Book 18 Chapter 3 - One Move Behind in the Game
Wang Shichong was about to launch sneak attack from behind. Who would have thought that Huang Gongcuo flashed away, and Kou Zhong's Moon in the Well was shooting at lightning speed toward him? Not enough time to evade, he let out a cold snort, and raised his sword to block.
Wang Shichong's entire body was jolted by the heavy, powerful-internal-energy infused Moon in the Well that he staggered three steps back; not only his plan to attack sneakily became an empty dream, he also suffered a sharp pain on his palm. Only then did he understand that not only Huang Gongcuo did not neutralize Kou Zhong's original power, he even added his own true qi into the saber, so that it became like the two men were working together to attack Wang Shichong, rendering him unable to attack the enemy.
Ke Feng's palm struck Xu Ziling's back; he even spoke grimly, "Shichong Xiong, you fell into the trap!"
Xu Ziling, like a kite with cut string, immediately staggered toward Huang Gongcuo.
In term of using the true qi within his body, Xu Ziling has become an expert. Knowing perfectly well that Ke Feng might use this one-in-a-thousand opportunity to plot against him, of course he would not come to him willingly. His only concern was that the opponent might use sharp weapon.
By the time Ke Feng's destroying-heart, splitting-the-lung palm power entered his back, Xu Ziling already had his true qi condensed onto his back, spiraling continuously. The instant the enemy's qi invaded his body, without releasing the least bit of opposing force, he used his true qi to contain the enemy's power, and sent it toward his yongquan acupoint, and discharged it to the ground.
The bluestone bricks paving the road became the silent victims; in the wake of his steps, the stone continuously cracked and shattered to pieces. Luckily under cover of darkness, the two major enemies' attention was focused on this fake Wang Shichong's body, so that even Huang Gongcuo did not realize that he was fooling them.
Xu Ziling suddenly jumped.
Huang Gongcuo had never imagined that after suffering repeated blows, the opponent still had this kind of strength left. Retracting his left hand, and changed his right hand from palm to fist, he lowered his waist to assume the horse stance, and sent out a punch over the empty air.
Xu Ziling met the punch head-on; he was thrown up, and this time spurted a mouthful of fresh blood for real, his five viscera turned upside down, his meridian felt like it was going to split.
As if he suddenly appeared from the dark, Kou Zhong flew over to catch Xu Ziling and held him tight, and then bringing him to the roadside, his toes tapped a big tree, before Huang Gongcuo, who was leaping toward them, arrived, he already flew in the opposite direction.
Huang Gongcuo thundered, "Success!"
All the assassins, including Ke Feng, immediately withdrew.
The entire assassination process only took several blinks of an eye; fast like a sudden clap of thunder, swift like the storm blowing dry leaves.
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The lanterns were lit up, the dead and injured, men and horses, scattered everywhere on the ground; it was a field after disaster.
Holding Xu Ziling in his arms, Kou Zhong landed by the destroyed carriage. Wang Shichong, Ouyang Xiyi, Linglong Jiao, Wang Xuanying, Wang Xuanshu, Chen Changlin, and the others came over and crowded around them.
Xu Ziling was still in Kou Zhong's arms, quietly treating his injury.
Kou Zhong shouted, "Summon help immediately, rescuing people is urgent!"
Emergency fire arrow soared to the sky, and exploded in the air into blood red flower of fire.
The wind blew and rocked the leaves, heavy rain was imminent, the lanterns swaying, the shadows dancing.
Squatting by Xu Ziling, Ouyang Xiyi asked in consternation, "How's your injury?"
It was only this moment that Chen Changlin and the others found out that this Wang Shichong was a fake; their confidence returned.
The other fake Wang Shichong was being helped by two bodyguards from a pile of carriage seats; his legs did not stop shaking.
Still having lingering fears, Xu Ziling said, "Huang Gongcuo is indeed formidable; he nearly took my little life."
The real Wang Shichong spoke in delight, "This is a success! We'll go back to the Imperial City immediately."
Mission accomplished, Kou Zhong stooped down to pick up Xu Ziling; he said, "Wanggong's injury is serious, we must go back to the Imperial City immediately, leave the dead and injured here for the time being, other … oh …"
Everybody else also felt the alarm, but it was already too late to react.
One of the wounded people, who was originally lying face down on the ground, unexpectedly sprang up and then with a ghost or demon speed shenfa, flashed toward Wang Shichong, who was still wearing a mask, and launched a violent punch on his back.
Definitely this person's skill could not be inferior to Huang Gongcuo.
Xu Ziling and Kou Zhong blurted out together, "Li Mi!"
Wang Shichong did not even have time to evade; all he could do was to gather his internal energy onto his back.
Wang Shichong violently spurted fresh blood. By the time his body stumbled forward, Li Mi already let out an ear-splitting wild laughter and soared into the air. With his deep and resounding, yet gentle voice, he said, "Shichong Xiong, take a good care of yourself."
Because this matter happened so suddenly, a fast-change-of-scene-growing-without-restraint kind of thing, plus it was a case of pretense that turned into reality, a change of mood from delight to grief, which was difficult to accept, everybody could only watch Li Mi's long hair fluttered in the breeze, his god-like stalwart build entered the dark sky where the lantern light could not reach, as if they were nailed down to the ground, in a nightmare from which they would never wake up.
Xu Ziling was the first to spring up from Kou Zhong's arms, to grab Wang Shichong's body, which was falling down to the ground, while ignoring the fresh blood spurted out wildly from Wang Shichong's mouth splashing onto his head and face. Using the sacred-healing qi from the 'Secret to Long Life', first he protected his own heart and meridians, and then transmitted the qi from its source into Wang Shichong's channels, who, by this time, did not have the least bit of color on his face.
Kou Zhong also reached out to press his hand on Wang Shichong's back; shaken, he said, "Ren En and the others were murdered by Li Mi."
Only Xu Ziling understood what Kou Zhong was saying; from Wang Shichong's current injury from Li Mi's punch, he recognized that the fatal injury Ren En and the others suffered came from the hand of the same person.
Wang Xuanying and Wang Xuanshu were bound with father-son love with Wang Shichong; they threw themselves on him and wailed with a calling-out-to-heaven-and-scrambling-toward-the-earth cry, "Die!"
Ouyang Xiyi tried to stop the two, while he himself called out, "Shichong Xiong!"
With the two transmitting their true qi into his system, Wang Shichong opened his eyes slightly and spoke with difficulty, "I am not dead yet!"
Kou Zhong spoke heavily, "We must flee to the Imperial City immediately, and then we'll go all out to attack the Imperial Palace. Dugu Feng [peak] won't be able to move a single step."
The heavy rain, which had stopped for a half of the day, started to descend to the mortal world again.
Wang Xuanying spoke in trembling voice, "Die is heavily injured, we'd better leave town immediately. Let's flee to Yanshi for some time until Die …"
Wang Shichong coughed violently, while spitting out blood constantly. It was quite some time later that he said, "Go back to the Imperial City. Listen to Kou Zhong's order."
Finished speaking, he closed his eyes and no longer said anything.
Everybody felt as if they had just fallen into an icehouse; their heart sank, they did not eve feel the rain falling down on their bodies.
Suddenly they heard the sound of hoof beats. Like a bird startled by the mere twang of a bow, everybody jumped in fright, before finding out that it was Yang Gongqing and his troops.
Carrying Wang Shichong in his arms, he barked at the fake Wang Shichong, "Still haven't mounted your horse? This time you are really Shangshu Daren!"
With Wang Shichong in his arms, he leaped onto a horse nearby and led the cavalcade galloping toward the Imperial City.
Nobody has ever imagined that this beating-somebody-at-their-own-game tactic backfired; it failed through lack of a final effort, and fell into a pretense-that-turns-into-reality sad end.
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Battle cry around the Imperial City and Imperial Palace shook the heavens. The beating of the drums and the whistling of arrows continued all through the night. Wang Shichong's troops braved the rain and gave serious opposition. The battle continued till dawn, with both sides suffered heavy casualties. However, since Wang Shichong's side had the strength advantage, plus they already had sufficient preparation in facing siege tactics, it could be said that Wang Shichong's side still came out better.
Their body weary, their strength depleted, Kou Zhong, Xu Ziling and Yang Gongqing, three men, returned to the tightly-guarded Shangshu Mansion. Ouyang Xiyi, Wang Xuanying, Wang Xuanshu, Linglong Jiao, Wang Honglie, Wang Xingben, Chen Changlin, and the others congregated in the main hall; everybody appeared dispirited, with worried frown on their faces.