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The World’s Dazzling Talent - Mr. An
"Traitorous Jins, I'll kill you!"
Jin w.a.n.gsun kept recalling the heroine's voice and the scene of her blurting those words. He finally remembered the majority of the memory back then. The event didn't happen when he was young; he didn't meet her only once, either. He was no longer a child when the event took place; however, he still couldn't comprehend what happened. He suffered from a high fever after the event. When he recovered, he couldn't remember his clan's relations.h.i.+p with the heroine. He, as a matter of fact, couldn't recall her tragic end. He forgot everything pertaining to her.
Perhaps he forgot the event due to how unbelievable the scene was. He never imagined that would be the outcome, nor could he come to terms with the fact that he was the accomplice. The blow was too much that he denied it being a part of his memory.
He should've remembered her. She was the woman he admired and respected for many years. She treated him as if he was her biological son. Still, he couldn't make sense of how it happened even till today. He was certain there was a missing piece of the puzzle he wasn't aware of. He was sure it had to do with the Seven Champion White Princes.
Jiangnan's martial arts' world's Place of Purity was the name of the place of interest.
Jin w.a.n.gsun never believed it. He labelled it a lie told to fool the people. The so-called Place of Purity was merely a location to prevent the martial world's factions that opposed the Seven Champion White Prince from getting involved with Jiangnan. It was not a place in Jiangnan's martial world that was free of sin.
The character for purity in Place of Purity was "white". Pure white wasn't a colour. Why couldn't white be a sin? Jin w.a.n.gsun's father was once Gold and Silver Sect's patriarch; however, there were more than plenty of things he didn't inform him about.
Jin w.a.n.gsun never contacted the core of the Seven Champion White Princes in the half a year he was instated as patriarch. He believed that they wouldn't divulge any secrets to him despite him being Gold and Silver Sect's new patriarch. He, in fact, knew they wouldn't show him the Seven Champion White Princes' true ident.i.ty even after a long time. He believed they would lead Gold and Silver Sect on from behind the scenes.
"Master, the s.h.i.+p is ready," calmly said A Hu. "There is enough food and water on board to last you a while."
Having regained his senses, Jin w.a.n.gsun vigilantly asked, "Can the boatman be trusted?"
A Hu nodded: "We prepared the s.h.i.+p in advanced. n.o.body found out. If we leave before anyone finds us, we will have a chance."
"Uhm," responded Jin w.a.n.gsun, with a nod. "Caution is the parent of safety; we can't afford any more mistakes. Go check to see if the boatman will run or not."
The duo was still in the wilds at the outskirts of Nanjing City. Usually, n.o.body would pa.s.s by the place during the day, let alone late at night. Jin w.a.n.gsun's original plan for his intense contention with Night Fortress' master was to have his people lie in ambush at the outskirts of the city. The point of the ambush was to capture Ming Feizhen if the latter tried to escape. He prepared a destination that allowed him to pursue Ming Feizhen regardless of where the latter fled to. Round and round it went; he ended up being the one who needed the ambush. They do say you can't have fortune without misfortune.
He lost the chance to become fuma. His fiancée left him. He lost his patriarch seat and was labelled a wanted criminal. Jin w.a.n.gsun wasn't too angry or dejected despite his utter defeat. Perhaps he wasn't bitter after the excessive stimulation during his rampage. He even stopped hating Ming Feizhen so much, too.
Winners take all, and losers leave empty handed was a common situation as a result of contentions in the pugilistic world. His grudge with Ming Feizhen wasn't some vengeful grudge he couldn't get over. At the very least, it wasn't one that justified putting their lives on the line. He saw things much distinctly after venting. Perhaps it was due to him recalled the broadsword heroine.
Jin w.a.n.gsun didn't know why he completely forgot about the heroine; it seemed a part of his mind was missing.
Thinking back on her now, her sense of justice, her valiant character, her broadsword techniques and her implied lessons were the pure spring water that flowed into the dying field. Every thought of her changed Jin w.a.n.gsun. He wasn't always a flamboyant and overbearing as his appearance suggested. After his fever, when he was eighteen, though, his character developed into an insufferable one. Thinking back on it now, he wasn't somebody who earned the disgust of others or conspired against others.
Jin w.a.n.gsun began to somewhat regret his overzealous character of the past. He shouldn't have set up Ming Feizhen, and he shouldn't have killed so senselessly. His biggest regret was killing his loyal slaves who sacrificed themselves for him without any complaint after serving him for over twenty years.
He also felt apologetic for the way he abused Huo Qing'er. He liked her; he never thought he'd resort to violence with her. Golden Crow Moon Eater Manual tended to sway its pract.i.tioners down a more evil path, thereby gradually altering his personality, turning him into a mindless and aggressive man. With time, his personality changed until there was no return.
Half a year ago when Huo Qing'er didn't provide him with Taiyin Pills, his calm character gradually faded. That being said, she couldn't be blamed, because he gave her the cold shoulder, as well. All of a sudden, he blurted a sincere statement: "If I have the chance, I want to apologise to Qing'er. Right now, however, the urgent task at hand is to find a place to hide. Once I've reformed my internal energy…"
Jin w.a.n.gsun gazed at his Golden Crow Moon Eater in his hand. He looked absolutely resolute from the side. Jin w.a.n.gsun Golden Crow Demolition Demon's ability to rapidly power up demonstrated that very distinctly. He added, "It might be very onerous, but I want to modify Golden Crow Demolition Demon Secret Art."
In the past, Jin w.a.n.gsun could only bear with ten family slaves' internal energy. He exceeded that limit and hadn't consumed taiyin pills, resulting in him almost losing his mind. But nonetheless, he managed to fuse his true qi and consolidate it. That, in turn, improved his internal energy and allowed him to store more. As he had Golden Crow Moon Eater, he could continue searching for clan members who practiced Golden Crow Moon Eater Manual.
"I'm certain there's a spy in Gold and Silver Clan; I just don't know who it is," stated Jin w.a.n.gsun, sounding confident. From the bottom of his heart and to make it up to the heroine he revered, he said, "I'm sure they colluded with an outsider in the incident a decade ago. I must find the traitor."
"Have you finally recalled the incident ten years ago?" asked someone, voice akin to a ghost crying late at night.
A Hu and the boatman didn't hear the voice.
Jin w.a.n.gsun responded: "Who are you?!"
Jin w.a.n.gsun was a wanted criminal who was regretting his past actions; however, by no means did that mean he would surrender. To the contrary, his mind was clear and his internal energy saw a seventy-percent increase, meaning he was much more formidable compare to before.
n.o.body responded to his question. A Hu and the boatman, on the other hand, looked bemused at each other. Jin w.a.n.gsun wasn't one to shy away from using his sharp tongue. He pinched his eyebrows together: "If you are going to come here, I shall take you on no matter what the case may be. I will not allow anyone to look down on me. Your Voice Transmission skills are commendable. I, therefore, thought I met an adept. To my surprise, you turned out to be a coward!"
The leaves on the trees rustled. Jin w.a.n.gsun looked in the direction the gale blew. He ignored the wind blowing on him. The wind abruptly stopped. It went silent for a split second. The next second, a man was already standing ten metres away from him!
Jin w.a.n.gsun was well aware he encountered an adept. With his back sweaty, he remarked, "Your qinggong is impressive."
The individual came as if he rode the wind. Jin w.a.n.gsun never sensed him approach. For a second, one might've mistaken him to be a formless phantom. He donned a dark robe, completely hiding his appearance. His ominous black mask covered his face. Jin w.a.n.gsun felt a weight on him the instant the man in black appeared. He didn't feel that level of pressure even when he fought Ming Feizhen at his guesthouse.
"May I ask for your honourable name?" said Jin w.a.n.gsun.
The man grinned and laughed. Jin w.a.n.gsun could see through his mask; he could see and hear dark and terrifying laugh.
"I have no surname or name, but you can call me Mr. An."
Jin w.a.n.gsun repeated the name several times in his mind. Unfortunately, he couldn't dig up any memory a.s.sociated with the name.
"You can save yourself the trouble thinking. You may not know me, but I've known you since you were a child. Jin w.a.n.gsun, you're a key element of the plan."
"What plan? How do you know me?"
Jin w.a.n.gsun came up with several feasible possibilities, but all seemed unlikely.
"You don't need to trouble yourself with all the questions. I'll take my leave once I've picked up what I came for," answered Mr. An. Tone Insipid, he added, "As for you, you're not worth my breath."
"Is that a provocation tactic I sense? You want me to attack?" asked Jin w.a.n.gsun. "It seems you are after my Golden Cow Moon Eater sabre."
"Oh?" Mr. An raised his calm voice a little. He sounded a tad interested in Jin w.a.n.gsun based on his performance: "You're very calm. Not bad. Not bad. I didn't expect the upright and straightforward Jin Lais.h.i.+ would have a son with a trace of brain cells. I remember you suffered qi deviation due to using Golden Crow Moon Eater Manual. Have you already recovered?"
Jin w.a.n.gsun was alarmed by Mr. An's response. He never mentioned his qi deviation when practicing Golden Crow Moon Eater Manual to anyone, let alone someone he met for the first time. He wondered, "How does Mr. An kn-"
"Is it strange that I know?" asked Mr. An, laughing in a stifled voice. "Your life just gets more and more absurd. I can't believe you would be bothered by such a minor matter. Don't try and spout tripe with me. Think carefully back on what has happened around you the past half a year. Does it resemble a stage play someone scripted you in from the very beginning? Of course somebody could. It wasn't me, though; I can't handle that sort of stuff."
Mr. An managed to read Jin w.a.n.gsun's mind several times without him mentioning anything relevant. He felt as though Mr. An could completely see through hm. He kept thinking and thinking as they conversed until he suddenly caught something. He followed that track until he figured out Mr. An's background; however, the realisation sent a chill down his spine.
The group of people Jin w.a.n.gsun identified Mr. An allied with was more troublesome than the imperial court. As he watched Mr. An, he sent A Hu a signal to retreat with his right hand behind his back. A Hu did as he was told; he furtively began preparations to leave. Meanwhile, Jin w.a.n.gsun kept Mr. An's attention: "Mr. An, you mean that somebody has been controlling my every move?"
Mr. An was forthright about it: "Correct. You don't seem surprised, nevertheless."
Jin w.a.n.gsun forced a smile: "What reason is there for me to be surprised? You and I know full well who it is. I now see you're with them. Hahaha, you can stop with the Mr. Mystery act now. How about taking off your black blanket and mask so that I can see who you are? We might've met for all I know."
Mr. An chuckled: "It appears I've underestimated you. You may have guessed who I am during our short conversation. That said, I still need what I need."
"Since you insist on taking my precious blade, tell me how we will do this. I am sure you wouldn't bully your junior now."
Mr. An cackled: "You're right. All right, then, I shall not take advantage of you. Men."
Mr. An never really raised his voice to sound p.r.o.nounced. His tone was comparable to a conversation with an old friend. It was soft, yet seemingly from a distance. An individual zipped out of the forest, demonstrating his profound qinggong. He arrived next to Mr. An and stood still as a rock. He wore a mask with a dragon pattern and had only one eye revealed. He had an ancient longsword on his back.
Mr. An waved a hand: "His name is Longdan. He is my best swordsman. If you can defeat him, I shall allow you to leave."
"Oh? You sound very confident, Mr. An."
Jin w.a.n.gsun witnessed Mr. An's qinggong already, so he knew he needed to buy enough time.
Jin w.a.n.gsun's internal energy was more potent than before. He could move his legs agilely again, and his qi flowed without any obstructions. He felt satisfied with his newfound power and was eager to test it. Unfortunately, he was on the run. Since someone offered themselves up, he was eager to give it a go.
"In that case, w.a.n.gsun shall oblige."
Jin w.a.n.gsun got into his stance. Longdan was still as his mask's pattern. The two squared off for a while. Jin w.a.n.gsun couldn't find any openings from his opponent's stance. It was clear that Longdan wasn't just a henchman, but a man with actual skill. With neither of them budging, A Hu couldn't get the boat moving while Mr. An was watching. Waiting wasn't a strategy.
Jin w.a.n.gsun belted, and then began his attack in the gentlest fas.h.i.+on ever. In response, Mr. An remarked, "Oh? Now this is an interesting technique."
Longdan aimed straight for Jin w.a.n.gsun's face. Jin w.a.n.gsun slashed at Longdan's waist horizontally, only to discover that he was slower than Longdan. His only choice, then, was to pull back and defend. Surprisingly, however, Jin w.a.n.gsun opted to imbue Golden Crow Moon Eater with his internal energy and activate its true unique ability. Once imbued, his blade generated a suction force.
The force of Longdan's thrust was reduced as a consequence of Jin w.a.n.gsun's counter. Jin w.a.n.gsun's blade was already swinging toward his waist by the time he noticed. Longdan had to pull back this time. However, he went and forcibly swung down on Golden Crow Moon Eater, instead!
Luckily for Jin w.a.n.gsun, his weapon was able to withstand the slash. Jin w.a.n.gsun was surprised, but nonetheless, unleashed a quick combination of a dozen or so slashes as fast as the wind. Despite his might, Long Dan was able to intercept every attack he offered.
If Jin w.a.n.gsun was to rematch Hongjiu with his new internal energy level, the latter's first three Eighteen Subduing Dragon Palms would have to avoid head on collisions with him. The difference between Longdan and Hongjiu was that the latter didn't use brute force but precision. Longdan was able to pinpoint where Jin w.a.n.gsun focused his strength to pick and choose the thinnest defence zones for his attacks or reduce his sabre's output.
Wherever the man with the mask hailed from, his swordplay was an entire realm above the ordinary swordsman's. In addition, he never let himself be hasty. He hara.s.sed Jin w.a.n.gsun with consecutive pokes, forcing Jin w.a.n.gsun to deflect them.
Mr. An laughed: "It appears someone cannot hang in there any longer."
Jin w.a.n.gsun responded, "I wouldn't be so sure about that."
Jin w.a.n.gsun leapt to the sky all of a sudden and kicked a rock with all his might, a technique he learnt from Night Steps: Night Rain.
Using the momentum generated, he propelled himself all the way onto the boat no longer by the sh.o.r.e. He was impressed with Mr. An's qingong; however, he was confident he wasn't any worse with Night Steps at his disposal.
Mr. An and Longdan didn't give chase. Jin w.a.n.gsun was relieved; he finally escaped.
Jin w.a.n.gsun turned around.
Jin w.a.n.gsun was impaled through the chest…