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The Thrush Chapter 33

CSI

Guileless Treasured Sword

Nan Ping suddenly laughed again, she said, “Actually, gentlemen don’t need to worry too much, Da Shijie is the one with the highest martial art skill among the sisters of our school. Although she is disabled now, she has not lost her martial arts. She will definitely be able to repel those people.”

Shaking his head, Hu Tiehua said, “If she had the confidence that she could repel those people, she would have made her move early on, why would she wait until now?”

Nan Ping said, “But … but my Shifu often said that Da Shijie martial art skill is definitely not inferior to the top ten most prestigious martial arts masters in today’s Wulin, could it be that those people’s martial arts are higher than hers?”

Smiling wryly, Hu Tiehua said, “Those who dare to set themselves against Chu Liuxiang naturally will have real skill.”

Dai Duxing asked, “Can Xiang Shuai figure out who those people are?”

Smiling wryly, Chu Liuxiang said, “Even if I can guess who those people are, how will it help our problem now?”

Actually, he was 80% sure that those people were lured here by Liu Wumei. By doing so, not only she could cut off Chu Liuxiang’s path, she could also take Tian’er and the others as hostages to threaten Chu Liuxiang. Even if afterwards he could escape by luck, he would not be able to reveal her secrets anymore.

Chu Liuxiang had already determined that this must be another chain of Liu Wumei’s poisonous scheme.

He let out a long, long sigh and said, “Now my only hope is that your Da Shijie can already see that her martial art skill is definitely not the opponent’s match.”

Frowning, Nan Ping asked, “Why?”

Chu Liuxiang said, “Just because if she is forced to do anything, she may disregard everything and open this door.”

“That’s right,” Dai Duxing added, “This is called being on the field of death and come back alive.”

Nan Ping said, “If it were someone else, reaching a desperate situation, perhaps she might do that, but my Da Shijie would rather die than doing that.”

Frowning, Dai Duxing asked, “Why?”

Nan Ping sighed and said, “It was because she inadvertently leaked the entrance to this palace that my Da Shijie received heavy blame, how could she dare to repeat it this time?”

This seemed to be their last hope, yet now that the hope was cut off again, everyone could not help feeling dismayed.

However, Hu Tiehua’s eyes lit up, he suddenly rushed up and pounded the iron ring on the stone wall with his hand, the sound echoed from the four walls, so shocking that people’s ears went numb.

Nan Ping blurted out, “What are you doing?”

Hu Tiehua laughed and said, “This is called being on the field of death and come back alive.”

Dai Duxing clapped his hands and said, “That’s right, when those people hear the sound coming from the ground, they certainly will be able to guess where the entrance to the Shen Shui Gong is. And once they know the entrance to the Shen Shui Gong, then that Da Shijie will have nothing to hide. Once her misgiving is gone, she might open the door.”

Hu Tiehua laughed and said, “I am a stupid person, so I can only think of such stupid way.”

Chu Liuxiang’s countenance was also moved with delight, he said, “When smart people cannot think of anything, something that stupid people come up with must be most useful.”

‘Most useful’, these two words had barely been spoken, there was a line of light coming down from above.

The hall of the nunnery was not bright, the sun was hidden by the thick shade, as if it has not been able to shine its light into this place since ancient times, increasing the feel of desolation of this ancient Buddhist Hall.

The yellow curtain was hanging low, so that it was hard to tell which Buddhist image was enshrined in the temple. The curtain hanging above the altar was the same old-fashioned yellow satin curtain that drooped down all the way to the floor.

A slim and old nun in dark green clothes with drooping eyebrows and subdued eyes was sitting cross-legged on the putuan [praying mat made of woven cattail] in front of the altar. Although she was sitting, it was still clear that she was very tall.

Her dried-up yellow face was so thin without the slightest bit of flesh, revealing her high cheekbones, which made her look more haggard and old, while also more solemn and grim.

In front of her, on the left and right sides, there were several more putuan; on the putuan on her left were two very beautiful girls sitting cross-legged, with their heads hanging to their chests, as if they were in deep sleep.

These two were precisely Li Hongxiu and Song Tian’er.

On the putuan on the right sat a man and a woman, but they were not Li Yuhan, husband and wife. The man’s countenance was pale, he seemed to be wearing a mask, but there were bloodstains on his dark green clothes, he appeared to be seriously wounded. His teeth were clenched tightly, his eyes were also closed tightly, as if he was enduring so much pain that he could barely sit.

The woman’s face was covered with a silk scarf, revealing only a pair of very touching eyes, but her eyes were also full of fear and grief and indignation.

Inside the Buddhist Hall, originally there were bursts of deafening noise of clashing metal. The sound obviously came from underground. At this time, it suddenly stopped.

By this moment, the putuan where the old nun in dark green clothes was sitting on was moving slowly, a hole was exposed in the putuan, and then two people came out like sly rabbits.

Without needing any explanation, these two were naturally Hu Tiehua and Chu Liuxiang.

When the masked woman saw them, her eyes suddenly showed a look of pleasant surprise, but the nun in dark green clothes’ grim eyes shot rays of light which were far sharper than blade.

Her long sleeves opened up, black light flashed, carrying a burst of strong-beyond-compare gust of wind, rolling with a whistle towards Chu Liuxiang and the others.

Merely this strong wind of qi power was already hard to withstand, not to mention the strong wind also carried Shen Shui Gong’s unique seeing-blood-sealing-the-throat secret projectile in it.

Hu Tiehua only felt the cold wind assaulting his face, suddenly the great pressure made his breathing unable to flow.

In shock, he pulled back and somersaulted out in the air. ‘Bang!’ he smashed against and shattered the window, and flew out of the window, only to feel a slight shock on his shoes. Even with the speed of his response, unexpectedly it was still hard to avoid being hit by the secret projectile. Fortunately, after entering the Pass, he had not changed his shoes, he was still wearing the leather boots that Ji Bingyan had prepared for him. Although the secret projectile’s power was strong, it was still unable to penetrate this kind of old leather.

Otherwise, even if he did not die, his leg could be considered crippled already.

Hu Tiehua’s body was still in the air, he was already shocked that his body broke in cold sweat.

The old trees outside the window provided deep shade, the leaves were very dense. He was thinking about cooling down to the tree first before thinking of his next move, who would have thought that right this moment, he heard a ‘Chi!’.

As the cold light flashed, a sword stabbed out from among the shade of the leaves like a viper. The attack was so fast, the movement was ruthless, unexpectedly it was not inferior to the nun in dark green clothes’ secret projectile.

This sword was coming even more beyond his expectation. His mouthful of true qi had been exhausted, while his body was still in the air. Even if he had gargantuan ability, he would not be able to dodge this sword.

Just as the bile was rising up in his mouth, when he intended to stake everything to take the sword head on, suddenly he saw a blur of dark shadow flew out of the window, straight towards the sword light.

He heard another ‘Chi!’ noise, the sword light penetrated the shadow, unexpectedly it was a putuan, only Hu Tiehua was not able to see clearly what it was.

As soon as the tip of his feet touched the ground, he slid in through the window again. Only to see Chu Liuxiang was still standing on the spot, as if he had not moved at all. It was unclear how he evaded the strong wind and secret projectile just now.

He also saw Nan Ping had already jumped to the ground, pulling the nun in dark green clothes’ hand to talk to her, evidently she was pleading for leniency on behalf of Chu Liuxiang and the others, to explain for them.

Wiping his sweat, Hu Tiehua said, “Old stinky bug, looks like I owe you another favor.”

Chu Liuxiang laughed and said, “This time, it wasn’t me who saved your life.”

Astonished, Hu Tiehua asked, “Who was it?”

While his mouth was speaking, his head turned around, and only then did he realize that the masked woman who was originally sitting on the floor had stood up, and the putuan she was sitting on had disappeared.

Stroking his nose, Hu Tiehua smiled wryly and said, “Guniang saved my life, yet I thanked someone else, I really feel embarrassed. But Guniang, please don’t take offense, although I’m stupid, I know good from bad. Hereafter whatever Guniang want me to do, you want me to go to the water, I will go to the water, you want me to go to the fire, I will go to the fire.”

The masked woman’s eyes flashed again, as if she wanted to say something.

But this moment Nan Ping already stood up, she spoke loudly, “My Da Shijie wants to ask: where do you come from, and what is your relationship with our Palace?”

She had her back toward the nun in dark green clothes, this moment she suddenly signaled Chu Liuxiang with her eyes before continuing, “I know that you and our Palace must have a deep relationship, otherwise Shifu, the Senior would not have told you to come here, so you’d better explain it clearly to Da Shijie.”

Actually, she did not need to signal with her eye, Chu Liuxiang already understood what she meant – although she brought them here, in her heart she was still very scared.

Naturally, Chu Liuxiang could not possibly ask her to take the blame. After pondering silently for a moment, he said, “The details of this matter cannot be explained in a short period of time, when Guniang sees lingshi [your honorable master], naturally you will understand everything. This moment, it is more important to deal with the matter in here first.”

Hu Tiehua seized the opportunity to speak, “That’s right, I want to know who are those kids sneakily hiding outside and plotting against people? In any case, I must teach them a lesson.”

Although the nun in dark green clothes’ eyes were flashing, her face remained wooden without any expression.”

Her eyes were almost completely gray, just like the cold ice in stagnant water, and her face was like a lake of stagnant water, there was a strange serenity within the callousness.

Hu Tiehua could not help wanting to strike his nose again. Smiling wryly, he said, “You … Dashi [Great Master, a polite term to address Buddhist monk/nun] really can’t speak?”

The nun in dark green clothes nodded.

Hu Tiehua said, “But Dashi can hear us?”

The nun in dark green clothes unexpectedly shook her head.

Staring blankly, Hu Tiehua said, “You clearly can hear me, why do you say you can’t?”

Nan Ping said, “My Da Shijie really can’t hear.”

Hu Tiehua said, “If she really can’t hear, how could she nod and shake her head?”

Nan Ping cast a glance at the nun in dark green clothes, she wanted to say something but then hesitated.

Smiling wryly, Hu Tiehua said, “I beg you to tell me quickly, please don’t play dumb riddles any more, I’m almost going crazy with anxiety.”

It seemed like Chu Liuxiang’s guess was not incorrect. Since Li Yuhan, husband and wife were not here, the people outside must be sent by them to deal with Li Hongxiu and Song Tian’er.

But who were these people? Looking at the viciousness and ruthlessness of that one sword strike, their sword technique was quite high, not at all inferior to Huang Luzhi too much.

Where did Liu Wumei find these many martial art masters?

Also, who were these masked man and woman? Why were they so mysterious?

In Hu Tiehua’s heart, doubts and suspicions were already very heavy, yet he clearly encountered a mute, plus Li Hongxiu and Song Tian’er were still unconscious.

No matter who, encountering this kind of matter, it would be strange indeed if they did not go crazy with anxiety.

Right this moment, suddenly they heard someone outside the window speaking sternly, “This matter has nothing to do with gentlemen, the sword just now was only a warning, nothing more than that, there was no intention of hurting anyone, as long as gentlemen hand over our school’s renegade, we will immediately leave, as highly disciplined soldiers, not committing the slightest offence against civilians [idiom]; but if gentlemen are determined to waddle this turbulent water, I am afraid it would be difficult to avoid burning both jade and common stone [another idiom: destroy indiscriminately].”

Listening to the tone of their voice, unexpectedly it appeared that they were not looking for Li Hongxiu and Song Tian’er.

Knitting his brows, Hu Tiehua said, “Who are you? Who is your renegade?”

Before the person outside the window answered, the seriously injured masked guest suddenly leaped up and struggled to rush out. While Hu Tiehua was stunned, he heard ‘Ding!’, the nun in dark green clothes and the masked woman have both blocked the masked guest’s path.

The masked woman spoke in trembling voice, “Since we have come here, everything should be left to Dashi to make the decision. If you rush out this moment, wouldn’t you fail to live up to her, the Senior’s kind intention?”

The nun in dark green clothes’ eyes were burning, she stared at the masked guest, and then slowly nodded her head, the masked woman said a few words, a burst of light, bell-like sound rang under the nun in dark green clothes’ feet.

Hu Tiehua suddenly discovered that unexpectedly there was a very thin iron chain tied under her feet, and the other end of the iron chain was hidden under the altar behind the low-hanging yellow curtain.

The masked woman said a word, the iron chain moved. The iron chain vibrated on the bluestone slab, producing burst after burst of light ‘tinkling’ noise.

Only then did Hu Tiehua understand how a deaf person could hear other people’s words. He really could not bear not to go and see who was hiding under the altar? Why was it so mysterious? But before he walked over, Chu Liuxiang already signaled him with his eyes to stop.

Only to hear the man outside the window spoke with a cold laugh, “A real man dares to do and dares to accept the consequences of his actions. Yet the grand man fled to this place to seek the protection of womenfolk [orig. furen – married woman, and nuzi – woman in general]. What kind of hero, a strong and courageous person? Even our people have been enlightened by you.”

That masked guest’s body trembled, suddenly he flashed, flying in between the nun in dark green clothes and the masked woman. His shenfa was very fast, unexpectedly it exceeded Hu Tiehua’s expectations.

This time the nun in dark green clothes did not stop him. They saw the loose robe draped over his body was fluttering in the wind, unexpectedly the left-hand sleeve seemed to be absolutely empty.

While it looked like he was about to rush out the door, on the outside the wind was blowing the trees and the leaves, creating rustling noise. Obviously as soon as he stepped out of the threshold of this Puti An, no one knew how many sword lights would strike down on him.

But right this moment, another figure flashed, blocking his way.

This person moved later but arrived first, unexpectedly his shenfa was much faster than his. Without question, naturally this person was Chu Liuxiang, whose qinggong was ‘number one under the heavens’.

The masked guest spoke sternly, “This matter has nothing to do with you, get out of the way.”

Chu Liuxiang smiled and said, “Your business is my business, how could it have nothing to do with me?”

The masked guest’s body shook, he spoke hoarsely, “You … Who are you? I don’t know you.”

Chu Liuxiang sighed and said, “Even if you don’t know me, I do know you.”

The masked guest suddenly sent out a backhanded palm strike to slice Chu Liuxiang’s throat.

Yet Chu Liuxiang did not parry, but he did not evade either, sure enough, the masked guest’s palm stopped abruptly midway. Chu Liuxiang stared fixedly at him.

Letting out a long, long sigh, he spoke sadly, “Hong Xiong, I know you are proud and arrogant, never been willing to ask for help, but if you still want to hide until now, unavoidably you are not considering me your friend too much?”

The masked guest suddenly turned around, his shoulders shook, apparently his heart was extremely moved. The masked woman walked over and took his hand, tears already streamed down her face.

Hu Tiehua was slacked-jawed and wide-eyed, he was stunned for half a day, and then muttered, “Hong Xiong, Qu Guniang … Ay! I really deserve to die, unexpectedly I did not recognize you.”

The masked woman was precisely Qu Wurong, she spoke in distress, “I can’t take a good care of him, but have to come and ask … ask for help instead, I really don’t have any face to see you again, but … but …”

Hu Tiehua sprang up and said loudly, “This is also I deserve to die, were it not for me, this blind muddled-egg [i.e. bastard] accidentally injured and maimed Hong Xiong, how could you be bullied by others now? Not to mention, Qu Guniang, you saved my life again today, I … I …”

He suddenly rushed out and roared wildly, “Whoever wants to give Yidian Hong bad luck, come to me, Hu Tiehua first!”

Amidst the roar, two blue lights struck like lightning from among the leaves.

At this time, Huang Luzhi and Dai Duxing jumped out of the tunnel. The two men, one on the left the other on the right, also went out from the window. They heard Dai Duxing laughing and scolding, “Good little monkey, really strike treacherously!”

They also heard Huang Luzhi spoke heavily, “These people’s sword technique is ruthless and vicious, they have a style of their own. You must be careful.”

Yidian Hong reached back and threw off the mask on his face, revealing his pale and haggard face, but his eyes were still that grim and obstinate. Stomping his feet, he said, “This is my business, why should you guys get involved?”

Chu Liuxiang said, “Xiao Hu feels a bit ashamed toward you. If you don’t let him go out to fight, I am afraid he will really go crazy with anxiety.”

Gritted his teeth, Yidian Hong said, “But no matter who, this matter is out of anybody’s control.”

“Why?” Chu Liuxiang asked.

Yidian Hong’s became even more anxious, he said, “You don’t need to ask too much, if you are really my friends, then you quickly take them away.”

Chu Liuxiang sighed and said, “With the friendship between you and me, what is it that you cannot tell me?”

Yidian Hong only waved his hand and said, “Quickly go! Quickly go! If you don’t go, don’t blame me for having a fall out with you.”

Qu Wurong said sadly, “He really has unspeakable difficulties …”

Cutting her off, Chu Liuxiang suddenly asked, “Do you see that tree outside?”

Qu Wurong was stunned, although she did not understand why he asked, she still nodded and said, “I do.”

Chu Liuxiang said, “A tree grows from the ground, just like a human being, growing, bearing fruit, carrying on their ancestral line. But now it has been chopped up into a hideous mess by these people’s sword light. Isn’t it a pity?”

Qu Wurong was stunned, she cast her glance at the sword qi fluttering vertically and horizontally outside the window, she did not know what to say, because she still did not understand what Chu Liuxiang meant.

Chu Liuxiang already continued, “Whether it is a human life or a tree’s life, if it is destroyed before it grows, it is always a hateful thing, but can you say that this is the sword’s fault?”

Qu Wurong said, “This … this, I don’t know.”

Chu Liuxiang fixed his gaze at her, he spoke word by word, “The sword itself is not at fault, the only fault belongs to the hand holding the sword.”

Emotionally moved, Qu Wurong said, “You … you already know his problem?”

Chu Liuxiang heaved a sigh, he took out the bronze medal from his bosom – there were thirteen long and narrow swords on the bronze medal, surrounding one hand.

Yidian Hong suddenly turned pale, he spoke sternly, “Where did that come from?”

Chu Liuxiang did not answer him, instead, he sighed and said, “This hand is probably the most mysterious, most sinister, but also the most powerful hand in the world, because not only does he secretly control the lives and deaths of countless people, but he also makes people die in a confused and unclear manner; even after death, they did not know that such hand exists in the world.”

He stared at Yidian Hong, and spoke heavily, “As long as such a hand exists in the world, there will be at least one or two people inevitably live in fear and die in the dark. If this hand is eliminated, everybody will pass their life in a lot more peace and security, right?”

Yidian Hong gritted his teeth hard, but the muscles at the corners of his mouth still did not stop twitching. He said, “You want to destroy him?”

Chu Liuxiang spoke sternly, “Even if you don’t want to destroy him, he still wanted to destroy you.”

Yidian Hong’s breathing became rugged, suddenly he roared in laughter as if he went mad.

Chu Liuxiang said, “I know that he must be a very terrifying person, but no matter how terrifying a person is, I have seen them all.”

Yidian Hong suddenly stopped laughing, he said, “I know you are not afraid of anybody, but he …”

His pair of eyes suddenly became even darker, even deeper, as if it turned into a bottomless deep hole, brimming with boundless fear, bottomless pain.

Chu Liuxiang said, “Things have come to this, could it be that you still don’t want to lend me a helping hand?”

The corner of Yidian Hong’s mouth twitched, he spoke hoarsely, “Don’t forget, I was raised by him, and my martial arts were also taught by him, even if he wanted to kill me, I cannot betray him.”

Chu Liuxiang was silent for half a day. Heaving a deep sigh, he said, “This is your yiqi, I definitely will not force you … I just want to ask you, is he here today?”

Yidian Hong looked at the sword light outside the window, he was silent for half a day, and then slowly said, “If he was here today, I’m afraid they on the outside would have stopped by now.”

“Why?” Chu Liuxiang asked.

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