiong off, you already tucked your tail and pursue him.”
Tuoba Yu snorted coldly and said, "If such trivial ability we did not have, how could we go back and report to our Shizun [venerable master]?”
And then he sighed and said, "The most unbelievable thing was that every time we came across this kid, his power seemed to be progressing one layer. And now even Qu Ao was defeated under his hands. I only want to ask one thing: does he also suffer serious internal injury from the battle against Qu Ao? Ay! I really shouldn't ask you this question.”
Xu Ziling had quite a good impression toward this mystifying Tujue young martial art master. Smiling wryly, he replied, "How should I answer your question?”
Tuoba Yu's spirit rose. "You already tell me the answer,” he said, "Honestly speaking, if he was not injured, even if we could catch up with him, there's not much we could do. But now it seems like we still have a chance to try our best.”
Before Xu Ziling had a chance to respond, from the other side Chunyu Wei impatiently waved her horsewhip and called out tenderly, "Hey Shixiong! Is it my turn to talk yet?”
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From the roof, Kou Zhong jumped down onto a side lane, and made a turn toward the Heavenly Street. Although his left arm, which was hit by the whisk, was no longer bleeding, but the whole arm was still throbbing with pain; the wound felt scorching hot.
He still had lingering fear toward Hong Funu's whisk technique, which had reached perfection.
What saved his life was actually Fu Junyu's ‘Yijian Technique', which came from his own comprehension.
In all honesty, under Hong Funu's whisk technique, which dazzled his eyes, even a simple block already entailed extremely strenuous effort on his part, much less trying to predict her attack route and think about a move to counter it.
However, the moment he was hit by the whisk, her whisk technique revealed a tiny gap, which enabled him to rouse his spirit so that he was able to somewhat seize the initiative.
It was just a fleeing moment, yet one that he was able to accurately grasp, and subsequently exhausting his power in that one palm strike. Not only it turned the situation around, but also because his palm regained the initiative, he was able to execute the ‘Yijian Technique' flawlessly.
It was just like a game of chess; he launched an amazing move that made the opponent had no choice but to respond, thereby he was able to grasp where the opponent's chess piece would move to.
And so his understanding of ‘Yijian Technique' was another layer deeper.
This moment he walked among the crowd toward the Tianjin Bridge, and reached the House of Dong Restaurant's main gate. As he was about to enter, someone called out from behind, "Kou Xiong, please wait!”
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Slightly blushing, Chunyu Wei said, "Starting last night, I kind of like you.”
Xu Ziling, sitting on the horseback, listening with rapt attention, jumped in fright. "What?” he blurted out.
Fortunately, Tuoba Yu has returned among the Tujue warriors, about five zhang away; otherwise, if he heard it, Xu Ziling would be embarrassed.
This girl made a show of being very much in earnest to talk to him, but he had never imagined that she would say such thing.