Book 19 Chapter 12 – Bloody Battle Outside The City Gate
Maintaining her usual calm and cold confidence, her jade countenance did not reveal the slightest change due to the gradually resounding, growing faster and more intensive hoof beats, Wanwan spoke indifferently, “As long as you agree to let us take something from the ‘Duke Yang’s Treasure’ first, we can temporarily negotiate peace and cease the battle.”
After exchanging glance with Xu Ziling, Kou Zhong said with a frown, “What exactly is so important? Can you explain clearly, so that we can consider it carefully?”
Revealing a flirtatious and captivating expression, Wanwan hunched her shoulders and narrowed her eyes as she looked at Kou Zhong and said, “It could be a box, or a small chest, but definitely has nothing to do with wealth or weaponry. As for what’s inside, please forgive nujia for not disclosing it. In any case, it will be completely useless for you.”
Kou Zhong smiled wryly and said, “Please don’t use that kind of gaze and expression to tease Xiaodi, all right? If you provoked Xiaodi’s misunderstanding, that would not be good, because Xiaodi have always liked to imagine that my love is reciprocated.”
The hoof beats suddenly stopped outside the city gate. The sudden silence was as depressing as the heavy atmosphere before the rain fell on the mountain.
Kou Zhong spoke to Xu Ziling, “This business deal doesn’t seem to bring us any harm. Even though we still have deep hatred and great enmity, we could always haggle over it after the ‘Duke Yang’s Treasure’ is obtained.” He secretly kicked Xu Ziling’s leg under the table.
Naturally Xu Ziling understood what he meant.
With each passing day, their confidence is resisting Yin Gui Pai also increased by a notch. But if at the moment they disagreed and broke into a fight, they could only end up failing and being wiped over the floor.
Sighing, Xu Ziling spoke in a heavy voice, “Let’s do whatever you think is best!”
Kou Zhong laughed aloud and said, “It’s a deal! But if you eat your own words and rush indiscriminately into a fight, this deal is void.”
The hoof beats rose up again. When the horses galloped across the suspension bridge over the moat, the sound was like the rumbling of thunder. Several dozen of riders appeared from the city gate. They all rode slowly, in cautious and solemn manner.
As if she was completely unaware of Khitan horse-mounted bandits entering the city, Wanwan stretched out her delicate hand, showing her bent little finger, and spoke in gentle, charming voice, “In that case, let us hook our fingers to make an oath, whoever go back on this deal, let him not have a good death.”
Kou Zhong craned his neck to scrutinize her lily-white hand, which was fairer than the snow; full of suspicion, he said, “No crafty plots and machinations, right?”
The enemy coming into the city was only about a hundred or so. The vanguard quickly spread out on both sides of the long main street, they looked quizzically at the three people, men and woman, sitting around the table full of food and wine, set in the middle of the street, chatting and laughing. It was obvious from their expression that even in their dream, they had never expected to see such a scene inside the city.
Wanwan angrily said, “Gutless ghost! In vain I regarded you as a man whom I might fall in love with.”
Giggling, Kou Zhong also stretched out his little finger and hooked it with hers.
The sound of hoof beats arose again, like an arrow more than a dozen riders rushed into the city straight toward the three people, and reined their horses to complete stop at about ten zhang away from the table, and arranged themselves in a row.
The warhorses skipped over and neighed wildly. More than a dozen pair of vicious and harsh eyes were trained on the three people, none did not show bewildered and uncertain expression.
Hooking her finger with Kou Zhong, Wanwan pulled it three times, and then said with a tender laughter, “Oh Kou Lang [young man]! Don’t you dare going back on this deal! Otherwise nujia will never let you off!”
When her words fell on these unsuspecting strangers’ ears, they certainly thought that these people were pledging their unchanging love to each other.
The bandits’ leader was a ferocious looking big man with a full-bearded face, a pair of hatchets hanging on his back, his clothes were animal skin and black leather, his imposing manner was oppressive.
To his left was a Han man, about fifty years of age, with grave and stern countenance, his eyes shot spirited light; it was evident at a glance that he must be a martial art master with strong internal power.
The other men had fierce and malicious countenance, big and sturdy, robust Khitan men. Their bare arms either had arm protector, or iron hoops on their wrists, enhancing the imposing and ferocious air around them.
Pulling back his little finger, Kou Zhong’s gaze, which were shining with sharp rays, fell onto the big Khitan man with a pair of hatchets on his back, who was riding high on his horse; he shouted, “You, the tall guy, are you Ku Ge of Khitan?”
‘Qiang! Qiang!’ There was an unending ringing as the bandits, except the old Han man and Ku Ge, more than a hundred men drew all kinds of weapons at the same time, striking a posture that they were about to attack, ready to pounce.
The old man leaned close to Ku Ge and spoke a few words. Ku Ge then signaled with his hand, stopping his men from rushing indiscriminately into action. Only after everyone calmed down did he shout, “Since you know my name, Ku Ge, yet still dare to sit here whispering sweet nothings to one another, speaking about wind, flower, snow and moon [i.e. trite poetry subject], you must be tired of living.”
His Han speech was dry and heavy, and stiff, yet he loved to bite words and chew characters [i.e. meticulous in his choice of words], it was quite laughable.
Kou Zhong leaned back comfortably into his chair while shot him a sideways glance and said, “Laoxiong, you are right. Since we know what kind of character you are, yet still dare to sit here having a drinking party, waiting respectfully for your honorable self’s arrival, naturally it is not because we are tired of living!”
Seeing him making an eye with her as he spoke, “Pft!” Wanwan burst into tender giggle and stood gracefully. Turning around her tender body, she faced the bunch of bandits, who were dumbstruck to suddenly come face-to-face with her beauty. And then with a sweet smile she said, “I am just a guest who was passing through. You want to fight, whether death or alive, it has nothing to do with me. Nujia is leaving!”
Kou Zhong and Xu Ziling knew she was going to make a kill; they weren’t sure if they should be happy or ought to be resentful.
Severely shaken, Ku Ge asked, “May I ask where is Beauty going?”
Momentarily caught off guard by the peerless beauty, he was completely in awe and unexpectedly spoke such refined and courteous sentence, which was totally incongruous with his previous style.
Wanwan moved behind Kou Zhong and Xu Ziling, making the two boys so scared and on edge, before she regained her smiling expression and returned to her usual ice-cold demeanor. Her eyes shot at the old man, as she spoke gently, “This Qianbei [Senior] must be Mi Fang, Mi Laoshi [teacher], whose appellation is the Wolf King, who ran amuck in the northeast region? Lately you vanished from the Central Plains, who could have thought that unexpectedly you take refuge among the Khitans.”
Mi Fang’s countenance changed; he said, “Which Sect’s disciple are you, unexpectedly you know Ol’ Mi’s background.”
Letting out a long laugh, Kou Zhong said, “Old man Mi, sit tight, this Da Xiaojie’s venerable master is … hey! Pardon me!”
Wanwan withdrew the Tianmo-power poised to attack him, and then she unhurriedly said, “Now that’s an obedient child!”
Ku Ge and the others looked at each other; even after racking their brains, they could not figure out the relationship among these three people.
Xu Ziling impatiently said, “Miss, aren’t you going to leave?”
Wanwan suddenly moved to the front, as if she was about to pass through between Ku Ge and Mi Fang’s horses, floating toward the city gate.
Kou Zhong blurted out, “Would you please close the city gate on your way out?”
Ku Ge let out a long laughter and said, “Beauty wants to leave? It’s not that easy!”
But Mi Fang showed a grave expression; without blinking he stared at Wanwan’s bare feet.
The two riders on his left and right suddenly rushed out and closed in to intercept her.
These Khitan men grew up on horseback; every one of them had consummate skill in equestrianism. Capturing people from horseback was a cheap trick for them.
Only Kou Zhong and Xu Ziling were familiar with Wanwan’s ruthlessness; they could not bear to watch.
Naturally they would not stop her either. Every one of these horse-mounted bandits has committed multifarious evil, even death cannot wipe out their crimes, not a single one.
Meanwhile four riders were getting closer and closer; the crowd of bandits cheered in chorus to boost the morale of their brothers. Their shouts shook the long street.
From the city gate several dozen riders came pouring in; they were curious and came inside to watch the show.
Suddenly the two riders on the left and right closest to Wanwan reined their horses. The warhorses immediately reared; high in the air, their front legs were kicking randomly this way and that.
The other two riders sped up and joined the fray; their horsemanship was exquisite, their coordination was amazing, making others sigh in admiration.
Wanwan appeared to be completely unable to resist, as the two horses came together in a pincer attack.
By the time the other two horses’ legs landed back on the ground, suddenly the riders screamed the horses neighed. Pressed from both sides, the two steeds were thrown outside like a collapsing mountain, falling pillars. The riders, who were incomparably dauntless Khitan warriors, were completely helpless to resist; as if their bodies were devoid of any bones, they both, together with their horses, fell to the side.
Even with Kou Zhong and Xu Ziling’s brilliant eyesight, they still could not see clearly what technique Wanwan was using.
‘Bang!’ The horses landed on the ground, the dust rose up. Without moving further, they all died on the spot.
Wanwan has effortlessly lifted up the two men, casually tossed them so that they heavily knocked against the head of the other two riders’ horses.
The crowd of bandits was dumbstruck with this sudden change. While they were at a loss of what to do, as if they were struck by lightning, the two warriors on the horseback fell down, with all seven orifices spurting blood. On the contrary, the horses were completely uninjured.
The two warriors that were thrown also fell to the ground; fresh blood flowed from their eyes, ears, mouth and nose.
Such an overbearing skill, even Ku Ge and Mi Fang’s countenance changed greatly.
Ku Ge was the first to regain his composure. “Kill them!” he thundered angrily.
The crowd of bandits urged their horses to charge forward.
Looking back at the two boys, Wanwan laughed and said, “I’ll see you again in Guanzhong!”
Two streams of ribbons flew out of her sleeves like butterflies, intercepting the charging cavalry that the bandits were thrown backward and their formation was crushed; unexpectedly no one was able to stop her even for a short period of time.
Watching Wanwan charging into the enemy formation, opening a bloody path toward the city gate, Kou Zhong said in shock, “How did she know the ‘Duke Yang’s Treasure’ is in Guanzhong?”
Xu Ziling pushed the edge of the table with both palms. The entire tabletop left its legs and flew up, spinning toward the dozen or so bandits on horseback attacking them; he shouted, “I am not the worm inside her belly; how would I know?”
The tabletop was spinning faster and faster, but the food and drink, bowls and plates, were like stuck to the surface that they spun together with the tabletop, not even half a cup spilled out.
Just a split second before the tabletop spun, Kou Zhong casually picked up a bottle of wine. This moment, while biting the cork off the bottle, he mumbled, “The time to repay our fellow citizens’ blood debt has arrived!”
Two miserable screams. The tabletop knocked two bandits off their horses and threw them away and down to the ground. The warhorses were startled and charged sideways, so that the bandits were thrown into confusion.
Applying his internal power Kou Zhong spat the cork in his mouth. It flew and struck the face of a bandit charging toward him. The bandit fell backward from his horse. Kou Zhong kicked a table leg, and another bandit was knocked over.
He was still sitting comfortably on his chair; lifting the wine bottle in his left hand, he drank his fill. With his other hand he pulled the Moon in the Well, and then carelessly, without even looking, swept it across.
A Khitan overbearing fiend, who was stooping down to pierce him with a spear, was swept over; both the man and the spear were thrown to the ground, his head split and his blood flowed without being able to even groan. Losing its rider, the horse continued galloping toward the empty and wide long street on Kou Zhong’s right rear side.
The tabletop lost its momentum and fell down.
Two charging bandits were struck by Xu Ziling’s splitting-the-air palm strike that they spurted blood and fell off their horses. One of the horses was still running toward Xu Ziling. He diverted his force and slapped the horse’s head with the back of his palm. By lucky coincidence the horse changed direction and galloped pass two enemies charging toward him.
Kou Zhong laughed aloud and said, “It is fun! It is fun!”
The battle was in full swing.
In the meantime, Wanwan was attacking the enemy outside the gate, and thus drawing the enemy’s main force.
Kou Zhong let out a long whistle.
Chen Jiafeng and his men, who were waiting in ambush on top of the city gate, released arrows using crossbows through the battlements on the city wall. From their higher elevation, they had clear shot toward the enemy; they also threw down lighted firecrackers, so that momentarily there was continuous ‘Crash! Bang!’ noise that scared the warhorses, sending them fleeing in all direction.
In this total chaos, naturally the bandits could not tell that there were only fifty people acting behind the scenes, driving them to insanity; they thought that they had fallen into an ambush, and hence their heart was in great confusion.
Kou Zhong bent his body at the waist and pounced forward. His left hand unleashed the Cutting-Meridian Technique taught by Tu Shufang, to grab a piercing spear. Applying his power, he sent out a spiraling qi, jolting the enemy off his horse.
‘Whoosh!’ His right hand swept the saber across the enemy’s rank. And then using the ‘listening to the wind to differentiate the sound’ skill, he flashed forward to evade an arrow shooting from behind. His movement flowed so smoothly that he himself was extremely pleased.
He was not new to the battlefield; on the contrary, he was an old hand, having a deep understanding that in a melee like this, the thing he had to avoid the most was fancy move and empty style, while the most important thing was speed and accuracy, by all means, he had to try to kill the enemy in one move.
Suddenly a strong gust of wind came from his left side, Kou Zhong recognized it as Ku Ge’s pair of hatchets. Laughing aloud, he said, “Ge Laoxiong, has your beauty slipped away? Has the scabies toad failed to eat the swan’s flesh? Such a profound sentence, I wonder if you’d understand? Do you want me to explain it in simple terms for you?”
Although his mouth was spewing his forte, frigid irony and scorching satire, to the greatest extent, his hands were not idle; he met the enemy’s double hatchets attacking from the horseback. Amidst continuous ringing his saber hacked with full strength, shaking Ku Ge’s wrists that they went numb, forcing him to have no choice but to pull his horse back to evade.
Kou Zhong’s right leg flew up, kicking the foot of another bandit on the stirrup. The violent and ferocious force unexpectedly sent that man up into the air. Kou Zhong added a long-distance punch to it, and the unfortunate man was like being struck by lightning; blood splashed as he was thrown about a zhang away.
Such formidable power scared the several other enemies attacking him that they scattered everywhere trying to escape.
Xu Ziling also unleashed his divine prowess. His palms opening up and closing in, sending gusts of wind from his palms and fists, combined with exquisite and profound technique that he developed right then and there, just like the opponents’ sabers, spears, swords and halberds as nothing. When the lance attacked, he broke the lance, the spear attacked, he broke the spear, as if everything was swept by a gale.
Because the hundred or so enemies inside the city gate were being held up by the two boys, while Chen Jiafeng and his men were also successful in following the battle plan by holding up the enemies on the suspension bridge, the enemies were cut into two groups. The group outside could not go in to provide assistance, the group inside could not get out without facing the arrows.
The ‘Wolf King’ Mi Fang’s weapon was a wolf-teeth mace, which was the origin of his nickname.
He first realized that riding on a horse actually limited his flexibility, hence he made a somersault and flew overhead Xu Ziling, attacking him with a killer move. Like the wind or a thunder bursting forth, the wolf-teeth mace swept down on Xu Ziling’s head.
Xu Ziling stretched out his finger to touch the wolf-teeth mace, sending out a violent spiraling energy. Mi Fang let out a muffled grunt as he was jolted into another somersault, and unexpectedly flew five more zhang upwards.
“Zhong Shao!” Xu Ziling called loudly, “This old fellow is yours!”
Kou Zhong shouted his acknowledgement, while forcing five bandits surrounding him to back off. The Moon in the Well turned into yellow rainbow, and slashed at an angle; like an arrow it shot toward Mi Fang, who was still flying in the air.
By this time, separating the city gate from the spot where the two boys were being besieged was only a several-dozen-paces-long section of the long street, which was already strewn with seventy, eighty dead and wounded enemies. At least half of those casualties were the handiwork of Wanwan’s delicate hands, who had already disappeared without a trace. The rest were either hit by the arrows, or were killed by Kou Zhong and Xu Ziling. From this, the intensity of the battle could clearly be seen.
Under the illumination of the raging flame, the long street seemed to become the underworld of the Asura [malevolent spirits in Indian mythology].
Seeing the far-from-good situation of his side, Ku Ge called out loudly, “Mi Gong, be careful!”
He was about to leap high to intercept, Xu Ziling already darted from an angle and delivered a punch.
Ku Ge’s mind was thrown into great disorder. For the first time he had a feeling that in this jumbled battle, his side has been defeated into a total mess.