Until the encounter in the forest of Nanjiang ten years ago, he couldn’t name anyone he could put a face to in the Central Plain. He had seen businessmen from the Central Plain pass by his village, but he’d always be observing them from afar. He heard them converse with villagers in a broken version of their dialect as they displayed one luxurious item after the other; it was as though they were performing magic tricks. For that reason, the foreigner piqued his interest, especially since the foreigner exceeded what he deemed human limitations.
The man he met could answer any question and perform any feat, cutting down trees as he slaughtered the treacherous bandits from the neighbouring village for harassing their village once again – just as they had been for over a decade.
The bandits’ leader, also the culprit responsible for murdering the boy’s family, was oblivious to the fact that hundreds of his underlings had already fallen prey to one man’s sword. The swordsman picked up a sword by the side and effortlessly harvested the leader’s head as if it was just another mundane chore.
As the foreigner ventured further south, the boy prostrated himself on the ground to beseech the foreigner to take him along, swearing to follow the swordsman no matter where they went.
The boy never forgot the sensation of the sword used to avenge his family dropping on his head that sunny day. He never forgot looking up to see a man so bright that he barely made out the latter’s details.
“This is a dangerous quest to the south. It won’t be a smooth ride, and only warriors can enter the destination… I only have a few months to train you. If you can keep up, come along.”
Ever since then, he became the swordsman’s reticent and efficient aide. The swordsman’s eldest son was impressed enough with the rate the boy picked up swordplay that he praised, “Had he met Father a few years ago, he would arguably be Luo Sword Manor’s top swordsman in his generation by now.” Although his swordplay improved by leaps and bounds fast, his taciturn and honest character never changed.
Luo Ming never mentioned it, but he always compared the boy to his eldest son, even deciding he’d entrust their swordplay department to the boy as well as appointing him the next patriarch’s aide.
On the day the boy hunted down a tiger, Luo Ming said, “You need a name, a name for a resident of the Central Plain. Your swordplay is just like you, comparable to the wind. Let’s call you Feng.”
Feng Jian beamed, understanding that Feng meant wind. As for the Jian – sword – part of his name, that was a later addition.
“First Brother. First Brother. Please wake up.”
Yu Jian, Luo Ming’s only direct female disciple, always spoke softly to Feng Jian, but not because she feared him as others did. Whenever she called him, she always accompanied her soft tone with a smile as captivating as her rosy cheeks.
One-eyed swordsman Feng Jian, sitting up with a bizarre memory of his defeat, developed a fear of her before he realised it and, consequently, abstained from communicating with her wherever possible.
Mayhap owing to the “fire” meaning of his name, Huo Jian’s speech speed was sometimes used a figure of speech when describing speed, which was why he was tasked with filling in Feng Jian on what took place after he passed out.
“First Brother,” Lei Jian hollered in his deep voice. “Shizun entrusted this to you.”
Feng Jian believed an exemplary weapon was dormant inside the long brocade container. Lei Jian opened it up for Feng Jian, revealing Five Elders, Wind Passing Dragon’s sword until Luo Ming’s five disciples ambushed him in the rain after lying in wait for half a year at Mount Lu.
“Shifu entrusted Five Elders to you.” Lei Jian admired Feng Jian as much as he admired Luo Ming – evident from his tone. “The only thing you have ever been missing is a sword worthy of your prowess. Nobody besides Shizun can match you now.”
Luo Ming even placed Feng Jian beside him when it came to technical prowess with a sword. Howbeit, Luo Ming placed Feng Jian above him when it came to speed. Regardless of what style Feng Jian employed, he always found a way to augment its speed. The first person he killed was more experienced and trained than him, yet he blitzed his opponent before his opponent could even see the incoming attack.
“Shizun ordered us to stay here and watch over the man inside.” Lei Jian was referring to the secret chamber reserved for the clan’s most important treasures in front of them. Prior to today, the blueprints for today’s divine weapon were stashed there. “We have been ordered to draw the blood of anyone who can reach this place. First Brother, please take Five Elders to make our enemies bleed.”
“Whoa, you’re going to drain our blood out?” Elder Shou repeated in a joking manner. “An old man doesn’t have any blood for you. I had a lot of tea to drink before, though. Would my urine do?”
Only two of them, yet they were able to get through all of our guards in hiding without us even noticing?
Feng Jian cast his gaze back to Five Elders, staring for an eternity: “I won’t use it.” Without giving Lei Jian time to react, he told Yu Jian, “You’re weak; you wield it,” and shoved it into her hands.
“None of us need to hold back anymore.” Feng Jian lifted his scarred sword that could acceptably be called an iron bar.
The proudness of Feng Jian despite his shabby-looking sword had Elder Shou turn his upwardly-curved lips back down: “Dang, didn’t expect someone like him.”
Yu Feiyuan prepped her hands in Wutong Jin Yuxuan style: “Bring it.”
Feng Jian: “Kill them.”
Huo Jian’s speech speed was sometimes used a figure of speech when describing speed – In Mandarin, fire, wind and lightning can all be used to illustrate fast. I suppose English equivalents would be blazing-fast, like the wind and lightning-fast, respectively.