11 The Martial Secrets of the Yellow Dressed Maiden
Ji Lingfeng had ranted at Yi Tianxing in a moment of ire.
Yi Tianxing had asked, "So you wish to avenge your father?"
Ji Lingfeng shook her head, "My brother and my mother told me, even though that you have caused him to be injured but my father had never blamed you. The duel had been honorable and you had even saved his life by teaching him the Divine Revelation Skill so that he would never need to be plagued by the curse of the Holy Amalgamate Skill that caused his internal organ injuries."
She added, "My father had never expected you to teach him your clan most secret skill to him. Your righteousness touched my father. But even though he had retired from the martial fraternity, the Holy Hex Sect had never had a moment of peace. Pugilists like Gu Tianle were always organizing attacks on our sect to gain renown for themselves."
Yi Tianxing gulped down the wine that Yi Ping had brought as he sighed, "So did I. Your father Ji Yunzhong was the number one top exponent of the heretic sects. I challenged your father in order to gain fame too."
He added, "Even though I have defeated your father, I realized that he was suffering from internal injuries that impaired his ability to fight optimally. Even though his skills were powerful enough to defeat most first rate exponents but when two equally top exponents fought with one another, it would determine the vanquished and the victor!"
He said, "Not wanting to take advantage of your father, I imparted to him the Divine Revelation Skill and no one else knew of the secret duel that we had."
Ji Lingfeng had a tear in her eyes, "That is why my father had been grateful to you. You have helped him to prolong his life."
Yi Tianxing said, "It is undeniable that I have caused your father internal injuries to worsen."
Ji Lingfeng said, "However, my father was glad to have you as his worthy opponent. He often said that if he had met you a few years ago, things might be differently. Even when he was defeated by Gu Tianle, he still said that the one that defeated him was you and not Gu Tianle."
Yi Tianxing sighed, "His martial skills must have deteriorated a lot during those five years."
Ji Lingfeng said, "Since then, the Holy Hex Sect disappeared from the martial fraternity. Only in recent years was it revived by my brother."
Yi Tianxing said, "I remembered your brother…"
Ji Lingfeng's brother was a full twenty years older than her. When her father died, she was only a three year old baby.
Yi Ping did not know that Ji Lingfeng had such a tragic past as he begun to empathize with her. He asked, "How old are you back then?"
Ji Lingfeng sighed softly, "I was only three…"
Yi Ping looked at her with great empathy, "It must be hard on you all these years. That means you are now twenty-three of age now."
All of a sudden, Ji Lingfeng kinked her eyebrows as she looked back coldly at him.
When Yi Ping saw her cold stares and her sudden change of expressions, he began to be fearful and thought, "Why is that every time I say something, she will be so cold to me? It not as if I say something awful? Or is it because she doesn't want me to take pity on her?"
When Ji Lingfeng heard him saying to her, "It must be hard on you all these years" she was deeply touched. But when she heard him describing her age, she was displeased. Like many young maidens in the fraternity, they were sensitive about their age once they were past eighteen. If she was near to him, she would definitely kick and slap him.
Yi Tianxing sighed deeply, "Why bother returning to the martial fraternity? Your family should lead a life of seclusion and retreated from the intrigues of the fraternity. There are simply too many bloodshed."
Ji Lingfeng said, "Even if we want to, the pugilists would not spare us. Over the years, we had been betrayed and pursued numerous times. The blood of our elders and our clan protégé, we must definitely avenge upon. Old Senior, you don't have to worry for us. Thanks to your Divine Revelation, my brother, Ji Wuzheng has now perfected the Holy Amalgamate Skill."
Yi Tianxing was startled, "He has?"
Ji Lingfeng said, "Completely. Without your Divine Revelation Skill, my brother would have suffered internal injuries as he progressed. In fact, my brother had defeated the Sword Saint, the top exponent of the orthodox clans last year!"
Yi Tianxing was even more startled, "Old Man Zuo of the Infinity Sword Clan?"
Ji Lingfeng said, "That is right!"
Even in his time, Old Man Zuo was renowned for his Infinity Swordplay and was already conferred the title of Sword Saint by the martial fraternity for his superior swordplay. His twenty-two infinity sword strokes were renowned throughout for its offensive stances and extraordinary strokes.
The Infinity Swordplay was unusual in the sense that the weakest sword stroke started from the twenty-two stance, the Infinity-Twenty-Two. When the stance numbering dropped, the infinity swordplay got more intricate and powerful.
Most senior protégés of the Infinity Swordplay rarely got past the eleventh stance of the Infinity Swordplay. Even then, those that had reached the eleventh attainment stance of the Infinity Swordplay were top swordsmen that very few exponents in the fraternity would be able to match.
It was said that Old Man Zuo was the first person in the Infinity Sword Clan that could attain the Infinity-First of the Infinity Swordplay. He was closed to unravel the full mysteries of the Infinitude Recite and it was rumored that he had already achieved the Infinity-Zero, a swordplay that was so supernatural that it was out of the world.
Yi Tianxing muttered, "Even with my Horizon Swordplay and your sect Hexagon Swordplay combined, it cannot even come close to the Infinity-Two. I know because my grand protégé master was a bosom friend of Old Man Zuo's protégé master and they had sparred on numerous times. So how did your brother manage to defeat Old Man Zuo?"
Ji Lingfeng said mysteriously, "Of course it cannot be compared. Or else my brother would be dead many times over."
Yi Ping could not resist interrupting, "Why do you beat around the bush. How did your brother defeat the Sword Saint?"
Ji Lingfeng said, "Old Man Zuo knew that my brother would never be his match and he is a junior. Therefore they contested with their inner martial arts. After a titanic fight, my brother's Holy Amalgamate Skill emerged victorious over the Sword Saint's Infinitude Skill. Again, your Divine Revelation Skill played a huge part in the victory."
Yi Tianxing blinked his eyes and said, "I am sure your brother will not stop till he dominates the martial fraternity?"
Ji Lingfeng smiled coldly, "Old Senior, you do not have to worry about this. You only have to know that my clan is forever grateful to you that we are able to revive our sect. I can ask my brother to wipe out the Gongsun clan for you. I have heard that Gu Tianle is now a guest of the Gongsun clan. Our enemies are the same."
Yi Ping said, "This blood feud is only between Gongsun Bai and us. We don't need outside help to kill Gongsun Bai."
Ji Lingfeng said coldly, "Hmph you…I am just trying to help you. Do you know that killing Gongsun Bai is not easy? His martial level is way out of your league! Or else, my brother will have already led his men to lay waste to the Gongsun Manor."
Yi Ping said, "I don't need you to worry for me, I can…"
Ji Lingfeng said, "Did you forget that I have helped save your life? If…if something happens to you, how do you repay me this debt? Is this the righteousness that you have in mind?"
She added, "Don't forget that without me, you would never have united with your father. So you owe me two debts."
Yi Ping was speechless and said, "Maiden…"
Yi Tianxing laughed, "Son, this maiden obviously cares for you and wants to help you. Yet, you keep rejecting her overtures."
Ji Lingfeng flustered and said, "No, I am not obviously cares for…him! He is just a rascal that does not know what is good for him!"
Yi Ping thought sadly, "In her eyes, I am only a rascal?"
Yi Tianxing said, "That is why he is admirable, isn't it?" Even though he was an old man now but the passionate eyes that Ji Lingfeng had for Yi Ping could not escape from his eyes.
He added, "The two of you are like a little couple. Why don't you get married right now and I will be your witness?"
All of a sudden, Yi Ping kneeled onto the ground, "Father, your son is already married!"
Yi Tianxing was startled and he asked, "Who may she be?"
Ji Lingfeng trembled lightly in shock, "He is really married?"
Yi Ping said, "She is Shui Yixian."
Yi Tianxing was taken aback and asked, "Shui Yixian? He knew Shui Yixian as the third protégé sister of his wife, Shui Yichi. But there were many people with similar names in the fraternity.
Yi Ping said, "You know her too. She is the Celestial Fairy."
Yi Tianxing received a jolt in his head.
Yi Tianxing roared with laughter, "Like father, like son. You married her with your mediocre skills? This is unbelievable."
Yi Ping began to relate his accounts with Shui Yixian.
Ji Lingfeng began to tremble as she thought, "He really is not lying to me. I am the one that does not believe him…That means he is not delusion and is of sound mind?"
When Yi Ping had finished related the accounts, he added, "My wife had just passed away. I should observe a three year of mourning for her. I shouldn't get married at this time."
Ji Lingfeng turned away as she coldly said, "Even if you want to marry me, I may not agree too. I don't want ever to be your guardian for life."
Yi Tianxing looked on with an interesting expression on his face. Sometimes, a lady meant entirely the opposite of what she had said. It would be a pity to give this fine lady up, even if she was not from the orthodox clans.
Yi Tianxing roared with laughter, "So Maiden Ji, do you still want to learn the Aspire Invocations?"
At the mention of the Aspire Invocations, Ji Lingfeng expressions turned sour.
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She said coldly, "Why are you still trying to harm me?"
Yi Ping defended his father, "Maiden Ji, why do keep saying that? My father has only good intentions towards you."
Ji Lingfeng looked coldly at Yi Ping and almost threw a secret projectile in his direction, "Why don't you keep quiet for a while?" She wanted to say shut up to him but decided to soften her tone at the last moment.
Yi Ping did really keep quiet, afraid to even look at her.
Yi Tianxing began to recite the Aspire Invocations Intricate Recite and said, "This is the basic Aspire Invocations Intricate Recite."
Ji Lingfeng was startled after hearing it, "This is the intricate formula of the basic Aspire Invocations? Why does it sound like it is a dissolution skill? It doesn't seem to be related to the Asper Horizon Hand?"
Yi Tianxing laughed, "You are so smart. It is a dissolution skill but it is used only to neutralize the erratic vital energies for the practitioners of the Asper Horizon Hands. Our clan uses it to test the martial advancements of our protégés before imparting the real staging of the Aspire Invocations. If you really want to improve the prowess of the Asper Horizon Hand, you have to learn the Aspire Invocation Intricate Recite and the Divine Horizon Hands."
He paused for a while before continuing, "So, are you willing to be my protégé disciple and learn my Aspire Invocations?"
Yi Ping said to his father, "Since Maiden Ji thinks father is trying to harm her and unwilling to learn it, let don't force her. If she doesn't want to, I want to! Moreover the Aspire Invocations Intricate Recite is our clan martial secret and shouldn't be taught to outsiders."
Ji Lingfeng was excited. It was because the Holy Amalgamate Skill was a type of dissolution skill too. If Yi Tianxing could explain to her the dissolution intricate formula of the Aspire Invocations, it would further her understandings of the Holy Amalgamate Skill and helped her in her martial progression tremendously!
Moreover, Yi Tianxing had explained that to her the basic Aspire Invocations was a standalone skill that could help her control her erratic vital energy and would not require her to practice it as another inner martial intricate formula.
Therefore she flew to Yi Tianxing and said alluringly, "I want to learn. Alas, protégé master! Your protégé disciple Ji Lingfeng pays my respect to you!"
Yi Tianxing laughed, "That is my good protégé disciple!"
Yi Ping was left bewildered, "Didn't you say you won't learn the Aspire Invocations?"
Ji Lingfeng turned back and smiled alluringly, "Hmph, when did I ever say so? It seems that your hearings are bad."
Indeed, she had never said so. She was just giving the impression that she did not want to learn it.
Yi Ping was speechless.
Ji Lingfeng had a mysterious look in her eyes as she said to him, "From now on, you have to address me as your older protégé sister and listens to me."
Both Yi Tianxing and Yi Ping were stunned.
Yi Ping asked, "When… did you become my older protégé sister? You are younger than me…"
Ji Lingfeng said proudly, "Just now. Hmph, didn't you just hear from your father that he has just accepted me as his protégé? You haven't even joined yet. Since I am the first to join, then I am your older protégé sister."
That was the rule of the martial fraternity; the one that joined first under the same protégé master was to be the most senior.
Yi Tianxing recovered from his surprise and said, "True, true…"
Ji Lingfeng batted an eye at Yi Ping and said, "Quick, address me as your older protégé sister."
Yi Ping was amused, he began to rub his nose as he pondered, "Actually it is a good feeling to have an older protégé sister." All of a sudden, he felt that he was no longer alone.
So he said, "Greetings older protégé sister!"
Ji Lingfeng smiled alluring, "Greetings my younger protégé brother!"
Ji Lingfeng was secretly joyful for she now had someone to talk to. It was because as the Holy Maiden of the Holy Hex Sect, she had no friends and no one to talk to except for her brother.
When she had heard of a upcoming major congregation that was going to be held by the Gongsun Clan for a punitive action against her brother, she was panicky and decided to take actions into her own hands to visit the congregation against her brother wishes.
It was because her brother had not yet recovered from his internal injuries from his duel with the Sword Saint even though it had been nearly a year now.
It was no coincident that she had met Yi Ping. She was aware that Gongsun Jing was in that particular town and was waiting for an opportunity to teach him a lesson but as he was always in the company of top exponents like Jue Yuan and Gu Tianle, the opportunity that she been waiting for never came.
When Jue Yuan had attacked Yi Ping, she decided to interfere even though it would mean exposing her true identity and bring her plans to disrupt the congregation futile.
Yi Tianxing said to them, "Our clan is renowned for the Horizon Swordplay, the Divine Horizon Hands, the Aspire Invocations Intricate Recite and the Divine Revelation Skill."
Yi Tianxing said, "The Divine Revelation Skill is a breathing technique that controls the breathing and vital energy in the body. What makes it special from other breathing techniques is its ability to re-energize the breath and allowing practitioners to hold on to the vital breath as long as possible."
"When used together with the Aspire Invocations, it is able to unleash the full potential of the Divine Horizon Hands and our secret techniques, the Asper, the Asper Continuum and the Asper Divinity Horizon Hand."
"When top exponents fight, the first breathe is always the most important as well as the most powerful. That is the essence of vital energy and the key to release our martial force in the forms of internal energy. As a fight continues and consumes more and more martial strength, breathing becomes harder and harder."
He paused for a while before adding, "In a real fight, your foes will not give you rest and will seek to overpower you through exhaustion and fatigue. There are no respite and chance to rest. The Divine Revelation retains unused vital energy and reconverts it back as vital breath."
He said, "As proficiency in the Divine Revelation Skill grows, the practitioner will be able to retain the vital breath in the body channels to be used later. This is unlike the breathing technique of the Emotionless Rhyme of the Eternal Ice Palace that tries to retain the vital breath as long as possible."
Yi Ping suddenly recalled that when Shui Yixian fought with her opponents, she rarely spoke and was entirely composed. All of a sudden, he recalled the killing stance of the yellow dressed maiden.
Yi Ping asked, "The yellow dressed lady that killed my wife has the ability to muster her martial power in a short confine of time and her killing power is lethal. What type of martial arts is she using? If she had lifted her vital breath, Yixian would have notice and would not be surprised by her." And Yi Ping described her moves.
Yi Tianxing was surprised, "A sudden burst of martial power? It is true that most offensive martial skills required the practitioner to muster and gather their vital energies for the offensive. That is why it is impossible to surprise top exponents like Yixian."
He clapped his hands, "I got it now. She must have known the Emotionless Rhyme too! You said that her grandmother was Shui Yisi, the second protégé sister of Yixian. If she does not know the Emotionless Rhyme, then it really is a weird thing. Therefore she must have slowly re-energized her vital breath and muster her martial power in secret, unnoticeable by anyone."
The Emotionless Rhyme was a breathing technique that could allow the practitioner control over their heart-beat and kept the opponents from knowing if their vital energy was truly spent and also muster martial power in secret.
Ji Lingfeng suddenly said, "That is the Penetrating Hand. Unlike most other martial arts, this unique skill is able to display the most power at point blank, without any hint. So if she knows the Emotionless Rhyme of the Eternal Ice Palace, then these two techniques when used together is a deadly combination."
Now it was Yi Ping turn to be surprised. He quickly asked, "Do you know that yellow dress maiden?"
Ji Lingfeng shook her head and said, "Two years ago, my brother fought with a young maiden on a chance occurrence. The duel was a draw but my brother told me that in a few years' time, that lady martial progression may surpass him and he warned me to be wary of this type of martial art and described it to me."
Ji Lingfeng said coolly, "Accordingly to him, her Penetrating Hands were extremely swift to execute, she could actually displayed six to ten strokes of it in the blink of an eye. Every strike executed by her was lethal and filled with martial power. My brother took a few hits due to carelessness and the internal injuries suffered by him were not light!"
Yi Tianxing said, "Even though this type of martial art may be mustered at a short notice, it is likely to restrict her movements too. If she cannot land her hits, surely your brother can overcome her?"
He pointed out, "It is highly incredible that your brother would not be able to overcome her. There aren't many exponents in the fraternity that can match his Holy Amalgamate Skill in terms of technique and martial power. Why is the fight a draw?"
Ji Lingfeng nodded, "My brother had noticed as well but it was only after he had been surprised by her Penetrating Hands and were almost killed by her. He had actually wounded her with the full martial power of his Holy Amalgamate Skill."
Yi Tianxing was astonished, "She survived that?"
Ji Lingfeng said, "That is because besides the Penetrating Hands, she has another powerful defensive skill."
Yi Tianxing's eyes started to glow as he wished that he had not lost his martial power. He almost wished that he could try out her Penetrating Hands versus his Divine Horizon Hands.
He asked, "Is it because she learnt a protective energy aura skill or iron shroud type of skill that can deflect physical attacks?"
Ji Lingfeng smiled, "Protégé Master, you are right. It is not an energy impervious skill that protects her but something else that is subtle. My brother is able to identify the skill as the 'Golden Impervious Skill'. That is why even though my brother had dealt her fatally, it was still not fatal enough."
Yi Ping sighed. He had never expected his enemy to be an even more frightening opponent that he had thought. But his will was absolute and his wife had to be avenged.
Ji Lingfeng added, "If my brother was not surprised by her and was not injured, that lady would never be able to survive a duel with my brother. "
Yi Ping interrupted her, "That was two years ago. If your brother was surprised by her two years later, he might not survive too. Yixian and Tian Kui were killed by her with a single hit. Her martial progression within these two years must be astonishing."
Ji Lingfeng said coolly, "I think you are overrating her martial abilities. She relied on the element of surprise to bring forth her strikes to the greatest effect. Since my brother knew of her techniques, it is difficult for her to succeed again."
Yi Tianxing said, "Nothing is sure in a duel. But it is a lucky thing we are able to learn so much. When top exponents fight, they always conceal their best techniques unless they have no other choices. It seems that your brother is able to force her to display more than necessary."
But he was already sighing in his heart, "The Golden Impervious Skill. A young maiden has actually mastered this long lost epitome skill?" He really found it hard to believe.
Yi Tianxing said, "We have side tracked and let us continue on the introduction. The Divine Horizon Hands is our clan most powerful skill. It contains three hidden secret techniques, the Asper, the Asper Continuum and the Asper Divinity."
He said, "Normally, to even begin the first secret technique of the Divine Horizon Hands the Asper Horizon, the practitioner will need forty years of martial power."
Both Yi Ping and Ji Lingfeng gasped, "Forty years?!"
Ji Lingfeng immediately recalled that after she had used the Asper Horizon Hands, her fingers were trembling and she felt as though all her strength had been drained from her executing arm!
Yi Tianxing said, "That is right. I practiced for forty-years before I am allowed to descend from the mountains by my master."
Ji Lingfeng said, "Didn't I manage to use the Asper Horizon Hand already?"
YI Tianxing said, "I was surprised that you can use it so soon. It may be because you have been practicing the Divine Revelation Skill for a long time to enhance your Holy Amalgamate Skill therefore you already have a certain foundation in internal strength. That is why you are able to pick up the Asper Horizon Hand fairly quickly"
Ji Lingfeng blinked her eyes at Yi Ping and smiled.
Without exchanging a word, Yi Ping was annoyed by her. She was gleeful that her martial strength was higher than him.
Yi Tianxing quickly added, "However, without the Aspire Invocations Intricate Recite to refine the Asper Horizon and knowledge of the Divine Horizon Hands, it is almost impossible to fully realize the full power of the Asper Horizon. Not to mention the Asper Continuum and the Asper Divinity."
Yi Tianxing continued, "The Asper Continuum Horizon Hand requires sixty years and the Asper Divinity Horizon Hand requires eighty years of solid internal strength to use."
Yi Ping sighed and muttered, "Isn't that too hard?"
He would be an old man by then.
Ji Lingfeng said, "At most I will take a few more years, compare to you know who."
Yi Ping unhappily said, "Only time will tell. Your clan has so many enemies. You are probably too busy avenging your clan to practice as much as I do."
Yi Tianxing held him in his wrist and examined his pulse, sighing. "Son, because you have the Icy Heavenly Tears energy in you, it may be difficult for you to even begin on the Aspire Invocations. Therefore you won't be able to wield the Divine Horizon Hands to its full potential. If you try to begin on the Aspire Invocations, the risk of deviation phenomena is great. You will end up paralyze or dead."
Yi Ping nodded and replied, "Father, it doesn't matter to me. I am so glad to see you again. Even if my skills are mediocre, I will avenge on Gongsun Bai even if it takes me years of hard work."
When Ji Lingfeng glanced at him, she could see the determined look in his eyes and the mesmerizing righteousness air around him. She felt herself drawn irresistible to him and believed in him…
All of a sudden, Yi Tianxing gasped, "Even though you have the Icy Heavenly Tears in your pulse but your heart pulse seem to be devoid of it at the same time. How is it possible?"
Ji Lingfeng grabbed Yi Ping wrist too and examined his pulses, "That is weird. Sometimes I can feel a cold piercing negative pulse but sometimes I cannot feel it."
Yi Tianxing muttered, "Don't tell me it is Yichi… she had purposely left Ping'Er internal strength in a clean slate? How is it possible? Don't tell me she had finally grasped the mysteries of the Eternal Heavenly Tears in her last final moments? That is just the remnants of her Eternal Force in Ping'Er pulse and not the Icy Heavenly Tears that I think it is?"
He needed more time to ponder over it. But for now, it might be possible for Yi Ping to practice on the Aspire Invocations under his watchful guidance.
All of a sudden, he turned solemn and said, "I must warn the two of you first. In the future, should you have the opportunity to grasp the mysteries of the Asper Divinity; you must not practice or use it. If you pass it to future generations, remember to forewarn them as well."
Yi Ping asked, "Father, what do you mean? If the skill cannot be used, what is the use of it being there?"
Yi Tianxing sighed deeply before he said painfully, "That is the warning left behind by our grand protégé master. If you manage to learn this forbidden skill, in three years' time, you will surely die!"
Both Yi Ping and Ji Lingfeng gasped at the same time, "How come?"
Yi Tianxing said solemnly, "The Divine Calamity." But he refused to say a word more.
Yi Ping and Ji Lingfeng exchanged looks before Yi Ping mustered his courage and asked, "Father, what exactly is the Divine Calamity? You mentioned that mum was fearful of it and even our clan must be wary of it."
All of a sudden, he seemed to be muttering to himself and he was making no sense.
The only legitimate words that they could decipher were, "…bloodsuckers…Celestial Palace…"
Ji Lingfeng and Yi Ping looked at one another. They seemed to be thinking of the same thing. There was only one place in the entire fraternity that was called the Celestial Palace…
The Celestial Palace was located in the western fraternity. Like the Eternal Ice Palace and the Virtuous Palace, it was one of the three most forbidden places in the entire martial fraternity.
Even though many of the powerful unorthodox clans were situated in the western fraternity, few dare to intrude on the forbidden grounds of the Celestial Palace. Those that did never returned.
The Celestial Palace was said to be situated in the Nirvana Mountains and was so mysterious that no one had ever seen a single protégé from that place, yet it continued to exist for centuries. No one really knew if the Celestial Clan really did exist.
In the western fraternity, mere mention of the Celestial Palace among the older pugilists would bring great fear and a great silence.
Ji Lingfeng was even more startled than Yi Ping.
It was because the Holy Hex Sect had a brief but stern warning not to mention its name and to visit that place. The Holy Amalgamate Skill was said to be a secret skill that was derived from the Sacred Celestial Skill of the Celestial Holy Clan. That warning and the origin of the Holy Amalgamate Skill was passed down only verbally to the members of the Ji Clan.