Kou Zhong blocked Song Que's no-trail-could-be-tracked like flying bird or swimming fish, nine consecutive saber strikes, which came one after another, attacking him until he was sweating profusely, and made him nearly abandon his saber and flee.
The two men suddenly separated.
Kou Zhong stood with his saber across his chest, while secretly regulating his breathing, momentarily he was unable to speak.
Song Que calmly stroke his saber and said with a laugh, "Now, does Shao Shuai understand what saber intention is?"
Smiling wryly, Kou Zhong replied, "Even if I did not want to understand, I can't. Turns out feeling is so important. But if I am guessing correctly, Fazhu does not really want to kill me. Otherwise, once you unleash his mother's 'Tian Dao Ba Jue', I am afraid I could only try to understand saber intention or whatever on my way to the nether world."
Heaving a deep sigh, Song Que said, "You are wrong to think so. Just because you don't know how lonely I am; it's rare to have such a good opponent like you, hence I don't want you to quickly return to heaven [i.e. die] that easily."
Finished regulating his breathing, Kou Zhong's confidence increased substantially. Smiling, he said, "Be careful; it will be increasingly difficult to kill me. So what's the second secret called?"
Song Que delightedly said, "The more difficult to kill you the better. The second secret is called 'Xiaoxiang Shui Yun' [lit. water and cloud of Xiangjiang (river, in Hunan province)]. Although it has ten saber strikes, it is like the red clouds and curling up fog, hiding within it the water light and the cloud shadow, which continuously on the move, with infinite bearing. En garde!"
"Wait!" Kou Zhong shouted hastily.
Remaining tranquil and calm, Song Que said, "If I find out that Shao Shuai is stalling for time, Shao Shuai will regret it very much."
Sneering, Kou Zhong said, "I, Kou Zhong, will never have regret over such thing; I am not interested in stalling for time even more. It's just that Fazhu's one secret ten strikes reminded me of a set of fierce saber technique, the 'Ten-Style Bloody Battle'. If Fazhu could defend without attacking, and allow me to fully use the saber technique, I guarantee you will be extremely delighted to enjoy its beauty."
Song Que laughed aloud and said, "I thought you were going to say that you would cut your own throat to kill yourself. But the name of this 'Ten-Style Bloody Battle' could move my heart, so let's see it. If the name does not correspond to reality, don't blame me for not having the patience to continue watching until the end."
Kou Zhong mused inwardly that the most important thing was that you are willing to wait. Letting out a 'hey, hey!' laughter, he said, "Fazhu better be careful!"
Immediately he raised his saber and struck a posture. Bending his waist and back, his upper torso slightly leaned forward, his Moon in the Well pointing at Song Que from a distance, his eyes shot fierce and sharp flashes, he stared fixedly at the opponent without blinking at all, while his posture suggested that he was about to pounce forward.
It was such an intimidating imposing manner; if it were some ordinary martial art master, perhaps he would immediately break down without fighting, abandon his weapon and flee for his life. However, Song Que only stood with his saber; nodding his head, he said, "It indeed has a bit of facing-the-enemy-on-the-battlefield, in a blood-soaked-and-hard-fought-struggle impression."
Kou Zhong shouted with a heavy voice, "This style is called 'Two Armies Encamped Face-to-face'."
Before he even finished speaking, the Moon in the Well turned into a yellow light, and shot toward Song Que, who was standing about a zhang and a half away.
Because he was not afraid that Song Que would use attack to respond to his attack, his momentum was fierce and severe, with a strong once-gone-no-turning-back feeling.
Song Que's eyes emitted strange light. The most formidable point in Kou Zhong's saber strike was not the saber technique, but the saber intention. From his saber posture to the pouncing-forward violent attack, all the movements were blending together into indivisible entity. Although only the right hand was moving the saber, this saber strike embodied the power of his entire being, so that others would not dare to underestimate it.
But one thing that made Song Que quite mad, while was amused at the same time - the most was that clearly Kou Zhong was able to see that his Water Immortal treasured blade was most suitable in offense but not in defense; thereupon he deliberately use words to trap Song Que to be on defensive, but not in offensive. Song Que could only stare blankly while realizing he had been put into disadvantageous position.
Song Que evaded sideways; the Water Immortal in his left hand scooped up at an angle to block the blade of Kou Zhong's saber.
The saber in Kou Zhong's hand glowed brighter; he shouted coldly, "Showing off one's ability!"
Ten million dots of saber rays, like countless flowers among a wave of butterflies rained down on Song Que, with a momentum like the rainbow.
"Good!" Song Que shouted, and then, holding the saber with one hand, 'Swish! Swish! Swish!' he flashed three steps in succession, unexpectedly he was able to weave through the saber rays unhindered, until finally he moved the saber to cut diagonally, to hack on the Moon in the Well about three cun away from the blade.
Unexpectedly Kou Zhong's next move, the 'Light Cavalry Charging Ahead', could not continue, so he changed to the fourth style 'Feeling the Pocket and Taking Something Out', by swiftly poking into Song Que's waist and lower abdomen.
Sneering, Song Que said, "Shao Shuai's skill is poor! Huh?" He saw Kou Zhong's poking saber had the 'saber intention' that was constantly changing, both in terms of speed and angle of attack; therefore, although on the surface it appeared to be simple and direct, but in the eyes of a saber expert like Song Que, it carried an unfathomable characteristic. If he was waiting passively, inevitably he would not be able to parry it.
Even if he could block this move, albeit with difficulty, subsequent offensive could make a brilliant master like Song Que fall into disadvantageous position; after that, to level the score again would not be easy to do.
In Kou Zhong's eyes, noticing Song Que's hesitating expression, he was well aware that finally Song Que has fallen into his trap.
From the last clash to this moment, it did not matter how he fought with all his might, he could never seize the upper hand, or even snatch the initiative. It could be said that Song Que had always led him by the nose.
In his desperation, he suddenly had an idea, which was to use the tangible 'Ten-Style Bloody Battle' to lure Song Que to underestimate the opponent first, and then using the 'saber intention', which he stole from Song Que, in a using-someone's-spear-to-attack-his-own-shield tactic to force Song Que to change from defense to offense, so that psychologically Song Que felt like he already lost, and thus the imposing manner of his state of mind would be somewhat reduced.
Before his eyes, Song Que was hesitating just before the battle; and this was precisely the conclusive proof that Song Que has fallen into his trap.
Song Que let out a cold laugh; the Water Immortal in his left hand immediately turned into water-light, cloud-shadow-like layer upon later of saber light meeting Kou Zhong's Moon in the Well head-on. Finally he abandoned the original plan of only defending without attacking.
Kou Zhong laughed aloud and said, "I told you it was impossible to defend without attacking at all!
Suddenly traversing across, he brandished the saber to hack down on empty space.
For the first time, he was finally able to understand Song Que's saber technique, and was able to fully use the Yijian Technique.
By nature, Song Que was arrogant. Kou Zhong's remark was more difficult to bear than being hacked by his saber. Immediately his murderous intent flared up.
Who would have thought that Kou Zhong suddenly retreated to the position where his saber momentum was the weakest? The saber hacking down was even more like a heavenly steed soaring across the skies; it was marvelous to the highest limit. If he did not change his original style, it would be tantamount to letting his Water Immortal being chopped by Kou Zhong's saber. Not only that, Kou Zhong's shenfa had suddenly become strange and hard to fathom, just like the fish in the water; even though it was motionless, as soon as you stir the water nearby, he would rapidly run away.
Dealing with that kind of intense-movement-hidden-within-the-stillness characteristic, even with his keen eyesight, which was able to see through any changes, he still felt big headache.
In that instant, Song Que knew that his slight hesitation just now had given this genius kid traversing sideways the opportunity to seize the initiative and the upper hand.
Unable to continue his 'Xiaoxiang Shui Yun', instead of getting angry, Song Que laughed and said, "'Shi Shang Liu Quan' [rock upstream of the spring]!"
Saber style that appeared like continuous water stream suddenly turned into a streak of bluish green luminous light, like the water from the spring came alive, boring through the rock and gargling over the stones. The Water Immortal's blade slashed out a streak of blue light, following a certain graceful-surpassing-any-words-can-describe arc - to take on Kou Zhong.
Kou Zhong evaded to the other side, while raising his saber horizontally to block. It appeared to be moving fast, but it actually contained speed within the slow, and turned skillfully into a twist.
And then a string of clear noise of weapons clashing against each other lingered on faintly.
Although the momentum of Song Que's saber was continuously expanding, Kou Zhong has not been put in a completely inferior position where he could only take a beating and suffer humiliation either, or even a helpless, without-any-freedom-to-act-independently situation where if Song Que wanted him to move east than he moved east, or to the west and he moved west. Rather, he attacked and defended properly, and gave Song Que enough headaches by coming up with strange strokes.
The biggest benefit was that Kou Zhong was able to learn how, in the midst of Song Que's stormy-selike saber technique - to circulate his qi, in correlation to the degree of his confidence; defense concealed within the offense, offense contained within the defense.
Each time he attacked or blocked with all his might, he would have a bit of strength left, with which he was able to regulate the true qi within his body, the subtlety within it was not something that could be grasped just before the battle, while in the face of the enemy.
It was a bit like going up the surface of the water to take a breath after diving underwater for a period of time, and not like desperately continuing underwater until the power exhausted, the qi depleted.
Under enormous pressure from Song Que, Kou Zhong gave everything he had, without any reservation at all, unleashing all the saber technique he learned in the past to extreme saturation. He even put the new things he learned from Song Que into practice. The longer he fought, the more he was reaching toward the what-the-heart-wishes-the-hand-accomplishes level; so he was extremely delighted.
Song Que's saber technique suddenly changed, "'Wu Ye Wu Qiu Feng' [Wutong tree leaves dancing in autumn breeze]!" he shouted loudly.
His entire body spun around, the Water Immortal seemed to be attacking randomly, there was no saber path that could be traced; on top of that, his shenfa was weird, so that the advantageous situation that Kou Zhong was able to maintain immediately melt like ice and broke like tiles.
Although Kou Zhong was ten million times unwilling, he was still thrown into great confusion by Song Que's move, so that all he could do was to defend passively without any opportunity to recover his qi. The divinely skillful saber technique has pushed him to be at his wits' end. By the tenth stroke, Song Que's hack pushed him, along with his saber, staggering back, until finally, 'thump!' he landed on his butts, just one step away from repeating his earlier defeat of rolling down the stone steps.
Song Que pursued to the door. Staring down at Kou Zhong, his eyes shone with unusual light.
Nobody knew since when the moon secretly climbed over the courtyard wall, but its light penetrated the dense locust tree and sprayed the courtyard with patches of golden light.
Smiling wryly, Kou Zhong said, "I did not have time to count how many saber strikes Fazhu actually used; I just hope it was not seventy-nine!"
Grim expression appeared on Song Que's face, the murderous intent in his eyes flared out, he spoke in heavy voice, "You are not afraid to die?"
Shrugging his shoulders, Kou Zhong replied, "I would be lying if I said I am not scared. But I am also quite curious; what happen after death? I just have to trouble Fazhu to tell Zhizhi that I was sincere to her."
A hint of smile appeared on the corner of Song Que's mouth; immediately the grim expression on his face, as well as the murderous intent in his eyes - dissolved. He spoke indifferently, "Leave those last words for tomorrow!"
Turning around, he went back into the Mo Dao Tang.