Chapter 12 - Invincible Bravery
In the blink of an eye, Shi Mu had already downed seven or eight opponents, like a wolf among a herd of sheep.The Luan Shui sect began to flee down both sides of the road in fear. Taking their chance, Feng Li and Gao Yuan rushed into the mess and began to beat down their enemies with a pair of sticks. Seeing this the men watching from behind the lines had to abandon their watch-and-wait policy in order to reinforce their little army. Led by a middle-aged man who called loudly to Shi Mu who was masquerading as Fierce Fist, three Luan Shui thugs rushed at Shi Mu simultaneously; meanwhile, two other men stood up barring the path of Gao Yuan and Feng Li.
The four iron sticks in Feng Li and Gao Yuan's hands gave a non-stop series of *whacks* as they moved in similar strokes; apparently the two were using the same martial art. Their opponents had different skills though they both wielded flat white weapons that looked like iron rulers; one moved his ruler in a firm, heavy manner while the other seemed to move more randomly with quick and fluid movements. It was hard to tell which side had the advantage.
Meanwhile, Shi Mu was confronting three blue-robed men, who were far stronger than the others, with great composure. Wasting no words on his opponents, he lifted a nearby wooden stick off the ground with his foot and quickly launched it into his hands.
The leading middle-aged man was carrying sharp-looking bamboo knives in each of his hands; as soon as he approached Shi Mu he wielded the knives in a cross, directly sending them into Shi Mu's chest forcibly and viciously. Even though they were not made of iron, the bamboo knives' sharpness could do some serious damage if they caught their target. Seeing them, a cold light flashed across Shi Mu's eyes, but he only shook his wrist once before six shadows of his stick danced wildly in front of his enemies.
"Ah!" The middle-aged man could not hold back his astonishment and let out a loud cry. His two bamboo knives were pulled back at a lightning speed to resist the wild dance of the shadows. "*Whack**Whack*" There came two clear sounds as the man felt a strong shaking in his hands; his two bamboo knives splintered into pieces and he felt a strong pain crept on his chest, which forced him to step back. He nearly lost his footing in this process and he tried hard not to fall to the ground.
At the sight, the other two men immediately thrust their spears into the air in front of Shi Mu. Another opponent shook his wrist and unleashed a slithering whip that looked like a ferocious python. Faced with the attacks, Shi Mu let out a low shout and waved his arms abruptly, throwing the wooden stick like a javelin. A *boom* resounded as the stick slammed into something. The spearman had no time to resist as the tip of his wooden spear collided with Shi Mu's stick head-on. The collisions sent a wave of energy up the spear toward the man. The spear shattered to pieces and the man fell unconscious from the pain, both of his hands bleeding.
At exactly the same time, Shi Mu's other arm stretched out and instantly grasped the approaching whip with a gloved hand. This was done so quickly that all of his actions were seen as a blur to the others watching the fight.
The whip-man blanched at the sight; being overwhelmed in a panic he lashed wildly with the whip while trying to step back. Shi Mu snorted at his attempt and gave a gentle pull at the whip's tip, at which the man trembled uncontrollably, staggering forward like a drunk. "No!" But it was too late for him to flee: Shi Mu was already at his side, having covered the whole distance in a blink of an eye. The next moment, he was struck hard in his stomach and before he had even realized it, he had the wind knocked out of him by an overwhelming force. He could only kneel down on the ground, almost fainting.
But Shi Mu would not let him off. With another quick movement, his body flew into the air like a dragon. One of his legs kicked forward, sweeping at his enemy, who cringed as the leg swept toward him. He clearly knew that if he was kicked, he might die, given the strength of his opponent, but he was already made defenseless by the previous attack.
"Stop! We admit our loss."
Just then a terrified voice pleaded to Shi Mu.
At the entreaty, Shi Mu slowed his kick and let it pass right above the man's head, creating a strong wind which left the man paralyzed in fear.
Shi Mu looked at the pleading man through the holes in his mask after landing on the ground. The voice belonged to the middle-aged man, the leader of Luan Shui gang, who only sighed with relief after confirming the spearman's safety. He then made a placating gesture with clasped hands , smiling to Shi Mu bitterly,
"You really are the Fierce Fist himself! You must rank among the top of all the practitioners in Feng City, so why not leave our gangs alone? We are only fighting for some bread, not for anything serious."
Shi Mu stood there without moving a step, his eyes cold and his lips firm. Feng Li chose this moment to walk up and say,
"Stop the nonsense! Withdraw from the five streets immediately after today's competition!"
"Ok, ok, we'll withdraw from this place since we are not Fierce Fist's match. Let's go!" The leader decided in a resolute manner, leading his men off after a short reply. In less than a minute, there were no more Luan Shui men left to be seen around the nearby streets, which now completely belonged to the Black Foxes! The previously downed men in black now were all jumping up with buoyant spirits. Feng Li and Gao Yuan were also in high spirits and quickly started working on the management of their newly obtained territories. Just then the "Fierce Fist", played by Shi Mu, disappeared from everyone's sight, in line with his enigmatic reputation.
Several days later, Shi Mu returned to his suburban manor with his new black armor 5 kilograms heavier than the previous one. He was stunned at the sight of the beautiful girl waiting at the center of the square.
"Shaoye, Miss Zhong came back here two days ago. Since I have no way to contact shaoye I could only let her stay here for a few nights." Zhang Suo, the manager of the manor, answered the unspoken question in a somewhat terrified voice.
If there was someone fully aware of Shi shaoye's tricks, despite his young age, it would be none other than this manager himself. This time, he had put up the girl without gaining his master's consent first, so he was worrying that he had made a terrible mistake.
"It's all right, you can go now. I'll talk to Miss Zhong myself." Waving off Zhang Suo, Shi Mu had fully prepared himself now; meanwhile the girl stood mute the entire time, her head lowered.
Shi Mu made an inviting gesture as Zhang Suo left, leading the girl to his bedroom.
"Miss Zhong, why are you here now? Do you have something you wish to tell me?" Shi Mu turned to ask the girl in a rather serious manner.
"Young master Shi, please do not ask any more. Are you shorthanded here? If you are not averse to the idea, would you agree to have me work here as a servant? " Zhong Xiu finally had built up the courage to look up at Shi Mu, biting her lips nervously.
"A servant girl? Miss Zhong, stop the nonsense. What happened to you at the Wu family, I remember them being quite polite to you that time. I would be very grateful if you could tell me what happened." Shi Mu knitted his brows and slowly asked his question.
"An ugly girl like me? What do you think happened to me at the Wu's? They let me in because they thought I had some special abilities, but nobody would accept me once they knew my condition. I'm penniless now, what could I do if I did not leave them as soon as possible? Should I have waited to be asked to leave? Believe me, I had no other place to go in Feng City except here. Or I wouldn't have had the gall to return." Zhong Xiu's eyes shimmered with tears, her voice somewhat choking with sobs. After all, is there another young girl who can still keep cool at her father's death and being swept out of her fiance's house?
"I see, your father was right...Well, don't mention the servant deal again, just stay here as you are. Although I wasn't born with a lot of money, I can at least provide you food and a place to sleep. Also, don't call me young master anymore, Brother Shi is fine. If ever you want to leave someday just leave me a note." There was still a last grain of stubbornness left on the girl's face, which reminded him of someone he used to hold dear. Moved by the sight, he decided to sweep the stubbornness away by answering her persuasively.
"Thank you so much, Brother Shi!" Filled with surprise and joy, the girl made a grateful gesture with a gentle pull at her dress . During the following period Shi Mu called Zhang Suo in again to arrange a separate, clean room for Zhong Xiu.
Meanwhile, at the Wu's manor in Feng City, some men, including the pale old man who had met Shi Mu at the gate, were plotting something about Zhong Xiu.
"Second brother, are you sure that guy, Zhong Ming, hadn't told the secret to his daughter? If anything's wrong, we'll suffer a big loss this time." An old man, apparently in his fifties, was speaking. He shared somewhat similar features with the pale man, but had a more imposing manner.
He was none other than the current owner of the house, the leader of the family and the oldest of the three Wu brothers. Furthermore, he was also the only full Houtian Warrior in his family.
"Eldest brother, if you don't believe me, why not believe that tool? It didn't respond to the girl at all, which proves that she has not awakened her blood yet. If so, why should a penniless girl be married into our Wu Family? Besides, although the Zhongs have sent us the tool, they would have died a hundred time if it had not been for our repeated help. So what does it matter, to cancel the engagement?" The pale man, Wu Feng, answered disapprovingly.
"Exactly, eldest uncle. I shall never marry that ugly girl. The one I'm taking a fancy to is Jin Xiuzhen , one of the Jins..." The youth listening at their side interrupted with a grudge.
"Stop it, Hua Er! Do you have the place here to interrupt your elders?" The pale man reprimanded his son with much severity, which shut the rude youth's mouth though apparently the latter did not like it.
"Hue Er, this is not a thing that can be decided according to your likes and dislikes. That girl, though her blood has not yet awakened, could still bring us blood warrior grandchildren. Even with this slim chance, I do not consider it proper to let her go, second younger brother. "Wu Liang continued in an easy manner.
"If Hua Er dislikes the girl's looks, our Wu Xun wouldn't mind taking her, so there's no need to drive her away. "The third brother Wu Tong, who looked much younger than his two brothers, answered with a smile.
 The leader of Luan Shui gang is saluting Shi Mu with his hands folded and raised in front of his chest. This is a saluting gesture made between men of the same social status to show respect in ancient China, while a kowtow is a salute to someone superior.
 Zhong Xiu's gesture is a salute generally made by women to show respect to others.
 Xiu Zhen: "Xiu" means pretty and "Zhen" means precious in Chinese.
 Cross: This is an aggressive stance (though most dagger stances are). You pull back one are, and 'Cross' the other over your chest, allowing one to quickly carry out two attacks then retreat.