Chapter 13: Second Defeat
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Zhuo Feiyang lived in a small bungalow located near a pine forest. Within the same forest, there were at least ten other similarly designed houses that housed other rank seven Protectors.
He used to stay in a large house which housed ten smaller residences within the compound. Each Protector would reside in each house individually. The atmosphere of the area was joyous, and ever since he became a rank seven Protector, Zhuo Feiyang moved into his own bungalow.
If he made it to rank six, he would be able to stay in a bungalow by the lake which boasted a view of the lake right from the window. With the gentle breeze caressing his cheeks paired with the beautiful scenery, it would be like heaven on earth.
After mindlessly practising with Zhao Ying, Zhuo Feiyang returned to his house only to find Li Yue standing by his front door waiting for him with a devilish smile.
He walked up to him unwelcomingly and said, “What on earth do you think you’re doing here?!”
Li Yue laughed. “Brother Zhuo, I’m only here to deliver an invitation.”
“An invitation from the one named Chu?” Zhuo Feiyang creased his eyebrows.
Li Yue handed him the invitation and laughed. “Brother Zhuo, is it possible for you to respond right here and now?”
As soon as Zhuo Feiyang opened the letter to have a look, his expression sank. Soon he found himself smirking. “The one named Chu sure is an unpredictable one!”
When he challenged Chu Li to face to face, the latter refused. Yet as soon as he got home, an invitation arrived. Who was Chu Li kidding aside from himself by flip flopping like this!
“Brother Zhuo, do you accept the challenge?”
“Splendid. We’ll be waiting for you at The East Garden tomorrow afternoon!” Li Yue smiled and said, “I still need to head over to Zhao Ying’s to send this other invitation so goodbye!”
“I’ll not be seeing you out!” Zhuo Feiyang didn’t look delighted at all. He stormed into the house entrance, not heeding Li Yue after that.
Li Yue shook his head. His smile vanished and thought to himself, ‘What a short-tempered man. Does he need to overreact like that?’
Zhao Ying resided in a large bungalow. Playful giggles from womenfolk could be heard reverberating around the compound. Li Yue stood outside and called for Zhao Ying from afar. She looked surprised when she was the invitation.
“Senior brother Li, what is this?” said Zhao Ying with widened eyes.
Li Yue laughed cheekily. “Brother Chu has issued a challenge letter to Brother Zhuo, and he has agreed to it. Tomorrow we shall await the arrival of both of you.”
“Another challenge?” Zhao Ying exclaimed in shock.
Li Yue responded with a solemn smile. “Sigh… Truth be told, I’ve no idea what Chu Li is up to. Anyway Miss Zhao, just show up for the occasion alright?”
“Could it be that senior Chu Li hasn’t gotten the word that senior brother Zhuo is already at rank seven?” Zhao Ying furrowed her eyebrows as she tried to figure out the reason. Then she snapped, “Isn’t senior brother Chu Li just looking for trouble?!”
“…Alright, I’ll be there,” Zhao Ying said with a solemn look as her heart was filled with worry.
“Many thanks, Ms. Zhao Ying!” Li Yue wrapped a hand over his first. He then turned around and left the place.
Zhuo Feiyang and Zhao Ying rode a boat to The East Garden. Li Yue was already waving at them under the willow tree.
“Where is Chu Li?” Zhuo Feiyang eyed around cautiously.
Zhao Ying donned a dress of alluring green, a color that matched the crystalline waters of the lake. She looked beautiful, but there was worry written all over her face.
The East Garden belonged to the Third Lady, Xiao Qi. Entry was only granted to those who had an invitation. Any intrusion without permission from Chu Li or Li Yue would be subjected to harsh penalties.
Senior Chu Li utilized this fact to his advantage. Even if he accidentally killed Zhuo Feiyang on this property, he would not be punished. He only had to worry about Zhuo Feiyang playing dirty.
Zhuo Feiyang shouted aloud, “The one named Chu, your master Zhuo has arrived. You better hurry now to give him a grand welcome!”
Just as he spoke, the small boat docked at the bank.
Li Yue laughed as he wrapped his hand over his fist. “Brother Zhuo, please do be patient. Brother Chu Li is just preparing some tea. I welcome you both with great pleasure. Please, follow me.”
Zhuo Feiyang sneered as he turned around and said, “Zhijie, you just wait out here.”
Bai Zhijie nodded respectfully and said, “I understand, Master!”
Zhuo Feiyang and Zhao Ying hopped onto the coast and followed Li Yue into The East Garden. Soon they reached a small courtyard. Zhuo Feiyang’s eyes lit up in caution as he took in every inch of his surroundings.
Zhao Ying on the other hand curiously appraised her surroundings. The East Garden really lived up to its name. It was decorated with exotic flowers and plants, forming an absolutely breathtaking view.
Meanwhile, Chu Li was sitting inside by a stone table with four servings of hot tea. The fragrance of the tea diffused through the air in a very refreshing scent.
Chu Li was just in the middle of practising the “Infinite Azure Sea” skill earlier. It was a heart technique he had chosen to practise from the ones he memorized at the Martial Arts Hall.
The move was strong and demanding in nature like a giant wave pushing against the sky. With every circulation of a day, its strength would be stacked up by one stack with a maximum of nine stacks that contributed to a nine-fold increase in strength.
However, such an immensely powerful skill move came with a single devastating weakness. Before the user was able to unleash it on an enemy, the sheer ferocity of the power exerted would have already consumed and damaged the user’s internal body while charging it up. The skill would tear through an untrained user’s body like sand, rupturing the user’s meridians in an instance.
Chu Li was brave enough to choose this skill due to two factors. Firstly, the Minute Pulse Cleansing technique was a superior meridian flexing technique. Secondly, he could always absorb spiritual energy from nearby plants to heal himself through his mastery of the Life and Death Scripture.
With both the Minute Pulse Cleansing technique and his mastery of the Life and Death Scripture combined, the durability of his meridians were above the threshold of an average person. Therefore he was able to maximise the potential strengths of the Infinite Azure Sea.
On top of that, he had chosen to a deadly flying blade technique called the Eternity Blade. It concentrated all of his energy into a single flying blade as a last ditch effort to either eliminate the enemy or seal one’s own death.
Combining the Infinite Azure Sea and the Eternity Blade skill moves, he was now capable of unleashing multiple folds of his original strength.
Upon hearing footsteps, his inner strength dissipated and his bright eyes became dull. Chu Li reverted back from someone who was soaring with inner strength back to a normal average person without foundation. Now he looked no different than any scholar who had never trained their foundation.
The trio then stepped into the small courtyard as Chu Li rose to his feet and greeted them with a wrapped fist. He smiled and said, “Junior Sister Zhao Ying, what an honor to be your host. Come, have a seat and try the tea made from tea leaves that Brother Li had grown..”
Zhuo Feiyang scoffed, “The one named Chu, you put something into the tea didn’t you?”
Chu Li’s smile immediately vanished as he shook his head. “Your shallow thinking has done nothing but taint my honor. Do you really think I would stoop down to your level?”
“You whose name is Chu, stop talking trash. Come on, let’s fight!” Zhuo Feiyang wasn’t interested in debating with him. He would lose in that game and it would be a lost cause.
Chu Li picked up the teapot and passed it to Zhao Ying. “Zhuo Feiyang, how about another bet, eh?”
“Quit these dirty tactics, you scum named Chu. If you want to fight, you fight. If you’re too cowardly to do so, then admit defeat!’ Zhuo Feiyang pursed his lips sideways and scoffed, “All that you know are these sly schemes of yours!”
Chu Li cocked his head and started mocking him. “Well, well, look who’s becoming clever? You’re capable of learning from your mistakes I see.”
Zhuo Feiyang gave him a cold smirk. “It seems that the one named Chu doesn’t really have a solid plan, does he? You’re scared, and you’re going to chicken out from this any time now, am I right?”
“If you really had the gall to fight, why are you stalling?”
“Wow, that actually makes sense.”
Zhuo Feiyang snarled, “Why not just admit your defeat? I’m afraid once I start hitting I won’t stop until you’re crying for mommy and daddy.”
“However, if the one named Chu can agree to one condition, then I won’t give you any further trouble!”
“And what is it?”
“Forget about our previous bet!”
“You whose surname is Chu, don’t wait until it’s too late to save yourself. Once I start beating you up, I’ll definitely cripple you. It’ll then be your fault for challenging me!” Zhuo Feiyang gritted his teeth and fixed a fierce stare towards his foe.
Chu Li unsheathed the sword on the table and got up to his feet to stand in the middle of the courtyard. “Let’s start fighting then!”
“Wow, what a commotion!”, a voice rang out from nearby.
Zhuo Feiyang immediately turned his head around, and color drained from his face. He quickly held his fists together to show respect and bowed down towards the source of the voice. “Greetings, Chief Su!”
Chu Li, Zhao Ying, and Li Yue followed suit.
Su Ru stood at the entrance, looking amused. Her chestnut yellow dress swayed gently with the rhythm of the breeze like a blossoming flower brightening up the courtyard with her presence.
“What was all that fuss about?” Su Ru wore a warm smile as she asked in the direction of Zhuo Feiyang.
Zhuo Feiyang briefly stared at Chu Li, then replied humbly, “Chief, Chu Li issued me a challenge, hence I’m here to accept his challenge!”
“A challenge? Chu Li challenged you?” Su Ru’s eyes widened.
“Yes,” Zhuo Feiyang nodded respectfully and added. “I would not dare lie to you, Chief Su!”
“Chu Li, are you out of your mind?”
“Chief, I just wanted to admire the talent of a genius for myself!”
‘You’re a Scribe!”
“I like practicing martial arts.”
“You don’t possess the necessary inner strength. By challenging him, you’re just seeking your own doom!”
“It wouldn’t hurt to try, even if I fail.”
Zhuo Feiyang looked at Chu Li, and stole a quick glance at Su Ru.
Su Ru was so radiant that Zhuo Feiyang did not dare to look her straight in her eyes. However, from her tone, he could tell that she was more worried about Chu Li. This made him both envious and furious at the same time. Deep inside, he grumbled to himself,”I’ll break him, I must cripple him!”
Zhuo Feiyang then realized why Chu Li dared to challenge him in the first place. He had insurance!
The angrier Zhuo Feiyang got, the more he realized he had to win. He smiled coldly as he stared at Chu Li before turning to face Su Ru. “Chief Su, weapons have no eyes, I cannot guarantee where my blade might land once this intensifies.”
Chu Li exclaimed, “If you really can kill me then I take it that you’re truly highly skilled and I’m sure Chief Su would not punish you for it!”
“Nonsense!” Su Ru’s pretty face darkened a little.
Zhuo Feiyang responded quickly, “Then forget it, a battle like this is meaningless. It is not the same as a real battle!”
Su Ru was obviously on Chu Li’s side. If they did fight, there would only be dire consequences for Zhuo Feiyang.
Chu Li mocked, “Are you scared now, Zhuo Feiyang?”
Zhuo Feiyang snapped, “What did you say?”
“Chief Su, can you please help me out?” Chu Li begged as he smiled at Su Ru.
Su Ru gave him a side-eye, and sheepishly said, “I’m not interested in neither of your businesses!”
“Zhuo Feiyang, come forth. Quit making excuses for your failures!”
“Watch this!” Zhuo Feiyang let out a yell and channeled all of his envy and wrath into a fierce punch. He dashed forward in a split second like a comet.
Chu Li took a step aside and angled the tip of his sword upwards.
Zhuo Feiyang twisted his body in just the nick of time and avoided the sword. He directed a punch at him with his left fist at at even faster rate.
Chu Li swiped his sword across in the direction where Zhuo Feiyang’s fist was about to land. Zhuo Feiyang had no choice but to maneuver his punches and adapt his moves accordingly. He had lost all of the advantage of initiation. With Chu Li’s sword consistently being ahead of him, he was forced to follow the rhythm of his enemy.
After a dozen attempts, Zhuo Feiyang was about to scream out in frustration. He even came up with the wild idea of grappling Chu Li’s sword with his bare fists just so he could land one punch on Chu Li.
Su Ru squinted her bright eyes slightly.
She had heard that Chu Li had decent sword skills, but she did not expect him to be this good. Zhuo Feiyang’s punches were swift as lightning and it was beyond a normal person’s reflex speed. Chu Li had no foundation or inner strength, but he was still able to keep the match under his control using his sword skills alone. He was indeed a genius swordsman!
If Chu Li had cultivated his inner strength, his speed would increase by a tremendous scale. She predicted he could probably even take on a rank six Protector single-handedly.
He was born talented but missed his window to cultivate his inner strength. What a waste! A complete waste!
She could not help but shake her head.
Zhuo Feiyang held off his raging fury as he unleashed his full power. His punches increased in speed exponentially.
“Ah!” Zhuo Feiyang suddenly screamed in pain as his body jolted to a stop. The tip of the sword landed right in front of his throat. It was so close that he felt the coldness of the steel against his skin.
Zhuo Feiyang froze. His facial expressions turned an ugly solemn as he stared blankly at Chu Li.
Chu Li laughed and withdrew his weapon. “Zhuo Feiyang, you lose!”
“You…” Zhuo Feiyang could not shift his death stare away from his foe.
“You’re not satisfied? Want a rematch?”
“Come at me!”
Chu Li smiled. “How shameless!”
“I was careless, do you dare to have a rematch?” Zhuo Feiyang yelled angrily.
Su Ru frowned.
Zhao Ying called out, “Senior brother Zhuo!”
“But…” Zhuo Feiyang could not accept his defeat.
He had worked very hard for this. He isolated himself from the outside world to train and finally passed the third floor test to become a rank seven Protector. He was going to be able to finally hold his head up high and proudly declare that he defeated Chu Li!
However who would have known, that Chu Li was so hard to defeat. That even a rank seven Protector as himself would be beaten by him.
At that point, he wondered if Chu Li took some pills to enhance his abilities. How then could it be possible that he was able to exhibit that kind of speed and agility? He had never cultivated his inner strength, so how could his reflexes be that quick?
If only Zhuo Feiyang could hold him out until the effects of the pill passed then this cheater named Chu would fall on his feet and beg for mercy!
Chu Li prompted him, “If you really aren’t satisfied, then let’s battle again!”
Zhuo Feiyang sneered back at him, “Take a breather before you speak. You don’t have the inner strength and I don’t want you to say that I’m being a mean bully after I beat you. What if you don’t admit your loss by then?”
“I’m not shameless like you!”
Zhuo Feiyang boldly said to Su Ru, “Chief Su, you hear that? This is hilarious!”
Su Ru replied, “Zhuo Feiyang, what happened today must be kept a secret. No one else can know about this!”
“…Yes.” Zhuo Feiyang was puzzled but he did not dare to ask any further questions.
Su Ru gave Zhuo Feiyang a judgmental look and said, “You’re still young, but you’ve already achieved the status of a rank seven, amazing!”
“I’m ashamed,” Zhuo Feiyang looked embarrassed as he laughed bitterly.
Su Ru said, “A win or a loss, it does not matter. You’re talented, so you’ll continue to grow stronger day by day. There’s no need to be so dejected just because of one defeat!”
“Yes.” Zhuo Feiyang nodded obediently.
Su Ru stopped their conversation and turned around to chat casually with Zhao Ying instead.
The High Duke Public House had quite a number of female Protector serving there. Most of them were tasked to protect the womenfolk from within the property. Even if they were called to perform a mission from outside the Public House, they were usually to low risk ones.
Zhao Ying was highly skilled but she was too kind, hence she did not suit the role of an interceptor and always stayed in the Public House, was rarely deployed for missions.