Kou Zhong said, "But everybody knows that the Ranch does not have any ambition to fight over the world. Those you have ambition to have the Ranch should be because they wanted to obtain your warhorses; therefore, if they really attacked the Ranch, who will reap the benefit?"
Scratching his head, Luo Fang said, "This is not too clear; they must have some agreement."
Kou Zhong shook his head, "There can't be any agreement," he said, "After obtaining tens of thousands warhorses, who would be willing to hand it over? Therefore, I still say that Xiao Xian, Cao Yinglong, and Zhu Can still harbor ulterior motive, each one carries out all kind of strategies, and this is precisely the crucial point; it is also the key for us to gain victory. We may be able to deal with Shen Faxing's same old stuff, and shift our attention to deal with Zhu Can and Cao Yinglong, to ensure they all have grey hair on top of their head."
His spirit greatly aroused, Luo Fang asked, "How?"
Kou Zhong reached out and put his hand on his shoulder; smiling, he said, "Let's talk some more when we get back to Liangdu! If we can make the arrangement tonight, tomorrow we will go to the Ranch at full speed. At that time we can carefully investigate this matter!"
Shang Xiuxun's absolute beauty jade countenance suddenly emerged in his mind, while a strange fleeing floated in his heart.
While Xu Ziling appeared to be taking a step forward, with his right hand tightly gripped the saber behind his back, he twisted his wrist outward, so that he held the saber backhandedly across his back, the blade facing the door behind which the enemy was hiding.
His stored up true qi, which had reached its peak level, erupted from the palm of his hand, enormous, without-equal force shot from his wrist out, the saber turned into a streak of lightning, striking and the door and burst in.
At the same time, without the slightest hesitation Xu Ziling changed direction from moving forward slowly to flying backward, like a ghost, with the speed that was indiscernible by naked eyes, returning to the door where the 'Da Li Shen' Bao Rang was hiding. Twisting his body around, he sent out a full-force punch at the enemy, separated by the door.
All these consecutive and complex movements were done in the blink of an eye, and everything was completed before the enemy even began to be alerted.
The first to react was Hou Xibai, who was hiding outside the window at the eastern end of the corridor. His murderous aura immediately rose up to its peak, his true qi shot out, but he was still one step too late.
As if going through a thin sheet of paper, the steel saber effortlessly penetrated the door and went all the way in, up to the handle.
Almost at the same instant, Xu Ziling's seemingly powerless, light-as-a-feather fist, struck the wooden door right at the face of the standing 'Da Li Shen' Bao Rang.
A crack in the shape of the core of a spider web appeared on the wooden door where the fist hit, followed by cun-size fragments raining down on Bao Rang's iron-like thick and solid stature, as well as his horrified beyond-belief face.
Miserable hiss came from behind the door where the saber was breaking into, followed by the sharp crack of another door being shattered; the scream quickly went away.
Xu Ziling's punch exploded on Bao Rang's arms, which he crossed in panic to block the strike. Gentle and soft spiraling energy was condensing into a beam of straight power, which turned from slow to fast, like a hammer shattering the well-trained qigong shielding his body, with which Bao Rang went on the rampage around the south, and straight into his meridians.
Bao Rang let out a muffled groan as he met the fist and staggered back. Suddenly he spurted a mouthful of blood, his back crashed heavily against the window some distance away opposite the door, and fell down to the lower level.
All across the second floor, the voices of people and the sound of music suddenly stopped.
Only this moment did Mai Yunfei and the 'Vicious Dog' Qu Wuju charge through the door.
Xu Ziling moved to the middle of the corridor. Although he was facing Mai Yunfei and Qu Wuju, who had a big hammer in each hand, Xu Ziling's mind was focused on Hou Xibai behind him.
Compared to before, Mai Yunfei's martial art has progressed tremendously. His footwork and sword technique matched seamlessly. Although the slashing sword did not look magnificent, it carried a kind of advancing-courageously momentum.
Qu Wuju was much more cunning. This man was tall and thin, with long horse face that made people less than impressed. His two eyes were so narrow that they looked like slits. His nose and mouth were separated quite far on his long face, so that if one would suddenly catch sight of him, he would think that he just came across the Diaosigui [ghost of a person who died by hanging] who had just escape stealthily from the netherworld. He deliberately fell behind a little; obviously he wanted to let Mai Yunfei become the vanguard to bear the full brunt of Xu Ziling's attack, while he would reap the benefit from the side.
Inwardly Xu Ziling cried thanking the heaven and thanking the earth.
If the two men worked as one in fighting desperately against him, forcing him to focus all his attention to deal with them, then Hou Xibai, who was watching from behind, would have the opportunity he could exploit. But with Qu Wuju being a smart aleck like this, Hou Xibai lost this rare opportunity.
Xu Ziling suddenly flashed away; not only he evaded Mai Yunfei's sword stabbing at his chest, he even flashed into the gap between the two opponents.
While Mai Yunfei and Qu Wuju were startled, Xu Ziling already moved his palms, so that the palm shadows filled the air, separately slapping the sword and a pair of iron hammers coming at him with different moves.
The two enemies staggered and fell back.
Mai Yunfei's skill was far inferior; he spun around and fell into the room where Bao Rang was hiding. The palm of his hand cracked from the shock, the sword fell from his hand.
Qu Wuju was worthy to be called a martial art master; although his two hammers were hit as if they were struck by lightning, he was still able to hold on to them, albeit with difficulty. While retreating toward the stairs at the western end of the corridor, he simultaneously created layers of hammer shadow to guard against Xu Ziling pursuing to follow up the victory.
Actually, even if Xu Ziling did his best to fight, Qu Wuju would have been able to hold his ground for ten moves, eight styles. The problem was that he had seen Su Chuo and Bao Rang, whose martial art skill was more outstanding and superior to his, were wounded and had to flee far away, so in his heart he already grew timid. And then with magical shenfa Xu Ziling flashed near him, he was unable to unfold and unleash the formidable power of his iron hammer. His courage fell, he then decided to run away.
Xu Ziling did not pursue at all, he simply stood still in the middle of the corridor, while at the same time he knew for sure that Hou Xibai has already left
Hence the battle of the House of Heavenly Fragrance ended without clear conclusion.
Evening of the next day, Luo Qifei, who had been out to scout the enemy situation, returned to report to Xu Ziling, "Just received Shao Shuai's secret order; there is a change of plan."
Xu Ziling jumped in fright, and quickly asked for details.
After explaining the current situation, Luo Qifei said, "Shao Shuai is asking whether you, Xu Ye is able to get away and come with him to the Flying Horse Ranch. The situation over there is unusually critical. Zhu Can and Cao Yinglong separately attacked Yuan'an and Dangyang, two cities, making it difficult for the Flying Horse Ranch to deal with both at the same time. If their entire force came out at once, we are afraid the enemy might enter by exploiting a weak spot."
Recalling Shang Xiuxun, Fu Dajie, Xiao Juan, Luo Fang, Liu Zongdao, Xu Laotou [old man Xu] and other good friends, a strong emotion welled up in Xu Ziling's heart. Ever since Susu passed away, he especially treasured the friendship that came along his life on earth, because it was so heartbreakingly fragile!
"Luo Xiong, what do you think?" he asked indifferently.
Luo Qifei said, "In here, we have the battle of wits, not the battle of strength; you can leave everything to me. In the Ranch over there, it is a hard and continual battle that extremely in need of Xu Ye's assistance. The only problem is to find a good excuse to tell Li Zitong, to avoid unnecessary complication."
Inwardly Xu Ziling was happy for Kou Zhong, because by seeing that Luo Qifei dared to shoulder such a heavy responsibility, he knew that Luo Qifei had guts. This kind of talent was indeed something that can be encountered, but cannot be sought.
Currently, there were not a few capable people serving under Kou Zhong; Xu Xingzhi, Xuan Yong, Jiao Hongjin, Luo Qifei, Bu Tianzhi, Chen Laomou, Chen Changlin, Ren Meimei, were among the prominent ones, each with his or her own strength. These were originally recalcitrant people, yet they were all willing to throw their lives in for Kou Zhong. Naturally it was because of Kou Zhong's outstanding charisma and his communicate-with-the-heavens ability. But more importantly, it was because Kou Zhong sincerely treated them well, absolutely unlike Wang Shichong, who exploited people in everything-for-self-and-selfish-profit way.
After pondering for a moment, Xu Ziling nodded and said, "That's easy. I came here merely to pass on the letter and to get in touch with Li Zitong. Now that the mission is accomplished, naturally I can leave."
After a short pause, he asked, "Do you have any problem in cooperating with the Zhuhua Bang people?"
Smiling wryly, Luo Qifei said, "I certainly trust Gui Ye and Xing Ye, but I dare not guarantee that other people are not the spy that Shao Lingzhou planted. Therefore, I intend to, together with the other brothers, leave together with Xu Ye, and then secretly heading toward the rendezvous point with Bu Fu Bangzhu. Otherwise, if their spy keep a close watch over us at every step, the whole set of great ideas will go down the drain."
Xu Ziling nodded his agreement, thinking that he ought to find time to talk with Gui Xiliang and Xing Rong, two kids.