Translator : Casualtranslator
~ Enjoy ~
When the black clothed elder activated his qinggong and left the encampment, Shi Niu, Madam Qin and He Tianshu were trying their hardest to shake off their opponents and go over to Ou Yan’s side. However, the black clothed men had already investigated their abilities and their opponents were chosen specially to delay these three people from Piaomiao sect. Hence, their opponents’ martial art skills were good, and the three of them could not escape during that urgent situation.
However, while in a fight for their lives, they were still monitoring the situation on Ou Yan’s side from the resistance the female disciples put up to Zhang Xiaohua’s appearance. They saw everything clearly, except that the black clothed elder had extraordinary inner energy and also trained in the formidable metal cocoon art so even if Shi Niu was to go up against him, the latter might still not be able to fend him off. Thus, the three people, along with the other Piaomiao disciples, were not optimistic of the situation and they feared that they would lose their lives in that moment. However, the situation had a huge reversal right when it was about to end, Piaomiao sect’s reinforcements were actually arriving and the person who announced it actually told everyone so their morale got boosted up while black clothed men became demoralized.
As for the three opponents who were stalling Shi Niu and the others, they also had intentions of retreating and when they saw the black clothed elder used his qinggong to chase after Zhang Xiaohua, they threw out their last stance, retreated from the match and jumped onto their horses. If Shi Niu and the others wanted to retain these men, it would be harder for them to do so because how could the main fighting force not be following their mission to protect Ou Yan? When they saw their opponents retreated, they did not chase after but immediately used their qinggong to fly towards the black clothed elder. In their hearts, they knew that the reason why the black clothed elder did not participate in the fight was because he wanted to go after Ou Yan, and since there was still quite a distance left, the three thought that they would definitely not reach in time. Even if the three managed to surround the black clothed elder, they still might not be able to steal Ou Yan back. Moreover, from his arrival, they could guess that he was an elder of the other sect.
These were the thoughts of Madam Qin and the rest, but while they were still rushing over, they heard Qiu Tong’s scream before noticing the faint gold palms that the black clothed elder exhibited. The three were extremely shocked, where could it be seen that the elder was trying to kidnap Ou Yan, he was obviously taking her life instead!
Hence, the three pushed their speeds even faster but how could such a large distance be covered so quickly? They could only watch helplessly with their own eyes the oncoming tragedy before them.
However, although they could guess the beginning of the story correctly, they all failed to predict its end.
Even after the black clothed elder slunk onto the ground, Zhang Xiaohua flew into mid-air and Ou Yan fainted from the aftershocks onto the ground, all these happened in the time it took to create a spark from rocks. They could not understand the situation but they knew one thing for sure, Ou Yan could be saved!
When the three finally reached the scene, everything had already ended. Madam Qin rushed over to beside Qiu Tong to study Ou Yan’s injuries while Shi Niu walked carefully towards the black clothed elder and studied his body from afar to confirm the latter’s death. As for He Tianshu, he walked over in the direction where Zhang Xiaohua flew to try and find the boy.
At that moment, all the black clothed survivors had remounted their horses and were rushing to leave, and the Huanxi mountain villa people did not chase after but stood guard at the encampment entrance instead.
The rain continued to fall without rest, and the sounds of the raindrops could not mask the hoof sounds of the horses that drew closer. When the three men who pretended to be bandits saw the black clothed elder’s death, even though they did not understand what happened, the other party had already perished so it was now their duty to kill Ou Yan. However, it was not a feasible idea at that moment, not to mention that the Piaomiao sect’s reinforcements were arriving, hence, the ‘main leader’ pondered for a while before raising his hands to perform a signal before taking the lead to gallop away. The remaining black clothed men did not bother to collect the corpse and they followed his lead to ride away.
Upon seeing the black clothed people left, everyone who still had swords and blades in their hands cheered immediately, and many just collapsed from exhaustion on the spot with their weapons flung carelessly on the ground.
At the same time, the sound of hooves from afar became louder and when the men on horseback reached the encampment, they shouted urgently, “Are you brothers from Piaomiao sect?”
Hadn’t it been several days since they heard Lan Dong’s voice?
Some disciples who recognized Lan Dong immediately replied, “Brother Lan, you finally came. It is indeed us.”
When Lan Dong heard the reply, he felt a stone fell off his heart as he dismounted and looked at the wearied state of the other side. He became anxious again and asked urgently, “How is villa master Ou?”
Everyone pointed in the direction of Ou Yan and Lan Dong immediately sprinted over without caring about the mud on the ground.
When Lan Dong rushed over, Madam Qin had already taken Ou Yan’s pulse and when Lan Dong saw Ou Yan’s eyes which were still closed, his face turned pale and he asked anxiously, “How are the villa master’s injuries?”
Madam Qin wrinkled her brows and said, “Her life is safe, but the villa master’s body had always been weak and now that she took a palm from the old bandit, she has suffered rather serious internal injuries and would require quite some time to recover from them.”
Upon hearing this, butterflies returned to Lan Dong’s stomach.
At that moment, Shi Niu also walked over, and Madam Qin asked in half disbelief, “Has that old bandit died?”
The ends of Shi Niu’s mouth curled up and he said, “He is dead, truly. A sword pierced through his throat so he cannot be more dead, mm, and his eyes were still open and indignant even in death.”
He then asked, “How is the villa master?”
Madam Qin smiled and said, “Fortunately Zhang Xiaohua helped the villa master take this palm thrust. The final palm thrust switched its target to Zhang Xiaohua so the villa master only felt the aftershocks of the attack. It is not too serious and she can probably wake up the next day.”
Shi Niu asked in a puzzled tone, “Wake up only tomorrow? Isn’t that considered serious?”
Madam Qin replied, “Isn’t it much better than we expected?”
Shi Niu nodded in agreement and said, “That’s right, thanks to Zhang Xiaohua.”
“Zhang Xiaohua?” Lan Dong was puzzled; why did he never hear of this name before? From the way they described, it seemed that his martial arts must be rather good, but there did not seem to be any senior uncles who had that name, could it be an elder within the sect? Did an elder arrive before him? That is impossible, he had rushed over without rest on horseback so did the elder fly instead?
While Lan Dong was pondering about this mysterious elder, He Tianshu reappeared from the darkness and sprinted over, he shouted as he ran, “Zhang Xiaohua has disappeared, he probably fell into the river. Quickly get some of our brothers who can swim over to help look for him.”
“What?! Zhang Xiaohua fell into the river?” Madam Qing, Shi Niu and Qiu Tong both shouted in surprise.
Ou Yan had already suffered such serious injuries after being struck indirectly by the black clothed elder, while Zhang Xiaohua was hit squarely on his chest by the faint golden palm, so how could he not have incurred serious injuries as well?
With these injuries, coupled that he had fallen into the river, could Zhang Xiaohua still…
When they thought up to here, everyone did not dare to think any further while Madam Qin said quickly, “Shi Niu, go find some of our brothers who are good at swimming and get them to search the vicinity immediately. Lan Dong, dispatch a group of disciples to ride downriver to look for any stragglers.”
Shi Niu and Lan Dong immediately set out upon receiving their instructions, but when Lan Dong took two steps, he turned around and asked, “Hallmaster Qin, what does this Zhang Xiaohua look like?”
Madam Qin then remembered that Lan Dong did not recognize Zhang Xiaohua, she quickly apologized and said, “He is a twelve to thirteen-year-old child who has suffered serious injuries, you will recognize him on sight.”
“Twelve to thirteen-year-old child?” Lan Dong was struck by surprise and he did not believe Madam Qin’s words fully.
When Madam Qin saw that Lan Dong was still loitering around, she wrinkled her brows and said, “He is a ten plus year old child, what are you waiting for?”
“Oh, understood, I will immediately send people over.” Lan Dong woke up from his daze and quickly set out to dispatch his manpower.
Madam Qin and Qiu Tong then carefully carried the unconscious Ou Yan back to the tentage.
The rain continued to fall and the night sky was pitch black, endless darkness pervaded the encampment.
It was already after midnight but there was still bustle in the Huanxi mountain villa people’s encampment. Who would not be on their guards after suffering such a sudden attack, while the disciples that Lan Dong brought only numbered ten plus and they were all ordinary disciples with common skill. A reason why the black clothed party left so hurriedly was because they thought that their numerical advantage had been overcome, and the turning point was when their elder who had all the cards in the battle succumbed when he was trying to kill Ou Yan. This broke their confidence and was the tipping straw for their hurried departure.
If they discovered the current fighting power of the remaining forces, it was still possible for them to turn around immediately to attack again, which was why apart from the injured disciples who were nursing their wounds, the rest were still vigilantly guarding the perimeters of the encampment.
Even though the Huanxi mountain villa people’s encampment was situated beside a river, the area was no longer safe as their enemies might launch another attack in the cover of the night. Coupled with several other reasons, they could only wait for daybreak before making any other major decisions.
For the same reasons, the number of disciples sent to search for Zhang Xiaohua was only few.
Actually, all the disciples currently in the encampment already learnt of the earlier events and they knew that Zhang Xiaohua had not only saved Ou Yan alone, his actions had saved the entire party as a while. Everyone had some awareness of the black clothed elder’s martial arts skill, so even if Lan Dong had reached the encampment on time, the ten plus additional manpower would not be of much use against the elder alone and everyone would have the same fate as Ou Yan and perished together.
They knew that Zhang Xiaohua was struck squarely on his chest by the elder’s faint golden palm and already had some idea of his fate, even if the boy had a single breath left, it was unlikely for him to keep his life after being thrown into the river.
They were all willing to go to the river to search for him, but the river current was strong and they had no idea where Zhang Xiaohua’s body would be washed to. Furthermore, the sky was still dark and rain was falling, all their torches have been extinguished so how could they get enough light to look for him? He Tianshu brought a few people and horses to go into the river to search, and even though everyone knew that it was likely to be insufficient, they could not do anything else and left the boy’s future up to fate.
At the beginning, He Tianshu was shouting energetically, and the other disciples were shouting along with him. However, He Tianshu suddenly stopped as though he realized something, and he also prevented the other disciples from shouting as well. While the other disciples were feeling confused at the beginning and wanted to ask for the reason, they dared not ask upon seeing He Tianshu’s worried expression and when they pondered themselves, they could not help but admire the man. No wonder he was a leader, by shouting like this, won’t they be revealing our positions to the black clothed men? Squad leader He was indeed meticulous in his work.
Why would He Tianshu be bothered about how the others thought about him, he only had one thought in his mind but, sigh, it had already passed midnight long ago.
Among the disciples who went downriver to look for Zhang Xiaohua, none were able to see far ahead due to the darkness and the safety of their encampment was a higher priority. Hence, they turned around after searching for some time and when He Tianshu saw them return, he reluctantly headed back with regrets filling his heart.
When He Tianshu reached the encampment again, Madam Qin and Qiu Tong both hurriedly went up to him and asked in a concerned tone, “Have you found him?”
He Tianshu shook his head wordlessly.
Qiu Tong’s tears began to fall as she clenched her teeth tightly and her body quivered.
Madam Qin also said painfully, “Poor child.”
Everyone else was also silent.
After half a bell of time, He Tianshu asked, “How is the villa master?”
Madam Win nodded and said, “She is still fine, there is not much change in her condition. As for the specifics, we will have to find a physician when day comes to find out.”
He Tianshu said, “The villa master’s wellbeing was also Zhang Xiaohua’s wish, I will go back to the perimeters to guard, it will be troublesome if the group of black clothed men came back.”
After finishing his sentence, He Tianshu was about to leave when Shi Niu came from outside and when he saw the former, he asked, “You still can’t find him?”
He Tianshu replied, “Yes.”
Shi Niu sighed and turned to Madam Qin to say, “About that old bandit, I have checked carefully.”
Madam Qin and He Tianshu’s eyes brightened, they asked in unison, “Who is he?”
Shi Niu shook his head and said, “The man’s face had an injury and his features were already destroyed so I could not tell who he was. The faint gold palm and metal cocoon art are not high levelled martial arts and many people in Jianghu could also reach his level in them, so I cannot tell much.”
Madam Qin nodded and asked, “What about the other bodies? Did we find any lead?”
Shi Niu shook his head again, he said, “These people already underwent strict practice, and the clothes they wore were normal night clothes and they did not carry anything unique on them. The weapons were also common ones in Jianghu so it was hard to discover anything.”
Madam Qin pondered and said, “That’s fine, keep these bodies and weapons and send them back to Piaomiao sect mountain villa. Even if we cannot discern their origins, the sect will have its methods so we can leave this matter to them.”
Shi Niu said his acknowledgement and turned around to leave.
At that moment, Madam Qin called him again and asked, “How did that old bandit die?”
Upon hearing the question, He Tianshu also looked towards Shi Niu anxiously for the answer.
Shi Niu has a dubious expression on his face as he said, “That old bandit had two wounds, one was on his left palm and it looked like something pierced through it, whereas the other was at his throat as though a sword cut through. I do not know how Zhang Xiaohua did that, the sky was already dark then so I could not see the scene clearly. Do you guys know?”
Madam Qin shook her head, what a joke, the sky was so dark and it was raining as well, even though she had profound inner energy and could see in the dark, her standard was still far from the level of being able to see through all these obstructions.
Shi Niu smiled bitterly and said, “That it will remain as a riddle, who knows how fierce Zhang Xiaohua actually is?”
Sigh, this person was so straightforward; he actually said what everyone was secretly thinking inside.
At that moment, He Tianshu suddenly spoke out, “Senior brother Shi, was the wound on the old bandit similar to longsword wound except that it looked tinier?”
Shi Niu was surprised, he did not understand the other party’s intention for asking about this but he still nodded and said, “Yes, you’re right.”
He Tianshu’s eyes brightened, he asked again, “In that case, was the wound on his throat also smaller than one that would have been made by a normal longsword?”
Shi Niu seemed to understand something and he said, “That’s right, junior brother He, you are correct, so what was the weapon used to kill that old bandit?”
He Tianshu smiled bitterly, he recounted the story where the shopkeeper gifted him with a small toy sword accompanying the longsword that he bought from the store, and after he finished his story, everyone scratched their heads like a monk who was freshly shaven. The toy sword had not sharp edge so how could it pierce into the elder’s throat, and how could it cut through his palm? Not to forget, the man had also activated the faint golden palm and metal cocoon art so even the normal female disciples were unable to break through his defence, yet why was Zhang Xiaohua able to?
This, was still a riddle that had not been solved.
The day finally broke but the rain continued to fall.
Under the supervision of the Piaomiao disciples, the black clothed men did not come back and everyone could not help but sigh in relief. The night was difficult to endure, and many disciples could not forget the events that occurred then so they were glad that it was finally over.
Ou Yan was still unconscious but her pulse was stable and her condition was considered most fortunate in an unfortunate situation,
Since the villa master had not regained her consciousness, all matters were taken over by Madam Qin. She could not allow them to stay in the same encampment, and their journey had to end at that point if taking into account Ou Yan’s condition. Furthermore, with the constant threat of the black clothed men, Ou Peng who was in Pingyang city would never let Ou Yan continue the journey even if the latter wanted to. Lan Dong had also reported the attack to the superiors to gather more reinforcements to bring them back.
When Ou Yan woke up, it was already mid-afternoon and the first thing she asked about was of Zhang Xiaohua’s whereabouts. When she heard Madam Qin’s explanation, her heart became dark but she also knew that no one was at fault, and it was not feasible to send a search party at that moment, so she decided to wait for their party to regroup with the Piaomiao sect reinforcements before planning the search again.
As for Madam Qin’s decision to return to Pingyang city without her approval, Ou Yan did not have any objections in the matter. Ou Peng already opposed to her idea of coming out and she had to argue and persuade the latter many times in order to make this journey a reality. She thought that as a villa master with no feud in Jianghu, what kind of danger she could be in?
Unfortunately, reality told her that people do not need to hurt other people for them to want to hurt you, and anyone who belonged in Jianghu would have to always remember this iron-clad rule.
However, even if Ou Yan squeezed out all her brain juices, she still could not think of which party she had offended.