Since the battle began, the two have been attacking each other fast and violent, with fantastical, exquisite, and profound-mystery techniques; so tight that there was no gap to take a breather. Strange moves and wonderful stances more and more emerged; in essence, you advance I retreat, I attack you dodge - all the way until the Print Scroll was knocked to a distant place by the force of Shi Qingxuan's flute.
Only after seeing the deteriorating situation did Yang Xuyan march the troops to dangerous situation by using returning-to-the-western-paradise [i.e. die] together and exhausting-everything technique to force Hou Xibai to also stake everything and fight hard.
The sword and the fan collided. Hou Xibai cried out 'Bad!' because he realized that Yang Xuyan took advantage of the reaction of the impact to pull back and flew at an angle. Like an arrow he shot toward Xu Ziing.
Hou Xibai was mentally prepared that the bottom of the hand of this world famous assassin must be extremely stiff, but only after fighting with him for real did he begin to know how overbearing he really was. He thought that if he obtained the Print Scroll, it would be really dreadful. However, although he had such thought, his body still had to stagger back to neutralize the sword power before he was able to pursue closely. In the end, he was still one step slower.
This moment An Long landed back on the ground, while Shi Qingxuan was like a goddess descending to the mortal world; she seemed to be performing heavenly music and wonderful dance around him. Even with his level of experience and knowledge, it was still the first time that he came across such a fantastic martial art.
Through the jade flute, Shi Qingxuan's true qi could exit alternately via any hole on the flute; it could attack from any angle, swiftly moving like a non-directional wind, yet each attack was sending out a stream of powerful qi. Correspondingly the flute pipe was producing high and low, strong and weak, all different notes, as if she was blowing into it, disturbing the heart and mind to the extreme point, making An long could not help thinking that if these notes could be strung together into a melody, it would be the moment his life would enter hell.
Even more frightening was that Shi Qingxuan ought to have deep knowledge of his Tian Lian Zong's unique martial art, because all of her techniques, hands and feet, were targeted against his weak points. Therefore, although upon self-introspection he knew that in all aspects he surpassed Shi Qingxuan, this less-experienced younger generation, momentarily he was entangled by her that he was at a loss to know what to do, and found it difficult to free himself.
Meanwhile, Xu Ziling in the air saw the Print Scroll fell into the bosom of a Vajra statue with closed eyes in deep meditation with folded arms. Behind him there was the sound of rustling sleeves; to his horror he found out that Yang Xuyan soared into the air with overbearing sword qi, in a pursue-and-attack move that although he started later, he arrived sooner. In an instant he calculated that the moment he would pick up the Print Scroll would coincide with the dangerous moment the fantastical sword would arrive. At that time he would fall into a completely passive situation, and perhaps he might even turn into a corpse under Yang Xuyan's sword. Yet he was still unable to find the opportunity to counterattack.
Hastily he applied his qi to drop vertically down, while his right hand created a strong wind at the same time, sweeping the Print Scroll, which has just landed onto the statue's bosom so that it was thrown toward the dark floor on the right.
At the same time, he let out a long laugh to cover the sound of the Print Scroll landing on the ground, while crying inwardly, 'Sorry for the offense!' as he tapped the head of a revered Luohan statue in stooping down posture like a dragon goblet with the tip of his left foot, to reverse the direction of his leap back to the left.
As expected, Yang Xuyan was duped; kicking another glaring-angrily Luohan statue with his right foot, he changed direction horizontally to chase after him.
Hou Xibai flitted across the arena where An Long was battling Shi Qingxuan, while striking An Long with his fan in passing, angering An Long that he roared an angry shriek. He was about to catch up with Yang Xuyan, with the intention of joining hands with Xu Ziling to take care of him, when a strong wind blew across from behind the Guanyin with many hands, as a beautiful and alluring, tender and charming maiden came out to attack him.
Although he wanted to see the graceful bearing of this Persian beauty, Lian Rou, he really did not wish that it would happen under this kind of circumstances. Without any choice he made a sharp turn, while his folding fan launched a full-strength attack. It was such a ruthless move to destroy the flower; but for the sake of 'Immortal Print Scroll', he could not change much.
From his higher position looking down, Yang Xuyan watched as Xu Ziling, who had been defeated under his hand, safely landed between two revered Luohan statues, taking a posture that appeared slow but looked fast, so that even with his usual grim and deeply ruthless character, he could not help being greatly startled and was confused of what was actually going on.
Both statues on Xu Ziling's left and right were about six chi tall, their body was entirely cast of metal, as majestic as the real Luohan; but their stances were completely different.
The one on the left was slim with long neck, beaming with smile from ear to ear; one hand on his knee, his body leaning forward, while the other hand was scratching his back, in a relaxed, careless posture. It was naturally very fitting.
The other Vajra had his eyes bulging out angrily, the muscles on his right arm were bulging as he stretched out his fist forward; very exquisite and lively, a very vivid display of his prowess.
Xu Ziling was standing between the two revered idols. First he mimicked the leisurely and comfortable posture of the idol on his left, and then he changed to the glowering Vajra on his right; both postures preserved the resemblance, preserved the wonder of the statues. Under the golden beam of light from the moon outside the hall, plus the weak light of the lanterns at the edge of the hall, there was little doubt that Xu Ziling has transformed himself into a Luohan, a protector of Buddhism. Even more, it appeared that one of the revered Luohan has come alive. This kind of feeling was certainly weird beyond human comprehension.
The sound of whistling wind suddenly arrived.
While Yang Xuyan still could not figure out how to deal with the situation before his eyes, a fierce and severe finger wind shot out of Xu Ziling's index finger, piercing the body of his sword, ad well as the net of sword qi he formed around his body.
Spiraling qi energy broke through the net, with a great deal of piercing-the-universe overbearing momentum.
Letting out a stifled groan, Yang Xuyan applied his qi to move sideways, while brandishing his sword to block the danger.
Originally the sword shadows filled the air with ferocious torrential momentum, but now it was like dispersing cloud, scattering smoke.
Xu Ziling laughed aloud and said, "Much obliged for the experience. Yang Xiong, watch this move."
The fist he held above his head suddenly moved backward. It bent behind him, while he lunged forward just like the posture of the glowering Vajra by his side. But his other hand was drawing seemingly meaningless circles in front of his body.
Yang Xuyan was still about a cun away from setting foot on the solid ground when the fist wind arrived. He was an expert in assassination; before touching the ground, he urged his sword qi to pierce upward across the empty air toward Xu Ziling. Who would have thought that unexpectedly it was like Xu Ziling had a prophetic ability that by relying on his left hand drawing circles he created qi power that was able to meet the sword qi head on, immediately dispersing it.
It was too late for him to make another attack; hence he was forced to flee behind another revered Luohan in an extremely awkward position. The most aggravating thing was that he knew for sure that his martial art skill was above Xu Ziling's, yet under the pressure of endlessly appearing strange moves, he was at his wits' end; he had the power but did not have any way of using it.
On the other hand, Xu Ziling was extremely delighted. At the beginning, he was only thinking of borrowing the Luohan's prowess to confuse the enemy's heart, to seize away his fighting spirit. This was the way of scheming of the Art of War, a superior design in martial art study. Who would have thought that as he simulated a certain Luohan's stance, unexpectedly the true qi within his body was surging in accordance with the posture as if it happened naturally, just as wonderfully effective as when he neutralized An Long's sneak attack previously. How could he not suddenly realize it? He understood now that these five hundred Luohan's various styles and amazing postures were most likely coming from certain expert of an empty gate school [i.e. Buddhism] of the present age's design. Intentionally or otherwise, the mysterious school's gongfa came out of the Luohan's thousand poses and hundred postures. Inadvertently he obtained it. This could be considered a strange and rare occurrence.
By this time he had already forgotten about the 'Immortal Print Scroll' completely. An opponent as strong as Yang Xuyan was hard to come by. In the blink of an eye he flitted across the more than a dozen Luohan statues standing side by side on his left and right while launching a chain of punches, taking advantage while Yang Xuyan was falling into a disadvantageous position - to unleash a staking-it-all technique.
In his heart, Yang Xuyan knew the situation was bad, and promptly counterattacked. In his heart and mind, Xu Ziling has turned into an alive revered Luohan, constantly mimicking the posture of the statues all around him perfectly. However, whether it was a fist punch, a finger slice, a palm push, or a foot kick, all carried the devastating-the-mountain-shaking-the-peak vigorous imposing attitude. In the weaving sword qi right and left, the whistling fist wind, the statues shattered and turned into dust. And so both sides were meeting attack with attack, as desperate as the life and death, hand-to-hand combat of the battlefield among the magnificent army with thousands of men and horses.
The longer he fought, the braver Xu Ziling became, the more his hand accomplished what his heart wished.
Yang Xuyan already lost the decisive opportunity, his qi and his will to fight were hard-pressed. In this situation, where one side was vanishing while the other flourishing, although it had not come to the difficult situation of momentum-exhausted, power-distressed, the fact was that he was forced to retreat step by step; in all his life, this was the most painful predicament where he felt so useless.
Shi Qingxuan's tender shout suddenly rang out, "Xu Ziling, be careful!"
Xu Ziling came to his senses; sending out a double punches, he forced Yang Xuyan to go back three more steps, and said with a laugh, "Thanks for letting me win!" And then he flew back before turning around and rushing forward.
Battling Lian Rou, Hou Xibai has already gained the upper hand. Were it not for this beauty's body was nimble and flexible like a snake, each time she was in desperate situation she was able to save her own life relying on bizarre shenfa, he would have sent her to the Western Paradise early on.
This moment he saw An Long was unleashing his special ability - the Lotus Ring in the Center of the Sky, to force Shi Qingxuan to retreat. Promptly he got away from her to intercept An Long, angering him so that he nearly vomited blood.
Upon seeing this, inwardly Xu Ziling was greatly delighted. Although Yang Xuyan was rushing over like mad, this moment he was still more than four zhang away, so he could not be considered a threat. With Shi Qingxuan keeping a close watch over Lian Rou, she could only stand on the side, not daring to act blindly without thinking. The Immortal Print Scroll appeared to be already in his bag.
What in the world was he going to do with this ghost thing? He saw the Immortal Print Scroll was about a zhang away next to a lying-on-the-ground Luohan statue.
Suddenly there was a tender laughter, followed by a stream of ribbon shooting out from the dark, and wrapped itself around the Print Scroll lying on the ground.
And then Wanwan's sweet-sounding voice said, "Turns out it is in here. Thanks a lot Ziling, after looking at it, Xiaomei [little/younger sister] will return it to you."
Immediately Xu Ziling broke out in cold sweats. If the Print Scroll fell into Wanwan's hands, perhaps even if all six people, both the enemy and his side, joined hands, it would still be difficult to get it back.