Rain Pounding on a Path in the Pugilistic World One Winter Night
Rain splattered against the window all night long. The shiny blade cut the crisp wood almost silently. If the people present weren’t adepts, the assailant would’ve gone under the radar. Though the inn was situated at a modest-sized town, the wood was unquestionably high quality because the economy at Jiangnan was healthy. It, therefore, was clear what the ability to cut the wood so smoothly implied.
The silver dragon vigorously spun after it charged in, flicking the countless rain droplets into the room as if they were water blasts using internal strength. The Emperor neither looked over nor shifted back. He, instead, sliced the air, catching the attack.
“Bastard is pretty good!” remarked the assassin, swinging left and right in swift cutting motions, collecting the mist from the rain to impair vision.
The Emperor kept his composure and intercepted the horizontal slashes with his knife. Each time the Emperor caught the tip, the assailant’s movements would slow down a tad. After a number of slashes, they were close enough, and the assassin had slowed down enough to make it impossible for him to hide behind the veil of mist. The assassin felt as if he was fighting against a large broadsword with a ghost head as he struggled with distance and weight.
Four adepts, Liu Shan Men’s Tang Ye, Emperor’s Entourage’s Bai Laimu, Ye Luo and a giggling youth, were already in the room and prepared to intercept the assassin because, when the assassin made his first remark, they instantly raced in. Nonetheless, they were stopped.
Coincidentally, of the five members from Seventeen Hidden Dragons the Emperor brought along on the journey, besides Long Zaitian, the others were youths lacking experience. The Emperor was a man who treasured talent and wanted to give them a chance to gain experience. They, however, hadn’t served him for long. As such, they didn’t know he liked to personally fight. Had it not been for the youth stopping the other three, they would’ve gone and restrained the assassin already.
The surname of the youth who stopped them was Dugu, meaning loner; people also referred to him as Dugu. Seldom did anyone ever call him by his first name. Over time, nobody remembered it. He was in his late twenties and a striking young man serving in the Emperor’s Entourage. The Emperor assigned him to accounting duties seeing as he wasn’t much of a threat in battle but was meticulous.
Because Dugu stopped them, Ye Luo thundered, “Dugu, move! There’s an assassin after His M-, Master!”
Dugu replied, “We were aware he was camping outside, right, Brother Tang?”
Tang Ye nodded: “He was there since we entered the room; he’s been there for the last hour.”
Dugu smiled: “I think it’s safe to assume our master was also aware of his presence but let him be to find out what group he was with and to avoid letting him escape. Since Master wants to fight, let him. Look, the assassin’s spear skills are being countered.”
Ye Luo: “He uses a spear style? I get it now. His speed comes from the length of his weapon.”
Tang Ye: “Unfortunately, his skills are lacking.”
The fight wasn’t intense whatsoever. The Emperor played a waiting game and countered fast attacks with slow counters. As Ye Luo pointed out, the assassin’s only combat asset was his speed, making it appear as if he was wearing silver armour. It was an ineffective fighting strategy against the Emperor.
The Emperor grunted and wielded his short blade as if it was a broadsword, swinging down vertically with enough might for the assassin to feel the cleaving wind! Forced to stop and defend, his silver mask was defused on its own.
Tang Ye lunged over and booted the assassin to the ground, revealing the assassin’s appearance. The assassin was in his mid-twenties and surprisingly striking. Tang Ye disarmed him. The silver spear was exceptionally long, indicating it was designed according to the spear design from an older era no longer used. The silver components were soft, while the iron components were solid. For that reason, the Emperor was unable to cut it with his blade.
“Who are you, sneaking around so impolitely? I promise you misery if you don’t speak,” threatened the Emperor, in a polite tone but in the language used in the martial world.
If someone from an unorthodox said, “I promise you misery,” the victim was going to be subjected to an assortment of bloody and brutal torture methods.
The assassin wore a defeated smile: “You defeated me and have captured me, so I, Pi Pixia, have completed my mission in a sense. You want information from me? Not happening.”
Tang Ye stopped inspecting the spear and asked, “What was your name? Pipixia? You’re called a mantis shrimp?”
“Fuck you! My surname is Pi, the pi in ‘cobbler’!”
Ye Lou touched her chin: “That’s the same ‘pi’ in mantis shrimp…”
It wasn’t hard to imagine how livid the youth was. He exclaimed, “Kill me if you want, but don’t you dare insult me! Pipixia here is a man. He does not know surrender!”
“Cut your finger-pointing bullshit out. You lost, and now you’re trying to make it sound as if we were after your life?” remarked the Emperor, laughing. “Are you saying you’re allowed to eavesdrop, while we can’t guard against crooks? Were we supposed to just let you attack us? This is my first time hearing this logic.”
Pipixia went red in the face and stammered, “Well, umm… You’re up to no good. What privacy do you have any right to speak of?”
Annoyed, the Emperor was going to ask his next question, but he suddenly heard, “Pixia, don’t worry. Shifu is coming for you! I won’t let you hurt my disciple!”
A group of people filed in through the window. The rain dripping off them pattered on the ground. They were clearly practitioners of the same style.
“If Patriarch Xia is making his move, this one should join in.” Before the man finishing his sentence, he struck the roof.
“Watch out!” warned the Emperor.
Bricks rained down from above. The Emperor and his guards retreated out of range. The hole in the ceiling was neat. That meant the man on the roof packed a serious punch. The rain tipped down, leaving a layer of water on the floor. Several more individuals were spotted descending from the roof.
The five who came through the window each lugged a big bag on their backs. They were attired in different warrior robes; nevertheless, they were similar to Pi Pixia’s robe and designed for ease of movement. The six who entered via the hole in the roof wore scholar robes and had their swords dangling from their waists, giving them the appearance of refined swordsman.
“This one’s surname is Ling. It is a pleasure to meet you all.”
It’s thick, heavy and commonly used for decapitation. Don’t confuse it with an executioner sabre, which is different. The reason for the “Ghost Head” description is because they usually have the head of a ghost (how they interpreted it, of course) designed onto the handle or above the hilt.