Joy of Life - Chapter 199[Updated at: 2021-01-12 01:47:32]
Chapter 199: Shamelessness Against Virtue
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
There was a look of surprise in Fan Xian’s eyes. He sighed in admiration. “You are indeed a worthy disciple of Grandmaster Ku He, with the strength of a ninth-level master, if you were so easily able to dispel my attack.” His facial expression was affected, but his words had a hint of truth; Fan Xian knew full well that under Wu Zhu’s forceful guidance, he had still not truly faced an opponent like Haitang.
He took a step back, his face filled with resolve, slipping his poison-laced dagger into his boot. He held out his right hand in invitation. “In combat, madam, I am no match for you. I ask for your guidance in martial arts.”
Haitang was somewhat taken aback, and slowly slipped her blade back into its scabbard. The blade she carried with her was not particularly long, so the scabbard hidden on her person in her country-girl clothing – rather at odds with her identity – was not easily to find at first.
Fan Xian cupped his hands in salute and planted the edge of his foot on the ground. Without another word, he became a gray dragon, charging directly at the young woman.
Haitang looked into his clear, bright eyes. Since she had finished her apprenticeship, she had fought with countless northern masters, but she had never come across a style which took such headstrong and brave risks as Fan Xian’s. Did he really not know that such a reckless dash would only require her to turn her body slightly to gain complete control of the situation?
Originally, her world-renowned teacher had not given her any other task, and had warned her repeatedly not to be distracted. But when Haitang looked at this handsome young man who looked at her the way he did, she still could not stop her eyes from sparkling. If she killed him right at that moment, she thought, it seemed like it wouldn’t be such a bad idea.
Then, with a slight turn of her heel, she shifted her center of gravity backward two inches.
In a flash, Fan Xian had already arrived in front of her, and extended an inelegant fist, aimed straight for the bulging chest underneath her clothing.
When his fist was only three inches from Haitang’s body, like a willow branch snapped in half by the wind, her whole body moved backward remarkably, pivoting on her heel in a semicircle. A moment later, like a gust of wind, her whole body floated behind Fan Xian, and she softly raised her right fist to strike Fan Xian in the back of the head.
It seemed like a simple move, but in light of Fan Xian’s speed and the short space of time, it looked incredible.
The effortless strike was like swatting a housefly. The blow was so casual, so… inevitable. To an onlooker, it seemed only natural that the gentle blow would strike the back of Fan Xian’s head, and prove that the “immortal poet” was very much mortal indeed.
Unfortunately, she had misestimated the speed of Fan Xian’s reactions, his valiant physical control, and the powerful zhenqi within the young man’s body.
Fan Xian gave a grunt. The foot in front of him had already been planted deeply into the soft mud of the meadow! If any normal person had wanted to stop while charging forward at such a speed, perhaps their right knee would shatter to pieces under the force. But Fan Xian, making use of powerful opposing force, suddenly stopped the momentum of his body.
His head did not turn. With a whoosh, he withdrew the dagger from his boot and thrust it insidiously underneath his armpit!
Its black point travelled forth, looking unreal. The palm that carried it forward was like the breath of a fairy!
Haitang frowned. She had not expected the young man to be so shameless! But she was also not frenetic in the slightest. Flicking out a flinger striking a flint onto the side of the viper-like, black dagger, her palm naturally lifted up, and her sleeve made a ripping sound. Although she had avoided the danger of it going through her palm, she still had no way to parry Fan Xian’s blow, filled with his concentrated and powerful zhenqi.
The basket that had been hanging on the crook of her left elbow just happened to be upturned.
The dagger entered the bamboo basket, and with a chaotic crashing sound, it broke into fragments.
A faint fragrance along with a white mist swiftly dissipated in the air between the two. Haitang frowned once more, held her breath, and touched the tip of her foot to the ground, about to make a temporary retreat. To her surprise, through the white mist came three silent crossbow bolts. By the time she realized, they were already a foot away from her!
If she were an ordinary ninth-level master, after her energy had become somewhat disordered, holding her breath tightly, she would inevitably feel the gloom building in her chest, and suddenly meeting with Fan Xian’s crossbow trick, it would be hard to avoid a feeling of terror. But Haitang was a Tianmai of legend; with a mere flick of her hand, she tore the patterned cloth tied around her head and held it flat before her cheeks, motionless in the wind like a sheet of iron.
Thwack! Thwack! Thwack! The three crossbow bolts seemed to hit this iron sheet, shattering into pieces, and the patterned cloth in Haitang’s hands was also powerlessly torn apart.
So far, she had defended against all of Fan Xian’s sneak attacks. Haitang slowly drew the short blade from her clothing, her face expressionless. With a toss of her hand, the blade was like lightning, slicing through the faint mist, following a strange trajectory, and suddenly heading straight for Fan Xian’s face.
Fan Xian interlocked his hands, swiftly releasing the powerful zhenqi in his body. With a clap, he caught the dagger between his hands. He felt a searing pain in his palms, and knew that his opponent’s pure zhenqi was still coursing into the blade, incomparably sharp.
A silhouette floated forth. Haitang’s figure was like a flying blade, not slowing even slightly; she drew close to Fan Xian, calmly gripped her sword hilt, and turned gently.
The point of the blade was incomparably sharp, and it cut into Fan Xian’s palm.
Fan Xian groaned, circulating his zhenqi into his palms, giving Haitang’s blade no chance to reverse. Haitang frowned slightly, seemingly somewhat astonished at the powerful zhenqi being forced through her blade, but she made no extraneous movements, and automatically pulled it out, thrusting it back toward Fan Xian’s face.
It was a simple move, and an involuntary movement, yet it gave Fan Xian an idea he could not avoid. His palms aching, the blade he had grasped had already disappeared, and a moment later was heading straight for his brow.
Haitang gave a low groan! Her face seemed filled with anger, and her whole body floated.
In her underbelly was the black dagger that Fan Xian had somehow pulled from nowhere.
Two young, powerful warriors. One stood in the meadow, one flew through the air. Fan Xian’s biting blade had sent Haitang’s highest-quality sword backwards. She moved around Fan Xian quickly in a circle, the clothes on her body blossoming like flowers, dazzling to the eye.
A hand emerged from the flowers and hit Fan Xian in the chest.
Fan Xian narrowed his eyes slightly. It was a glancing blow. His right palm filled with powerful zhenqi, he struck Haitang softly in the chest in the midst of those flowers.
Haitang retreated once more, pulling out her blade. There was a clanging sound as the wind rushed past their palms and their blades clashed again and again.
A moment later, Haitang lowered her head, grasping her sword in her right hand, and slid backwards. The cloth covering her hair had already been cut to pieces, and now her black heart spilled forth. Although she was still wearing simple clothing, the power of her blade was as beautiful as the mythological fairy Xuan Nü. She was no longer a rustic country girl.
On the other side, Fan Xian looked at her, his hand gripping the dagger, trembling slightly. A feeling of defeat came over him; a feeling that his style was not enough to match this woman, that even the powerful zhenqi that he had always taken great pride in seemed weak in the face of this tranquil and accommodating woman’s pure zhenqi, and that he was completely at a disadvantage.
In truth, Haitang felt somewhat astonished. Since she had finished her apprenticeship, she had come across countless masters. Fan Xian was clearly not the strongest, and his power was, at most, just on the threshold of the ninth level – but Fan Xian was certainly the one who had most put her in a difficult situation.
Fan Xian was simply not willing to show weakness before her. Such was his innate stubbornness. Haitang was an exceptionally powerful upper ninth-level master. If he were facing Yan Xiaoyi, perhaps he would have already retreated. But facing this girl, he valiantly and stupidly chose to fight on.
Fortunately, his manner of fighting was without any sense of shame; it was very different from battling any ordinary powerful fighter.
Haitang looked at his handsome and valiant face, and suddenly revealed a hint of loathing. “Among the younger generation, Master Fan, you may be considered an expert. But your style is so shameless. Have you no sense of honor?”
She was right. Earlier, Fan Xian had called for a contest of martial arts, and yet he had used a dagger in a sneak attack, and finally had used some kind of poison arrow. He had employed low blows and all sorts of dirty tricks. Haitang had never faced such a dishonorable opponent.
Fan Xian panted, trying to calm the disorderly breathing in his chest. He laughed forcibly. “I have never been an expert in martial arts; of course I cannot comply with some sort of custom. I am a Commissioner of the Overwatch Council of the Kingdom of Qing – an official. You are a subject of Northern Qi. Now you trespass the national borders and stand on the territory of my country, and I must capture and punish you. What does it matter what methods I use?”
Haitang was silent, seemingly approving of this explanation.
She slowly closed her eyes and took a deep breath. The exceptionally natural and pure energy began to strengthen around her. The dewdrops of the meadow seemed to be excited, and fell from the blades of grass, turning to faint vapor.
Fan Xian narrowed his eyes, knowing that the palm that head struck her breast and the thrust at her private areas had made this nymph angry.
Like a gust of wind and a ray of light, the spring dawn breeze drifted gently across the meadow. Haitang’s blade followed the breeze, the light, and the shadows, heading completely naturally toward Fan Xian. This was her second attack, and it seemed gentler than the first, but Fan Xian knew that it was more dangerous.
His feet felt somewhat numb. The repercussions of a night of fierce battle were finally showing, and facing this upper ninth-level master, he knew that he could not fight on without any regard for consequences; he did not have the strength.
So Fan Xian relinquished his dagger, withdrew his hands, and narrowed his eyes, not advancing any further. He felt every inch of his body in contact with the air around him, and relying on this incredible sensitivity he moved to dodge her seemingly godlike blade.
Many years before, he had done the same. At the time, it was Wu Zhu’s staff he was dodging.
Now, he was doing it again, but his opponent held a blade.
Wu Zhu could hit him, but Haitang… was not Wu Zhu. She was an upper ninth-level master, but still was nowhere near Wu Zhu.