Editor: Xu Xian
Chapter 32 One Move
Marshal Yang was very old, old enough to see past the illusions of the mortal world without needing any more profound wisdom. He had moved from the Central Plains to the Western Regions many years ago with the purpose of living in seclusion, but in the end he got caught up in a grudge he could not let go of.
His brother Yang Zheng, who was not too old, died under the sabre of a Golden Roc killer, so he had to take revenge. The Gu family, which he had close relations with, had been slaughtered, he must take revenge.
He had learnt all of his martial arts from the Gu family, it was time to return the favour.
He had spent a long time searching for a helper, but nobody wanted to oppose Unique King in the Western Regions, so he had to challenge him alone with a single sabre and spear. If he had continued waiting, the remaining life he had left might have lost it's spark.
It was only because he threatened to slaughter the people in Jade City that the monks from the Four Noble Truths Temple finally agreed to send him up the mountain. But they only walked him up the mountain, they had done it to save him from killing people and still wouldn’t enter Golden Roc Castle. Standing in front of the gate, he waited for a while but still couldn't see Unique King. The only people who came was a group of killers in black and a gang of innocent teenagers who stood far away.
“How many people like you do I have to kill before Unique King comes out?”
Marshal Yang asked. His voice sounded old and tired, it made the inquiry full of arrogance and disdain less impressive.
“You’re not qualified to see King Lord.” The killer Ye Sheng held his sabre, contempt clear on his face. He always had this attitude towards so-called martial artists.
“Am I not qualified to see him, or are you not qualified to answer my question?” Marshal Yang’s words were still aggressive, but his voice was kept soft, as if a timid old man was reciting what others had taught him.
Before his voice died away, the two of them exchanged a move. Marshal Yang just wanted to distract his opponent’s attention and didn’t actually care about the answer at all.
Marshal Yang’s speed was in stark contrast to his voice. Two figures interlocked with each other, the teenagers far away couldn't even tell who made the first move. In the end, the fight was already over before most people saw what had happened.
Usually, fights between masters were short, Gu Shenwei was already aware of this. But this time it was too short, he didn’t even have the time to worry about Marshal Yang before that tall old man returned to his original position. He coughed twice, which made it seem like he had no more strength to make a second attack.
The killer Ye Sheng held his narrow sabre high with his right hand, it had fallen to half of its original height and stopped close to Marshal Yang’s scalp. His left hand stuck out in a strange position, neither like a fist nor a palm. It looked as if he wanted to flip something, but changed his mind halfway and hadn't pulled it back in time.
This fight scene wasn't intense at all, the teenagers stared at each other, wanting an answer: Fought or not? Lost or won?
After a while, the answer revealed itself. The killer Ye Sheng collapsed with a crash, his posture had not changed, obviously he was already dead.
An unarmed old man killed a Golden Roc killer with only one move, the teenagers weren't excited anymore, their confidence had taken blow. Shangguan Fei muttered, “Idiot, why did you fight alone?”
Shangguan Ru furrowed her brows and glanced at Shangguan Yushi nearby. Usually, it was her cousin who answered her, but she was disappointed this time as Shangguan Yushi also seemed puzzled.
The teenagers of Golden Roc Castle had heard many legends about the killers, so it was difficult for them to accept the reality that a killer was so vulnerable.
This moment when others were depressed was the moment a surge of Gun Shenwei's emotions almost broke through his chest. He really wanted to take a stand and proudly tell everybody, “Look, that is balanced power, the unique skill of my Gu family.”
Even though at the time he didn't understand, he understood it clearly now. Marshal Yang must have practised balanced power, his internal energy was very powerful.
Gu Lun had once taught his young son the distinguishing characteristics of the family's inherited internal energy. Ordinary internal energy would either be rigid, with so much strength that the opponent wouldn't be able to bear it and would have to slowly retreat, step by step; or flexible and subtle, which imperceptibly damaged the enemy and only came into effect after a long time. Balanced power focused on both yin and yang energy, though it was very slow to practice, it combined all the good points of ordinary internal energy: the yang energy could kill the enemy immediately, the yin energy was stronger and could neutralise the forces bounced back. The enemy would stay still and bear more force.
Gu Lun had shown it personally with a wooden stake as the target. If the stake was hit with pure yang energy, it would be crushed into shards which flew everywhere; if it was hit with pure yin energy, the stake would stay still and, if one cut it, one would find that the inside of the stake was already broken. If both the yin and yang energy was used, the stake would be crushed, but the shards would fall down in place instead of flying off.
At the time, Gu Shenwei was just watching for fun, clapping his hands and sighing with admiration, but he didn’t take it seriously. Now, when he recalled it, he felt both sad and proud, this was the Gu family’s balanced power!
If fought in the open, even a Golden Roc killer was not a rival. Gu Shenwei had already recited the whole manual and would be as amazing as Marshal Yang sooner or later.
Unlike the teenagers, who were just babies and vulnerable to discouragement, the killers in black in front were already used to death and all stood callously. Another three killers walked out, they pulled out their sabres and approached their enemy from three directions.
Marshal Yang turned a blind eye to the danger, he turned and picked up his sabre from the weapon rack. Surprisingly, he exposed his back to the enemy.
The leftmost killer could not stand this ‘temptation’ and moved at a slightly faster pace, as a result, the consistent V-formation broke slightly.
A momentary flaw. Before one of the onlooking killer-in-blacks thought to remind him, Marshal Yang seized the opportunity. He drew his sabre, jumped a step back, and stabbed into the leftmost killer’s lower abdomen with a backhand.
The remaining two killers made another mistake by changing their course of action and taking the opportunity to attack.
Marshal Yang immediately leaped forward to his original position after he pierced the enemy’s body, which helped him not only avoid the two killers, but also place himself at the rightmost enemy’s flank.
Soon, 2 VS 1 became 1 VS 1. Although it was only a short moment of time, so short it might have only been enough for the teenagers far away to blink, it was enough for Marshal Yang to move his sabre and kill one more person.
One mistake after another, after the third killer found that only he himself was left alive, he hesitated. In front is a deadly enemy who can kill with just one move, behind is line of partners who are ready to fight, if……
He was only able to think so far, Death had gripped him in its hands the moment fear arose in his heart.
In a moment's time, Marshal Yang had killed three people in a row, his body suddenly seemed to be several times taller. But once his enemies fell, he reverted back to the old man with a pale beard and hair who seemed to have difficulty even in holding his sabre.
The onlooking teenagers began to become restless, this was not the scene of complete victory they had imagined about the Golden Roc killers.
But Gu Shenwei was chilled with fear when looking at it. Marshal Yang’s every move really was the Gu family’s sabresmanship, but the way it was used was very different from what he had learnt when he was little. Marshal Yang seemed to simply have … no method. He attacked based completely on the enemy’s flaws and moments of negligence, a forehand grip could be turned into a backhand when needed, cutting to the right may switch to chopping to the left. Even one who was most familiar with the Gu family’s sabresmanship would find it impossible to defend effectively against Marshal Yang.
This Marshal Yang, whom he had never heard about before, was surprisingly much more powerful than his father Gu Lun when he was still alive. From whom he had learnt kung fu from?
Gu Shenwei kept the killing scenes stored carefully in his mind, he had a whole new understanding of his family's inherited kung fu as well as all the kung fu he had learnt in the past couple months.
Another five killers-in-black walked out, behind Marshal Yang were the two monks and the stone beam so the attackers could only form a half circle. The killers were very clear that five was the maximum number of people that would not affect one’s performance, even one more person would be a hindrance.
The 5 killers proceeded slowly, each step they took was very cautious, as if the enemy was within arms reach. They had learnt their lesson, no one advanced rashly even when Marshal Yang turned his back, leisurely dropped his sabre, and picked up his long spear.
Gu Shenwei’s master Yang Zheng always vigilantly stood up straight when holding the spear, but his brother Marshal Yang was different. With one end of the long spear touching the ground, he held it casually in his right hand, like an old man holding a crutch that was too long.
Now, no one would look down on this old man and the weapon in his hand.
The five killers' steps became slower and slower, they stopped at the same time when they were seven or eight steps away from Marshal Yang. They had reached the edge of the attack range of the spear, and would either quickly deal a life or death blow, or wait for their enemy to take the initiative and attack someone so the rest of them could take advantage of the situation to strike where the enemy was unprepared. In short, they could not use their shortcomings to fight against their enemy’s strong points.
Nobody noticed when the snow in the sky stopped falling, everyone held their breath, especially the teenagers at the gate. Compared to a real master, the kung fu skills they had learnt, even those with the best kung fu skills amongst them, were nothing but showy and impractical skills. But in this moment, even someone who knew nothing about kung fu could feel the thick, heavy murderous aura.
But they couldn’t tell where the murderous aura came from, was it from Marshal Yang who stood holding the spear, or the five killers whose muscles tautened tightly?
If the enemy doesn’t expose his flaws by himself, a real master has the ability to create flaws, his father’s words appeared in Gu Shenwei’s mind again. He didn’t take the advice seriously at the time, but he also didn’t expect these words to already be branded deep in his heart.
The kung fu Marshal Yang had learnt was the Gu family’s inherited martial arts, it may have some minor differences from Gu Lun's, but the strategy was the same, and he was a real high-level master.
Without any warning, Marshal Yang exclaimed suddenly, the sound was deep and vast, like a few lions' roaring. The teenagers who watched from afar all felt their bodies tremble, the ringing in their ears didn’t die out for a long time..
The weakest one amongst the five killers got distracted, his body appeared to be pulled by some large force and involuntarily moved half a step forward.
The flaw had appeared.
The long spear shot out like lightning.
The Gu family’s old servant Yang Zheng used the spear like a meticulously precise master craftsman, he would do each shot accurately. People would see it clearly but could not escape. For the same stab, Marshal Yang’s style was the complete opposite, they were like ghosts, like dragons, erratic and unpredictable, sharp and irresistible.
One shot, two shot……
For each stab, one person would die. Five stabs were like one stab, Marshal Yang had pulled his spear back and returned to his original position in less than a moment. He was short of breath, as if these simple moves had used up all of his strength.
In the eyes of outsiders, the old man may be deliberately doing this to deceive the enemy, Gu Shenwei knew that Marshal Yang’s fatigue was real. Yang Zheng had reminded him numerous times whilst urging him to practice spearsmanship: practising stabbing would be in vain if one could not use more than 80% of his full strength when stabbing.
Yang Zheng had practised hard for many years, but he had still practised stabbing everyday and he would rest after five or six stabs. Marshal Yang had fought three battles in a row, though he had killed his enemies with only one move, he had wasted power.
But the others didn’t know this. Marshal Yang, who appeared to look very old after each kill, had become a tall mountain which was impossible to surpass in their eyes. There were still more than 10 killers left, but all of them had lost their will to fight.
Marshal Yang calmed down his breathing, raised his head and, like a stubborn old teacher teaching his disciples who couldn’t get the point, slowly said:
“To kill, you have to have a truly murderous heart.”
This was the problem. The killers had already lost their murderous heart, if Golden Roc Castle wanted to redeem their defeat, they had to send out more powerful figures.