The two men exchanged blow after blow. They fought faster and faster that they had exchanged seventy, eighty stances in a very short period of time. Although Xie Xun’s pair of eyes could not see a thing, his martial art skill came from Cheng Kun, so he knew Cheng Kun’s fists and kicks by heart. No matter how many times Cheng Kun changed his style, Xie Xun was able to anticipate his movements without difficulty. After decades of separation, both men had enjoyed tremendous advancement in terms of their internal energy cultivation, but the styles and stances were still their martial art school’s techniques.
Xie Xun did not need to use his eyes; as he launched a strike, he knew exactly how the opponent would react, as well as by which stance, or at least the most likely variation, the opponent would counterattack. In addition, he was more than ten years younger than Cheng Kun; his physique was considerably stronger. The many years he spent on the extraordinarily cold and extremely hot Bing Huo Island had given his internal energy cultivation a tremendous advantage. For these reasons, he did not show the slightest sign of defeat even after fighting for more than a hundred stances.
Xie Xun’s animosity toward Cheng Kun was as deep as the ocean. He had waited bitterly for several decades. This time as he met his archenemy, at first Zhang Wuji thought that Xie Xun would disregard everything and fought Cheng Kun with all he had so that both sides would perish together. Contrary to his expectation, each style and every stance Xie Xun launched was exceptionally steady and calm, his line of defense was also very tight. Initially Zhang Wuji was astonished, but after watching the battle progress for dozens of moves, he finally understood.
Cheng Kun’s martial art skill was not inferior to Du E, Du Nan, three monks. If Xie Xun brazenly attacked with all he had, he might not be able to last more than three hundred moves. It was evident that the deeper Xie Xun’s hatred toward Cheng Kun, the more cautious he was in his movements. He was afraid that he would be destroyed under Cheng Kun’s hands before he was able to avenge his father, mother, wife and son’s blood debt.
After about two hundred moves, Xie Xun gave a loud shout. His fist struck out with a strong gust of wind.
“Qi Shang Quan! [seven-injury fist]” Guan Neng of Kongtong Pai called out. He saw Xie Xun’s left and right fists continuously move with matchless overwhelming power. The elders of Kongtong Pai looked at each other with amazement; they could not help but feel ashamed of their own inferiority.
Cheng Kun subsequently evaded three fists. As Xie Xun’s forth fist arrived, Cheng Kun swept his right palm horizontally. ‘Bang!’ The fist and the palm collided. With loose hair and beard, Xie Xun stood motionless; while Cheng Kun was forced to withdraw three steps back.
Many of the heroes watching the fight were cheering inwardly. By this time, it was already clear to the Jianghu people how the enmity between Xie Xun and Cheng Kun started, and how it escalated. Although the people were angry with Xie Xun because he was too ruthless, excessively harming the innocents, they understood the cruel fate Xie Xun met. On the other hand, they thought Cheng Kun was too malicious and evil. Therefore, other than a few people whose close friends and family were killed by Xie Xun, most of the people present hoped he would triumph.
Xie Xun rushed three steps forward. Again, with strong gusts of wind his fists punched left and right. Cheng Kun parried with his pair of palms, while he took three more steps backward.
“Not good!” Zhang Wuji cried out silently, “Cheng Kun is using the Jiu Yang Gong [nine ‘yang’ energy], which he learned after he entered Kong Jian Shen Seng’s [divine monk] tutelage. He did not pass it on to Yifu.”
Xie Xun trained the Qi Shang Quan in a rush. As a result, he had suffered internal injury. His fist strength was actually flawed. Cheng Kun had a deep knowledge of this fist technique’s crucial keys; therefore, he deliberately showed weakness, but in actuality, he was sending out his Jiu Yang Gong to counterattack the opponent. With each fist Xie Xun sent, Cheng Kun received about 70% of the force and neutralized it with his Jiu Yang Gong, while he sent the remaining 30% back to Xie Xun.
‘Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh!’ Xie Xun sent out twelve punches. Cheng Kun took a dozen or so steps backward. It appeared that Xie Xun was gaining the upper hand; however, the internal injury he suffered was actually getting heavier. Zhang Wuji was extremely anxious, but he knew this was his Yifu’s lifelong dream to finally have the opportunity to exact his revenge; obviously, he could not meddle by giving him a hand. Yet if Xie Xun continued fighting like this, in a few dozen moves he would inevitably vomit blood and die.
“Yuan Zhen,” with a cold voice Kong Zhi suddenly said, “Did my Shixiong [martial brother] teach you this Shaolin Jiu Yang Gong to harm others?”
Cheng Kun sneered and said, “My En Shi [benevolent master] lost his life under the Qi Shang Quan. I am avenging En Shi today to wipe out a disgrace.”
Suddenly Zhao Min called out, “Kong Jian Shen Seng’s Jiu Yang Gong cultivation was far above yours. How come he could not withstand the Qi Shang Quan? Kong Jian Dashi was harmed by your traitorous hands. You deceived the Senior to come forward and resolve your enmity; you deceived him to take a beating without hitting back. Hey, hey, look, look! Who’s that standing behind you? His face is full of blood; he looks at your back with angry glare. Isn’t that Kong Jian Shen Seng?”
Cheng Kun knew perfectly well that she was blabbering nonsense, but what he had done had been weighing his conscience down, so he did feel guilty and he shivered involuntarily.
Right this moment, Xie Xun sent another punch. Cheng Kun used his palm to block. Surprisingly, he did not retreat. Because of Zhao Min’s distraction, his concentration was divided and his ‘chi’ did not flow properly. Xie Xun’s punch made the ‘chi’ and blood in Cheng Kun’s breast turned upside down. He was forced to use his ‘qing gong’ to run around Xie Xun for a while until he could regulate his breathing.
“Kong Jian Shen Seng,” Zhao Min called out, “Nail him! That’s right! Just like that! Blow your breath on the back of his neck! You died under your disciple’s hands, he must also die under his disciple’s hands. It is called ‘karma’. Lao Tian Ye [lit. old master of the sky – a reference to God or the Heaven] has eyes, the just retribution is coming.”
The hair on Cheng Kun’s back stood up. He did not believe in ghosts, but at that time he indeed felt a puff of cold wind on the back of his neck. He was flustered. He did not remember that the wind had always been blowing on that peak all year long. Besides, Xie Xun and he were leaping up and down in their fight; naturally his back was blown by the wind.
Zhao Min could see doubt was starting to grow in Cheng Kun’s mind, she shouted, “Aiyo! Cheng Kun, watch your back! You don’t dare to turn your head? Look down to the shadow on ground. There are only two people fighting, where did the third shadow come from?”
Cheng Kun could not help but look down. He did see that between the two shadows, there was another dark shadow. His heart skipped a beat. Xie Xun’s punch arrived. Cheng Kun did not have enough time to evade; he was forced to use his fist to meet the incoming fist head-on. ‘Bang!’ Two enormous forces collided. They were both shaken and they were both pushed one step backward. Then Cheng Kun could see clearly that the extra shadow was actually a broken pine tree trunk.
When the battle dragged on with him unable to achieve the victory, Cheng Kun had already been impatient. “He is my disciple,” he thought, “And he is blind; yet I still cannot deal with him. My followers watching from the side won’t accept it. Too bad my special skill ‘huan yin zhi’ [lit. fantasy ‘yin’ finger] was broken by the pure ‘yang’ energy of that extremely loathsome little thief, Zhang Wuji, that night; otherwise, how could I fight such a long fight with Xie Xun right now? Currently, the situation is dangerous. I must subdue this renegade disciple as quickly as possible. Only then can I hold the Ming Cult at bay and also provoke those people who have grudges against him. At least I can still escape with my life.” As he made this decision, his footwork changed. Making his steps as quiet as possible, he took two steps backward toward the broken pine tree.
Xie Xun sent three punches in succession while he took two steps forward. Cheng Kun retreated two steps. He wanted to entice Xie Xun so that he would stumble on the broken pine tree. Xie Xun was about to chase Cheng Kun forward when Zhang Wuji called out, “Yifu, watch your steps!”
Xie Xun shivered; he stepped sideways to avoid the obstacle. But as he was hesitating, Cheng Kun seized the opportunity to launch his silent punch, aimed at Xie Xun’s chest. Cheng Kun suddenly sent out his force and Xie Xun fell backward. Cheng Kun raised his foot to kick Xie Xun’s skull. Xie Xun rolled away and quickly stood up. Blood trickled down from the corner of his mouth.