6 – Assassin in the Merak Palace (II)
“Senior Disciple Sister Luo.” Qi Qiqi called Luo Qing, stopping her at the kitchen door.
“Palace Master.” Luo Qing nodded in greeting when she saw Qi Qiqi.
Qi Qiqi looked at the kitchen, and then asked: “Are you going to prepare dinner for the Young Ancestor, Senior Disciple Sister Luo?”
“Yes. The Young Ancestor should not have eaten the whole day.”
Qi Qiqi looked with slightly constricted eyes at the Snow-facing Abode and suggested: “In that case, you might as well personally prepare the meal as a consolation to the Young Ancestor.”
“Palace Master, you are…?”
“Your culinary skill is well-recognized in the sect, so you might as well use it to console the Young Ancestor. After all… uh, I feel guilty for what I did to her. Help me compensate her.”
“It can be done, of course, but won’t you tell me the reason behind this, Palace Master? The real reason.” Luo Qing’s limpid eyes looked directly at Qi Qiqi and pierced straight into the other party’s heart, as if she could see through her.
So she saw through it! Qi Qiqi sighed.
If it wasn’t for her simple and easy-going character, Luo Qing might have been more suitable for the position of palace master than Qi Qiqi.
“Even if you prepare the meal as quickly as possible, I reckon that she won’t be able to eat it.”
“That’s not what I want to hear.” Luo Qing shook her head. Although her tone was calm, but it gave people an indubitable feeling.
Senior Disciple Sister Luo is sometimes as stubborn as an ox! Qi Qiqi had a bitter expression on her face.
“Situ Mutou went to the Snow-facing Abode.” Although Qi Qiqi didn’t spell things out clearly, but with Luo Qing’s intelligence, the meaning behind the other party’s words didn’t escape her.
After a long moment of silence, Luo Qing spoke faintly: “You’re not going to stop this, Palace Master?”
Qi Qiqi’s tone was a little cold and pained: “Ye Zhen is in the Snow-facing Abode.”
“This isn’t right.” Luo Qing frowned, looking very dissatisfied.
“I know, but…” Qi Qiqi lowered her gaze before continuing: “My hands are tied.”
Above, there was a bright starry sky. Dark blue and black intertwined and dyed the sky in the colors of night adorned by stars, which formed a long river of stars.
Xue Qilin knew little about stars, and wasn’t clear whether the stars she was gazing at were the same as those in her world. Did my world have such a clear night sky? No, it might be the same.
Only that… Xue Qilin looked around.
The Merak Palace was half submerged in darkness, with only a few lights swaying gently. …apart from that, nothing else seems to be the same.
The coldness unique to the night pervaded.
It’s a little cold. Sitting on the stairs, Xue Qilin huddled herself. But it was in vain.
She was lonely in this world, for now at least. However, she didn’t intend to complain, she was set on integrating into this world. Well, from here on…
“Old man Qi, I saw your great-granddaughter. I’ll keep the promise I gave you.”
Protect your great-granddaughter for a lifetime. Xue Qilin didn’t understood how weighty the promise she made at that time was.
“Anyhow, why is Little Qing taking so long?” She looked at the gate, yet there was no one.
Whether it was coincidence or not, Xue Qilin’s stomach suddenly rumbled.
“I’m starving! It’s been fifteen minutes already.” Xue Qilin let go of herself and lay back. Although the edges of the stairs painfully pressed against her back, but she ignored it, and instead raised her hands and stretched herself.
Little translucent nails reflect light, and big sleeves slowly slid down, revealing delicate lily-white arms.
Suddenly, there was the sound similar to a crossbow going off… and the sharp sound of air being pierced entered her ears.
Before she knew exactly what it was, her body acted.
Propping herself up with her hands, Xue Qilin flipped backwards. After stabilizing herself, she quickly looked at her previous position.
There was a sword there.
It was no ordinary sword. Judging by its shape, it looked like a longsword, but it was much longer, it was even longer than Xue Qilin was tall. Besides, the sword was very broad. It looked like a Western European greatsword.
Xue Qilin was scared. If she hadn’t trained her reflexes and built up a foundation in martial arts under Qi Guiyuan’s guidance for a year, she might have been stabbed in the chest by the great sword just now and turned into a shish kebab.
However, this was not the time to relax as the sword was held by a person. He had a burly, bearlike physique and was tightly wrapped by black night subterfuge clothes, with half of his face being hidden behind a black cloth.
An assassin? Xue Qilin guessed due to the other party’s clothes.
At this moment, the assassin looked up, and their gazes met.
The other party’s eyes carried no emotion, and even looked a little dull. However, as someone who once walked a path between life and death, Xue Qilin could still make out some emotion pulsating within the abyss of the other party’s eyes, raging like a fire. It was fanaticism.
A seeker. This is the expression a seeker would show.
“Who are you?” Xue Qilin asked solemnly. She didn’t know why the other party would suddenly attack her, nor had she any guesses. She came to this world not long ago, so she could not begin to guess.
“I’m just looking for an all-out fight.” The other party responded in a low muffled voice.
“Your answer has nothing to do with my question.” Xue Qilin sneered.
The other side didn’t respond. Instead, he stabbed out with his sword.
Despite being a novice to martial arts, Xue Qilin could still tell that although the sword strike was plain and unremarkable, it concealed killing intent.
Return to simplicity. It was precisely because it was plain and unremarkable that it could give rise to myriad of changes.
Although the other side’s cultivation base was unknown, but merely judging from the sword strike, she could tell the power the move packed.
The sword strike was meant to probe Xue Qilin.
“Tsk!” The true qi inside her flowed rapidly. Xue Qilin gathered the fingers of her right hand together, condensed a layer of true qi on the right hand, and waved it, slashing out with two rays of sword qi shooting toward the shoulder and thigh of the assassin.
However, the opponent didn’t retreat, and instead raised the greatsword in his hand and chopped down, slicing the two rays of sword qi in a flash.
Taking advantage of this opening, Xue Qilin leaped up and kicked at the assassin’s head: “Eat my loli kick!”
“Bring it one!” With a loud cry, the assassin bent backwards. At the same time, he raised his sword and slashed out at the tiny jade foot.
The assassin’s response came as a surprise to Xue Qilin. Nevertheless, with her rich combat experience, she still reacted.
“Burst!” Xue Qilin shouted in a lovely voice.
In the next moment, an explosion suddenly arose between the two.
It was magic. True qi and magic power were the same thing, so Xue Qilin could naturally use magic.
The impact of the explosion pushed Xue Qilin into the air.
She adjusted her posture in midair, and then turned around to look, only to see the point of a sword right before her eyes.
The assassin leapt out of the cloud of dust at some unknown point and shot toward Xue Qilin like an arrow.
“Third Later Heaven!” Lightning suddenly appeared and coiled around the greatsword. Xue Qilin waved her left hand and the greatsword ricocheted as if hit by a powerful arrow.
“Uh!” Apparently unable to understand why his weapon didn’t heed his command, the assassin subconsciously looked at the ricocheted greatsword. His attention was clearly diverted from Xue Qilin.
That’s my chance, the assassin is wide open! Xue Qilin struck out with her palm and hit the assassin on the chest. However, the palm strike neither pushed the assassin away, nor injured them.
Puzzled, the assassin stared blankly at the palm on his chest. But in the next moment…
“Burst!” A bright spark rose between the palm and chest, and then blew up.
The strong impact of the magic assaulted the assassin, turning him into a targetless artillery shell blasting toward the ground.
The assassin suddenly collided with the ground and raised a huge dust cloud.
At the moment of explosion, the greatsword left the assassin’s hand and stabbed into the ground. Xue Qilin landed on its hilt, light like a feather. The sword didn’t penetrate even an inch dipper into the ground.
Weightless was probably the best way to describe Xue Qilin at the moment.
“Young Ancestor, do you practice an air-bending cultivation method?” The assassin came out of the dust cloud.
This was probably the most suitable way to describe her now.
There were traces of blood around his mouth, and a hole was torn open in his clothing, revealing the badly mangled chest. As if it was torn by some strong force, the sleeve of his right hand was reduced to an irregular section. It was probably a consequence of the first explosion; he should have used his hand to block the blast.
“What did you call me…?” Xue Qilin squinted her eyes.
Even though the other side shut up at once, but Xue Qilin was certain that she had heard him call her Young Ancestor.
In other words, the assassin was probably from the Merak Palace.
But why would someone from the Merak Palace want to kill me?
If she had time to think it through, Xue Qilin should be able to come up with several conjectures. However, she was now vigilant of her surroundings, and could not pause to ponder this question.
The assassin clenched his hands into fists and assumed a stance, which was the starting point of some fist technique.
“You lost your weapon.” Xue Qilin stood atop the greatsword, “Even so, you still want to fight?”
“Real martial artists are weapons themselves, not to mention that you haven’t done your best yet.”
“How did you know?”
“You shouldn’t be an expert at close combat, which was why you fell into a passive state when I seized that opportunity. But now that there’s some distance between us, you should be able to claim my life at any time.”
Additionally, Xue Qilin lacked the experience fighting against powerful close combat opponents. Although there were people good at close combat among wizards, and Xue Qilin had fought such wizards before, but none of them could match the man in front of her. His adaptability was too quick. Xue Qilin had caught him off guard and attacked him a few, but he dodged and blocked her every time.
However, she was also gradually adapting to this type of combat.
Although she didn’t excelled as a wizard – she was unable to use high-level magic, and only practiced martial arts for less than a year’s time, but her real combat experience wasn’t too lacking.
She was sure that she could take the other party down before he reached her: “In that case, do you still want to continue?”
“…” The assassin was silent.
“Even rabbits bite, let alone a loli, you know?” Her expression gradually became fierce, “Do you think that I won’t kill you?”
“I don’t know.” The assassin shook his head and replied solemnly, “All I know is that you haven’t done your best yet. I want to know how wide the gap between us is.”
Xue Qilin sighed and closed her eyes. This guy’s an idiot, a stubborn idiot to boot! He’s the kind of obstinate person who will never stop until he reached his goal. Even if I don’t keep him company, he’ll surely bounce back when he gets the chance. How troublesome. That being the case…
The true qi inside her flowed rapidly, putting a lot of pressure on the qi passageways and violently expanding them.
Xue Qilin frowned slightly. Somehow, the true qi didn’t seem to be as easy to use as before. It was a little laborious. However, she didn’t have the time to think about it.
“Third Earlier Heaven, Sixth Later Heaven…” A fantastic chant escaped her mouth, her tone indifferent and monotone.
As if someone turned on countless lights, flame tongues sprang up around the girl out of nowhere.
“… with flames as the body and dragon as the shape…” Agitated by an invisible force, the flame tongues converged before the girl in a whirlpool.
Countless streams of flame entangled with each other and eventually merged into one, and then a dragon emerged.
The flame dragon wound around Xue Qilin, and the amazing heat blurred her figure.
The dragon faced the dumbstruck assassin and spat out a tongue of flame.
Xue Qilin suddenly opened her eyes and threw a cold, indifferent gaze at the assassin: “Are you ready? Prepare to be barbecued.”
God knows whether it was due to the heat of the flame dragon, or the fear of the powerful might emitted by Xue Qilin, but the assassin broke out into a cold sweat.
“Looks like you’re ready.” After she said that, Xue Qilin made a gun gesture with her right hand and pointed at the man far away.
“Roarrrr…” As if it received an order, the flame dragon roared and swept toward the assassin with the force of a thunderbolt in an instant.
The flame dragon plowed the earth and turned everything in its wake into drifting ashes.
The assassin had a look of being overwhelmed with shock on his face when he saw this scene.
There was a sudden clap of thunder. Then… a brilliant ray of sword qi dropped from above and chopped at the flame dragon’s head.
At the same time, a figure appeared between the flame dragon and the assassin.
Narrowing her eyes slightly, Xue Qilin saw who the figure was.
The right palm of the person emitted dazzling blue light as he mercilessly slapped the flame dragon that had lost its head by now. With a bang, the flames scattered.
The shock wave spread out and blew back Xue Qilin’s big sleeves as well as lifted a copious amount of dust.
There was an explosion for the third time. However, it wasn’t the same as the previous two times. The strong blast even blew away several nearby trees and blasted sand and rocks to sink deep into nearby walls.
As the smoke and dust cleared, two figures gradually emerged, and one of them stepped forward.
The person wore a blue robe, and had distinctly sharp facial features. Xue Qilin recognized him to be the Merak Palace’s Vice-palace Master Ye Zhen.
He cupped his hands and bowed, saying: “Please be lenient and forgive my unworthy disciple, Young Ancestor.”
At this moment, Xue Qilin finally saw the assassin’s face clearly. It was Situ Mutou.
“What is the meaning of this?”
“My unworthy disciple Mutou is obsessed with the martial path, so whenever he sees an expert, he can’t help but to challenge them, which was why he disturbed you, Young Ancestor.” Ye Zhen explained with a bitter expression on his face.
Although his tone sounded sincere, but he still could not convince Xue Qilin.
“Hey, why would he cover his face if he wanted to challenge me? Do you take me for an idiot?”
“It’s the fault of this martial grandnephew. Because my unworthy disciple never changes his ways despite repeated advice, this martial grandnephew fearing that he might provoke someone he shouldn’t specially instructed him to cover his face and remove anything on his person that could tie him to the sect every time he challenged someone.
“Like this, even if something happened, it would not implicate the Merak Palace?”
“You’re wise, Young Ancestor.”
“Nonsense.” Her intuition told her that the other party was talking rubbish, but it couldn’t be helped. After all, she had no evidence. Then…
“You watched enough of the play we performed, haven’t you? So why haven’t you come out and paid the ticket fee yet?” Suddenly, Xue Qilin spoke toward the courtyard gate. She had long since noticed that there were other people nearby, which was why she was distracted during the battle just now.
Two girls with embarrassed expressions on their faces appeared at the door, they were Qi Qiqi and Luo Qing.
“Wow, what a nice play.”
Narrowing her eyes, Xue Qiling stared daggers at Qi Qiqi: “Seven Seven-seven, I want a clear explanation.”