Cold edge of the flying Heaven-relying longsword.
The next day they continued their journey westward and did not stop for more than a hundred ‘li’. It was around midday, the sun was shining brightly overhead, although it was the depth of the winter, they felt hot.
Continuing after the rest, suddenly they heard faint noises of weapons clashing and people shouting, coming from the northwest direction. Without waiting for Jing Xuan to give an order, everybody quickened their steps, rushing toward the noise. Shortly afterwards, they saw ahead that several people were dodging and attacking in a violent battle. When they were near, they saw three Taoist priests in white robes with weapons in their hands were surrounding a middle-aged man. The three Taoist priests’ left sleeves were embroidered with red blazing flame; apparently they were Devil Cult disciples. The middle-aged man brandished a long sword, the sword’s ray flickered; he fought the three Taoist priests intensely. With one against three, he did not show any sign of defeat.
Zhang Wuji’s legs were already healed for some time, but he still pretended that he could not walk, so he stayed on the sled so that the Emei Pai people would not guard against him, while he waited for a good opportunity to take Zhu’er and escape. Right now, an Emei male disciple was standing in front of him, blocking his view that he had to lean over to see the four people fighting. He saw the middle-aged man’s sword was getting faster and faster. Suddenly the man turned around and shouted. ‘Shua!’ his sword slashed one Devil Cult’s Taoist priest’s chest.
The Emei disciples cheered. Zhang Wuji could not restrain himself from calling out in surprise. The move was called ‘shun shui tui zhou’ [lit. push the boat along the current]; it was a unique skill from the Wudang’s sword techniques, because the middle-aged man who launched the stance was precisely Wudang Pai’s Sixth Hero, Yin Liting.
The Emei disciples watched the battle from a distance and did not step out to help at all. As the other two Devil Cult Taoist priests saw one man down from their side, and the enemy had increased in number, their hearts sank. With a sudden whistle they ran separately, one to the north, the other to the south.
Yin Liting flew to pursue the Taoist priest running to the south. His feet were a lot faster; only seven, eight steps later, he had already reached the Taoist priest’s back. The Taoist priest turned around and brandished his pair of sabers wildly; staking everything he had with the intention to take the enemy down with him.
The Emei Pai disciples realized it would be difficult for Yin Liting to chase two enemies at once; the Taoist priest who ran to the north’s ‘qing gong’ was not bad either, he ran faster and faster. It appeared that even if Yin Liting managed to kill the Taoist priest who ran to the south, he would not be able to turn around to chase and kill the one running to the north. There was an enmity as deep as the ocean between Emei disciples and Devil Cult people; everybody looked at Jing Xuan, waiting for her to issue the order to block the escaping enemy. Most of the female disciples were good friends of Ji Xiaofu; they all thought that had it not because of the crime of Devil Cult’s villain, this Sixth Hero of Wudang would have been their Sect’s in-law. This moment they all hoped to lend him a helping hand.
Jing Xuan was also hesitating; she thought that the Sixth Hero of Wudang held a prominent position within the Wulin world, if he did not ask for help and other people rashly put out their hands, it would be disrespectful for him. That was the reason she did not immediately issue the order to intercept; she would rather the Taoist priest escape than offending the Wudang’s Yin Liuxia [sixth hero].
Suddenly they all saw a bright ray flashed, the sword in Yin Liting’s hand flew to the north. Swift like the wind, fast like a lightning, it shot toward the Taoist priest’s back. The Taoist priest suddenly felt this incoming attack, but by the time he was about to evade, the sword had already penetrated his heart, through his body, and still flew forward. The Taoist priest’s feet did not stop; he still ran at least two ‘zhang’ forward before finally he fell, dead. The sword was still flying for three more ‘zhang’ after going through the Taoist priest before it also fell to the ground. The blade flickered under the bright sunlight as the sword stuck straight up in the sand. Although it was only an object without a life or a mind of its own, the sword carried an awe-inspiring divine power.
Seeing this hair-rising scene, there was not a single person among the spectators who was not shaken to the core; they were speechless for half a day. When they remembered to turn their heads back, they saw the Taoist priest fighting Yin Liting was shaking and swaying just like a drunk. He threw his pair of sabers to the ground, and hands were grabbing wildly the empty air. Yin Liting simply ignored him; he walked toward the Emei Pai party. He had just walked for several steps when the Taoist priest uttered a stifled grunt and fell with his face upward, and stopped moving altogether. Nobody saw with what technique Yin Liting had struck him.
The Emei Pai disciples were loudly cheering and clapping. Even Miejue Shitai nodded her head before heaving a deep sigh. Perhaps with her sigh she was saying: Wudang Pai had this kind of excellent disciple, my Emei Pai did not have this accomplished disciple. But perhaps she was saying: Xiaofu was unfortunate not to be able to marry this man but fell under the hands of a Devil Cult lecherous disciple. In Miejue Shitai’s mind, Ji Xiaofu was killed by Yang Xiao, it was not her who struck her to death.
The call ‘Liu Shishu’ [sixth martial (younger) uncle] was already on Zhang Wuji’s lips, but he swallowed it back. Among his martial uncles, Yin Liting was the one closest to his father, therefore, he also had always treated him with parental love. When he looked at this sixth uncle, whom he had not seen for nine years, he saw a face battered with wind and dust, the hair on his temples was graying out. Zhang Wuji presumed Ji Xiaofu’s death had given him a tremendous blow.
As he saw a close relative after a long period of separation, Zhang Wuji’s first urge was to rush forward and greet him, but finally he thought that in front of too many people, he could not blurt out the truth and should avoid provoking endless trouble later on. Although Zhou Zhiruo knew his real identity, he did not think she would reveal it to others.
Yin Liting bowed and saluted Miejue Shitai. “My humble Sect’s Da Shixiong [first martial brother], leading a number of his martial brothers and the third generation disciples, thirty-two people altogether, have arrived at the frontline’s canyon bank. Wanbei [younger generation – referring to self] is under Da Shixiong’s order to welcome your honorable Sect,” he said.
“Good,” Miejue Shitai replied, “Wudang has arrived first. Have you had any contact with the demons?”
“We have battled the Devil Cult’s Wood and Fire, two Flags, three times,” Yin Liting said, “We have killed several demons, but Qi Shidi [seventh martial (younger) brother] Mo Shenggu suffers a light wound.”
Miejue Shitai nodded. She knew that although Yin Liting spoke lightly, these three battles must be exceptionally fierce and heavy, such that with Wudang’s five heroes’ ability, they still failed to kill the Devil Cult’s Flag Leaders and the Seventh Hero Mo Shenggu even sustained injury.
“Has your honorable Sect ascertained the strength of the Brightness Peak yet?” Miejue Shitai asked further.
Yin Liting said, “We heard the Heavenly Eagle Cult and other Devil Cult’s branches carried a massive operation to support the Brightness Peak, yet some others say that Zi Shan Long Wang and Qing Yi Fu Wang have also arrived.”
Miejue Shitai was startled. “Zi Shan Long Wang has also arrived?” she asked.
The two of them were talking while walking side by side, with the Emei disciples followed from a distance; they did not dare to listen to these two people’s discussion. After talking for a while, Yin Liting raised his cupped fists to take his leave, as he needed to make contact with the Huashan Pai.
“Yin Liuxia,” Jing Xuan called out, “You have been busy running around; you must be hungry. Would you eat some light refreshments before continuing your journey?”
Yin Liting was not shy, he said, “In that case I will bother you.”