Fire in the Backyard
“Who are you, boy?” Lady Bai appeared as powerful as a goddess who could snap the blade that drank the blood of innumerable adepts. “It was rude enough for you to eavesdrop on an adults’ conversation, and you’ve made it worse by swinging around a blade. I don’t know which clan you’re from, so I’m not in a position to teach you a lesson.”
Vivianite inhaled all the air he could store, tensed up and ripped his blade back, only for another energy source to send it sky-bound. Being adept at improvisation, he rode the vertical momentum to rise into the air and bound back to Hai Yecha’s side.
“I’ve lost interest in killing ever since I got married, so I shall spare you today. Watch yourself from now on,” stated Lady Bai.
Vivianite slowly sheathed his weapon behind him, then silently retreated, erasing his presence from the field. Unless someone tried to find him, they’d never detect his existence. Even though he was further away from Lady Bai compared to Hai Yecha, he didn’t feel he was out of her domain yet. The only other two people in his life to have shaken him up to this extent was the number-one assassin, Redsnow and League of Assassins’ boss. He couldn’t put his finger on what it was, but his instincts warned him she was equally dangerous.
The three of them had the eyes of one who had seen what none other had seen, a relaxed aura that roused jealousy so strong that you’d want to cut them down where they stood. Lady Bai didn’t look bothered in the slightest; it was as if she herself didn’t realise how scary she was when she stopped the attack.
Bai Zhiqing took hold of his wife’s hand and yelled, “Hai Yecha, you’re here to pick a fight with me, not my wife, so why are you trying to kill her?”
“You dumped my sworn sister for that wench. Why are you surprised now?” Hai Yecha’s gaze never left Lady Bai. Hai Yecha knew Vivianite put everything he had into that attack, and he was convinced it did, at least, something to Lady Bai even though he failed to produce any visible results. As soon as he saw her wobble a tad, he took it as a sign that he was right.
Noticing his wife’s hand turn cold, Bai Zhiqing anxiously questioned, “What’s wrong, My Lady?”
Lady Bai shook her head. She needed a moment to add some rose back into her pale skin. Following a quiet sigh, she bit down on her lip and expressed, “I haven’t been feeling too well recently. I shouldn’t have fought.”
Hong Jiu and Master Qi pieced together the available information to work out Lady Bai had a pre-existing injury. Otherwise, she could’ve finished Vivianite after she caught his blade. If they could figure it out, so could Hai Yecha.
The same moment Hai Yecha intended to give his orders, Bai Zhiqing roared, generating a gale that created a vacuum devoid of oxygen. Hai Yecha tried to slip it, but the gale clipped his left shoulder, deadening his arm. With his life hanging in the balance, he yelled in an unbecoming fashion, “Do it already!”
Bai Zhiqing felt two major accupoints go numb before Hai Yecha even finished speaking, and he couldn’t figure out how the enemy did it from so far away. Upon noticing grey and black tornadoes simultaneously shoot forward from Hai Yecha’s posterior, Bai Zhiqing used his hands as substitutes for broadswords to dismantle the attacks thrown his way. Following three quick exchanges, the three in the scuffle disengaged.
Whether it was their strength or technical finesse, the two assailants weren’t inferior to Bai Zhiqing. Had they attacked him simultaneously instead of exchanging thrice with him individually, he’d already be history. That being said, their contrasting styles of rigid and flowing made it more tiring for Bai Zhiqing than them, not to mention he exchanged six times, while they only engaged three times each.
“You are not members of Fiends’ Genesis,” asserted Bai Zhiqing.
“We are not worth remembering, and we are not worthy of being part of Fiends’ Genesis.”
“Since when was Mount Wu friends allies of Fiends’ Genesis and called ‘not worth remembering’?”
The “Darkcloud Rain Demons” duo were notorious in the pugilistic world despite never having set foot in Jiangnan. Attired in grey, Darkcloud, An Yun, was a man of few words. Rain, Bu Yu, who dressed in black, was the complete opposite.
“It is said that Patriarch Bai is a master with the broadsword and has learnt from Brilliant Broadsworder. The legends are true, I see, hehehe.”
“If my brother truly did teach me, I would’ve made mincemeat out of you both by now,” Bai Zhiqing responded in a deep voice. Though he sounded condescending, deep down, he was contemplating how to deal with them because he’d barely win against them in perfect form, let alone when he was now hurt.
A month ago, Penglai Island came into conflict with Omnidirectional Fleet, so Valley of Yearning sent a batch of adepts to deescalate the situation. Hai Yecha timed his invasion so that the dispatched adepts wouldn’t make it back in time to reinforce the valley. Though Bai Zhiqing felt the clash a month ago was suspicious, he couldn’t look into it since he was in the Western Regions. Having his disciples to charge without prior planning wasn’t hard, except they’d lose their lives or get hurt.
Just as Bai Zhiqing had his concerns, so did Hai Yecha. Jiang Chen mentioned Bai Clan resembled scattered grains of sand on the surface but was actually a sturdy entity. Now that he had seen Bai Clan’s disciples’ unity and competence, he understood what Jiang Chen meant. If the hundreds of disciples at the valley were to form a formation, it would be one gruelling fight. If they could stall until the greatest broadsword wielder arrived, then they would relive the defeat from two decades ago. In the lucky scenario that their worst nightmare didn’t return, as long as Bai Zhiqing made the cruel call to stall Fiends’ Genesis until his wife recovered, then they would still be in trouble.
“Who was the one who screamed out before?” Hai Yecha yelled out of the blue.
Hong Jiu: “Someone screamed? How come I never heard anything?”
Master Qi smacked Hong Jiu over the head. “He’s talking about you!”
Hong Jiu scrubbed his chin. “No, he isn’t.”
“Whoever it was that yelled out to watch out, show yourself,” demanded Hai Yecha.
Master Qi glared at Hong Jiu and, though her teeth, rhetorically asked, “See?”
Hong Jiu wagged his hand. “No, he never said my name.”
“Hong Jiu, you think this old man couldn’t tell it was you?”
Master Qi narrowed her eyes.
“No, in the world, the number of people who have the name ‘Hong Jiu’ ar-”
Master Qi front kicked Hong Jiu in the rear, sending him tumbling to Bai Zhiqing’s feet.
Oblivious, Bai Zhiqing questioned, “Why are you saluting me so formally?”
Hong Jiu calmly explained, “Uh, there is trouble in the family. Sadly, this one is powerless.”
Fire in the backyard – I contemplated changing this to something less literal, but I decided I’d leave it since it’s the title and gives me room to share some trivia. “Fire in the backyard”, where backyard can also be understood as the residential area of a mansion, means “trouble in the family/organisation etc.”, which can carry the connotation of one having a quarrel with his wife(s). So, when Hong Jiu uses the phrase, he’s essentially implying Master Qi is his missus. As for why I rephrased it in the meat of the chapter, you shall see.