The Most Beautiful
Juxtaposed beside each other, there was no telling if the source of the blackness was the blackness that split the stone wall and spread or the environment itself. Nobody would ever point to the black energy and say that it belonged to an orthodox discipline practitioner or someone with a sense of justice, not just because of its hue but also due to how it was indiscriminately spread.
As the soon as the black energy blasted through the wall, Huang Yuzao suffered a severe bout of vertigo until he heard, “Relax. He’s gone.”
The black energy disappeared in an instant, and the dark underground palace was noticeably brighter.
Gongsun Chu overestimated the number of blows Tianhu needed to break through. Tianhu only needed eight blows.
“You let him escape?”
Gazing at the direction the water flowed toward, Ming Feizhen nodded, only to then shake his head after. “No way! Why would I let him escape? You have no idea how tense the situation was. He’s bloody strong. You won’t find a lobster just fished out with anywhere near as much energy as him. He nearly killed us both with his wooden sword. Had you been a second later, the two of us would be salted fish.”
Sitting on the ground, Huang Yuzao went through his own emotions instead of complaining about being compared to fish. Despite them being on opposite sides, he felt Gongsun Chu deserved better if they hadn’t met in the wrong era. His primary concern, though, was that his mentor’s death had reverted back to a cold case status, and it was beyond him to avenge his mentor now since all of his training had been erased.
Tianhu, without saying, didn’t buy Ming Feizhen’s story. “He can’t have gone far. I’ll go capture him now.”
“Ow! I accidentally…” Ming Feizhen tripped onto Tianhu. “He… He caught me with his ‘Lethal Third Heaven Palms’. Without twenty chickens and three-head abalone after getting hit with it, the victim will melt into a puddle of blood after three days. Tianhu, please take me to an inn.”
Of course, Tianhu knew Ming Feizhen was trying to pull some stunt again, but he didn’t know what. In any case, he shook Ming Feizhen off, smirked and said, “Sure. Since Duke Ming is hurt so badly, let me check your pulse.”
Ming Feizhen stretched both arms out. “Here. You’re my son if I’m lying.”
Tianhu checked Ming Feizhen’s pulse as he said he would, frowning and pushing Ming Feizhen’s hands away afterwards. “Your internal energy status is still the same as it was in Nanjiang; there’s nothing there. You have my admiration, Duke Ming. I’m amazed you managed to survive here in your condition.”
Ming Feizhen closed his eyes, lifted his chin and tugged up the corners of his lips. “This is called real Kung Fu. I can still make it without any martial arts.”
Tianhu went over to the exit, but he couldn’t sense Gongsun Chu’s presence in any direction. He knew Gongsun Chu was an elusive individual, so he ruminated on whether it was worth pursuing the latter of not.
Ming Feizhen tapped Tianhu on the shoulder. “Hey, why are you so hellbent on capturing him when you don’t have a feud between you?”
“How do you know we don’t have a feud?” Tianhu sneered. “I have a score to settle with him.”
“Ah, forget it. I reckon he only has a few days left in him. You came here on a rescue mission, not a revenge mission. There are two injured people right here. You should be thinking about where to d-, take the injured to for treatment.”
Tianhu stopped to think, scanned the place briefly and then replied, “We’re just going to leave like this? I reckon there’s more than what meets the eye down here. How about we search the place? We might find something interesting.”
Ming Feizhen stood erect. “No need. I spent a month here and saw everything there is to see. There’s nothing here. There’s nothing valuable! Rats leave this place with tears.”
“Yeah. I’ll write a testimony for you. If I lied even once, I’m a puppy!”
“You don’t need to go that far. I’m not interested in the world’s matters to begin with.” Tianhu crossed his hands behind his back, gaze on the darkness. “Just pray I don’t ever catch you slipping.”
In spite of the threatening atmosphere, Ming Feizhen indifferently queried, “And if you do?”
Tianhu looked back at Ming Feizhen and cracked a smile, yet it seemed as if a monster was smiling as it watched its prey.
Huang Yuzao coughed. “Tianhu, could you please help this useless old man up?”
Not even Ye Yun could tell Tianhu what to do, and there was nobody who truly understood him, but Huang Yuzao sensed danger from his smile. If he wanted to, he could’ve killed Ming Feizhen and then Huang Yuzao to prevent leakage of his deeds, so Ming Feizhen was playing with fire, while Huang Yuzao had no way of talking Tianhu out of it. Therefore, Huang Yuzao’s only option was to interrupt them.
Tianhu helped Huang Yuzao up without a complaint; however, Huang Yuzao knew he roughed up Gongsun Chu based on their short dialogue before. Huang Yuzao just chose not to say anything as it wasn’t his business.
Huang Yuzao couldn’t swim in his state. Hence, Tianhu wrapped Ming Feizhen, him and himself in his true qi armour. None of them had a droplet of water on them once they reached the shore. Yuan Kou, on the other hand, had to swim himself.
“Aren’t we in Hangzhou?!” exclaimed Ming Feizhen, upon reaching the shore.
Master Ming’s anger was justified. After all, nobody knew he was there when Hangzhou was practically his second home? It was tantamount to someone coming into his house and bullying him. Even after they arrived at “Verdant Mountains Yonder”, which he frequented, got a room, had a bath and sumptuous full course meal, he still continued grumbling.
I shouldn’t have let Gongsun Chu escape! I should drag him back to beat his bones into smith-
Ming Feizhen placed his wine cup down and cast his gaze toward the sunset. “Second?!”
While Hong Jiu’s group failed to locate the underground palace, they did find the note Tianhu left behind, so they headed back, so hours had passed since Tianhu’s group arrived. Nevertheless, the most important thing was that they were reunited.
Ming Feizhen threw his cup away and opened his arms. Hong Jiu ran over with tears pouring down from his eyes. The brothers held each other in a tight embrace underneath the tangerine sun.