Book 20 Chapter 9 – Utterly Vicious Extremely Evil
Wearing nightwalker outfit, Kou Zhong hid on the top of an ancient towering tree, watching for any activity at the Zongguan Mansion from a distance.
From this point of view, if anybody was escaping from the Mansion, that person absolutely would not escape his sharp eyes.
All the trees in the Mansion were comparably shorter than the tree he was on, they did not obstruct his line of sight at all.
The search operation was still going on like wildfire, torches and lanterns projected their light to the sky, making it as bright as day.
And then silence descended, apparently their work was to no avail.
Kou Zhong was greatly disappointed.
The reason he was so confident that Yang Xuyan was still inside the Mansion was that Yang Xuyan must be aware that he had suffered internal injury, only he must not have guessed that Kou Zhong would be able to recover that quickly. Therefore, reasonably speaking, he would seize this golden opportunity to attempt the assassination for the second time.
Another strong reason that after fighting hand-to-hand with Kou Zhong twice, Yang Xuyan must have had clear understanding that within this short period of time, Kou Zhong’s power has advanced boldly. Even if he was an expert in using his weapon, it would still be difficult for him to succeed easily. If it were someone else, he would definitely rush to slaughter Kou Zhong before he would be incapable to subdue him; the earlier the better.
Even harder to come by, Kou Zhong was protecting his people, hence he had no choice by to stay nicely inside the Mansion.
But Kou Zhong was mistaken.
The torches, lanterns, in the Zongguan Mansion went off one by one, from busy it returned to quiet.
Kou Zhong sighed inwardly. He was about to leave, suddenly he heard a gust of wind from behind.
He quickly looked back, and saw a dark shadow came at an incredible speed from the back of the roof ridge of a nearby building, darting toward his big tree.
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The sound of footsteps could be heard clearly, coupled with the startled bats flapping their wings. All kinds of noise hit the cave wall and reverberated everywhere, making the atmosphere even graver.
Xu Ziling could not help feeling strange, because the footsteps sounded sluggish and heavy. And then he had a sudden understanding. Just now these four were fighting over the fake ‘Demonic Emperor’s Relic’; the fighting must be intense, with nobody willing to yield to another, so much so that none of them did not suffer injury.
He also thought that Shi Qingxuan was both wise and brave; planning first, execute later. First she used the fake Relic to weaken the four people’s strength, and then lured them into this cave to wipe them out. Worst case scenario, she would die while they perished.
He was only wondering: was the mechanism in this cave designed and built by Lu Miaozi?
Sudden gust of wind; the four people appeared in the cave, leaving only a two zhang distance between them and Xu Ziling. Every one of them looked suspicious; evidently they knew this was not a good place. Xu Ziling quickly donned the Yue Shan mask again.
Lowering his voice, Ding Jiuzhong said, “I have a very ominous feeling, we’d better withdraw first and think of another way.”
You Niaojuan, who was pricking his ears to listen carefully to the enemy’s whereabouts, laughed coldly and said, “Don’t play trick, you just want to deceive us to leave first, and then you’ll pounce back in to capture her! Humph!”
Ding Jiuzhong was too angry to retort.
Jin Huazhen said, “That little s1ut must be hiding nearby; let’s spread out to find her.”
You Niaojuan hatefully said, “Don’t even think that I will believe you, this wh0r3; if you succeeded, do you think you will wait for me?”
Zhou Laotan angrily said, “You believe, fine, you don’t believe, fine. There are danger lurking on every side in this cave, if we don’t work with a common purpose, you will die and rot thoroughly without even knowing what’s going on. Just look at these ghost bats; they say that they are nocturnal, and now it is night, how come they are still here? Something is really strange here.”
Ding Jiuzhong said, “Fortunately we heard the noise they made because they were startled, otherwise the little s1ut would escape from the other exits and we are still in the dark.”
Before he even finished, a burst of flapping bats’ wings rose up from the direction of the cave Shi Qingxuan entered just now.
Instantly the four made their move; they bolted toward the cave entrance. Most of the bats hanging on the cave ceiling were startled and scattered in all directions, following their circling and gliding flight path, densely packed, flying wildly around the cave, yet not two of them clashing against each other. Under the dim, strange colored light inside the cave, it was such an impressive sight, and those who saw it had their hair stood on its end.
Lightning fast, Xu Ziling swept out. Under cover of the sound of the flapping wings, he silently launched palm strike toward Ding Jiuzhong, who was walking at the rear. Everywhere he moved, the swarm of flying bats indeed avoided him.
He curbed his palm strength and did not unleash it at once, and then when his right palm was only about three cun away from the opponent’s back, he started to violently release his true power.
On the surface, his palm strike seemed to be so strong that even the Jade Emperor himself would breathe his last.
But Xu Ziling was well aware that it was not so.
When his palm was only about a cun away from the middle of this Emperor’s back, the opponent reacted; he flashed slightly to the left, evading the attack to the vital acupoint on his back, so that Xu Ziling’s strike fell on his right shoulder blade.
Based on Xu Ziling’s current skill, because the opponent received the strike first, no matter what, the shoulder blade would have been shattered by the attack; who would have thought that the instant Xu Ziling’s palm touched his clothes, somehow, in a way that was hard to believe, Ding Jiuzhong’s entire shoulder blade, along with his arm, suddenly ‘collapsed’ into his thorax cavity, while at the same time he generated a powerful opposing force, which neutralized most of Xu Ziling’s palm power.
Ding Jiuzhong let out a miserable grunt and staggered forward, but his leg flew backward toward Xu Ziling’s genitalia. The counterattack was fierce, violent, fast and nimble; it was completely beyond Xu Ziling’s expectation.
You Niaojuan and the others looked back and saw the two were already engaged in close combat. Unexpectedly Jin Huanzhen laughed tenderly and said, “Let Da Di deal with this man!”
Just like that, the three continued moving forward; they was not even interested in giving the two half a glance.
After wiping his cold sweat, Xu Ziling bent his knees to meet Ding Jiuzhong’s backward kick; with great delight he decided to meet force with force. Like a torrential flash flood his vortex of power attacked this demonic man, who had been abandoned by his companions.
It was only this moment that he realized why Shi Qingxuan had the intention of sacrificing herself to perish together with the enemies; because these four demonic people were indeed too formidable. Even under such a favorable situation, killing Ding Jiuzhong was still so difficult.
Ding Jiuzhong fell facedown forward, while spurting a mouthful of fresh blood. Knowing his own fist and kick skill could not match the enemy’s reaching-perfection skill, Xu Ziling pursued closely; the edge of his palm chopped horizontally across to strike the Zhenyao acupoint on Ding Jiuzhong’s back. [Translator’s note: there are several missing/gibberish characters here, this part might not be translated properly.]
Ding Jiuzhong rolled on the ground, with the intention of turning around … [again, missing/gibberish characters] This demonic man let out a howl, his face turned blood-red, and then opening his mouth, he spurted out a column of blood, straight toward the pit of Xu Ziling’s stomach. Unexpectedly, although he moved later, his attack arrived first.
This was the first time that Xu Ziling encountered such a desperate consummate demonic skill.
Xu Ziling realized that if he was unable to deal with this situation as quickly as possible, he would not be able to help Shi Qingxuan dealing with the other three vicious people, including You Niaojuan, whose skill was the strongest. And if he dodged the attack, he would give the opponent the opportunity to take a breather and pulled his weapon, and then Xu Ziling would have to waste a lot of time to take care of him. Therefore, he decided to take a risk.
This moment he threw his entire body forward, and rolled to the right side in an unexpected move, and then using the tip of his toes to support his entire weight, he bent his body in bow shape. When the arrow of blood flew past, missing his chest by only a hairbreadth, he suddenly rolled back to return to his previous offensive stance to continue his attack, only his entire body suddenly twisted down.
With continuous squeaks, dozens of bats were hit by the arrow of blood; all had their bones crushed and their wings broken, and fell like rain on the cave bed.
Ding Jiuzhong had never expected that the enemy would have such an astonishing and strange move; not only he could generate power from his feet to firmly sucked the ground as he suddenly flipped over sideways that he was also able to evade the attack that Ding Jiuzhong was so sure would kill him, he was also able to return to his original stance and continue the attack, so that although Ding Jiuzhong had thousands and hundreds demonic skill and secret moves, he did not have time to unleash them.
The edge of Xu Ziling’s palm, like a lightning, hacked his forehead, while Xu Ziling himself flew over him and went deep into the cave.
The back of Ding Jiuzhong’s head crashed heavily against the ground, and he died on the spot; the emperor crown fell off his hat and rolled to the side.
There is indeed only a little difference between life and death.
Although the nightwalker flying over toward him was wearing hood over his head, but even if he turned into ashes, Kou Zhong would still recognize him, the unstoppable ‘Shadow Assassin’ Yang Xuyan, who, everybody who heard his name would have their countenance change.
This moment Kou Zhong did not have time to think whether he would be the first person ever who tried to assassinate Yang Xuyan. Hurriedly he restrained everything that could incite the opponent’s alertness: stopping his breathing from mouth and nose, and sealing his pores, and opening his eyes only a slit, as he watched through the gaps among the thick leaves and branches, to calculate where and when Yang Xuyan would land his feet.
Because this tree was about seventeen, eighteen zhang tall, no matter how brilliant Yang Xuyan’s qinggong was, if he soared from the rooftop of a building only two zhang tall, plus he had to traverse the nearly four zhang of distance, he would have to land on a horizontal branch somewhere in the middle of the tree, and then climbed to the treetop in order to be able to observe the situation inside the Zongguan Mansion.
In that split second, countless ways to launch surprise attack flashed through his mind, but in the end he decided to quietly wait for the opponent to climb up, and then he would attack with all his strength from his hiding place, to kill him while he had no time to deal with it.
Suddenly he heard strange noise, Yang Xuyan’s left hand produced an upside down sharp awl, which, fast as lightning, was shooting toward the sole of his feet. By the time Kou Zhong saw it and was shocked, the sharp awl was separated from his feet by only about five chi of tree trunk, with the rope at the tail of the awl, which was only a bit thicker than natural silk, completely taut.
Yang Xuyan changed direction; he soared at an angle toward Kou Zhong’s feet.
Without even thinking, the Moon in the Well, which has been at the ready by his side, swiftly chopped down; the blade contacted the tail of the awl.
As if he was struck by lightning, Yang Xuyan was hit by Kou Zhong’s spiraling energy, transmitted via the rope, straight into the pit of his stomach that he spurted a mouthful of blood, and was thrown outward.
The rope disintegrated into cun-long fragments.
Seeing his sneak attack succeeded, Kou Zhong was not willing to let this one-in-a-thousand golden opportunity off. Abruptly raising a mouthful of true qi, he glided down from the top of the tree like a swimming fish, to pursue Yang Xuyan, who was continuously rolling down in the air.
But Yang Xuyan was indeed worthy to be called a martial art master whose name was feared all around the world. When he was still about two zhang away from the dark pavement of the street, he already regained his balance, and applied his qi to accelerate his fall, hence he dodged Kou Zhong’s saber, which ought to kill him, by only a hairbreadth.
One after another the two landed on the quiet, deserted long street by the Zongguan Mansion, while the saber and the sword collided.
Yang Xuyan raised his sleeve to wipe the blood from the corner of his lips, revealing a pair of flashing eyes from behind the hood. “Kou Xiong’s move this time is really clever; unexpectedly this is the first time that Ol’ Yang sustain an injury in action. You can be very proud of yourself!” he said hatefully.
Kou Zhong giggled and said, “Yang Xiong is the extraordinary one; receiving Xiaodi’s full-strength strike, you are still able to stand as steady as Mount Tai, with no gap to be exploited. But if you don’t look for a secret place that no one can find to heal your injury, quite possibly your power will be drastically reduced, and the next time you are doing your assassination job, it might not be as glorious.”
Yang Xuyan laughed involuntarily and said, “Thank you for Kou Xiong’s concern, but Xiaodi thinks that Kou Xiong is only displaying a shadow; how could you be willing to let this golden opportunity slip by? I have no choice but to accompany Kou Xiong. En garde!”
Finished speaking, he pressed on three steps with raised sword; a thick and strong sword qi rushed forth violently.
Kou Zhong did not expect that after receiving such injury, he would still be this dauntless.
He wanted to gain the initiative by striking first, but inwardly he could not help praising him, knowing that this dreadful adversary was hoping to gain control of the situation before his injury flared out. Naturally it would be ideal if he could do this in the shortest possible time, and then when necessary, getting away would be relatively easier.
With raised eyebrows, Kou Zhong lifted the Moon in the Well, without even blinking his tiger-eyes stared at the opponent, and he said with a cold laugh, “If Yang Xiong forced yourself to attack and suffered defeat, next year tonight will be the anniversary of your death.”
Yang Xuyan replied indifferently, “Kou Xiong overestimates yourself too much.”
With a low shout, his sword stabbed swiftly forward.
Kou Zhong moved his saber to block, while mockingly said, “Turns out Yang Xiong’s injury is more serious than I thought; unexpectedly you failed to display your signature shadow sword technique.”
Yang Xuyan parried the wave after wave of spiraling energy coming from the blade of Kou Zhong’s saber; smiling, he said, “Not shadow sword technique, its Phantom Sword Technique. Look closely!”
Sweeping the sword across, he pushed the saber, jolting Kou Zhong three steps back. And then his sword momentum flared out, turning into sword shadows and dots of sharp light filling the air, and suffocating energy and qi, carrying overbearing might with the power of thunder strike and lightning bolt, rolling wildly straight toward Kou Zhong.
The instant he was shaken and was pushed back, Kou Zhong knew the situation was very bad; this man had a very strong foundation, he had indeed reached the beyond-belief stage, unexpectedly he was able to suppress his injury and still had enough power to launch a storming offensive. Once Kou Zhong made the slightest mistake, he might have his boat capsize in the sewer [fig. meet with unexpected failure], even losing his life.
With no strategy left to try, Kou Zhong could only rely on his real skill to save his life; he slammed into the opponent’s sword rays, by meeting attack with attack, unleashing the desperate move of staking everything in that one attack, to trigger the opponent’s injury to flare out and kill the enemy in one stroke, to engage the enemy and seal his escape route.
Momentarily aura of death filled the atmosphere, saber rays and sword shadows completely shrouded the two combatants, not a single move was not extremely ruthless, blood might splash at every turn.
The sound of saber and sword and power and qi clashing against each other was like the sound of a string of firecrackers exploded continuously.
The moment saber and sword clashed, sparks flew. Each one dodging the enemy only by a hairsbreadth. Speed against speed. There was not the least bit of cheap trick.
Noises started to rise from the Zongguan Mansion, evidently Kou Zhong’s men had heard the sound of the hard fighting and were rushing over.
From the nearby buildings came the continuous sound of windows being pushed open. The fighting has awakened the sleeping inhabitants.
The situation suddenly changed.
Even though he was going all out, Kou Zhong was still unable to evade Yang Xuyan’s divine strokes; he was forced to withdraw five steps back by his thunderbolt, lightning-flashed sword.
While inwardly crying, ‘Bad!’ Yang Xuyan suddenly flashed backward, let out a long laugh, and said, “Today Kou Xiong has shown favor; someday Xiaodi will definitely repay.”
Looking at the speed he was retreating, Kou Zhong knew he was unable to pursue, hence he returned the saber to its scabbard, cupped his fist, and said, “Please send my greetings to Xiao Nini, toward her, Xiaodi has undying gratitude [orig. hard to forget even after one’s teeth fall out.”
Yang Xuyan suddenly spurted another mouthful of blood, and disappeared into an alley crossing the big street.
Xuan Yong and the others rushed over one after another.
Kou Zhong raised his arms to stop them from running after Yang Xuyan. He spoke nonchalantly, “We have at least several months before we have to worry about that fellow!”
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Flute sound rose up, sharp, shrill, extremely loud, and kept climbing higher and higher, echoing around all the caves, big and small.
Millions of bats responded to the noise by flapping their wings in confusion and flew swiftly, so that together, the noise grew even louder, like a rumbling thunder, like surging tide rushing forth from every cave, with terrifying momentum that startling the heaven and splitting the earth.
Although Xu Ziling already knew that Shi Qingxuan could drive the bats using her flute, he still could not think that it would be this terrifying. Everywhere he saw, the caves were packed with shadows, coming straight toward his face. Hastily he ran out of the cave, and hid by the exit.
Craning his head, he saw You Niaojuan, three people were running away for their lives, while waving their hands like crazy to smack the bats attacking them. These three demons’ power was overbearing, a large number of bats met their palms and fell down to the ground. They were mainly protecting their eyes, ears, mouth, nose and neck, the rather sensitive body parts. To the bats charging toward their bodies, they simply applied their inner power to shake their clothes and jolt the bats to their death.
However, there were so many bats, almost endless, so that no matter how many they killed, the bats still continuously attacked them wildly, like clump after clump of black clouds descending upon them, forcing the three to cover their head and sneak away like a rat, retreating back toward where they were coming from.
This was the first time that Xu Ziling found out that bats could attack living persons, and that they could be this vicious; it was only now did he understand the effectiveness of the talcum powder Shi Qingxuan smeared on his head.
From what he heard, bats are said to be nocturnal, and they suck blood, but their targets are usually other animal or domestic fowls; he never heard that they attacked people.
Probably the bats inside this maze of caves were special species, or perhaps because of Shi Qingxuan’s flute, they deviated from their usual nature.
Once the bats in the entire huge cave were provoked, like a powerful torrent they swarmed into the cave where the three were fleeing. Those who had not flown into that cave converged with the bats from the other caves, forming a great army of bats, flying around the huge cave, while emitting ear-splitting squeaking noise. Only no bats were flying within three chi of Xu Ziling.
But no matter how they flew or circled in the jam-packed space of the cave, no matter how fast they moved, not two bats were colliding with each other. Watching their flight path, Xu Ziling could not help clicking his tongue in wonder, while also feeling dread in his heart.
Powerful qi rushed out violently, a large number of bats, with their flesh and blood separated, were thrown out of the cave.
Xu Ziling’s heart was moved; he took a step across the cave bed to hide by the cave entrance from which he originally came, to wait for the bats inside the huge cave, baring their fangs and brandishing their claws, to further consume the three people’s true strength.
After letting out a series of strange shouts, You Niaojuan was finally able to cut a bloody path out of the battlefield; he rushed out of the cave.
Like a swarm of honeybees seeing nectar the millions of bats inside the huge cave flocked out toward him; You Niaojuan was like being sucked into the cyclone of bats, and was unable to move a single cun.
You Niaojuan was worthy to be called a martial art master of the ultra-demonic sect, ranked among the ‘Eight Martial Art Masters of the Demonic Ways’; the powerful qi in his entire body burst forth, none of the bats within several chi radius from him narrowly and luckily escaped, all were shocked by him that their body split and they fell to the ground.
This moment Zhou Laotan and Jin Huanzhen forced their way out of the cave; the former’s pair of arms were already swelling several times bigger, the latter had her hair disheveled, she looked like a mad woman, and was in an extremely sorry state.
The flute was still playing uninterruptedly, the tempo was getting faster and faster, the rumbling noise inside the cave was unable to drown the sound of the flute.
Jin Huanzhen emitted a rending-the-heart, splitting-the-lungs tragic scream, but it was not because of the bats’ attack, but because You Niaojuan, who felt the pressure from the bats diminished and saw an opening, was sending a kick toward her lower abdomen. Her entire body was thrown sideways, blood sprayed violently from her mouth.
Perhaps because the bats smelled the scent of blood, a large number of them abandoned the other two and swarmed toward Jin Huanzhen.
Xu Ziling had never imagined that under this kind of situation You Niaojuan would still have the thought to deal with someone from his own side that viciously. Although he did not have the slightest bit of good impression toward Jin Huanzhen, he was grieving for her.
Realizing that he was unable to retaliate against You Niaojian, Zhou Laotan let out a wild roar and fast as lightning he rushed out to escape.
You Niaojuan laughed aloud and said, “Nothing in the world is better than this connecting caves to be the happy land in which you are going to be buried; I’ll let the two of you to become a pair of mandarin ducks who share the same fate!”
With one hand caught a bat, with the other hand he sent out a long-distance palm strike, generating a gale-like attack toward Zhou Laotan’s thick back. His method was ruthless, taking the breath of those who saw it away.
Zhou Laotan neither flashed away nor dodged the attack. He arched his back upward to meet his palm head on, and borrowed the momentum to accelerate forward, traversing the three zhang of empty air, to catch Jin Huanzhen’s body, which was full of bats, just before it reached the ground, while sending out his true power. As soon as the bats met his power, they fell from Jin Huanzhen’s body.
It seemed like You Niaojuan was going to execute his evil scheme again. Letting out strange shout, Zhou Laotan, with Jin Huanzhen in his arms, dashed toward the other side, trying to find another way to escape from the cave, taking along with him a large number of bats.
The other bats swarmed to attack You Niaojuan again.
This utterly vicious, extremely evil disciple revealed a pitiful expression, and dashed in Xu Ziling’s direction, wanting to escape back to above ground.
Naturally Xu Ziling was unwilling to let him off; he sent out a punch.
You Niaojuan let out a hearty laugh and said, “I am already prepared for you!”
The one-legged steel man hanging on his back moved to his hand, and then moved to meet Xu Ziling’s bold-and-powerful-without-equal punch.
Xu Ziling was jolted by the power of his counterattack that his blood and qi were surging within his chest and he staggered backward several steps. But the opponent was also shaken by his all-out strike that he tumbled backward and again fell into the bats’ battle formation.
After exchanging blows with him, Xu Ziling was inwardly overwhelmed with shock, thinking that if the opponent’s true power had not been depleted by extreme wear and tear, plus he had suffered internal injury, Xu Ziling might not be able to block him just now.
This moment You Niaojuan wildly brandished and randomly struck the one-legged copper man, weighed about a hundred catty, in his hand, so that none of the bats did not have their bones shattered and they fell to the ground. Thick accumulation of dead bats rapidly grew on the cave bed; it was such a bizarre and bitter scene.
The cave was dim to begin with, with the illumination came mostly from the stalactite, but now the bats have completely blocked his vision, providing the best cover for Xu Ziling.
Xu Ziling flashed to another position; one finger jabbed, the finger wind penetrated the layer of bats, and stabbed the vital acupoint on You Niaojuan’s back.
You Niaojuan’s entire body shook severely, he spurted a mouthful of large blood spray. Letting out a wild roar, which rumbled through the entire cave, he followed Zhou Laotan’s lead by fleeing toward another cave.
Xu Ziling’s energy was completely exhausted; just now, that one punch and one finger jab had consumed a great amount of his true power, yet he still failed to knock this vicious man down, hence the depth of his internal power could be clearly imagined.
The flute suddenly stopped.
Shi Qingxuan rushed out of one of the caves, her face pale from the excessive loss of true power, but the ugly nose still maintained its original color and luster, it did not emulate the complexion of the rest of her face.
“We are leaving!”
Astonished, Xu Ziling said, “The crafty scoundrels have not received their just punishment, are we going to let them off?”
Shi Qingxuan shouted hoarsely, “I am going to seal off the cave; do you want to stay?”
Shocked, Xu Ziling hastily ran after her, going out of the cave.