Turning around in shock, they saw the light-and-pure-as-a-fairy, wearing-men's-clothing Shi Feixuan, standing gracefully behind them, with the indescribably touching beautiful appearance, in her simplicity and elegance, as well as distinguished and accomplished posture.
The two boys stared at her with blank expression on their faces, too stunned for words.
Shi Feixuan's jade countenance was as tranquil as the surface of the water without any ripple. With a light movement and jade steps, she leisurely walked over to Kou Zhong's other side. With a hidden smile on her face, she said, "It's lucky that two gentlemen came up with a brilliant scheme of fighting poison with poison. Although Feixuan painstakingly thought about it, I still can't do anything to him."
Sniffing the sweet scent coming out of her body, Kou Zhong spoke in low voice, "Turns out Xianzi [goddess/fairy] already knew he is Pi Chen yaodao; therefore, you have been trying not to let him prevail. Am I right?"
Shi Feixuan calmly replied, "Although I felt that this man Rong Fengxiang is not simple at all, I did not know that he is Pi Chen in disguise, until I heard your discussion just now. And now I am starting to understand."
Hearing her immortal-music like voice, Xu Ziling calmed down. Everywhere he looked, the dark and lone long street was immediately transformed into a wonderful place thick with immortal aura; everything ordinary, commonplace, unremarkable, has become not ordinary. Even the wall in front of his eyes became brimming with some kind of hard to describe significance, as if it contained endless possibilities.
While Xu Ziling was experiencing the change of mood, Kou Zhong elbowed his flank, and said proudly, "Did you hear that? Just now, if I did not say clearly 'in disguise', two words, how could Shi Xianzi know that Rong Fengxiang is Pi Chen 'in disguise'?"
Anybody would know that Kou Zhong was cracking a joke. Shi Feixuan smiled and said, "All right, you get all the credit. But there is one thing I want to clarify: I am not a Xianzi, you may call me Shi Xiaojie [Miss], Shi Guniang [also Miss], but please stop calling me Shi Xianzi!"
'Beating the snake following the stick' Kou Zhong said, "In that case, can we call you Feixuan? Now, at least for the time being, we all can be considered partners, naturally we must not consider the other too much of a stranger."
Shi Feixuan declined to comment; changing the subject, she said, "Aren't you going to write on the walls all over the city? Why haven't you started?"
Embarrassed, Kou Zhong said, "My calligraphy skill is too shameful, it would be better for you, Feixuan, to hold the brush, your persuasiveness will improve the sentence a thousand times, ten-thousand times."
Shi Feixuan smiled and said, "I can only be a little accomplice, to be on the lookout for the two gentlemen." Floating backward, in the blink of an eye she disappeared into the darkness of the small alley.
The two boys looked at each other. Their spirit was greatly aroused, with the new information 'there is a Taichi mark on his chest as a sign', the only thing Rong Fengxiang would be able to argue was whether he belonged to the 'good way' or the 'demonic way'. Moreover, this kind of demonic sect's symbol must have a very special purpose that it was imprinted on him. Naturally people with knowledge and experience would grow suspicious; even if he argue, it would not have too much of an impact.
Leaning toward Xu Ziling's ear, Kou Zhong said, "You are too happy that you acted like a fool; meeting your sweetheart you did not say anything."
Xu Ziling was at a loss dealing with him. Picking up the red paint, which had been set aside, he straightforwardly and neatly painted on the wall: 'Rong Fengxiang is Yin Gui Pai yaoren [demon/sorcerer], if you don't believe, just look at the Taichi demon mark on his chest', in two lines, twenty-one words, in blood-red large characters, which were shocking the eye, astonishing the heart.
By the time Xu Ziling returned to Kou Zhong's side, Kou Zhong was looking at the writing on the wall with rapt attention, "How long has it been since you wrote the last time?" he asked in astonishment.
Xu Ziling replied, "After leaving Yangzhou, I deal with saber, spear, sword and staff a lot, but never touched the shaft of a writing brush."
Pointing to the two lines of characters on the wall, Kou Zhong said, "The first few characters are barely recognizable as your handwriting, which was previously nothing to be ashamed of, but the calligraphic style is continuously changing. By the last few characters, they look like someone else's calligraphic style. No! I should say that it looks more like you now: graceful, proud and aloof. It really has a 'coming-out-of-the-dust' feeling."
Xu Ziling nodded and said, "This is indeed very strange. When I moved the brush to write, unconsciously I was putting my martial art principle into it. I felt that the brush sweeping under my hand's control received and transmit my heart's intention; whatever style I wanted, that was the style being projected. It was extremely delightful."
Kou Zhong lifted up the paint bucket. Eager to try, he said, "Xiongdi! The next one is my turn!"
The two boys stood in front of another wall and looked at another set of two lines of characters, critically examining their handiwork.
"How about that?" Kou Zhong asked in low voice.
Xu Ziling nodded and said, "Indeed, the more you write, the more it looks different; brimming with swords-drawn-and-bows-bent, showing-off-your-full-ability feeling. Evidently, when you said you cannot find the treasure trove and curbing your spiritual cultivation, giving up and not doing it, everything was just to deceive people."
Kou Zhong smiled wryly and said, "You are teasing me again! As a brother, can't you not do that?"
Xu Ziling laughed and said, "We don't have much time, might as well practice our calligraphy skill. The last one will be the Zongguan Mansion perimeter wall. By daybreak, even if Jianghuai Army found out about it, they would not be able to scrub that many walls."
Happy and excited, the two boys went around.
Whenever they heard Shi Feixuan's warning them in their ears, they quickly hid into an alley, held their breath and waited.
This moment it was only a bit more than half a sichen before dawn, they had put their calligraphic masterpiece on approximately a hundred walls along the big streets everywhere; it was such a glorious accomplishment.
Firelight from afar came near, a squad of twelve city guards was patrolling this area, the lantern faintly illuminated the red characters on the wall, but the soldiers did not seem to see anything unusual, they simply walked pass the wall.
Like two little children, the two boys squealed in low voice, showing they were very pleased with themselves. After joking around for half a day, Kou Zhong said, "Should be enough! It would be ideal if we could write on both sides of the Zongguan Mansion's main gate like a pair of antithetical couplets, so that our two brothers' calligraphy work will reflect each other."
Frowning, Xu Ziling said, "Aren't we getting too greedy? We now have enough rumors to damage Rong Fengxiang's reputation. Although the Zongguan Mansion's gate is closed, there would be troops keeping watch over it both covert and undercover; if they discovered it was our handiwork, they might rush before daybreak to cover several most prominent walls, our hard work so far would be wasted."
Kou Zhong's heart was still unbearably itchy; he said, "If we don't deface the Zongguan Mansion, I would feel that we have not fully expressed ourselves. How about if we wait until just a moment before daybreak before making our move? By the time the enemy found out, it would be too late to blot out our beautiful calligraphy."
Xu Ziling's childish nature was aroused; he accompanied Kou Zhong jumping onto the roof of a nearby building, and then jumped from roof to roof toward the house across the street from the Zongguan Mansion.
They were both extremely daring men to begin with, and now that they had Shi Feixuan watching their back, they had no fear even more.
A short moment later they reached a magnificent residential building. Crouching behind the roof ridge craning their neck, they were able to see the Zongguan Mansion towering ahead, dark, without any sign of light, and they did not detect any movement either.
Greatly delighted, Kou Zhong said, "This meal seems to be very easy to eat."
Shi Feixuan noiselessly came over and landed on Kou Zhong's other side. "So what's your plan?" she spoke softly.
Kou Zhong laughed and said, "We are just waiting for daybreak; as soon as the Zongguan Mansion's wall has become the media on which we spread the rumor, then we can stop satisfactorily."
Shi Feixuan said, "I still have an important matter to attend to, I can't accompany you till daybreak."
Disappointed, Kou Zhong said, "We have some things we'd like to consult you, but you are in such a hurry to leave."
Helpless, Shi Feixuan said, "I was also hoping to speak in details with two gentlemen, but I have to deal with important matters first; a bit later Feixuan will come to see you, all right?"
Her gaze flitted over Kou Zhong, and floated to Xu Ziling, "I'll see you later!" she spoke gently.
Xu Ziling turned his head; with a bit of dejected gaze, he cast a deep glance at Shi Feixuan, and then hurriedly said, "The Eight Major Martial Art Masters of the Demonic Way, other than Zhu Yuyan, Pi Chen, You Wujuan and Zuo Youxian, who are the others?"
Slightly startled, Shi Feixuan said, "This matter is complicated and not easy to express succinctly, we'll talk when we meet again!"
Just like that, she floated away.