Supposedly. Unbelievable Coincidences.
Ten years ago at Mount Emei.
“It’s getting late,” Ming Feizhen cheerfully hollered. “That’s it for today’s lesson. Try stabbing me to see if your strength is enough.”
The stoic fifteen year old beauty had thrust as fast as she could multiple times already, only for Ming Feizhen to use a style she hadn’t ever seen before to disarm her as fast as she thrust. Despite him having disarmed her plenty of times prior to that already, yet she never lost spirit, recollecting herself almost immediately. Every thrust she delivered was clean and purposeful as though fatigue was a concept that didn’t apply to her.
Although Ming Feizhen was reluctant to take on the task after his shifu dumped the job on him, prompting him to just go through the motions at first, he gradually grew happy to spar with her for he admired her spirit. Ming Feizhen didn’t follow a structured teaching curriculum, yet she earnestly soaked up everything he taught and would stand up eight times if she fell down seven times.
While Ming Suwen was fairly similar to the girl – in that they were both stubborn – the young girl didn’t quarrel with Ming Feizhen as Ming Suwen did.
Upon hearing it would be her last chance for the day, the girl’s motivation to beat her best attempt soared, resulting in her digging deep enough to give the impression she was drawing on all the power in the atmosphere. From a visual perspective, her posture and the spirit in her eyes highlighted the scenery around instead of the other way around.
Vajra Divine Might, All-Encompassing Snow? Impressive for your age.
A teenager who feels Vajra Divine Might in their hands for the first time may feel unstoppable, but not the young girl. She wasn’t questioning her mentor; she had just personally experienced insurmountable “divine might” too many times – courtesy of Ming Feizhen over the last six months – for her to believe she had the power to carve a fairy tale. Neither he nor her saw the sentiment as a bad thing. She was never disgruntled when she lost to him as he always beat her fair and square.
For the sixth months Ming Feizhen was grounded at Mount Emei, he took the girl under his wing. Her posture, her eyes and the aura oozing from her proved that he coached splendidly and that she shone as a student. Before commencing their first session together, he promised her that he would never dodge her attack, or he’d accept any punishment she deemed appropriate. Had she not grasped All-Encompassing Snow Technique, he had no challenge terminating her force with his bare hands using Tai Chi. Now that she had grasped it, though, he could only cancel out ninety percent of her force, which would cause the remaining ten percent to clap back at her.
Generally, instructors would have their disciple bite the bullet and deal with it. Ming Feizhen wasn’t so rigid when it came to rules, however. Thanks to his height and a touch of craftiness, he had a solution.
“Lass, your thrust…”
The girl diminished her velocity so that she could hear what was being said, affording Ming Feizhen the time required to slip his hand past the blade and flick the sword, thereby disarming the girl. He then swiftly caught the hilt to take her sword from her, demonstrating fluidity and rigidity. At the same time, he also demonstrated quick, economic thinking, disarming his opponent without any wasted any energy.
White smoke whisked from her head as she tried to comprehend how she was beaten to the punch. Ming Feizhen found her reaction adorable enough to want to smile but resisted. He returned her sword to her and sternly asked, “Do you know what error you made?”
Even though the girl was only fifteen years old, she was already taller than her shifu and only a head shorter than Ming Feizhen. The sweat in her hair exuded an alluring aroma that gave the impression she was a girl who took care of her appearances, contrary to her actual character.
“What mistake did I make? Tell me.” Despite the age gap, the girl never spoke formally to Ming Feizhen, not that he minded.
“You can’t decelerate once you begin your attack; don’t stop no matter what your opponent says or does. If I was your enemy, I wouldn’t have pulled the sword back but extended the blade back at you.”
It was a bogus story Ming Feizhen instinctively rolled off his tongue to avert the awkward confrontation. Howbeit, he found himself sounding convincing as he went on. In a way, he implicitly pointed out the girl’s competence in the physical department and lacking mentality that had the potential to be her downfall in the future.
“… I deserve to die if I’m inferior.”
Who teaches her these ideas? Actually, I shouldn’t be so surprised given Matriarch Zi and Emei Sect’s patriarch are experts at aggression. I really wonder if her thinking is the product of them stuffing her brain with their ideals.
“Death might not be scary, but do you think your opponent will let you die a painless death? Would you be scared if he took your sword, immobilised you and then tore your clothes off?”
The girl tilted her head: “Why would I be scared if my clothes are torn off?”
“… Wouldn’t you have exposed your body?”
Good grief, help me. No, help her.
The young girl rubbed her clothing: “Is it because the tailor will be angry if the clothing is damaged?”
The girl often ruined her clothing as a consequence of her training, so she was often scolded despite the dressmaker fixing her clothing for her each other.
“Of course not. You’re not supposed to let men see your body. Don’t you get it?”
You know what? I’m going to let Matriarch Zi give herself a headache teaching this lass that stuff.
“What you need to remember is, losing fights in the pugilistic world isn’t the worst outcome. The worst outcome is when you’re at the mercy of your opponent. If you don’t want to be in that position, don’t ever show mercy in a fight. If you want to talk or let them fix up their hair, put them on their back first.”
Guess how many people she “put on their back” later in life? Lots.
“That last one didn’t count. Try again. If you can catch a corner of my shirt, I’ll give you a big present that I’m sure you’ll love.”
The girl didn’t need time to process her thoughts this time.
“Mm, not b-, wait, I’m talking! Oi! Oi! Stop!”
“If you want to talk or let them fix up their hair, put them on their back first,” he said. So she did. In the end, she didn’t stop until the sun was kissing the mountain peak, and a cloth fragment dangled from the tip of her sword.
I do regret teaching Yu Feiyuan those things I taught prior to nearly having a new hole in my head. The reunion showed she was still a prodigy in martial arts. Back then, I remember her learning basics in one try and gaining fluency awfully quickly similarly to Tang Ye.
Why am I even chasing after her again?
“Wait, wait,” I urged in a husky voice. “We have no grudges between us, and I only hurt you by accident. Besides, it was only a scratch. You would not be so petty to pick a fight with me over it, would you, Interim Patriarch Yu? I am trying to speak to you.”
“If you want to talk or let them fix up their hair, put them on their back first.”
You don’t need to remember it word for word!
If I used qi armour as I did back then to thwart Yu Feiyuan’s attack, she’d instantly identify me from three metres away. Nonetheless, my qinggong style had changed enough to give her strikes the slip without revealing my identity.
Yu Feiyuan kept her cool as she unleashed technique after technique, evaporating the water on her as she went unlike her faultless offence.
I didn’t want to see her nude twice in a single day, yet my eyes couldn’t stop ogling her limbs. On the other hand, she pressured me with one palm strike after the next, blasting every single one with everything she had, causing the cloth in front of her to slide down bit by bit.
“Get dressed first, will you?! You look indecent!”
“What trick is this?”
“None of them. This old one will wait for you to get dressed. You can’t fight properly in that state. This old one can’t take advantage of you and ruin his reputation. Get dressed.” I sat down to signal that I wouldn’t flee.
Yu Feiyuan subscribed to the false notion that those in the pugilistic world having a good image would keep their promises all the time.
I turned my head away so that I wouldn’t see her putting on her swimming gear. I already had my visual feast, so it was time for business: “Interim Patriarch Yu, I, this old one heard you are an upright individual. Why did you suddenly join this old one’s profession? This old one has been in this line of work for sixty years, yet he has never met such a conspicuous female thief.”
The shady elder identity was designed to prevent others slandering her in the future if they found out a man saw her naked.
Yu Feiyuan stopped dressing upon hearing my query: “I went with Luo Siding.”
“That troublemaker? That doesn’t add up. Emei Sect’s Yu Clan and Luo Clan are on good terms. Wutong Jin Yuxuan and Luo Sword Manor are orthodox sects.”
As Yue Feiyuan tugged up her fitted swimming trousers, I heard a soft “smack” as the creases flattened out on those luscious thighs: “I want to get to the bottom of this. I don’t trust Luo Clan, so I have to eavesdrop. If they’re not responsible, I’ll apologise in person once we clear it up. What were you doing there?”
I scrubbed my head with a smile: “I was looking for spare change.”
“Haha, a man’s gotta eat. If I want to be scum, don’t you think I should go look for women? I didn’t use my unique skill to take the two Samuume Swordswomen’s br-”
“So you’re a panty thief!”
Although Yu Feiyuan was a dullard when it came to intimacy between men and women, she, like every disciple of Wutong Jin Yuxuan, was raised to hate lechers with a vengeance. If I knew how many perverts she clobbered to sleep in one strike, I would’ve ran with another story!
As I was sitting and had my back to Yu Feiyuan, I almost cast a true qi barrier on instinct when she suddenly tried to bomb me with a palm strike. Fortunately, I could stop myself in time and leaned onto my back to let her blast go past. She quickly commenced her next bombardment, forcing me to double twist along the ground.
“Hey, you damn lass, you trying to kill your husband?!” I reactively blurted before my body froze at the same time as Yu Feiyuan’s.
I shouted the same line during the time I trained Yu Feiyuan more times than I could count, and it had the same effect on her every time. She’d have hot flushes and scramble to decide what she should do. Blinking just as she did back then, Yu Feiyuan uttered softly, “Brother Ming…?”
Unsure how to deal with the mess I just created, I rose to my feet and treaded to my right.
“Is that you?”
I turned to the lake. “… I’m out!” I ploughed into the water.
They say swimming in a lake must be close to the joy a bird feels to fly. I was swimming against the current for dear life, though!
Why the hell did you have to open your mouth, Ming Feizhen?! I have to do something about my urge to speak without thinking!
“Brother… Brother Feizhen.”
Why can I still hear her calling me? Why?
I turned around to see the merm-, Yu Feiyuan creating swirls around her limbs. I forgot she grew up in Jiangnan owing to my panic. You know what people in Jiangnan are good at? Swimming!
It’s now or never. Swim!