It was not a polite remark at all, but An Long was still grinning evilly, and said without much concern, "Didn't Ol' An say that I will be the spectator on the wall? However, remembering friendship with your esteemed master, I cannot help offering a bit of advice: Yang Xuyan plus Hou Xibai equal to more than half of Shi Zhixuan; even if your esteemed master personally came, she would not have much advantage. It would be better for Xian Zhinu [worthy/virtuous niece] to hand over the Print Scroll. This is called wise and virtuous woman won't suffer the loss in front of her eyes; am I right?"
Wanwan smiled and said, "No wonder Shizun [revered master] often said that it is difficult for An Long to become a great man, and can only fit to become stinky-copper unscrupulous businessman. Now you, two opposing sides, are equally matched in term of strength. If I helped one side, the other side would only end up nursing a grievance. An Long, tonight you have fully used the 'Lotus Ring at the Center of the Sky' twice, and thus you have become a strong crossbow; this is the right time to kill you. Perhaps Zhinu [niece] might become harsh and unreasonable by throwing the Print Scroll away, and then going all-out to take care of you. That will also be the joy of life."
Finally An Long's countenance changed; he was unable to say anything.
Wanwan cast her glance once again toward Xu Ziling, who was perching on high. Raising her sleeve to cover her mouth, she laughed tenderly and said, "Hey you, why are you standing up there eating the northwest wind? Why did your great beauty ignore you?"
Two sides, four men, you look at me, I look at you, but all were at a loss against her. Even though she was trapped in a difficult situation, this remarkably beautiful direct disciple of Yin Gui Pai was still able to exploit the tangled and complicated relationship among them, and still had full control of the situation in her hands.
Yang Xuyan's eyes shone with deep and cold murderous aura; his hand gripping the sword hilt, he said, "In the end, you just want to carry the scroll and run away. Gentlemen, we might as well have a competition, let's see who can wrestle the Print Scroll back from her fragrant gauzed sleeve; what do you think?"
This remark was tantamount to asking Xu Ziling and Hou Xibai's opinion, whether all four of them ought to momentarily lay down the hostility between them to first eliminate Wanwan, and then relying of their strength to decide to whom the Print Scroll should belong to.
Xu Ziling hesitated in his heart.
Although he and Wanwan were archenemies with irreconcilable enmity, but to join hands with An Long, Yang Xuyan, these demonic people, to deal with her, would be less than glorious. However, for lack of better option, presently this was the only way. If not, if she managed to escape, nobody would be able to hold her down.
Among An Long and the others, not one was not a martial art master with enough power to contend against Wanwan one-on-one. Although nobody stated his position yet, but everybody's spirit and mind were tightly locked onto Wanwan. As soon as she made a slightly different move, they might suddenly attack, because when martial art masters were standing in opposition to each other they would react to subtle changes of qi and intention. Therefore, this moment Wanwan was just like a ferocious beast trapped in a dead-end alley. Unless she was able to withstand the joint offensive of four men working together, she would never dare to act blindly without thinking.
Hou Xibai revealed a hint of bitter smile; casting a glance toward Xu Ziling, he sighed and said, "Ziling Xiong, what do you think? This seems to be the only way. Although what Hou Xibai hates the most is ruthlessly destroying the flower, I can't think of any other feasible way."
Xu Ziling's tiger-eyes shone with sharp light; fixing his gaze on Wanwan, he said indifferently, "Right now I don't know where Miss Shi is hiding. Supposing after we did a blood soaked and hard-fought struggle, we found that what's written in the sheepskin scroll is only something like Thousand Character Classic [6th century poem used as a traditional reading primer] that the children learn, will it be worthwhile?"
Wanwan sighed softly and said, "Xu Ziling is the only true hero in here. Let me ask gentlemen, is it all right for Xiao Nuzi [little/young girl] to open the sheepskin scroll first and take a look? After confirming its authenticity, we will decide what to do next."
"Hey, hey," An Long laughed, "True hero is just another appellation that is more pleasant to hear than an idiot. I dare to guarantee with my head that this is the 'Immortal Print Scroll' that Shi Dage left behind at the secluded forest of the small valley. As for the reason behind it, please forgive Ol' An since it is not convenient for me to disclose it."
Wanwan's pretty eyebrows lightly furrowed, she asked in surprise, "Your guarantee does not worth half a penny. It seems to me that your target is not the Print Scroll, but my life. This is indeed very strange, what benefit would it bring to Tian Lian Zong?"
The topic changed, everybody's attention turned from the issue of joining hands to besiege Wanwan to whether the Print Scroll was real or fake.
Hou Xibai suddenly flashed his folding fan and lightly fanned himself. He smiled and said, "Since Long Shu has decided to watch with folded arms, and Princess Rou has hidden far away, Miss Wan may examine the scroll in peace, let Zaixia take the responsibility of protecting the flower. Ziling Xiong, what do you think?"
Xu Ziling calmly replied, "If An Long Laoshi [teacher] and Princess Rou do not make any move, Xiaodi will not make any move either."
Wanwan shook her head and said, "Unless you, Ziling, give me your personal guarantee that you are going to protect Wanwan, I cannot possibly take this risk."
Letting out a long laugh, Yang Xuyan said, "Why speak so much nonsense, wouldn't it be better if Zaixia is asking to experience Yin Gui Pai's Tianmo's secret art? As for whether the three gentlemen want to take part, please do as you wish."
While speaking, a burst of dense, severe, and icy-cold sword qi burst forth like tidal wave out of his body. Although he has not move the slightest bit, he has actually strived for the initiative. As soon as Wanwan, in her momentum to withstand it, showed a bit of leeway, he would immediately brandish his sword to attack.
He has gone all-out, yet Wanwan must focus all her attention to guard against An Long and Hou Xibai, two men, which, to Wanwan, was greatly disadvantageous.
"Hold on!" Hou Xibai shouted.
Everybody was taken aback, because if Yang Xuyan staked everything against Wanwan, it ought to give him a hundred benefits without a single harm.
Hou Xibai turned to An Long and said, "This matter is of great importance. Why aren't Long Shu unwilling to explain clearly the reason you believe firmly that the sheepskin scroll inside Miss Wan's sleeve really contain the 'Immortal Print Method'?"
An Long's eyes flashed with strange light; he spoke slowly, "If I confirm that this scroll is not a fake article, does Xianzhi [virtuous nephew] intend to make your move together with Yan Zhi [nephew]?"
Hou Xibai calmly replied, "Indeed there is this possibility. Of course, it depends on how much truth there is in Long Shu's words."
An Long let out a burst of long, shaking-the-hall, laugh and said, "This kind of sheepskin is definitely not an ordinary sheepskin; I tanned and manufactured it with my own hands, hence the color and luster are unusual, it will always look new even after a long time. I made it based on Shi Dage's order; I, An Long, dare to swear by the incantation of Tian Lian Zong's various ancestors that if I made even half a word of lies, let me never be reincarnated forever."
Letting out a burst of tender laugh, Wanwan continued, "Now, even nujia is a bit convinced that this scroll thingy is the real article. Would you be interested in hearing my proposal of two ways to resolve the stalemate before your eyes?"
This remark was of wonderfully highest level and outstanding; even Hou Xibai, who was eager to give it a try - had to rein his horse and pulled the bridle back, and postponed his move.
Lian Rou's voice came from the exit, "Please excuse Lian Rou from being drawn into the struggle within the demonic schools; nujia is taking my leave. If there is anything in the future, you must never count it on nujia's account."
The sound of the rustling sleeve went away in an instant.
Listening to this, Xu Ziling's head swelled up, he still could not figure out her relationship with An Long and the others.
But this woman was as cunning as a fox; no one should take what she said too lightly. However, it was also possible that it was because she did not want to be Yin Gui Pai's enemy, hence she shrank back as the time for battle approached.
Wanwan cheerfully said, "This is called 'a wise man looks after his own hide'; in the end, she is smarter than you, An Long."
Displeased, An Long said, "Didn't you say that you have two ways to resolve the current stalemate?"
Wanwan raised up her demonic power to tightly suppress Yang Xuyan's suffocating sword qi coming from about a zhang away. Calm and composed, she spoke softly, "The first solution is Wanwan turn the sheepskin scroll inside my sleeve into powder. This is called 'once the main problem is solved, all troubles are solved'. Nobody has any reason to fight anymore."
Yang Xuyan's sword qi was immediately reduced by half.
If the sheepskin scroll was destroyed, the biggest loser was certainly not Wanwan, but one of either Hou Xibai or Yang Xuyan.
At most Wanwan only lost the opportunity to understand the Immortal Print method, while the two would lose the possibility to advance to become another Shi Zhixuan.
An Long sneered coldly and said, "If you were willing to do so, you would have destroyed the Print Scroll early on; there is no need to mention it only now."
All along he has been fanning the flame to stir up trouble. And now no one doubted that he harbored evil intentions of destroying Wanwan.
Wanwan cast him a glace with disdain. Her jade countenance suddenly calmed down, returning to her usual nearly pure, faultless calm and unhurried expression. But once again the air all around her was suddenly infused with a terrifying feeling as if it might sink any moment. Although there was no wind, the white clothes on her body suddenly fluttered, her jet-black long hair was flying and dancing in the air as if it was blown by a gale. The scene was weird to the extreme.
Everybody was shivering in alarm; they were all amassing their energy, yet no one dared to make the first move.
Xu Ziling shouted coldly, "And what is the second solution?"
Wanwan's face showed a hint of surreptitious smile that appeared to be there, but then appeared to be not there, as she spoke calmly, "The second solution is to give the Print Scroll to you."
While speaking the last sentence, her gauzed sleeve rose up, the sheepskin scroll shot out of the sleeve, fast as lightning it flew toward Xu Ziling, who was standing on a Luohan's head.