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The Thrush Chapter 34

The Legend of Iron Blood

His eyes flashing, Chu Liuxiang sounded him out, “How about Xue Yiren?”

Yidian Hong pondered for half a day, he said, “In his eyes, Xue Yiren’s sword technique is no more than an embroidery needle.” 

“Embroidery needle?” Chu Liuxiang asked.

Yidian Hong said, “Embroidery needle can only be used for embroidery, if it is used to sew clothes, cassock and quilts, it will break.”

“How so?” Chu Liuxiang asked.

Yidian Hong said, “Xue Yiren’s sword technique is pleasing to the eyes, but his sword technique is practical.”

Chu Liuxiang recalled how ruthless but effective Yidian Hong’s sword technique was, he could not help smiling wryly and said, “That’s right, sword technique that is pleasing to watch may not necessarily be able to injure people, but sword technique that can kill people may not necessarily be pleasing to the eyes.”

“Exactly,” Yidian Hong said.

Chu Liuxiang let out a long, long sigh, he said, “Listening to what you said, I want to see him even more.”

Yidian Hong seemed to be sighing as well, he muttered, “You don’t see him is better.”

Chu Liuxiang chuckled. Changing the subject, he asked, “How many men are coming here today?” 

“Eight,” Qu Wurong replied.

She bit her lip and said, “Originally there were ten, but outside Jinan City, we already eliminated one, and then there’s another one that suddenly left for some unknown reason.”

Knitting his brows, Chu Liuxiang said, “They have had their eyes on you since Jinan City?”

Qu Wurong cast a glance at Yidian Hong, she spoke sadly, “He … he originally did not believe that those people would really attack him murderously, until he was seriously injured. If he was not seriously injured, we would not have fled to this place.”

She heaved a sigh, and then continued, “Because my Shifu told me before that no matter what calamity I encounter in the future, I can come here to seek Dashi’s protection … At that time, she really did not treat me badly.”

As she spoke, the rim of her eyes gradually turned red, as if she was recalling Shi Guanyin‘s kindness to her in the past, as well as forgetting her hatred.

Chu Liuxiang suddenly discovered that this cold and detached, obstinate woman had become much gentler, and become even more melancholy and moody within this past month or so.

He knew that only the power of ‘love’ could make her change so quickly, so much so that he could not help but secretly feel happy for Yidian Hong. 

Because he knew that sooner or later, Yidian Hong would also be softened by this power. This solitary young man was like a tree growing on a dangerous rock, he really needed emotional nourishment very much.

But he had not realized that when the nun in dark green clothes heard Qu Wurong’s words, her countenance suddenly changed greatly, the ash-colored pupil of her eyes was also burning.

Qu Wurong looked at the bronze medal in his hand, she said, “One of the ten of them suddenly disappeared, could it be that you …”

Chu Liuxiang chuckled, he said, “I did not kill him, but he did come to kill me.”

Qu Wurong said, “Along the way, we have fought with them no less than seven times, as far as I know, the missing person is the one with the worst martial arts among them, how could they send him to deal with you?”

Chu Liuxiang said, “Because at that time they did not know that the target of the assassination was Chu Liuxiang, naturally they had to keep the main force to deal with you and send the worst one to set about the task.”

He suddenly asked again, “In that case, the remaining eight people, could it be that their martial art skill is higher than his?” 

Qu Wurong sighed and said, “We have fought against them seven times, although each time we were able to escape alive from mortal danger, it was indeed by mere luck. Twice, even I thought that it would be difficult to escape their poisonous hand.”

Chu Liuxiang also cast a glance at the sword qi outside the window, he frowned and said, “In that case, Xiao Hu and the others fighting one against two, I’m afraid they are …”

Suddenly they heard the sound of iron chain striking the ground, clanking endlessly.

There was angry look across the nun in dark green clothes’ face, she glared at the altar with the yellow curtain hanging down on it. The iron chain tied to her ankle was also clanking endlessly.

Nan Ping’s face was full of panic-stricken and extremely anxious expression even more, as if she was completely at a loss of what to do.

By this time, although the sword light outside the window was strong, it still has not completely overpowered the saber wind crisscrossing the wide-open space and the valiant-dragon like shadow of the staff.

Chu Liuxiang beckoned to Nan Ping and asked in a low voice, “Why is your Da Shijie angry?”

Nan Ping cast Qu Wurong a glance, she said, “This Guniang seems to be saying that my Da Shijie is unable to protect the entry to the underground tunnel. Hearing that, my Da Shijie is unable to bear, she wanted to go out and pit herself against those people, but …” 

Suddenly the nun in dark green clothes stomped her feet, turned around and flew away, but when she reached the door, the iron chain under her feet was already stretched taut, so that she could not move forward even for half a step …

Nan Ping heaved a sigh, she spoke sadly, “But she will never be able to go out.”

They saw the nun in dark green clothes’ face was full of anger, one by one her blue veins were bulging, evidently she was already using her full power.

Chu Liuxiang had taken her palm strike, naturally he knew how astonishing this old nun’s internal power was.

But even though she had used all her strength, she still could not break the thin iron chain.

Nan Ping looked at the iron chain that was stretched taut like the string of a qin, she sighed and said, “I heard that this iron chain was forged from the essence of cold iron, even a treasured saber’s sharp blade that can cut iron like mud is still difficult to cut it off, much less human’s strength?”

They saw that the iron chain was stretched tighter and tighter, the altar was also shaking, unexpectedly there was a sound of a very light hurried breathing from behind the curtain, as if there was someone under the altar who was also pulling the iron chain with all his strength.

Chu Liuxiang’s eyes flashing, he said, “The other end of the iron chain, I wonder where it is tied at?” 

Hanging her head down, Nan Ping said, “You have seen it yourself, why do you ask me?”

Chu Liuxiang said, “Could it be that the other end of the iron chain is also tied to a person’s foot, but he is hiding under the altar, unwilling to show himself, but just pulls the iron chain to communicate with your Da Shijie?”

Nan Ping sighed and said, “Otherwise, how could my Da Shijie hear what others are saying?”

Chu Liuxiang said, “But who is this person? Why won’t he let your Da Shijie go out? Why is he hiding under the altar forever and unwilling to see anyone?”

Nan Ping was silent for half a day, she said softly, “This is also a secret, even we have never seen him …”

Suddenly, they heard ‘Bang!’ a loud shock. The dilapidated altar could not withstand the powerful shock of the true qi, unexpectedly it exploded and shattered. Amidst the wood chips flying everywhere, a figure, carrying a shrill whistling sound, rushed out, but wrapped his face and limbs with the yellow curtain of the altar, still no one could see his appearance.

Chu Liuxiang swept over and patted Yidian Hong, he said, “Hongxiu and Tian’er, I leave them to you.” 

Without letting Yidian Hong to refuse at all, his person already rushed out along with his voice.

They saw a sword light, like a pair of highly trained horses, flying from among the leaves, stabbing at the ‘strange person’ who had just rushed out of the altar.

Even his head and face were covered in a yellow curtain, he practically could not see anything, anybody would think that he absolutely would not be able to dodge this sword.

Who would have thought that when the sword light stabbed, his figure suddenly flashed, and like a swimming fish, he slid past the assassin in black’s long sword.

Right this moment, the nun in dark green clothes’ figure also flashed, she flitted across behind the assassin in black, so that the iron chain between the two was wrapped around the black-clothed assassin.

They heard ‘Chi!’, the assassin in black did not even let out a scream, his body was  already cut into two by the iron chain.

Blood splattered like a blooming flower, the iron chain was stretched taut again, the nun in dark green clothes and the strange man inside the yellow curtain had already swept over to another assassin in black. 

This kind of method to kill people was really freakish, their shenfa was bizarre, the way they made their move was ruthless, so that even Chu Liuxiang could not help but was emotionally moved.

On the other side, there were still six or seven assassins in black fighting in a tangled battle among the cluster of trees against Hu Tiehua, Huang Luzhi and Dai Duxing.

The thick branches and leaves were destroyed by the sword qi, they swirled in the air in all directions like raindrops. Nearly all of the dozens of old trees covered in thick leaves only had their bare trunk remained.

They looked like some old men being stripped naked from their clothes, revealing their pale, frail, and full-of-wrinkles skin, shivering in the west wind.

The sword in the swordsmen in black’s palm was identical to the one used by Yidian Hong in the past. It was long and narrow, and it was much lighter than ordinary swords.

Naturally their sword technique was just as ruthless and vicious as Yidian Hong’s, definitely without any fancy moves; as soon as they made their move, it was aimed to kill.

Moreover, these people’s experience in hand-to-hand fighting was extremely rich, obviously they have seen that Hu Tiehua, Huang Luzhi, and Dai Duxing, these three men were not easy to push around. 

Therefore, they definitely would not want to fight head-on with Hu Tiehua and the others. After the first person’s long sword stabbed, he immediately flashed behind the tree, and the second person’s long sword was stabbing from another direction.

The several people’s sword light lingered, their coordination was not-a-single-drop-leaking, it was precisely ‘gazing to the front, suddenly it went behind, gazing to the left, suddenly it was on the right’. Later on, Hu Tiehua was practically unable to tell which person the stabbing sword belonged to. They were three against six, originally he thought that one man dealing with two enemies, that should be enough.

Who would have thought that each of them had to deal with six, and these six people were taking turn like wheels, unexpectedly making Hu Tiehua and the others unable to focus their power.

Hu Tiehua was clearly on fire, but even though the saber in his palm had the power to vanquish dragons and tigers [idiom], it still could not hurt the corner of the other side’s clothes.

In just a glance, Chu Liuxiang already knew that Qu Wurong’s fear was not without any reason. These assassins in black were indeed well-trained murderers.

If the battle continued like this, Hu Tiehua and the others would undoubtedly bleed.

But this moment, the nun in dark green clothes and the strange man who was covered in yellow curtain already flew over, the two flanked from left and right, the iron chain between them stretched out to over two zhang long, apparently they wanted to surround Hu Tiehua, Dai Duxing, Huang Luzhi, and those six swordsmen in black together with the iron chains, and then strangled them to death.

This moment, the iron chain has unexpectedly turned into some kind of the strangest and most effective weapon. 

It was clear that momentarily Hu Tiehua and the others did not know how to deal with this kind of weapon, they could only step back. One of the assassins in black slashed his sword backhandedly to chop on the iron chain.

Only to hear ‘Clang!’, sparks flew about in all directions, the sword in the assassin in black’s palm was jolted that it flew out of his hand, while the iron chain remained motionless.

The assassin in black was shocked, he wanted to retreat, but it was already too late.

They saw human shadows flashing, followed by a ‘Crack!’, blood flashed like a blooming flower, the assassin in black’s body was already cut in two sections.

The iron chain was still stretched taut, but the nun in dark green clothes and the strange man had already switched places.

Greatly shocked, the assassins in black drew back one after another, but Hu Tiehua, Huang Luzhi, and Dai Duxing were waiting for them. 

Their long swords spread out, they flashed behind the tree in five directions. Only to see human shadows flashed again, one of them was tied to a tree by the iron chains …

In just an instant, they had strangled three people alive. Chu Liuxiang discovered that these three strikes were all launched by the strange man.

His shenfa seemed to be faster than the nun in dark green clothes. Chu Liuxiang really wanted to see what kind of person he was, but that yellow curtain covered even his ankles.

He basically could not see anything, but he seemed to have a bat-like senses, he practically was able to ‘see’ without having to use his eyes.

Chu Liuxiang knew that only the blind could have such a fantastic sense.

A blind person and a deaf and mute person together, unexpectedly they could unleash such great power. Other than having a pity on them, Chu Liuxiang also could not help admiring them very much.

But why did the blind man not dare to see people?

What exactly was his relationship with the nun in dark green clothes? Why did the ‘Water Matriarch’ Yin Ji imprison these two people together?

By this time, there were only five assassins in black left. These five men did not seem to dare to make another move. They were just coming and going among the tree trunks, but they did not dare to retreat either.

Evidently that ‘hand’ was still holding a whip, if they retreated without accomplishing their mission, they would have suffered even worse. 

Although no one knew how many people they have killed under their swords, their own fate may be more tragic than those they killed.

Chu Liuxiang heaved a sigh. He swept over, only to see an assassin in black was just dashing out from under Hu Tiehua’s saber light, the nun in dark green clothes and the strange man suddenly exited from behind the two trees by his side. The deadly iron chain has cut off his escape path, as well as cut off his opportunity to live.

The assassin in black roared wildly, his long sword stabbed out like a viper, but the strange man sidestepped and slipped away from the sword light, and the iron chain wrapped around his body.

While it looked like his throat was about to be choked and cut in two, in the blink of an eye, Chu Liuxiang’s palm had grabbed iron chain, he said, “They are also pitiful people, please spare his life!”

The nun in dark green clothes stared at Chu Liuxiang, as if she was both shocked and angry – the iron chain has been grasped tightly by Chu Liuxiang, naturally she was unable to ‘hear’ what Chu Liuxiang was saying.

Although the assassin in black’s head was covered with a hood, looking into its eyes, he was more bewildered than afraid, he could not guess even more why Chu Liuxiang wanted to save him? 

Chu Liuxiang chuckled, he said, “Don’t worry, I won’t force you to say anything, because I know you’d rather die than speak up. Now I want to make a deal with you guys.”

The assassin in black’s eyes swept across all directions. This moment Hu Tiehua and the others had stopped fighting. Although the other four assassins in black were still moving around, their figures were gradually slowing down.

Several men’s eyes were staring at Chu Liuxiang. Finally, one person asked, “What deal?”

Chu Liuxiang said, “As long as you dare to leave, this time I will let you go, no conditions.”

The assassins in black were all stunned.

This ‘deal’ was simply too good, they did not know what to do instead.

Chu Liuxiang spoke unhurriedly, “Perhaps gentlemen think that there is absolutely no such convenience in the world, am I right? Actually, this time you are coming, you did not occupy any advantageous position at all, am I right?”

He patted the assassin in black’s shoulder, and said with a smiled, “Since I have promised you, please feel free to leave without any worry!”

The assassin in black pondered for half a day, he leaped up and flew away from the iron chain. 

Chu Liuxiang continued, “As long as one is alive, there will always be opportunities in the future. A dead person will never be able to do anything.”

He seemed to be muttering to himself, but after hearing this, the rest of the assassins in black suddenly made up their minds, they flew away and left.

Hu Tiehua immediately sprang up and said, “Old stinky bug, could it be that you want to be a monk? But even a monk would not show mercy randomly like you, unexpectedly letting these murderers go for no reason.”

Chu Liuxiang sighed and said, “These people can’t be considered murderers at all, they could only be considered puppets.”

Frowning, Hu Tiehua said, “Puppet?”

“That’s right,” Chu Liuxiang said, “Puppets. Each one of them has ropes tied to their bodies, and the end of the rope is on that ‘hand’. Even if you kill them all, it will be useless, that ‘hand’ will soon find thirteen puppets to kill. Moreover, this time you kill thirteen of them, next time he may find twenty-six.”

Hu Tiehua stroked his nose, he said, “But … but you just let them go like that, this is not a good business sense.”

Chu Liuxiang laughed and said, “You don’t understand, the business is about laying a long line to catch a big fish.” 

Hu Tiehua’s eyes lit up, he said, “I got it. The reason you let them go is because you want them to lead you to that ‘hand’, but where is your ‘line’?”

Chu Liuxiang said, “Your nose is better than mine, could it be that you have not smelled it yet?”

Hu Tiehua closed his eyes and took a deep breath, only to sense that amidst the breeze, there were burst after burst of faint, delicate fragrance of ‘tulips’.

This was precisely the unique fragrance of the Chu Xiang Shuai [Fragrant Commander].

Hu Tiehua burst out laughing, he said, “Turns out when you, this old stinky bug reached out to pat that man’s shoulder just now, you applied the scent to his body.”

Chu Liuxiang laughed and said, “That’s right, as long as you become a scent hunter this time, you will be able to chase that big fish.”

He had just finished speaking, they heard ‘Clink!’ the sound of the iron chain. The nun in dark green clothes and the strange man had already swept away as if they were flying. Not only Chu Liuxiang did not stop them, his eyes showed relief instead. He spoke heavily, “You and Huang Lao Xiansheng [old mister], Dai Lao Qianbei stay here to take care of things. I …” 

Hu Tiehua spoke loudly, “No way, this time I am coming with you, no matter what.” The last sentence had not finished, his person already swept several zhang away.

Chu Liuxiang cupped his fist toward Huang Luzhi and Dai Duxing, and then pointed to the Puti An door, he said, “The matter here, I will have to trouble two Qianbei to take care. There’s also Rong’er, if she comes …”

Dai Duxing laughed and said, “Just go in peace, When Su Guniang arrives, I will tell her.”

After Chu Liuxiang left, he sighed and said to Huang Luzhi with a wry smile, “It seems like only the two of us, old men are free and without any trouble.”

Huang Luzhi also sighed and said, “That’s right, if a man has a burden on his back, it is already an arduous task, not to mention that unexpectedly there are as many as three burdens on him!”

But Dai Duxing chuckled and said, “In our old men’s eyes, this is certainly a burden, but in the eyes of those young men, perhaps envy is still not enough to describe it!”

Before long, Chu Liuxiang caught up with Hu Tiehua, only to see Hu Tiehua was following the nun in dark green clothes and the strange man from a distance. It seemed that he was feeling a little uneasy.

Seeing Chu Liuxiang rushing over, he suddenly said, “It seems that we should raise a dog in the future.” 

“Why?” Chu Liuxiang asked.

Hu Tiehua said, “If we have a dog now, we will definitely not go in the wrong direction.”

Chu Liuxiang looked at the two people ahead, he said, “They will definitely not go in the wrong direction.”

Hu Tiehua said, “Not necessarily. Now I can’t smell your scent, they …”

Chu Liuxiang said, “Blame it to your nose that is ineffective.”

Hu Tiehua said, “Although my nose is not as good as a dog’s, it is a bit better than yours.”

Chu Liuxiang laughed and said, “In my opinion, your nose and a dog’s nose are more or less the same.”

Glowering at him, Hu Tiehua said, “If my nose is really a dog’s nose, if I can’t smell it anymore, how can they smell it?”

Chu Liuxiang said, “Aren’t my eyes and ears especially sharp?”

Hu Tiehua said, “Humph!”

Chu Liuxiang said, “Do you know why?”

Hu Tiehua said, “Maybe because you are a rabbit.” 

Chu Liuxiang said, “You don’t need to be jealous, simply because my nose is not too effective that Laotian [‘ol’ heaven] specially compensated me.”

Hu Tiehua’s eyes lit up, he said, “You meant to say that just because their eyes and their ears are not good, so their nose is especially sharp.”

Chu Liuxiang heaved a sigh, he said, “You finally understand, it’s really not easy.”

Rolling his eyes, Hu Tiehua laughed and said, “Just because my brain is slow, so Laotian also gave me a special compensation.”

“Oh?” Chu Liuxiang said, “What compensation? I really haven’t seen it.”

Hu Tiehua roared in laughter and said, “If you can see it, that will be terrible.”

Chu Liuxiang also laughed heartily and said, “You should be proud of yourself a bit less. In my opinion, your compensation may not necessarily be …”

He stopped abruptly, his countenance also changed suddenly.

From inside the dense forest ahead, there was a sudden scream.

The scream was shrill. Listening carefully, unexpectedly the scream was from the five men, moreover, they did not scream at the same time. Only although the five men screamed one after another, the difference was extremely small, hence it sounded like one scream, plus it was very short. As soon as they screamed, they immediately breathed out their last. 

The nun in dark green clothes and the strange man have already rushed into the dense forest.

Only to see five assassins in black’s bodies were lying on the ground, blood was still gushing out from their throats, a thin and tall man in black was looking down at the flower of blood on their throats, his eyes appeared to be very pleased, the look of full admiration, just like a painter congratulating himself on the masterpiece he had just finished.

He was wearing long black robe that reached the ground, his face wore a mask carved from red sandalwood, revealing only a pair of eyes that was nearly completely dead gray.

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