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Zhouyu, Hungry, I am afraid you will be disappointed. But you might like Kou Zhong's adventure. Toasted, Xu Xiong, to me, 'despicable' carries a 'lowly (character)' connotation. Unless you guys can come up with much better replacement, I think I'll keep it as is. Besides, as you pointed it out, Huang Yi used that word. Ysabel, HPC, Anh, Jaya, you are welcome. Akolaw, thanks for the input. DongBin, ah, I see … thanks for sharing.

Book 21 Chapter 2 - Reversed Fortune

Xu Ziling and Shi Qingxuan stood on top of a small hill. Far behind them was the faint flicker of Hefei city lights.

Shi Qingxuan smiled and said, "I already guessed that that yao dao [demon Taoist] would not dare to fight, because he only trained to the 'separating spirit' level, and not the 'fusion and flow of the spirit' level; hence there was no chance that he could beat your false bravado of 'Huan Ri Da Fa'. What's more, unexpectedly you were able to tell where his spirit was stored, and where would his qi return to. How did you know that?"

Xu Ziling calmly shrugged his shoulders and said, "That was purely some kind of reaction after the qi contacted the mind, when I explored his mental and physical efforts concentrated at his heart and kidney, his gang qi surged endlessly at his Du meridians, waiting for action after having accumulated power; it was exceptionally mysterious. If not for my body generated the perception, I would not believe that there exists such an amazing skill. It's just that it still slightly lacks the maturity to reach the highest state."

Shi Qingxuan's face showed a reminiscing expression, as if she was recalling some fond memories of the past, her beautiful eyes looked deep onto the edge of the night sky covering the whole earth. Her thoughts wandering far away, she said, "Fortunately Qing Xuan could never forget Niang's words, otherwise I would not be able to help you cross this crisis. Zuo yaodao ranked number seven among the Eight Great Masters of the Demonic Sects; his martial art skill surpasses You Niaojuan, who is at the bottom of the list. Although your martial art skill is superior, if you fight him fair and square, to whom the deer falls [fig. the one to emerge victor (usually in context of seizing the throne)] is yet to be seen."

Emotionally moved, Xu Ziling said, "Turns out it was your Niang who told you that. She must not be an ordinary person."

Revealing an intensely proud expression, Shi Qingxuan said softly, "Of course Niang is out of the ordinary, otherwise, You Niaojuan and the others would not wait until they heard the news of Niang passing before they dared to seize the 'Demonic Emperor Relic'."

Xu Ziling really wished he could ask about her father, but because it pertained the other's personal affairs, he had no choice but to suppress his curiosity and change the subject by asking, "Are you saying that Zhu Yuyan also did not dare to provoke your Niang?"

"Of course," Shi Qingxuan proudly replied, "Niang is one of the people that Zhu Yuyan has deep apprehension, otherwise, Lu Dashi would not have handed the 'Demonic Emperor Relic' to her!"

Emotionally moved, Xu Ziling said, "In this world, other than people from Ci Hang Jing Zhai and Ning Daoqi, unexpectedly there is still someone who can make Zhu Yuyan afraid. It is indeed previously unimaginable. No wonder when I heard you breaking Jin Huanzhen's demonic sound with your flute, I had a faint feeling that it would be one way to restrain Zhu Yuyan's 'Tianmo Yin' [demonic/devil sound]."

Shi Qingxuan cast an amazed glance at him, nodding her head she said, "Lu Dashi's words were certainly spot on; Xu Xiong's perception is above average, it is really amazing."

And then she smiled slightly and said, "Niang is not quietly someone outside Jing Zhai and Ning Daoqi, rather, she came from the Jing Zhai; she was actually the incumbent Zhaizhu's [master of the monastery] Shijie [martial (older) sister]."

Hearing that, Xu Ziling was stunned; he could only stare at her.

Shi Qingxuan made a rarely-seen-naughty-little-girl's-cute-and-charming face at him, and as usual, she stopped at a cliffhanger, "I've told you too much. Oh! It's time for us to part company! Before we break up, let Qingxuan tell you how to find the secluded forest in the small valley. Don't forget it!"

※ ※ ※

When Jiao Hongjin thought that Kou Zhong was about to repeat the same trick, he shook the round table and broke the wooden legs, then he flung the tabletop to injure the enemy. Kou Zhong then grabbed one of the legs, and using one hand he lifted the marble tabletop, which weighed about three, four hundred catty, at an angle in the air.

Due to the angle at which he lifted the marble tabletop happened to place the center of gravity directly above him, he was able to balance it without too much strength, so that the heavy tabletop appeared to be light.

At the same time he shouted loudly, "Da Dangjia please listen to Xiaodi; the fact is that I was just speaking nonsense. Du Bangzhu is indeed wise and has divine martial power."

While speaking, he was heading toward the corner, which could not be seen from the main entrance. Jiao Hongjin had no choice but to follow closely behind him.

Du Ren's impatient voice came through, "I don't have time to bicker with you!"

Kou Zhong suddenly roared, "Too late!"

This shout was imbued with his internal power, like a different version of the 'Tianmo Yin'. Although it could not produce hallucination in the enemy's mind like Zhu Yuyan, it could shock and hurt the enemies' eardrums. The effect was first, to intimidate the enemies, and second, to drown Du Ren's order to release the fire arrows.

While the several hundred Luoma Bang men, who had been waiting outside the door, poised for attack, heard the roar and were thrown into panic, Kou Zhong hurled the marble tabletop out of the main entrance while he himself dashed over the threshold behind it. Jiao Hongjin ferociously clenched his teeth, and risking his life, he maintained the 'accompanying-the-gentleman' frame of mind, he pursued behind Kou Zhong.

Hundreds of fiery arrows were shot from the snipers on top of the courtyard wall and the archers fanning out at the square.

Kou Zhong laughed aloud. The tabletop landed on the ground, and he used it as a shield in front that not a single drop of water could enter. And then, releasing both hands, he shouted to Jiao Hongjin, "You go left, I go right!"

'Chi! Chi! Pop! Pop!'

The sound lingered on faintly. More than 90% of the fiery arrows either hit the empty space, or hit the tabletop. The rest were struck down by the two men shooting out from both sides, either by the saber or bare hand, and fell down to the ground.

After blocking the first round of arrows, Kou Zhong did not dare to be negligence, he lifted up the marble tabletop and whirled it in the air to charge toward the enemy ranks.

The enemies did not have time to reload their bows, and already they were caught in chaotic warfare.

Du Ren, with more than a dozen of martial art masters, his personal guards, stood outside the courtyard gate to conduct the overall situation. Upon seeing this, his countenance changed, he roared, "Kill them without mercy!"

The dozen or so martial art masters standing to his left and right immediately rushed out to join the siege to intercept the two.

The more he brandished the tabletop, the more Kou Zhong was able to move it with 'what the heart wishes, the hand accomplishes' ease.

At the beginning, he thought that he could only hold on for the time needed to burn half of incense stick, before he would be out of strength and had to abandon the tabletop. But when he really applied his strength, he discovered that as long as he could take advantage of the tabletop's own weight and hold it in equilibrium, he could use it to attack the enemy, with the effect of four tael to push a thousand catty.

And after every attack, he could take advantage while the tabletop was reaching the next point of equilibrium to take a breather and restore his qi.

The tabletop turned everywhere; it was extremely fun.

The shields split, the spears broke, sabers and swords left the hands and dropped to the ground. The enemies hit by the edge of the tabletop only stained it with their blood; none did not suffer broken bones and split flesh as they were thrown and tumbled away to the ground, absolutely no one was able to stand.

Jiao Hongjin's confidence rose up, his broadsword moved with the might of a tiger, acting as a shield to protect Kou Zhong's rear.

This moment the enemy's martial art masters arrived; one man soared high and pounced down, another man took advantage while Jiao Hongjin was blocking two spears attacking Kou Zhong's right flank to enter from Kou Zhong's left, and brandished the pair of hatchets in his hands to chop on the side of Kou Zhong's back, while yet another man hacked down on the back of Kou Zhong's neck.

Kou Zhong's killer instinct was on the rise; he stayed calm without showing any fear.

First, the tabletop spun like a windmill smashing the enemies. The fist of the man pouncing from above sneakily attacked his face. The punch had not arrived, a gust of wind arrived first. Aghast, the man wanted to withdraw, but Kou Zhong's leg flew from underneath, the toes of his boot hit the man's lower abdomen.

The two martial art masters, one above the other below, screamed at the same time.

The one striking from the top was swept by the tabletop, his bones broken his flesh split he fell some ways away. The one wielding a pair of hatchets spurted blood and fell face up, knocking down three enemies behind him.

The tabletop swept again, forcing more than a dozen saber-shield wielders swarming toward him to scatter. But Kou Zhong's true qi has also bottomed out; he only had one more chance to stake everything on one throw.

Twisting his waist, Kou Zhong pulled the tabletop toward the right rear, and then with a wild roar he rolled the tabletop with all his might toward the exit.

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