Chapter 55: I hope you take care of yourself on your way to the other world.
Shen Qiao nodded at them, “How are you doing?”
After the initial shock, Guang Lingsan quickly calmed back down. He looked at Shen Qiao carefully. “I heard that Daoist Priest Shen had a fight with Sang Jingxing and you injured him quite badly. It’s surprising to see how you have recovered so fast. I’m glad for you!”
No other person was present during that fight, and since Sang Jingxing was seriously wounded by Shen Qiao, he wouldn’t have gone around broadcasting it. But Guang Lingsan who was also a member of the Demonic sects had his own ways of obtaining news not known to others.
Dou Yanshan couldn’t help but also find it astonishing. He reevaluated Shen Qiao’s strength in his mind.
Shen Qiao shook his head, “Can’t say that I’ve completely recovered yet.”
Ironically, not many believed what he just said was actually true. Even though martial arts focused a lot on the concept of diligence, every sect had their own esoteric secrets. Who knew if Qi Fengge hadn’t taught him some powerful martial skills?!
Guang Lingsan smiled, “The others might not know much about this, but I’ve heard about how Sect Master Yan treated you in the past. I even heard that he was the one who forced you to fight with Sang Jingxing in the first place.”
“He treats you just as coldly and heartlessly as he treats anyone else.”
“I’m sure you didn’t come all the way here just to bury his dead body. You’re here to save him, but unfortunately, you’re too late.”
Shen Qiao answered every one of his questions, “Yes.”
Guang Lingsan finally showed a sign of surprise, “What do you see in Yan Wushi that makes you willing to do so much for him? Is it really like what the rumor says, that you have a more intimate relationship with him?”
Shen Qiao sounded almost indifferent, “I’m not saving him because of personal relationships. I’m doing it for the greater good.”
Dou Yanshan couldn’t hold back the funny look on his face. He burst out laughing, “This is the first time I’ve heard someone put Yan Wushi’s name next to ‘the greater good’! Are you saying that the world will be in a worse state if Yan Wushi dies?”
Shen Qiao said, “Yan Wushi is not a good person, but since he works for the Emperor of Zhou, he can be counted as one of Zhou’s supporters. You all have your own reasons for killing him, but don’t they all have something to do with this after all? His support for the current Emperor of Zhou conflicts with your interests, and therefore you must eliminate him first. But I believe Yuwen Yong is the only person who is able to put an end to this chaos. This is where we disagree.”
Dou Yanshan shook his head, “Shen Qiao, you’re a member of the Han ethnicity, yet you deliberately put your loyalty in a Xianbei person. No wonder Mount Xuandu thinks you are inadequate to be their sect leader.”
Shen Qiao replied with a smile, “It only tells me that Chairman Dou has never experienced what it is like to be on the opposite side of everyone else. As long as I believe this is worth doing, Why should I care about how other people see me or what they may think of me? Your family, your friends, those who truly like you and have your best interests in mind will definitely understand you one day.”
Guang Lingsan said, “Since Yan Wushi is already dead, how we plan to handle his dead body should not concern you. There’s no reason for you to stop us.”
Shen Qiao frowned. “When a person dies, they leave nothing behind, just like a flame having burnt its last. No matter what happened, he is still a martial arts expert of this generation after all. As an acquaintance of his, I wish to collect and bury his remains, and I hope you would allow me the opportunity.”
Guang Lingsan shook his head, “We put so much effort into killing him. Of course, we’d like to confirm that he is as dead as a doornail and will never come back to life. Let me cut off his head first, then you may bury his body.”
“What if I say no?”
“Daoist Priest Shen is a handsome man indeed. Unfortunately, neither Chairman Dou nor I are interested in men. I’m afraid we won’t have much compassion for you.”
When he said it, he was still wearing that smile on his face. He tossed the zither up, letting it flip in his hand, while his other hand pulled out a sword from inside it. In just a flash, the tip of the sword was already touching Shen Qiao’s nose!
Shen Qiao glided backwards and unsheathed the Grieving Celestial Sword!
The two streams of sword qi crossed paths, instantly turning into a white streak of light. Purple fog rose from the east and covered the metal clinks with a layer of frost. It was only the beginning of fall, yet Dou Yanshan suddenly felt there was biting wind and freezing rain blowing into his face. Shivering inside, he unconsciously took a step back and almost immediately realized this shameful act. But it was quickly replaced by a rising sense of alarm.
If this former sect leader of Mount Xuandu became someone’s enemy, he was definitely not going to be an easy one to deal with.
In fact, Dou Yanshan was not the only one shocked by it. Guang Lingsan also had a tempestuous storm going on inside his mind.
He had met Shen Qiao only a few times —— or strictly speaking, twice. In the first time, Shen Qiao had just exhausted all of his strength fighting off Bai Rong and was already powerless by the time he appeared. He was also blind, another indicator of how seriously wounded he was. Now when they saw each other again, even though the other person still looked sickly as usual, as soon as he drew the sword, he was like a sick tree suddenly turning afresh with a new shine, looking bright and dazzling as ever.
No, Shen Qiao himself was now a sharp sword!
The Sword Intent was like the shimmering water and glistening ripples. It might appear to be soft, but it was also endless and omnipresent. It not only broke the other person’s Sword Light but also weaved a fine net, wrapping both Guang Lingsan and himself inside it.
Override the strongest of all using the softest of all, then nothing in the world can compete against you.
The man and the sword had finally become one. From this point on, he had no more weak points.
Was this the true strength of Qi Fengge’s disciple, the sect leader of Mount Xuandu?!
Sword art was not Guang Lingsan’s strong point. He was more used to having a zither as his weapon, but his skill was still enough to dominate an area. But at this moment, in front of Shen Qiao’s airtight defenses and attacks, he suddenly felt a sense of helplessness. He didn’t even know where to begin.
He bet it wasn’t just him. Even if a true swordmaster was here, they would probably feel the same!
Without any hesitation, Guang Lingsan gave up the sword and went for the zither. Taking advantage of the brief breathing moment he had after he exited the sword net, he grabbed behind him, and the zither that he had been carrying on his back suddenly appeared in his hand. The metallic sound of its strings gradually assailed Shen Qiao with a thundering momentum.
As if he had seen through his impatience, Dou Yanshan could not just stand by and watch anymore. He leaped up and also struck a palm at Shen Qiao.
Shen Qiao was not Yan Wushi —— there was no need to make it a life-or-death situation. This palm was just to mess up the other person’s rhythm and catch him on the hop, making him fluster and lose.
But to his surprise, he found that as his hand approached within three feet of Shen Qiao, all of the fierce inner qi surrounding his palm was engulfed by the Sword Light. Like throwing a pebble into an ocean, the effect it created was so small that it was practically negligible!
On the contrary, the Sword Light soared because of it. It became so huge that it looked like it was going to spread to Dou Yanshan.
Both his and Guang Lingsan’s martial arts could be ranked among the top ten. Even though he didn’t use all of his strength, it was already enough to kill an ordinary person. However, Shen Qiao had been fighting them for quite some time yet he still showed no signs of being at a disadvantage, clearly showing how terrifying and unfathomable his strength was. After he reappeared in the pugilist world this time, he truly became a person one would not wish to offend.
If the fight went on, they would definitely breed enmity with each other. The Six Harmonies Association conducted businesses all over the world and believed that harmony was the key to wealth. The reason he agreed to participate in the ambush was because there were others in charge and all he had to do was follow the lead. But with Shen Qiao, things were different. Since he wasn’t determined to kill him, a martial expert like him could cause countless troubles for the Six Harmonies Association in the future.
Dou Yanshan weighed the pros and cons and quickly decided to give up. Yan Wushi was most likely dead —— even Zen Master Xueting and Duan Wenyang had left already. He stayed only to take revenge on Yan Wushi for destroying the script of The Strategy of the Vermillion Yang. It was not something worth risking his life for.
As soon as he thought this through, he let out a loud laugh and chose to withdraw.
“It would be unfair for us to fight you with an advantage in numbers, so I’ll leave Sect Master Guang to enjoy the fun. Now if you would please excuse me, I’ll see you two in the future!”
Guang Lingsan couldn’t complain about Dou Yanshan’s treacherous act. The five of them didn’t have much of a friendship to begin with, not to mention that they also had different positions and interests. The only reason they were able to gather together was because they had a common goal —— to kill Yan Wushi. Once that goal was achieved and Yan Wushi was dead, the temporary cooperation naturally ended with it too.
But since the others all left, why was he still here fighting Shen Qiao, sweating himself all over just for a thankless job?
Guang Lingsan glanced at the side. Yan Wushi was still lying there unconscious, bleeding from every orifice he had. The chance of him surviving would be less than Qi Fengge’s chance at coming back to life.
At this point, he was no longer interested in continuing the fight with Shen Qiao. The zither melody turned once again enthusiastic. Shen Qiao didn’t block his senses, and the sword in his hand couldn’t help but pause for a brief moment. Guang Lingsan took advantage of the opportunity to escape. He struck a palm at Shen Qiao, then floated away immediately afterwards.
“Daoist Priest Shen is a kindhearted man. Yan Wushi may have made many enemies in his life, but a friend like you sure is enough for him to smile even in his grave. I see no harm in taking a part in your benevolent act!”
Hearing what he said, Shen Qiao also withdrew his sword and took a step back. “Thank you very much, Sect Master Guang. I really appreciate it.”
Guang Lingsan nodded at him smilingly, then turned around and left.
After today’s battle, the news of Yan Wushi’s death would soon spread across the entire pugilistic world. Having lost their backbone, the Cleansing Moon Sect wouldn’t be able to hold on much longer with only Bian Yanmei and Yu Shengyan. The power balance among the three Demonic sects would also change accordingly, which would create an opportunity for the Mirror of Arts Sect to return to the Central Plains. He still had many things to take care of.
Shen Qiao stood where he was. After he saw that Guang Lingsan had left, he finally heaved a long sigh of relief. With one hand over his chest, he barely forced back the metallic taste that welled up his throat.
No matter how powerful the inner qi of The Strategy of the Vermillion Yang was, he had just started practicing it, and it was already unimaginably fortunate for him to be able to recover over half of his martial power. But now he tried to fight two enemies by himself, and the enemies were top-ten level martial experts while he himself was pushed to the limit like a spent arrow. In fact, if they had just tried a little harder, they would have noticed it. Luckily, neither Guang Lingsan nor Dou Yanshan was interested in extending the fight any longer than needed, and his preemptive attack at the beginning also deluded them, making them think that Shen Qiao’s strength was unfathomable.
Shen Qiao pulled a bitter smile. After circulating his inner qi around his body for quite some time, he finally felt better. He walked over to Yan Wushi, bent down and reached for the other person’s wrist.
It was cold and lifeless. He couldn’t feel any pulse.
The shock and pain that Yan Wushi had inflicted on him when he gave him to Sang Jingxing still felt as fresh as if it was yesterday. After all the efforts he made, Shen Qiao was finally able to crawl back from the edge of death, carrying the blood debt of the abbot and Chuyi with him, and once again rose from ashes. When he heard that this person was in great danger, Shen Qiao decided to discard all personal grudges and come rescue him in the end, but it was still too late.
He heaved a light sigh and whispered, “Nevermind. I hope you take care of yourself on your way to the other world.”
As soon as he finished, the wrist he was holding loosely suddenly moved almost imperceptibly.
Shen Qiao went blank for a second. Before he realized what happened, someone grabbed his wrist!