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The Thrush Chapter 12

CSI

Thanks for Lending the Sword

Chu Liuxiang smiled and said, “Li Xiong is too modest.”

Hu Tiehua said, “But within Wudang Pai, there are at least five people whose skill is not weak.”

Li Yuhan said, “Hu Xiong is talking about Wudang Zhangjiao [lit. head/chief to teach] and the four major guardians [orig. protector of the law (usually Buddhist)].”

“That’s right,” Hu Tiehua said.

Li Yuhan said, “Even if these five people participate in the Bagua Jian Zhen, they still lack three more. If they find three other people to make up the number, there will be loopholes in this sword formation.”

Hu Tiehua heaved a sigh, “That’s right,” he said.

Li Yuhan said, “Once the sword formation has a loophole, when encountering genuine martial art master, they will definitely find their weak point to attack. As long as any one’s offensive is blocked, the entire formation cannot be pushed forward. At that time, eight people join hands become not as convenient and effective as a single person fighting.”

He chuckled again, and said, “What’s more, the skills of Wudang’s four major guardians may not necessarily be equal, and they may not necessarily be all martial art masters.”

Chu Liuxiang also chuckled, he said, “Besides, a real top masters definitely will not participate in any sword formation. When they fight, they pay particular attention to fighting alone, how could they be willing to join hands with other people to face the enemy?”

Li Yuhan clapped his palms, he said, “Precisely. Wudang Zhangjiao of successive generations, none is willing to join the Bagua Jian Zhen. A sword sect with great prestige like Wudang could not find eight people who can cooperate in the sword formation, let alone others?”

Hu Tiehua suddenly spoke loudly again, saying, “But after talking for half a day, you still have not told us what lingzun’s cherished desire is, neither have you told us what you want us to do?”

Li Yuhan said, “After researching every kind of famous sword formations from ancient times to the present, he also created some kind of sword formation technique. He, the Senior believed that in the world, absolutely no one could break this formation, but he has never been able to prove it. This is also his, the Senior’s biggest regret of his life.”

He sighed and then said, “Because to prove this matter, there are two biggest difficulties. First, although he, the Senior already reduced the number of people in this formation to a minimum, he still can’t find six top martial art masters with comparable skill.”

Chu Liuxiang said, “But I wonder in his, the Senior’s eyes, what kind of person is considered a top martial art master?”

Muttering to himself irresolutely, Li Yuhan said, “These people’s skill must be at least peer competition to that of the Zhangmen [headmaster] of the seven major sects today, moreover, they must be master in using sword, for example …”

Chu Liuxiang spoke indifferently, “For example, Shuai Yifan.”

Li Yuhan’s countenance did not change, he sighed and said, “That’s right, it’s a pity that it is very difficult to find master swordsman like Shuai Lao Qianbei. Finding one is already very difficult, to find six, that is really as difficult as ascending into the heaven.”

Chu Liuxiang’s eyes flashing, he said, “While admittedly for other people looking for six of such martial art masters is as difficult as ascending into the heaven, but with Lingzun’s vision and reputation, it is not a completely impossible matter.”

“That’s right,” Li Yuhan said, “Among my father’s close friends, indeed there are a few who can be counted as top experts, however, these Qianbei are like floating clouds, wild cranes, their wandering footprints indeterminate, therefore, only today did my father finally find six.”

Excited and emotionally moved, Hu Tiehua blurted out, “In that case, wouldn’t that mean Lingzun’s cherished desire has come true?”

Li Yuhan sighed and said, “Hu Xiong, please don’t forget, in this matter, there is still the second difficulty.”

Hu Tiehua asked, “What other difficulty?”

Li Yuhan spoke slowly, “To prove whether this sword formation is indeed without any flaw, we must find someone to break it, but this person is even more difficult to find, because not only does he have to have top martial art skill, top quick-wit, but must also have a very brilliant battle record, and have defeated many top martial art masters.”

He looked at Chu Liuxiang, and then said with a laugh, “Because only such person can test the strength and weaknesses of this sword formation, right?”

Chu Liuxiang’s voice and expression did not change, he smiled and said, “But I wonder in Li Xiong’s eyes, what kind of person has such qualifications?”

Li Yuhan said, “Xiaodi thought it over and over, there is only one such person in the world.”

“Who?” Chu Liuxiang asked.

“It’s Chu Xiong,” Li Yuhan replied. His gaze was fixed at Chu Liuxiang, he smiled slightly and said, “As long as Chu Xiong is willing to make your move, my father’s cherished desire can be achieved.”

Chu Liuxiang’s voice and expression still did not change, he spoke slowly, “Would Xiaodi have any choice?”

“No,” Li Yuhan replied.

Hu Tiehua could not help leaping up, his countenance changed, “You actually want him to fight with six people like Shuai Yifan, won’t that mean you want his life?”

Li Yuhan smiled without saying a word, unexpectedly he agreed tacitly.

Laughing indifferently, Chu Liuxiang said, “No need to worry, this life of mine I plucked it back anyway. If I can die in the ‘Yong Cui Shanzhuang’, wouldn’t it be a proper place to die?”

Hu Tiehua was stunned, suddenly pulling him aside, he spoke in hoarse voice, “You … do you have the confidence?”

“No,” Chu Liuxiang replied.

Stomping his feet, Hu Tiehua said, “Since you don’t have the confidence, why did you tell me not to worry?”

Chu Liuxiang said, “Things have come to this, what’s the use of being worried?”

Rolling his eyes, Hu Tiehua spoke heavily, “Let’s charge out now, perhaps it’s not too late.”

Chu Liuxiang heaved a sigh, he said, “I’m afraid it’s too late.”

The bamboo was rolled up again, several people entered in single file.

These people were all wearing plain black, extremely soft silk robes. The shiny silk robe was as soft as running water, but when they walked, the as-soft-as-running-water silk robe did not even fluctuate.

Their footsteps were also as smooth as running water, as light as specters.

Their faces were also covered with a layer of black silk scarves, so much so that even their eyes were covered, no one could recognize who they were. Within their movements, there was some kind of natural intimidating majesty showing through. Although no one could see their identities, no one dared to show the slightest contempt toward them.

The first person, his figure was slim, tall, and lanky, standing very straight, just like a spear, holding a strange-shaped bronze sword in his hand.

The second person was short and thin, and the third person was tall and burly. When the two walked together, they appeared particularly dazzling, particularly outstanding.

The swords in the palms of these two men were both radiant and gleaming, they were obviously of extraordinary quality, but the shape of the swords was not unusual, and no one could tell the origin of the two swords.

The fourth person, his figure was very ordinary, and the sword he used was a very ordinary bronze sword. Even when walking on the street, perhaps no one would give him a second look.

The fifth man was short and fat, his belly was protruding like a bead, the sword in his palm was neither gold nor iron. Upon closer inspection, unexpectedly it was carved from wood.

None of the five people spoke or made any movement, but as soon as they walked in, the hall seemed to be filled with murderous aura, which made people shudder though not from cold.

Hu Tiehua could not help but worry even more about Chu Liuxiang, because he could see at a glance that whether in term of identity, status, or martial art skill, definitely none of these five people was under Shuai Yifan.

Chu Liuxiang was still carrying a smile on his face, he cupped his fist to salute these five people and said, “Zaixia have heard that several peerless martial art masters have arrived at the ‘Yong Cui Shanzhuang’, knowing that today I will definitely be able to have a glimpse of Qianbei [plural] renowned experts’ splendor, I really am unable to contain my joy. Who would have thought that Qianbei are unwilling to reveal the true face of Mount Lu? Inevitably I feel regret.”

The five men in black just stood motionless, no one opened his mouth.

Chu Liuxiang laughed and said, “Even if Qianbei are unwilling to reveal your true identity to people, why should you even cover your eyes?”

The tall and burly man in black suddenly said, “We use the heart to control the sword, why do we need eyes?”

Although he only spoke a short sentence of only ten words [trust me, it is ten characters], the entire hall seemed to be brimming with his resonant voice, even the teacups on the table were shaken and creating clanking noise.

Chu Liuxiang said, “Zaixia also know that when renowned experts make their move, there is certain propriety, basically no need to use the eye to look. However, could it be that Qianbei do not even want to see what kind of person is your opponent today?”

No one answered his question this time.

Half a day later, Li Yuhan smiled slightly and said, “These five Qianbei have never joined hands to fight with others all their lives, and after today, they definitely will not join hands with others in battle anymore, therefore, they don’t need to show their identities in front of you, and no need to know who you are. These five Qianbei are here simply for my father’s wholehearted wish today.”

Chu Liuxiang laughed indifferently, he said, “That’s right, I also know that these five Qianbei are here today for the sake of their friendship with Lingzun, but today’s matter, is it really Lingzun’s cherished desire, or is it just Gexia’s wish?”

Li Yuhan’s countenance changed, he said, “Of course it is my father’s cherished desire.”

Chu Liuxiang stared at him, he spoke slowly, “So, is Lingzun’s cherished desire to test this sword formation? Or to kill me?”

Li Yuhan’s countenance turned pale, momentarily he was unable to answer.

Smiling sweetly, Liu Wumei said, “Whatever the case, there is no difference.”

“Oh?” Chu Liuxiang said.

Liu Wumei’s charming eyes suddenly became as sharp as knives and scissors, staring at him, she spoke word by word, “Because if there are no flaws in this sword formation, I am afraid Gexia will inevitably become this sword formation’s sacrificial offering.”

Chu Liuxiang said, “And if there is a flaw in this sword formation?”

Liu Wumei spoke leisurely, “Even if there is a flaw in this sword formation, but after being executed by the five Qianbei, I am afraid Gexia will not be able to charge your way out!”

Chu Liuxiang threw his head back in loud laughter, he said, “That is correct, even if this sword formation has hundreds of holes, even if it does not become a sword formation, with these five Qianbei fighting together, I’m afraid no one in the world can withstand it.”

“That’s right,” Liu Wumei said.

Chu Liuxiang said, “Then, why do you need to talk about formations, talk about strengths and weaknesses? It would be better to speak candidly that you want me to leave my life here today. Wouldn’t it be much simpler and easy to understand?”

Liu Wumei said, “There is a bit difference in it.”

“Oh?” Chu Liuxiang said.

Liu Wumei said, “These five Qianbei join hands to fight, even though you can’t withstand, you can still escape. Gexia’s qinggong is unparalleled in the world, everybody knows it.”

“You flatter me, you flatter me,” Chu Liuxiang said.

Liu Wumei said, “But once the formation is activated, even if Gexia sticks a pair of wings on your back, you can forget about escaping.”

Chu Liuxiang was silent for half a day, he slowly said, “What exactly is the enmity that the pair of virtuous husband and wife have against Zaixia? Why do you want Zaixia to leave my life here?”

Rolling her eyes, Liu Wumei spoke coldly, “I already told you, this is not our idea, this is my father’s intention.”

They saw the old man Li Guanyu was still sitting blankly over there, only he lowered his eyes to stare at the limpid-autumn-water long sword in front of him.

Chu Liuxiang heaved a sigh, he muttered, “Whether this is his intention or not, no one can ask anyway.”

Hu Tiehua suddenly spoke loudly, “This formation requires at least six people, right?” Hu Tiehua’s eyes flashing, he said, “But now there are only five.”

“That’s right,” Liu Wumei said.

Hu Tiehua secretly rejoiced in his heart, he could not help laughing and said, “I’m afraid you never thought that Shuai Yifan would leave without saying goodbye.”

Liu Wumei coldly said, “It doesn’t matter whether Shuai Lao Qianbei is coming or not.”

Hu Tiehua suddenly stopped laughing, “It doesn’t matter?” he said, “How can it be it does not matter? If there is one person missing from the formation …”

Liu Wumei interrupted him with a laugh, she said, “Could it be that you have never heard, there are times when someone without any qualification can make up the number?”

No more paying attention to Hu Tiehua, she turned around and bowed deeply to the five men in black, saying, “Wanbei has also practiced this sword formation, until now I still remember it in my heart. Shuai Lao Qianbei has not arrived, Wanbei could only strive to make up the number, wishing for Qianbei’s protection, Wanbei can’t thank you enough.”

The five men in black neither agreed nor opposed.

The slender and tall man in black was the first to say suddenly, “Why not let your husband to make the move?”

Liu Wumei was stunned, “This …” she started.

The short and small man in black already spoke sternly, “Could it be that you think your sword technique is higher than that of the direct disciple of the Li family?”

Amid a shout, the sword in his palm had turned into ten thousand dots of silver star coming down.

Liu Wumei’s eyes stared fixedly at the silver stars filling the air, but her body did not move at all, unexpectedly she neither dodged nor parried, as if she had already seen that this sword was a false move.

The silver stars filling the air came in front of her, sure enough, like a magic they disappeared.

The slim man in black said, “How is it?”

The short and small man in black replied, “Not bad.”

Liu Wumei said sweetly, “Thank you, Qianbei.”

She suddenly turned around and walked to Li Guanyu’s presence, bowed and said, “Daughter would like to ask you, the Senior to bestow me the use of the sword.”

The old man gave her a blank look and lowered his head again.

Yet Liu Wumei bowed again and said, “Thank you for your, the Senior’s grace.” Unexpectedly, she spoke herself, she responded herself, but she took the sword in front of the old man.

The muscles on the old man’s face seemed to twitch for a moment, a spark of fire seemed to burst out of his eyes, only he did not even utter a word.

Hu Tiehua suddenly rushed over and stood beside Chu Liuxiang.

Chu Liuxiang asked, “What are you doing?”

Hu Tiehua said loudly, “Since there are six of them, why can’t we have two people?”

Smiling wryly, Chu Liuxiang said, “Why do we need two people?”

Hu Tiehua said, “Two are always better than one.”

Chu Liuxiang sighed, “If two people die together, none will be good.”

Hu Tiehua clenched his fists tightly, but before he could speak, Liu Wumei spoke leisurely, “You’d better listen to him! Alone, he may have one or two parts [out of ten, i.e. 10-20%] chance to escape, but with you along, he won’t even have half a part chance.”

Hu Tiehua’s face turned beet-red, staring at Chu Liuxiang, he said, “You … you don’t want me to fight with you?”

Chu Liuxiang grabbed his hand, he spoke slowly, “Think carefully, and you will understand what I mean.” While his mouth was speaking, he wrote a ‘save’ [or rescue] character on Hu Tiehua’s palm. Naturally, what he meant was for Hu Tiehua to rescue Su Rongrong and the others.

Because now that Li Yuhan, husband and wife were in this hall, plus they would definitely not leave, in other places in the ‘Yong Cui Shanzhuang’, their nest must be empty.

This was precisely a great opportunity to rescue people.

Hu Tiehua exhaled slowly, he said, “I understand.”

Chu Liuxiang smiled and said, “Very good, I know you will never let me down.”

As he spoke, he wrote the word ‘Go’ on Hu Tiehua’s palm. Naturally, he meant that after rescuing them, Hu Tiehua should leave immediately.

Hu Tiehua’s countenance changed again, he blurted out, “But you …”

Chu Liuxiang squeezed his hand, with a smile on his face, he said, “If you are my good friend, you should let me focus on the fight, you should know my character, if something else distracts me, I really don’t even have half a part chance to win.”

Hu Tiehua was silent for half a day, then he nodded heavily, only to feel that Chu Liuxiang’s hand was still so warm, so steady, while his own hands had turned icy cold. He could not help squeezing Chu Liuxiang’s hand hard, and could not bear to let go for a very long time, as if this was the last time they shook hands.

Chu Liuxiang patted him on the shoulder, the two stared at each other for half a day, and then, Chu Liuxiang suddenly turned around and said slowly, “Zaixia is ready, Qianbei, please make your move.”

Hu Tiehua was not a melancholy and moody [idiom] person at all, plus he has always been very confident in Chu Liuxiang’s martial art skill, but now, for some reason, his eyes were a little red.

Looking at Chu Liuxiang, Liu Wumei smiled sweetly and said, “Aren’t you going to use weapon?”

Chu Liuxiang spoke indifferently, “In time like this, it makes no difference whether or not I use weapon.”

The short and fat man in black suddenly laughed aloud and said, “This man’s guts is indeed not small.”

Chu Liuxiang said, “Qianbei flattered me, actually, Zaixia’s guts has never been too big, before each fight, my heart has always been very afraid, but by the time I make my move, the fear is forgotten.”

When he said the last sentence, lightning fast, he suddenly made his move, bending his fingers like hooks, ‘Pair of Dragons Strive for The Pearl’, straight to take Liu Wumei’s eyes.

Caught off guard, Liu Wumei stepped back in shock.

Who would have thought that Chu Liuxiang’s move was actually a false move? His left hand attacked, the thumb of his right hand and the index and middle, two fingers already pinched the tip of the sword in Liu Wumei’s palm.

Liu Wumei only felt a strange vibration, transmitted upward via the blade of the sword, shocking her wrist that it went sore and numb, and she was unable to hold on to the long sword.

Only to hear Chu Liuxiang laughed and said, “Thank you, Sao Furen for lending the sword; thank you, thank you very much.”

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