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The Thrush Chapter 35


Know Yourself, Know Your Enemy

The mask was obviously carved by a master, the facial features [orig. five sense organs (nose, eyes, lips, tongue, ears) of TCM] were vivid and lifelike, there was even a hint of smile on the corners of his mouth, practically each strand of the eyebrows could nearly be counted, only the color was red with a hint of purple within it, and the purple was permeating outward. On top of that, there was also a pair of dead gray eyes, so that he appeared to be even more unspeakably mysterious and terrifying.

He was holding a long and narrow sword in his hand, the tip of which was still dripping with blood.

The five assassins in black’s sword technique was not weak, their qinggong was also very high, but unexpectedly in a blink of the eye they encountered this man’s poisonous hand.

This man’s method was very ruthless, his sword technique was very fast, it was indeed horrifying.

The nun in dark green clothes’ eyes showed anger, together with the strange man, they outflanked him.

The man in black robe seemed not to notice at all, he did not even raise his eyelids.

The nun in dark green clothes and the strange man darted behind him fast as lightning, the iron chain had already wrapped around his chest. As soon as the two persons crossed each other, his body would be cut in two.

Who would have thought that the instant their figures crisscrossed, the sword in the man in black robe’s palm suddenly stabbed backhandedly like a viper, ‘Chi!’ it pierced into the yellow curtain.

When the long sword was pulled back, blood also shot out like an arrow following the sword.

The man in black robe practically did not look back, as if he had already calculated accurately that this sword definitely would not fail.

There was actually nothing magical about this sword, only the way he made his move was simply too fast, the timing was too accurate, and the position of his move was greatly beyond the opponent’s expectation.

It appeared that the sword was not stabbing someone, but it was like someone was sending himself to the tip of the sword. The most amazing thing was that when stabbing the field [as in ‘rice field’], if this sword deviated even a fraction, or if it was half a step slower, it would be impossible to succeed; when piercing the mountain, if the sword was half a step faster, it would also definitely not be able to succeed.

He calculated accurately that when the two opponents’ figures were crisscrossing each other, it was the moment when they neglected their defense the most, simply because they saw that very soon they would succeed. When delight grew in their hearts, their vigilance weakened considerably.

What’s more, the two persons joined hands, and there was iron chain connecting them in the middle, it could be said that they were like one entity. No matter the sword piercing which one, the other person would come to the rescue.

Only at the moment when the two people’s figures were crisscrossing each other that the nun in dark green clothes was obstructed behind the strange man, so that when the man in black robe’s sword stabbed out, she practically could not see it.

This was precisely the only weakness in their defense. But to be able to see this weakness was easier said than done, not to mention that this instant was just like a white steed flitted past a crack [idiom: how time flies!], it was gone in the blink of an eye. To grasp this instant to make his move was even more difficult above difficult.

They saw the yellow curtain shuddered for a moment, and then the person inside fell down.

The nun in dark green clothes rushed out and suddenly turned back, her cold and detached countenance was like being struck by lightning, her eyes, nose, five sense organs were all shrunk to one place, as if she went mad, she threw herself on the pile of yellow curtain, unexpectedly she had forgotten the murderous sword was less than a chi away from her.

The man in black robe turned around to look at her, his eyes emitted a hint of contempt, he spoke coldly, “Your emotion is weak, you are not worthy of practicing martial arts at all, I might as well help you accomplish your desire!”

The nun in dark green clothes practically did not hear him. The long sword was stabbing slowly.

Suddenly they heard someone shouted, “Stop!”

Unexpectedly the man in black robe really stopped, but he did not turn around, he just spoke indifferently, “Chu Xiang Shuai?”

Chu Liuxiang did not rush forward either, because he knew that the sword in the man in black robe’s palm could stab any moment, no matter how fast his shenfa was, even if he rushed forward, he would still be too late.

He stopped about a zhang away; his eyes burning, he stared at the hand holding the sword, and spoke heavily, “Zaixia is indeed Chu Liuxiang.”

The man in black robe let out a dry laughter, he said, “Very good, I knew early on that one day you and I would meet.”

Chu Liuxiang asked, “Gexia is that hand?”

The man in black robe seemed to be stunned, “Hand?” he said.

But in an instant he understood; laughing grimly, he said, “That’s right, I am that hand. The power over most people in the world’s life and death rests in my hands.”

Chu Liuxiang signaled Hu Tiehua with his eyes to stop, preventing him from acting blindly without thinking.

Hu Tiehua still could not help shouting, “But now the power over your life and death is in our hands.”

“Oh?” The man in black robe said.

His cold and detached eyes were brimming with contempt.

Hu Tiehua said angrily, “You don’t believe we can kill you?”

The man in black robe sized him up from head to toe, he spoke coldly, “Just the two of you?”

Furious, Hu Tiehua said, “You think it’s too few?”

The man in black robe said, “Two gentlemen want to fight alone?? Or do you want to fight together?”

Hu Tiehua cast a glance at Chu Liuxiang, he spoke sternly, “To deal with a hoodlum like you, there is practically no need to talk about Jianghu’s righteousness and justice.”

The man in black robe suddenly let out a long sigh, he said, “What a pity, what a pity …”

Glaring at him, Hu Tiehua said, “Pity?”

The man in black robe said, “If it were in normal times, the two gentlemen fasted for three days to cultivate your mental and physical strength to the peak state, plus you have two kinds of weapons handy to fight with me, maybe you would be able to take my five hundred moves, but today …”

Hu Tiehua could not help shouting, “What about today?”

The man in black robe said, “Today, two gentlemen’s pair of eyes lost your spirit, your feet empty and floating, obviously, your strength has been consumed more than half, moreover, you are lacking sleep, and your stomachs are empty even more. From a 100% martial art skill, at most only 40% remain.”

Shaking his head, he sighed and said, “Under this kind of circumstances fighting with me, it is really unwise.”

Hu Tiehua glared at him, suddenly he roared in laughter and said, “You want to scare us? You think we’re scared?”

The man in black robe said, “Although two gentlemen are not afraid, I am a little disappointed.”

Hu Tiehua said, “Disappointed?”

The man in black robe fixed his gaze on the tip of the sword in his palm, he spoke slowly, “Ten years ago, when I traveled far outside the Pass, I once met an unknown swordsman who fought with me for two days and two nights on the banks of Tianchi [Heavenly Lake] on the summit of Changbai Mountain …”

His dead gray eyes revealed some kind of blazing flame, he went on, “That battle was really delightful, which I will never forget for the rest of my life. It’s a pity that after that battle, I never met such a delighted opponent.”

Laughing coldly, Hu Tiehua said, “So, could it be that you are already unrivalled under the heavens?”

The man in black robe did not pay him any attention, he continued, “A swordsman without any match, his mood is lonely and depressed, I’m afraid it’s will be very hard for the two gentlemen to imagine. Over the past ten years, I’ve been looking for an opponent all the time but could not find any …”

His eyes suddenly fixed on Chu Liuxiang’s face, he said, “Until I hear someone talking about you.”

Chu Liuxiang chuckled and said, “Does Gexia have the intention to look for me to be your opponent?”

The man in black robe said, “I have heard the legend about you for a long time, I originally thought it was just an exaggeration of Jianghu, but only when I see you today that I know that you have the natural talent to train martial arts.”

Chu Liuxiang said, “You flatter me.”

The man in black robe said, “The first time I saw you, I discovered that your intelligence and cool-headedness are not that other people can compare. To be able to have a duel with such a person like you is indeed a great pleasure, only it’s a pity that now …”

Chu Liuxiang smiled and said, “What about now?”

The man in black robe said, “In your current situation, if you fight one-on-one against me, perhaps you would be able to take two hundred moves from me, but with him, within one hundred moves, I can take your life.”

Hu Tiehua jumped, he roared, “I, alone can take your life.”

The man in black robe coldly said, “Your martial arts can be regarded as a first-class talent in Jianghu, but today both of you are mentally and physically exhausted. Two persons join forces, not only you won’t achieve the effectiveness of helping each other, on the contrary, you will distract each other. You won’t see any benefits, but you will see harm instead …”

Hu Tiehua laughed aloud and said, “I don’t care what you say, today we will fight you two against one. Even if you break your tongue, don’t ever think I will fall into your trick.”

The black robe heaved a sigh again, he said, “Thousand jin of gold are easy to get, but good generals are hard to find. Chu Liuxiang, ah, Chu Liuxiang, I kill you like this, what a waste. What a pity, what a pity!”

Chu Liuxiang laughed and said, “Since that is the case, could it be that Gexia simply must kill me?”

The man in black robe said, “If a person like you is allowed to live in the world, I cannot rest or eat in peace [idiom] …”

His eyes suddenly emitted murderous intent, he spoke coldly, “But today, if you can take a hundred and fifty moves from me, I will not kill you.”

A gust of wind blew, the tip of the sword in his palm already vibrated.

The murderous intent was originally only in his eyes, but when he put his sword together, the heaven and earth immediately filled with murderous intent.

“If you can take a hundred and fifty moves from me, I will not kill you.”

Hearing this sentence, Hu Tiehua nearly could not help laughing aloud.

He had never imagined that there was such an arrogant man in the world.

But now, he could not even smile.

For some unknown reason, he was also unconsciously intimidated by this murderous aura, only to feel that unexpectedly cold sweat, beyond his control, seeped out in his heart.

Shuai Yifan’s sword qi was swift and fierce, but it did not make him this fearful, just because Shuai Yifan’s sword qi was dead, it could only intimidate people’s hearts, not hurt people’s bodies. But this man in black robe’s murderous intent and his sword qi have merged into one.

This murderous intent seemed to be alive.

Although his sword has not moved, the murderous aura was already flowing all over the place, no hole not infiltrated.

Hu Tiehua only felt that this murderous aura had entered his eyes, into his ears, into his nostrils, into his sleeves …

His entire being seemed to be naked, completely surrounded by this murderous aura. Without making any move, he was already falling into a disadvantageous position, not to mention he really did not know how to make his move.

The tip of the man in black robe’s sword drooped down, neither in offensive nor defensive stance. It could be said that his whole body, from top to bottom, none was not an empty hole, greatly exposed, full of flaws.

Precisely because of this, Hu Tiehua did not know how to make his move even more, simply because he was unable to guess the sword in the man in black robe’s palm’s next change.

Suddenly he heard Chu Liuxiang heaved a long, long sigh and said, “What a pity, what a pity …”

The man in black robe looked at him coldly.

Chu Liuxiang laughed and said, “Gexia also disappointed me very much.”

Finally, the man in black robe could not help asking, “Disappointed?”

Chu Liuxiang said, “I originally thought how brilliant Gexia’s sword technique must be, but now that I see it, Gexia’s shenfa is really full of flaws, it is ridiculous beyond belief.”

The man in black robe said coldly, “If that’s the case, why don’t you make your move?”

Chu Liuxiang said, “Zaixia I really somewhat cannot bear to make my move.”

The man in black robe laughed coldly and said, “Perhaps because you think that in this move of mine, the flaws are too many so that on the contrary, you don’t know how to make your move!”

He continued coldly, “If you fight one-on-one against me, you can still rely on your qinggong to sound out my sword path, but at this moment you have to be concerned about your companion, because if you make one unwise move, my sword will immediately pierce his throat.”

How could Chu Liuxiang not know about this? It’s just that he found that Hu Tiehua’s expression was a little bit not normal, so he tried to find a way to calm him down.

He knew that speaking often made a person calm.

The man in black robe’s eyes were like lightning, he laughed coldly and said, “I also know what you are doing. In normal time, he would not be like this, but at the moment he is both mentally and physically exhausted, his spirit and body are unbearably weak, hence my sword qi entered by exploiting a weak spot. This moment, although his body does not suffer any damage, but his spirit had been destroyed by my sword qi, so that he is no different from a dead person.”

They saw Hu Tiehua’s eyes were staring blankly, his head was full of cold sweat, and the saber in his palm seemed to have weighed more than a thousand jin. Even though he exhausted all his strength, he could not even lift up the tip of the blade.

How could Hu Tiehua, a veteran of a hundred battles, become like this?

Chu Liuxiang suddenly felt that he was not against a single person, a single sword, but a mass of chaotic, peculiar, and demonic murderous aura!

This murderous aura was formed by the mixture of a strange man and a demonic sword. The man and the sword have been condensed into one, almost becoming no stronghold one cannot overcome, no flaw can be struck.

This man has become the ghost of the sword, and the sword has become the soul of the man.

Chu Liuxiang sighed secretly, he knew that with his current situation, confronting the demon inside the sword was not only unwise, but also unfortunate.

When a person is hungry and tired, the body is unable to endure and the spirit is weak even more, the inner demon appears, naturally it will be even easier for the outer devil to enter by exploiting a weak spot.

In the battle against the Water Matriarch, the wear and tear of his true power nearly left him with nothing, at this moment he was really powerless to strike and break this murderous aura.

The man in black robe’s gray eyes suddenly emitted a burst of azure light, just like the flame was burning to white heat, even if Chu Liuxiang was made of steel, it would inevitably be melted.

He only hoped that the nun in dark green clothes would suddenly rise vigorously, and then the two of them would launch pincer attack from front and back, perhaps they might have a chance of victory. However, the nun in dark green clothes had completely collapsed, she was lying on top of the dead body, as if even if she wanted to apply her power to stand, she was incapable to stand up.

Suddenly, the tip of the sword rose up and drew an arc.

The man in black robe spoke coldly, “I did not expect you guys to be worse than I thought. It seems that I can put you to death just by raising my hand.”

Chu Liuxiang concentrated on the tip of the sword in his palm, he intended to fly up, but the man in black robe’s long sword suddenly turned into a curtain of light, cutting off all his paths.

The tip of the sword pierced the wind, as sharp as a whistle.

Even if Chu Liuxiang was able to break this sword, but at the moment, he was already less capable than desirable [idiom: the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak].

Right this moment, they heard someone shouted loudly, “Stop!”

The shout rang out, the whistle of the sword wind suddenly fell silent, and the demon-snake-like long sword suddenly stopped as well, the tip of the sword was pointing at the space between Chu Liuxiang’s eyebrows.

The man in black robe spoke coldly, “I just want to see who wants me to stop, there is no other meaning. You should know that my sword can take your life at any time.”

Chu Liuxiang did not hear what he said at all, he was just looking behind him, only to hear the person behind him said, “You can’t see me, because if you move, I will take your life.”

Although this voice was tender, crisp, gentle and beautiful, it also carried some kind of a swift and fierce murderous aura, so that others had no choice but to believe her words, also not daring not to believe.

The man in black robe stared at Chu Liuxiang, only to see Chu Liuxiang’s countenance was both amazed and delighted, and he said with a smile, “You better believe her words, I can guarantee that she is not joking.”

The man in black robe laughed coldly and said, “What if I don’t believe?”

Chu Liuxiang spoke leisurely, “If you see what she is holding, you can’t not believe.”

The man in black robe’s eyes suddenly turned dead gray, he spoke word by word, “No matter what she is holding in her hand, I can still take your life at any time.”

Chu Liuxiang said, “Why don’t you look at what she is holding first?”

It should be noted that this moment, the qi power in the man in black robe’s entire body was condensed on the sword, as soon as he turned his head around, the sword qi would relax somewhat, then Chu Liuxiang would have the opportunity to live.

Who would have thought that the man in black robe unexpectedly could see through his mind, he spoke coldly, “You want me to look back, I’m afraid it won’t be too easy.”

Chu Liuxiang said, “You do not dare to look back?”

The man in black robe said, “At this moment, your whole body is enveloped inside my sword qi, just like a turtle in a jar, a fish in a net. If I don’t look back, you will never have an opportunity to live, even if all the twenty-seven Rainstorm Pear Blossom Nails in her palm hit me, this sword of mine can still put you to death.”

Chu Liuxiang said, “Turns out you already guessed what she is holding.”

Laughing coldly, the man in black robe said, “If she did not have the Rainstorm Pear Blossom Nails in her hand, how could she dare to threaten me like this?”

Chu Liuxiang suddenly chuckled and said, “But if her hand is empty, she is just trying to scare you, wouldn’t you feel wronged for falling into the trick?”

The man in black robe’s countenance changed, he said, “Whether her hand is empty, I don’t have to look back to know.”

Chu Liuxiang said, “Oh? You also have eyes on your back?”

The man in black robe spoke sternly, “When this sword stabs, I will know whether her hand is empty.”

Chu Liuxiang laughed and said, “If she really has Rainstorm Pear Blossom Nails in her hand, when your sword stabs, wouldn’t it be terrible for you? Twenty-seven Rainstorm Pear Blossom Nails are shot from behind you, can you dodge?”

The man in black robe spoke coldly, “To be able to perish together with Chu Xiang Shuai, it’s not a business that is losing capital too much.”

Chu Liuxiang chuckled, he said, “Very good, just make your move! I’m afraid this sword of yours may not necessarily be able to kill me, then you will lose a lot of your capital.”

The man in black robe’s countenance changed again, he said, “What if I don’t want to make my move?”

Chu Liuxiang laughed and said, “If you don’t make your move, perhaps she won’t make her move either. If you want to leave, just ask, no one is going to stop you.”

The man in black robe’s eyes flashing, said, “How do I know she …”

Chu Liuxiang interrupted him, saying, “As long as you leave, I guarantee that she definitely will not make her move against you.”

The man in black robe said, “What guarantee do you use? Why should I trust you?”

Chu Liuxiang heaved a sigh, he said, “If you don’t trust me, you can only make your move, if you don’t want to make your move, you can only trust me; could there be any other choice?”

The man in black robe’s eyes burning, he stared at him for half a day, suddenly he laughed aloud and said, “If even Chu Xiang Shuai I don’t trust, would there still be people in this world that I can trust … Very well, let’s say goodbye today, there will still be the future.”

Chu Liuxiang said, “Next time you and I see each other, you’d better think about a way to put a pair of eyes on your back.”

The man in black robe said, “I also hope that Gexia will take good care of yourself, to preserve and nurture your spirit. During these three months, you must not have any illness, otherwise, you will make me disappointed too much.”

His mouth was saying that, his person already left in large strides, unexpectedly all along he did not even cast a single glance back, only to see his black robe fluttering in the wind, and disappeared in the blink of an eye.

As soon as he left, Su Rongrong, who was standing behind him, immediately collapsed. There was not the slightest bit of color of blood on her face, while cold sweat already soaked through her heavy clothes.

Her hand was empty, how could there be any Rainstorm Pear Blossom Nails?

Chu Liuxiang rushed over to support her, he spoke softly, “You came just in time, really in the nick of time.”

Su Rongrong’s lips were still trembling, she could not even speak.

Chu Liuxiang laughed and said, “Actually, you don’t need to be afraid.”

Forcing a laughter, Su Rongrong said, “Other things I’m not afraid, I was just afraid that he might look back.”

Chu Liuxiang said, “On account of you came, whether you have the Rainstorm Pear Blossom Nails in your hand or not, it totally did not make any difference.”

“Why?” Su Rongrong asked.

Chu Liuxiang laughed and said, “He was not bragging, even if you have the Rainstorm Pear Blossom Nails in your hand, as long as he dared to make his move, he could still kill me. At that time, I was indeed enveloped inside his sword qi, but I also predicted accurately that he definitely would not dare to make his move, also did not dare to look back, because this kind of person will definitely value his own life more than anything else, he definitely will not dare to gamble with his own life.”

Su Rongrong said, “But why didn’t he dare to look back?”

Chu Liuxiang laughed and said, “He did not dare to look back, precisely because he was afraid of finding out that he was fooled. If someone like him found out that he had fallen into other people’s trick, I am afraid that he would go crazy with anger.”

Su Rongrong said, “If he looked back first before making his move, it would not be too late!”

Chu Liuxiang said, “As soon as he looked back, he would not be able to make his move.”

“Why?” Su Rongrong asked.

Chu Liuxiang replied, “If you had Rainstorm Pear Blossom Nails in your hand, as soon as he looked back, you could activate the mechanism to put him to death.”

Su Rongrong said, “But my …”

Chu Liuxiang said, “Your hand is empty. Once he looked back, he would find out that he has been fooled big time. If he wanted to condense the sword qi again, it would be as difficult as ascending the heaven.”

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