Song Que's eyes revealed a smiling expression; he casually brandished the saber, calm and unrestrained. Combined with his unequalled handsome face and his tall and straight build like pine and cypress, he looked indescribably pleasing to the eye.
Although it was a casual saber strike, Kou Zhong felt that no matter how he changed his saber momentum, how he altered the angle and timing, in the end he would have to meet the strike head on.
He knew even more that it was impossible for him to retreat, because under the pulling force of the qi, Song Que's Heavenly Saber might be like flood bursting the dike and rushing forth from the gap, destroying everything blocking its way.
The Heavenly Saber created a huge attractive force, sucking in Kou Zhong's Moon in the Well solidly.
The two sabers pressing each other, four eyes met.
Song Que shook his head and said with a sigh, "You still have the biggest weak point; which is you can send out but cannot restrain. If in your saber strike right now you left a spare force, you couldn't possibly be sucked by my inner power and unable to defend. This is too much for you. Xiaozi [kid], do you understand?"
The saber qi surged like the tide. Kou Zhong's entire body was thrown away, almost like a rolling gourd.
With the saber straight out, Song Que pressed on. Dense murderous aura burst out of the saber blade, enveloping Kou Zhong completely.
Kou Zhong froze on the spot.
The Heavenly Saber slashed.
Kou Zhong swiftly flicked his strong wrist, continuously making seven, eight changes, blocking and deflecting, while was also hacked by the opponent that he retreated three steps.
"Good!" Song Que shouted.
He sent out another saber sweep, bold, powerful and unyielding, while also nimble, marvelous and mysterious, no clear path, and no trace.
Kou Zhong was well aware that every single one of Song Que's attack was sent out with all his strength; if he failed to block even one, he would end up with his head separated from his body, and no one could change that.
Hastily he raised his own spirit to block.
With a muffled grunt, he only retreated two steps this time.
Song Que chuckled happily. His saber chopped down on Kou Zhong's head. The saber momentum was like the sun in the middle of the sky, dazzling the earth.
Kou Zhong's murderous intent flared out, the Moon in the Well swoop up. 'Ding!' it hit the Heavenly Saber, and then he flew back.
Song Que remained rooted on the spot, while holding the saber across his chest. Nodding his head, he said, "Kou Zhong, you are definitely a natural talent. Probably nobody in this world could surpass you. These three saber strikes already contained send and restrain according to your intention. Now, even if I really want to kill you, I will have to spend a lot of effort. Come! Take a stab at me."
Lei Jiuzhi pressed the dice bowl down on the table. Staring at Xu Ziling, who was listening with rapt attention, he asked, "How many dots?"
"Ought to be one three dots and two five dots," Xu Ziling replied.
Lei Jiuzhi uncover the bowl, and said with a sigh, "You graduated!"
"Turns out it is that easy," Xu Ziling said.
Smiling wryly, Lei Jiuzhi said, "My Ling Da Shao [big young master]. Don't you know that even the 'Heavenly Lord' Xi Ying fell head first under your hands? Although the world is big, if you count the number of people who can be your match, I am afraid the number of fingers on one hand will be greater than that. With your martial art skill plus your natural talent, others might not be able to learn a skill in a lifetime, but you'll learn it in two sichen. When the boat stops at Badong, you may go ashore for your first real life test. Win some money to be used as our capital for the next stop."
Frowning, Xu Ziling asked, "Don't you have a huge sum of money on you?"
Pointing to his own head, Lei Jiuzhi said, "Lu Shi's two words, 'quit greed' are forever engraved in my head. Therefore, when the amount of silver in my bag already reached certain amount, I would distribute it to those in need, hence in my bag right now I only have about a dozen ingots of gold. In big casinos like the one in Jiujiang, this amount will not be enough."
"Are you planning on betting big as soon as we embark at Jiujiang?" Xu Ziling asked.
Lei Jiuzhi replied, "Jiujiang's Yin Ru Ge [lit. 'just because' pavilion] ranks number seven in the Top Ten Casinos in the world. They are the most famous casino in Chang Jiang region. The manager is a man called 'Du Gui' [gambling ghost] Zha Hai, a character with resounding reputation in Dulin [reminder: gambling forest, as opposed to Wulin (martial art forest)], who is also one of the Four Major Generals under Xiang Gui's command. If we can defeat him on the gambling table, even if Xiang Gui did not want to make personal appearance, he simply couldn't."
"Where's the number one then? I wonder if it has any relationship to the Xiang Family?" Xu Ziling asked.
Lei Jiuzhi replied, "The world's most famous casino is Ming Tang Wo [lit. bright hall nest] in Guanzhong, Chang'An, located next to the most famous pleasure house Shang Lin Yuan [lit. upper forest park]. The manager is the brilliant, famous 'Da Xian' [great immortal] Hu Fo, the Zhangmenren [headmaster] of Hu Xian Pai [lit. lake immortal sect], the most revered old castaway in gambling schools.
'Old castaway' was a Jianghu terminology, referring to people who cheated in gambling.
Puzzled, Xu Ziling asked, "Isn't Hu Xian a fox? If Hu Fo is clearly a cheater, who would want to go to his casino?"
Lei Jiuzhi said, "Being an old castaway was a matter of the past, when Hu Fo first made his debut. After making his fortune and establishing his reputation, twenty years ago Hu Fo publicly, using the whole pig and sheep, made offerings to the Lake Immortal, vowing that he would no longer cheat, and guaranteed that his casino would absolutely not tolerate any kind of cheating. Therefore, gambling in his Ming Tang Wo, you can feel reassured more than gambling in any other places."
"In that case," Xu Ziling said, "Hu Fo must not be Xiang Gui's man!"
Lei Jiuzhi said, "Not only there is no relationship, they are actually enemies. One time Xiang Gui sent his oldest son to Guanzhong to open a casino, but Hu Fo beat him on the gambling table until he abandoned his armor and dragged his spear and fled; his loss was disastrous. Therefore, if Xiang Gui wants to have a face off with me, I will designate Hu Da Xian's Ming Tang Wo of Chang'An as the meeting place, I think we'll enjoy the scenery. Ha!"
Smiling wryly, Xu Ziling said, "You, LaoGe knew that when Kou Zhong and I get to Chang'An, our presence will be brought out into the open immediately, simply because when we see the light, we will be dead. Besides, some of Li Shimin's men have already seen my current appearance; they might know that I, Xu Ziling, have arrived."
Lei Jiuzhi said, "Other than gambling technique and martial art skill, I still have disguising skill that I learned when I worked for Lu Shi. When the time comes, I will do my magic. Right now, the most important thing is not to let anybody know my relationship with the two of you. It's late! I won't stop Ling Shao from taking a rest anymore."
Kou Zhong lost count on how many saber strikes he had launched, but Song Que was still like high mountain lofty peak; although swept by the wind and battered by the rain, it was difficult to shake him even for a hairsbreadth.
However, Kou Zhong was unprecedentedly happy. An opponent as tyrannical as Song Que, it was only here he could find one.
Plus Song Que constantly giving him pointers, and each comment hit the target and did real damage [idiom]. In one night, he learned from Song Que as much as half a lifetime from other people.
Kou Zhong suddenly pulled his saber and retreated. Full of respect he said, "Thank you for Fazhu's directions. My future success is entirely bestowed by Fazhu tonight."
Song Que also returned his saber into its scabbard and said with a smile, "There is no need to speak nonsense between the two of us. It will be daybreak soon! Eat breakfast before you leave!"
Kou Zhong stared blankly for a moment before starting to follow Song Que leaving the Mo Dao Tang, a place he would never forget for as long as he lived.