Fiddling with his beard, Song Lu smiled and said, "This mountain city consumed I don't know how much manpower and physical resources, and yet it still took three generations and more than a hundred years before it is built to its current scale. The long-term reserves inside the city include more than a year supply of grains, and a spring of water, clear, sweet and delicious, perfect for making tea."
Kou Zhong's eyes fell onto the inclined road going around the mountain, which was wide enough for five horses galloping together side by side; he laughed and said, "In that case, I simply must drink two more mouthfuls!"
Song Lu said, "The construction of the mountain city relied mainly on its strange and rugged terrain, difficult to climb down. But if there were no rich and fertile Yulin County, the only thing that the mountain city had was grand and strange exterior surface. But now the two complement and enrich each other, plus the benefit of land and water transportation that can reach the whole country."
The small boat was moored on the shore. There were already more than a dozen Song Family warriors in dark green tight warrior outfit waiting with horses. Everybody was in high spirit, not a single one was not an expert in powerful defense. Toward Kou Zhong, they all showed courtesy and were very respectful, while also revealing a look of utter admiration and reverence.
The two men flew onto the horseback, and then, under escort of the Song Family martial art masters in front and behind them, they left the dock area to gallop up the mountain.
Going up the mountain road, whenever there was a dangerous cliff, it looked like they were facing emptiness suspended in midair, while down below the river water was surging. There were endless strange and wonderful places.
Seeing all this, Kou Zhong's heart loosened up, his spirit relaxed. Thinking that very soon he would comfort a jade person [i.e. beautiful woman], he could not help letting out a long whistle, while pressing his legs on the horse's belly to urge it to run faster.
Everybody else responded to the whistle by lashing their whips. More than a dozen riders flew along the mountain road like a whirlwind.
The city gate was open wide; the drawbridge was down. The 'Earthly Sword' Song Zhi, whom he had not met for a long time, was out to meet him, saying, "Fazhu's order: Shao Shuai in invited to immediately go to the Mo Dao Tang [grinding saber hall] to see him."
Since the Wu Jiang Bang ship was slowing down, the enemy ship quickly closed the distance between them. Xu Ziling had no time to ask Lei Jiuzhi why he 'saw what is right and act courageously'; he just warned him with heavy voice, "Lei Xiong must not get involved. Ol' Gong has a way to deal with them."
With sudden gust of wind, shadows were flashing one after another; a total of seven people soared from the enemy's ship and flew toward them. The three men quickly retreated to open up an empty space at the bow.
Seeing the speed with which the enemies ascended the ship, they could immediately tell their relative superiority.
The 'Tong Tian Laolao' Xia Miaoying was the most calm; she only leaped at an angle for about a zhang, and then suddenly changed direction to take the lead in traversing the more than two zhang empty space to be the first to land on the deck of the ship's bow. If someone had tried to intercept her based on the angle and speed of her leap, because of her sudden change in direction, the estimate would have been wrong.
As the master of a sect, she was indeed outstanding. She reminded Xu Ziling of Yin Gui Pai's Yinfa Yan Mei [silver-haired amorous demon] Tan Hui. Both had white hair, but still preserved the elegant bearing of younger women. The difference was that Tan Hui still had her beauty, while Xia Miaoying was giving a withered, gloomy and cold impression.
Her nose, her head, neck, hands, waist, feet, all were adorned with precious stone, fine jade, pearl, cowrie shells, and so on, all kinds of jewelry. When she was leaping in the air, these ornaments jingled. But all these bright pearl, jewel aura, and her peacock-like colorful clothes could not cover up the gloomy, malicious, and peculiar light shooting out of her eyes.
On top of that, her sharp fingernails, which were so long that they curved - looked exactly like a female zombie that had been resurrected from inside the coffin, carrying with her all the paraphernalia of funerary objects.
On the contrary, 'Mei Ji' Sina was a beautiful, touching, young Miao woman; her hair was long, black and shiny. Quite unusual however, she did not wear Miao hat or even had her hair tied in colorful ribbon. Even though like right now, for example, she was leaping over to fight and stake her life, she was still smiling prettily, as if her heart was filled with passion, and was enjoying life to the fullest every moment.
Her cheekbones were quite high. Were it not for her equally high aquiline nose, which matched very well with her facial features, she would look extremely unsightly. As it was right now, it only made her look a hundred percent haughty, but with ten thousand kinds of flirtatious expressions.
Both she and her master Xia Miaoying wore similar pleated skirts, but her skirt only reached to her knees, revealing curvaceous and extremely beautiful leggings and a pair of cowhide boots; her entire being exuded a peachy, teasing overtone.
But the skill she displayed was slightly inferior to Xia Miaoying. Following closely behind her, as she landed on the bow, the deck did not shake the least bit.
From the sword sheathe protruding from behind her right shoulder, Xu Ziling's eyes moved to the third person, a young man - arriving on the deck. This gentleman must be Chengdu's young evil tyrant Huo Jitong. On top of his tight warrior outfit, he wore gorgeous brocade gown. There was a long saber hanging on his waist. His build was strong and muscular, his skin swarthy; although he could not be called handsome, he exuded a valiant masculine charm. His least pleasing aspect was his arrogant demeanor, as if his eyes can see nothing worthwhile all around [idiom].
Only after these three, headed by Xia Miaoying, stood on the bow in triangular formation, the other four men arrived one after another. Two of them were Miao, while the other two were Han, who ought to be Huo Jitong's cronies.
Lin Lang was the first to cup his fist to salute; he greeted the three according to Jianghu custom. After his opening remark, he said, "Since Laolao's immortal self has arrived, I …"
Xia Miaoying did not even look at him with the corner of her eye; she just stared ferociously at Xu Ziling. Waving her hand to cut him off, she said, "Less idle talk." And then she grimly said, "Gong Chenchun, your guts is indeed big; after shrinking your head for so many years, you have the cheek to swagger into San Hua Luo to have fun. Do you think that I, Xia Miaoying, am so old that I forget your past conducts and deeds and no longer want to bother about you?"
Seeing the bitter resentment and indignation in her eyes, Xu Ziling had a feeling that the enmity between her and Gong Chenchun could not possibly that simple; perhaps there was even entanglement of gratitude and grudges between a man and a woman. Inwardly he groaned for his bad luck. He also knew that as soon as he started speaking, he would immediately reveal the cloven foot, yet it was impossible for him not to speak. Without any choice he could only sigh and shook his head with a rueful smile.
'Mei Ji' Sina's almond eyes grew big; scolded tenderly, she said, "Because you randomly abandoned her, Da Shijie [oldest martial sister] died in grief, even if you, Gong Chenchun died ten thousand times, it is still not enough to redeem your guilt."
Inwardly Xu Ziling heaved a sigh of relief, while was amused at the same time. At first he thought 'he' and Xiao Miaoying had some love affairs; turned out it was with her first disciple. Smiling wryly, he said, "This affair is exceptionally complex, would ladies and gentlemen care to hear my explanation?"
Huo Jitong's eyes flashed with ominous glint; he angrily shouted, "Just by looking at how when you heard the news of her death you did not show the least bit of grief, I immediately know that you, Gong Chenchun, are completely lacking any feeling; you have the heart of a beast and the lungs of a dog."
Behind Xu Ziling, Lei Jiuzhi let out a weird sounding laughter and said, "Huo Jitong, where do you think you are going? In Chengdu alone, the number of women who you raped and abandoned is too many to count. Ah Da [the first/oldest (son)] shouldn't tell Ah Er [the second (son)]!"
For the first time Xiao Miaoying and the others' eyes moved away from Xu Ziling to Lei Jiuzhi, who had changed from a stoop-backed into a straight-backed man.
"Ah!" Huo Jitong exclaimed. Pulling the saber on his waist, he stepped out from the crowd and shouted sternly, "Who are you?"
Xu Ziling knew it would be difficult for this matter to end well. The only way was to make the opposite party sound out the difficulties and retreat to avoid defeat [idiom]. But his biggest problem was that he must not reveal any 'Yue Shan' martial art with which he defeated Xi Ying.
Swiftly moving forward, he let out a cold snort and said, "If you can block my three moves, Ol' Gong is willing to have my hands tied and waiting to be captured, and you can punish me however you wish. But if you cannot block, all of you must leave immediately, and have to promise never to bother me again. Huo Jitong, do you have the qualifications to make the decision?"
"Rubbish!" Huo Jitong shouted angrily, while simultaneously charging forward and brandishing his saber in swift chop.
The saber created whooshing wind. Lin Lang hurriedly stepped back.
On the ship, most of the Wu Jiang Bang men, except the man in charge of the helm, were gathered on the bridge to watch the excitement. The other passengers also swarmed out of their room and crowded inside and outside the cabin's door to watch; Han Zenan being one of them.
Xu Ziling calmly laughed, his forehead moved following the opponent's saber momentum, his right hand reached out, looking like a claw, but also like an open palm, but just before it made contact with the blade of the opponent's saber, the fingers suddenly gathered together to form a palm chop.
The qi power took on the saber momentum head on. It was as if Huo Jitong was struck by lightning; his entire body, along with his saber, was hacked down by Xu Ziling that he staggered six, seven steps backward.
None of the spectators was not emotionally moved.
Actually, Xu Ziling was only using half of his power. If he had used his full power, perhaps Huo Jitong would have spurted blood on the spot.
Xia Miaoying shouted loudly, "Jitong, back off!"
Fast as lightning 'Mei Ji' Sina moved forward to prevent Xu Ziling from following up the victory and press home the attack. Scolded tenderly, she said, "If you could defeat me in three moves, we will immediately turn around and leave."
Full of resentment Huo Jitong return to Xia Miaoying's side. Although he did not accept his defeat, but since the blood and qi in his entire body were surging, he did not have the strength to continue fighting.
No matter how brilliant Xu Ziling's power was, he was well aware that Sina's skill far surpassed Huo Jitong's; however, if he could make the enemy retreat by doing this, it would be extremely ideal. Steeling his heart, he said, "One word and it's settled [idiom: it's a deal]. If within three moves Ol' Gong cannot beat you, I will let my hands tied and waiting to be captured, and definitely will not eat my own words."
Immediately sneers and jeers rang out from Xia Miaoying's side, they thought he was overestimating his own capabilities.
Wu Jiang Bang and the other passengers were also buzzing. In their heart, they were all standing on their fellow passenger, Xu Ziling's side; naturally they were worried and felt that his unwise decision was a great pity.
It should be noted that 'Mei Ji' Sina was one of the four great chiefs of Ba Meng, her name shook Bashu, defeating her was not easy, let alone trying to score a victory within three moves.
If Xu Ziling were now 'Yue Shan' instead of 'Gong Chenchun', it would be a different story altogether.
Sina laughed tenderly and said, "Gong Chenchun, you are indeed arrogant and brazen."
'Ring!' the sword left its sheathe.
Xu Ziling smiled and said, "Hold on!"
Xia Miaoying shouted sternly, "Are you trying to go back on your word?"