Not Letting Go Unless There Is An Order To
The leader of the six who entered via the roof was Young Master Ling. He was the only one donning extra embellished clothing washed in a fragrance and adjusted to fit his body contours. He brandished a folding fan he didn’t hesitate to fan himself with. Smiling, he asked, “Teacher Xia, does this count as having met your match?”
Patriarch Xia was a man roughly forty years old and one of the top names among Jiangnan’s orthodox sects. His movement was notably fast; he was constantly in motion ever since he entered. He immediately went to Pi Pixia’s rescue as soon as he came in. The average weight of their large iron spears was dozens of kilograms, demonstrating their arm strength was incredible. Although fast and powerful, Tang Ye caught Patriarch Xia’s arm when the latter almost reached Pi Pixia in a vice-like hold, making it impossible for Patriarch Xia to push forward or retract his arm whatsoever, startling Patriarch Xia.
Tang Ye’s handsome looks and conflicting cold demeanour always left a deep impression on people; Patriarch Xia was no exception.
“Who are you? Get out of this old one’s way,” exclaimed Patriarch Xia.
Tang Ye ignored the question: “I have restrained him. I will not release him without orders.”
“Get your hands off me, you impudent boy!”
Patriarch Xia felt as if Tang Ye absorbed his arm’s force when he tried using seventy percent of his power. Normally, iron would’ve been in fragments. Tang Ye didn’t seem fazed in the slightest. He repeated, “I have restrained him. I will not release him without orders.”
“So you know a thing or two about strength, do you?! I underestimated you!”
Patriarch Xia tried to summon more energy but, instead, summoned confusion to his face. He was cognizant of the fact Tang Ye’s internal strength surpassed his own and had seized control of his meridians. Owing to his hasty attempt to rescue Pi Pixia, he sprang without putting too much thought into it. Plus, he was confident in his strength. Tang Ye’s intervention wasn’t part of his predictions.
Patriarch Xia’s main martial arts skill was spear wielding. With his right hand controlled and no spear to wield, he was at his wits end. It was awkward to just stay there, though. Therefore, he had no choice but to proudly request, “Brother Ling, my sect has always followed yours as the leader. You must give me a hand.”
Young Master Ling’s mouth turned up into a smile: “So, at next year’s Myriad Sword Convention, w-.”
“As long time friends, I, naturally, know what I should do,” hastily replied Patriarch Xia.
“Great, great.” Young Master Ling folded his fan then commanded, “Brothers, these people are suspicious and are trying to harm Brother Pi. Kill them.”
The five behind Young Master Ling drew their swords and thrust them toward Tang Ye’s chest in synchrony. The five utilised an identical swordplay. Their technique, power and positioning was average. The essence of the swordplay lied in its high angle attack. Since Tang Ye restrained Patriarch Xia with his left arm and held the large spear in his right, it was difficult to defend himself against the sword formation.
The Emperor fumed, “Jiangnan’s orthodox sects would gang up and attack and try to sneak attack someone?!”
Young Master Ling leered eloquently: “The pugilistic world’s rules aren’t for you hooligans.”
Dugu revealed an angry look: “You had your clansmen attack us without asking who we are. Is this how orthodox sects conduct themselves?”
Despite joining the imperial court via under-the-table means, Bai Laimu couldn’t stand someone insulting the Emperor as his agent. He brayed, “Have you any idea who we are?!”
“I don’t,” replied Young Master Ling, gently fanning himself again in spite of it being winter and raining heavily. “I couldn’t care less who you are. If I say you’re hooligans, you’re hooligans. If the jade emperor was here in Jiangnan, he’d have to crawl, as well. Once he’s dead, you lot are n-, oh?”
The five swords dropped to the ground at the same time. The five exchanged eye contact, oblivious as to how they were disarmed. Patriarch Xia was the only one who saw Tang Ye disarm them. The spear’s base was round, meaning it couldn’t stay standing. As soon as Tang Ye released his hold on the spear, he flicked his hand across the five’s hands, triggering a numb sensation. Similarly to jerking one’s hand back when touching something hot, the burn caused them to reactively release their swords. Tang Ye then caught the spear that just began to tip sideways. He remained nonchalant the entire time.
“Nice! Now that’s why y-,” Ye Luo exclaimed before stopping herself before she blurted something that she would regret. “That’s why I l-love you. Not even my shifu could have done that. Love you, love you!” Ye Luo blushed but still signalled for Tang Ye to be careful.
Young Master Ling realised he just embarrassed himself, so he frantically said, “What are you doing? Pick up your swords and attack! Patriarch Xia, I am trying to save Brother Pi. Ask your disciples to do something.”
Patriarch Xia judged Young Master Ling’s actions as too shameless, deeming the five to one attack despicable as it was. To have over a dozen people attack one man was as an orthodox sect was dishonourable. With that said, his disciples didn’t think about that. Since their senior brother and shifu were in a pinch, they took out the two parts of their spear strapped to their backs and equipped them to form their sect’s unique weapon. The five swordsmen picked up their swords and resumed their sword formation.
The Emperor glanced over to Dugu. Dugu knew what the Emperor wanted to ask, so he said, “It, indeed, is Yearning for Spring Sword Formation. They are not too trained, but there is no mistake about it.”
Young Master Ling, smiling, remarked, “You do know a thing or two, after all. You still want to fight?”
The Emperor’s annoyance amplified. He didn’t want to keep fighting; the opponent wanted a fight, though. The Emperor’s origins and the sect teaching the sword formation were closely linked, so he knew the formation was lethal. If he told Tang Ye to stop, he’d expose Tang Ye to greater risk of injury. The formation still packed a punch despite it not being what it could potentially be, especially with four more spears leveraging the sword attacks to their advantage. To add, he was also dealing with Patriarch Xia.
“Go help! The formation isn’t easy to overcome!” ordered the Emperor.
Qi from a sword suddenly approached the Emperor. He instinctively stepped back and took a glimpse of Young Master Ling cackling as he thrust his sword: “You’re next. What are you running for? Were you going to beg for food on the way to the other side?”
“Young man, you’re playing with fire,” stated the Emperor.
“Old man, your threats don’t work. Show me have you’ve got.”
Young Master Ling didn’t see blood and guts flying about as he hoped. The Emperor didn’t see a heavily wounded warrior defuse the sword formation, either. Tang Ye practically had ten arms. He smashed the ground with the large spear he had, sticking it in the floorboard. Next, he deflected the swords with a crimson fist, sending them back at the spears, consequently creating a gap in the formation. He was never thrown off his pace throughout the exchange.
Bai Laimu, rank fifteen on the Seventeen Hidden Dragons ranking could tell Tang Ye could beat him around for laughs if they actually fought. Ye Luo was frustrated. She complained to Dugu, “Why did you stop me? It’s not as if they could beat me.”
“You’re an archer. Their crime isn’t deserving of the death penalty,” replied Dugu, smiling. “Plus, His Eminence asked Brother Tie and I to keep an eye on you. Since Brother Tie isn’t around, the duty falls on my shoulders. Don’t give me any grief on the first day already.”
“Okay, okay, okay. You talk too much. I’ll just stay put, okay?!”
Tang Ye eventually had to release his hold on Patriarch Xia to keep up with his opponents’ speed. Patriarch Xia instantly went to Pi Pixia’s rescue after he was set free, but Pi Pixia suddenly cried, “Be careful, Shifu!”
A heat wave took the room by storm. Patriarch Xia frantically dodged; still, he felt the heat seemingly scrape his face. Tang Ye snapped the spears and swords, leaving them resembling weapons dipped straight into a fire furnace.
Pi Pixia’s spear in Tang Ye’s hands flared red. Tang Ye put Pi Pixia under his foot again just as he had the latter not long ago. Evaporating the rain with his burning qi, Tang Ye slammed the spear down again loudly and, in a cold and collected voice, repeated, “I have restrained him. I will not release him without orders.”