Editor: Areth Kyntaul
Not Over Yet
Several major things have occurred in the capital, recently.
After the Orange Prince’s revolt, the biggest case was the elimination of the League of Assassins’ branch in the capital. Shen Yiren led a team to exterminate the branch in the capital after Ming Feizhen gave accurate information.
Shen Yiren was credited with a major merit and Ming Feizhen was credited as well. However, they only caught insignificant henchmen. They didn’t manage to apprehend any high-ranked members, causing Shen Yiren to feel very dejected.
Ming Feizhen knew it would turn out like that.
The League of Assassins operates very secretively. They knew that their hideout was no longer safe once Fu Xiang was exposed, so they moved long ago. Ming Feizhen wouldn’t have informed them of the League of Assassins’ hiding place, otherwise.
As he commonly says, “It’s better to be less one problem than it is to have one more problem.”
You must be courageous to oppose the League of Assassins. They’re professional assassins that have been around for a century. They have more experience with their trade than anybody.
The League of Assassins’ oral password is, “It is better to travel ten thousand miles than to read ten thousand books. It is better to know countless people than to travel ten thousand miles.”
Even if you are invincible, you have people you care about, don’t you? You might not be afraid of being assassinated, but you’re afraid that your friends, wife, and children running into them, aren’t you?
That’s why the Imperial Court would rather exterminate the Demon Sect’s nest then to get on the bad side of the League of Assassins, despite the Demon Sect being stronger than the League of Assassins.
Therefore, Ming Feizhen was never interested in exterminating the League of Assassins.
However, the branch will most likely require around half a year to recover after having their branch eradicated. Nobody knows how long they’ll have to wait before they resurface.
Lei Muyun had led all of the assassins to retreat to another branch by the time their hideout was eradicated, but he ditched the three members of Mystery.
Zhong Ning got beaten until he went retarded and then they locked him up in prison, but it didn’t take much effort for him to recover a little.
When he was asked for his name, he hazily replied, “I am Zhong Ning.” That resulted in a band of guards beating the living daylights out of him. He nearly went completely retarded.
It’s said that he angered the guards in the palace because he made fun of a princess.
In the end, one of the General Managers of internal affairs ordered, “Hmph! He made fun of the princess? He sure has guts! Drag him over to get castrated!”
The evil pervert Zhong Ning who imposed his lust onto countless girls, ruining their reputation and purity ended up becoming a tool.
The heavens are watching, and retribution is one bitter dish.
At a dungeon in a residential home in the Nanjing.
Inside of the dark room was one light that was akin to a bean.
Jia Yunfeng stared at the candle without budging.
The dark room smelt atrocious as though an animal defecated in there.
On his side was Fu Xiang lying on two straw mats.
The force of Fu Xiang’s palm strikes was eating at him. All of his bones ached. He had become a cripple, who was incapable of taking care of himself now.
There were no passageways for air to get in here. It was dark and dry. As soon as there was any smell in there, it stank to the high heavens.
Jia Yunfeng continued to look at the candle in a daze. He looked at its flame and another day passed.
Mystery was abandoned by the League of Assassins. Completely abandoned.
What made Mystery formidable was their martial prowess, ruthlessness and double identities of the four members; in particular, Jia Yunfeng, the leader of an orthodox sect, and Nan Junfei, the eunuch at the emperor’s side. Hence, they had information that people only in the orthodox sects and the imperial court would have. That made it much more convenient for them to assassinate their targets compared to the other assassins.
Fu Xiang was also one with strong connections with the League of Assassins. His identity on the surface is the contact person of the branch in the capital. That shows how much he was trusted. He still ended up in this pitiful state, nonetheless.
Mystery was abandoned as soon as they were no longer useful.
The thought of bringing them along never crossed Lei Muyun’s mind.
Jia Yunfeng and Nan Junfei were doomed after their identities had been exposed. The imperial court would definitely put out an order to arrest them, while Fu Xiang was already on the brink of death.
Nan Junfei has been the only one heading out to get food, water and necessities these days.
Things were tense outside at the moment. Nobody dared to run away at this time. They had to stay here for a while longer.
Fu Xiang stared into the darkness with his lifeless eyes, while continuously murmuring, “Yi… ren… Shen… Yiren…”
He was already in this sorry state, yet he still lusted after Shen Yiren. Perhaps it would be more correct to say that it had become his goal to live on.
Jia Yunfeng continued to look at the candle like a possessed man.
He thought about many things over the last few days. He was thinking about what he lacked.
After recuperating for the last couple of days, he discovered that all of the unorthodox styles he learnt had been erased, but his martial arts cultivation had improved another level. He made a big leap during his fight in the Imperial City, but it wasn’t stable. After the unorthodox skills of his were erased, he comprehended more of Mount Hua’s arts. Every now and then he would re-enter that state where he could execute miraculous techniques at the level of a grand master with the wave of a hand. He never imagined he’d be able to do that.
Why was he feeling like that? Could that guy have been correct? Was it true that Mount Hua’s arts alone are enough to compete with the best in the world, and that there was no need to add styles to it?
‘Was what I did in the past wrong…?’
Jia Yunfeng fell into confusion. He faintly knew the answer, but he didn’t dare to unravel it.
He was afraid the man with white hair was right and that he had always looked down on his Shifu. He was afraid of the opinion he had clung to was wrong. He was afraid of the reveal that throwing his dignity away to join the unorthodox sects only made him an idiot.
He was a genius Mount Hua Sect had never before seen. He couldn’t accept that outcome. At the end of the day, it was all about ego.
“Do you know where your problem lies?” A voice suddenly spoke out inside the room.
The voice belonged to a complete stranger.
A cold light appeared in Jia Yunfeng’s eyes. Jia Yunfeng slashed toward the rear using the technique Terrorising Birds! He lost his Beyond the Heavens Edge in the Imperial City, but the slash was sharp as usual.
Unfortunately, his target was too fast. He easily evaded Jia Yunfeng’s slash. Jia Yunfeng didn’t even have a chance to follow up with another technique.
Jia Yunfeng looked around. The person who entered the dungeon was someone with a black mask. His stature and face were all hidden by the black mask and robe, so Jia Yunfeng had no way of recognising him.
Jia Yunfeng shouted, “An upright man does not sneak around. Who are you? Why do you not dare to show your true face?”
“You act as Kuang Tian, Patriarch Jia. Speak for yourself.” The person who came stood at the corner of the opposite wall, not far away. Yet, his voice travelled along a thin line like a string, echoing inside the place, thereby making it appear as though he was in a jungle.
This was a technique more advanced than Voice Transmission. It required the user to possess extremely powerful internal strength.
Jia Yunfeng couldn’t compare to him and therefore became more worried.
“Who I am isn’t important. I just came to tell you that the people from the imperial court will soon be here.” The man in black calmly continued, “Nan Junfei has been apprehended.”
Jia Yunfeng instinctively froze. He was seventy-percent convinced since Nan Junfei was always punctual, yet he was already half-an-hour late. If he wasn’t captured then, he had been delayed.
The man in black then continued, “I saw Liu Shan Men’s people a couple of streets away just before, searching every building, so it’s only a matter of time before they find this place.”
Jia Yunfeng bluntly asked, “You’re not from the imperial court, so what did you come here to find me for?”
He didn’t answer the question. Instead, he said, “The technique you just attacked me with was impressive. Don’t you think it’s a pity to just let such amazing skill wait here to die?”
“I am no longer who I once was. You need not mention it again. I am no longer a Patriarch as well, so you need not address me as one either.”
The man in black snickered and asked, “Patriarch Jia, you just lost one fight and yet you are so discouraged?”
Jia Yunfeng seemingly fell into the memory of that day again. In a discouraged voice, he indifferently replied, “I lost. His martial arts skills are superb. I was defeated convincingly.”
“You need not be so down. Do you know who he is?”
Jia Yunfeng nodded slowly, “Lord San Shen of the Demon Sect.”
“It looks like you still do not understand.” The man in black chuckled strangely, in a suppressed voice that was high-pitched and also sounded dark like a ghost, “You know his identity, but do you know who Lord San Shen is?”
Jia Yunfeng was baffled, “… Our skills are so far apart, therefore, I have no right to ask about the origins of his skills.”
The man in black spoke in a voice full of ridicule, “What do you think if I told you he was an ordinary constable at Liu Shan Men?”
Jia Yunfeng responded with disbelief, “Did you say he’s an ordinary constable? How can that be possible?”
The man in black avoided the question, “He trains reputable internal styles. You can’t tell what style he uses from the external techniques he uses on the surface. He uses at least two sorts of internal energy, so he possesses immense internal strength, thereby making him appear as though he is looking down on you. It’s rare, but he’s not invincible.”
Jia Yunfeng pondered in silence for a while and then suddenly asked, “Why did you go through so much effort to find me and tell me this as well as analysing it for me? Why?”
He replied, “He’s in the way of my goal. I must eliminate him, so your strength is necessary.”
Jia Yunfeng snickered and replied, “If you could beat him, you wouldn’t need my help. I voluntarily dove into the path of evil, but I’m still a fair man. I won’t become your blade!”
“Use you? I think you’re putting yourself up too high on a pedestal. There is no living man that I cannot kill.” The location of the man in black’s voice changed.
Before Jia Yunfeng could identify where he was, he had already appeared right in front of his eyes.
Despite losing the skills his unorthodox skills, Jia Yunfeng’s cultivation improved after the battle in the Imperial City. He could use sword-qi as soon as he struck. He thought he had stabbed through the man in black with it, but something that surprised him happened. The man in black was like a phantom, passing through Jia Yunfeng’s body like gas.
Jia Yunfeng got a shock. Jia Yunfeng knew that his skills were inferior to the man in black, so he intended to win on the last move, but to his amazement, he didn’t even touch his shadow.
He turned to look in his direction, only to hear an odd noise from his clothing.
Jia Yunfeng lowered his head to confirm what he thought. What he discovered sent chills up his spine.
What Jia Yunfeng saw was that his clothes had several holes in them, which were made by the man in black within that split second. If he had wanted to kill him, Jia Yunfeng would have been dead.
Jia Yunfeng’s cold sweat coursed down his forehead. He had always roamed the world as a man with supreme Qinggong and swift swordplay, yet he had never seen movement like this, which resembled a phantom.
“Wh-Who exactly are you?”
“Who I am isn’t important. I just wanted to tell you that I’m stronger than you and that constable that defeated you.” The main in black was like a formless phantom, yet akin to smoke. A black shadow then suddenly gathered in front of Jia Yunfeng.
The black shadow mocked, “What, you aren’t grateful after I kindly spared your life?”
“I thank you for not taking my life.” Jia Yunfeng’s voice sounded shaky as he spoke.
He was a famous swordsman in the pugilistic world, was able to become the leader of a sect and had countless fights under his belt whether big or small. However, all of his near-death experiences, including the two times Ming Feizhen defeated him, were all mild, so they couldn’t compare to the danger he just experienced during that short exchange.
The attack was sudden and frightening.
Jia Yunfeng wasn’t afraid of dying, but that he realised there was always somebody better. Lord San Shen wasn’t the only formidable person in the world. This was like the light Jia Yunfeng found while lost and confused.
“Jia Yunfeng, do you have hatred?” That question was like the sparks that would ignite an explosion.
After days of hard thinking, a ray of light gradually appeared in his mind. Vengeance twisted his mind yet again.
‘He erased the martial arts from the League of Assassins I worked so hard to master and crippled my brother. He even led Liu Shan Man in an extermination mission to destroy our branch, causing me to be forced to stay here.
He even pretended to be acting out of good will, claiming he was fulfilling my Shifu’s request.
You want me to live in your shadow forever? Dream on!’
“Thank you, benefactor!”
The man in black didn’t respond. He glided over to the front of Fu Xiang as if he didn’t have feet.
“Heh, the force of Fu Xiang’s Divine Palms lasts a long time. It’s about to destroy his organs even days after being hit. If he didn’t have a solid foundation, he wouldn’t have lasted until now.”
He flicked his hand inside his black robe. Fu Xiang who had been lying on the ground in a daze the entire time reacted for the first time.
Despite lasting for only a moment, Jia Yunfeng clearly saw intense hatred flash in Fu Xiang’s eyes. Fu Xiang’s heart and spirit beat for that hatred.
The man in black then turned back and said, “Jia Yunfeng, it is already public news that you joined the League of Assassins. Even if you are not worried, are you not worried about your family at Mount Hua?”
“Your pitiful pretty daughter has only turned eight this year, right? What a beautiful daughter. I wonder what your enemies will do to her.”
“… Please point me in the right direction!”
“What are you panicking for?”
The man in black slowly approached Jia Yunfeng. His voice sounded like he was a ghost, tempting the man that had begun to return to the right path of swordsmanship.
“I will find a safe place for you to recuperate. I can save Nan Junfei as well as Zhong Ning, who has gone missing.”
“The Orange Prince has fallen, and the League of Assassins doesn’t want you anymore, but you have me. Who can find your family? Your disciples? Your daughter is pretty, naïve and cute. Who would hurt her?”
Jia Yunfeng couldn’t stop his quivering. While it sounds like he’s helping, it could also instantly become a huge threat.
“Thank you for enlightening me. I, Jia Yunfeng am willing to serve you!”
“Don’t worry. I can give you what the Orange Prince can, and I can also give you what he couldn’t.” If the Orange Prince was an ambitious wolf, this man would be a strange and unpredictable devil.
“May I ask for your name?”
“You can call me Mr. An.”
Jia Yunfeng thought to himself. He couldn’t think of anyone who was related to Mr. An in any capacity.
“What is it that you would like for me to do then, Mr. An?”
The man in black, Mr. An, faced upwards and laughed in a terrifying voice like a devil from hell. His profound cultivation made even Jia Yunfeng somewhat fearful.
After he had laughed, he blew out a mouthful of foul air, “I want you all to help me… fight for the throne!”
*The name “An” here is most likely an alias, because the word means “dark”, and I have yet to come across anybody with a real Chinese name that “an” character.