Chapter 13 - The Art of the Blazing Spear and the Knives of Sun and Moon
"But Wu Xun was born slow and lame! Though she is ugly, Zhong Xiu is actually quite proud, she would not be willing to marry him." The pale man answered, shaking his head.
"Unwilling? Do you think she can have her way in our house? I'll let her know the consequences once we have her in our hands." Wu Tong sneered with his suggestion.
"Don't you think I've thought of using force? Only that the girl was not alone when she arrived. She came with another guy whom I had investigated, and the result was that the boy had some form of relation with the Jin Family," the pale man sighed.
"What? He's a member of the Jin Family? Then we will have to let him off this time, same with the girl. If this matter is revealed and the Jin Family gets involved, we may even lose The Artifact to them. As for the matter of their being a bloodline warrior amongst the Zhong's ancestors, it may have been fabricated by the Zhongs themselves to try and improve our image of them. Even if they did once have a bloodline warrior in their family, that's no guarantee for the birth of another. We could just use that secret method, which uses lots of herbs, and test to see if she has a bloodline. However, that could be a waste of materials and the Artifact has more value to us." Surprised at Shi Mu's identity, the leader's attitude soon changed.
Of course, the pale old man made no objection to the final decision. Then others dealt with some other issues before they all left the hall.
"Father, who's the guy that escorted that ugly girl here? What relation does he have with the Jin Family?" The youth puffed up and could not resist questioning his father after they came to another room.
"Oh, you mean the fellow named Shi Mu. Actually, he was not directly born into the Jin Family, but is only a remote relative. It's his step-mother that brought him into the family. You'd better dodge her in every way possible."
"His step-mother?" The arrogant youth was quite baffled.
"Yes, her name is Jin Zhen and she is Jin Xiuzhen's aunt. Her level far surpasses all her family, infact, she's as powerful as your eldest uncle. She's usually hidden from people's attention, but controls all the medicine business of the Jin Family, and has enormous power in the Family. Hua Er, why do you care so much about Shi Mu?"
"I heard that the ugly girl turned to Shi Mu after leaving our manor. I have no interest in her at all, but she did have an engagement with me and now she's with another man, which shames me a lot! Father, I'd like to teach that fellow a good lesson!" The arrogant youth, Wu Hua, snorted his resentment.
"Well, well, my darling son, it seems you've forgot what I taught you before. You've gotten to meet many Jin fellows while wooing Jin Yuzhen, haven't you? It's inconvenient for our Wu Family to deal with Shi Mu, but it's a different story for the Jins themselves. It has nothing to do with our Wu Family if the Jins take care of their own affairs." The pale old man affectionately offered his advice after perceiving his son's intentions.
"Thanks, father, I know what to do next." His father's instruction lifted his spirits immensely.
"You two idle punks, beaten by a small sect in a flash! " On a fairly large practice ground, a youth in white coldly said this in a mocking tone, his eyes fixated on the two young men, both of whom were a few years older than him.
The two young men, one with a spear in hand and the other a whip around his waist, though now wearing blue shirts, were exactly the two who were easily beaten by Shi Mu in the previous fight between the Black Fox and Luan Shui gangs. The two experts stood in shock as they faced the youth, sweating profusely.
"Brother Wang, how.... how did you know about the fight?" The spear man stammered.
"Humph, did you plan to hide it from me? If I had not heard of your "feats" from the others in our club, I guess our club's reputation would have rotted in secrecy then." The youth in white snorted, questioning with a solemn face.
"Though we were beaten this time, we will get revenge. Our plan is to polish our skills under the instructor's' guidance before we challenge Fierce Fist again, to save our club's face." The whip man answered with his quick wits, wiping the sweat from his forehead.
"So, you really got beaten so quickly? Tell me the details." Obviously the youth in white was interested in the unknown opponent.
"Yes, Brother Wang, it went like this: we were not the first to fight the Fierce Fist; it was the leader of Luan Shui who..." The two young men hurried retold their account of what happened that night.
"So I only narrowly made my escape when Leader Yu gave up and pleaded with him, or I would not be standing here if I really received that kick."
"So this 'Fierce Fist' you are speaking of can really crack your spear with a stick, and pull Brother Li to his side with ease? His level in body tempering must have surpassed level ten. If not, he must be born with great strength. No wonder you two were no match for him at all. "
The youth in white, persuaded by the narration, eased off the two.
"That's definitely true, younger brother. Nobody knows his real looks, and he reached the top seat as soon as he began to fight for the Black Fox. Although he has had many amazing feats, his skills seem to have grown better and better in the past half year. He's even beaten the well-renowned Feng Jun of the Tian Lu club, breaking seven ribs with his bare fists and leaving him bedridden." Brother Li echoed the youth's words in a hurry.
"You mean even Feng Jun was defeated by Fierce Fist? He almost got enrolled into the Kai Yuan martial arts school last year! He certainly must have reached the tenth level in body tempering by now, and he has practiced the Iron Skinned Demon Art. You mean even under such conditions he was still badly beaten to the point of being bedridden? Now I'm even more interested in this mysterious guy!" The youth in white lost his anger; on the contrary, he gave a hearty smile unexpectedly.
"So brother Wang, you mean to..." The two young men were quite stunned at his sudden change of attitude.
"I don't care whatever methods you use, but get me a face to face with this guy. I'm going to have a good fight with him, to see if he can take my Blazing Spear." The youth in white answered unhesitatingly.
"Sure, we shall definitely get you a face to face with him. "The spearman was still in some doubt, while Brother Li promised readily.
At the answer the youth in white left in satisfaction.
"Are we really going to call Fierce Fist out?" The spearman worriedly asked his companion.
"Don't you know Brother Wang well? If we didn't promise him he'd have definitely given us a beating. Take it easy, we only need to deliver a message to one of the Luan Shui guys. As to whether Fierce Fist would come or not is not our business."
"Ha! I was being a fool! If Fierce Fist refuses to come, Brother Wang will definitely go for him personally, and our loss will be avenged." The spearman suddenly understood Brother Li's intentions.
"That's right, the Art of the Blazing Spear, though it belongs to accomplished level, is one of the few arts that can be mastered by practitioners. Even that Fierce Fist should fall before that skill." This idea fills the two of them with expectancy, they left the club in elated spirits.
On the other hand, Shi Mu, the current Fierce Fist, was quite unaware of the coming trouble.
But he would not care much even if the news came to him. After all, such events had taken place more than once during the half year's period he had played the role of Fierce Fist. One such event, which was instigated by a gang, was when Feng Jun of Tian Lu club challenged him. Shi Mu smashed Feng Jun's armor in three strikes, using his Stone-Breaking Fist, thus leaving the challenger bedridden for nearly a month.
The reason why he began to play the role of Fierce Fist was a rather simple one. As soon as he joined the Feng Liu club, he was seen practicing his nearly accomplished Stone-Breaking Fist, which amazed Feng Li and Gao Yuan exceedingly, the two took the opportunity to approach him and eventually had their purpose fulfilled when Shi Mu was persuaded into taking the place of the recently deceased Fierce Fist, number one practitioner in Black Fox gang, who had just died of an illness. Shi Mu thus regularly gained large amount of income by protecting Black Fox gang from the threat of other ganga, the money supplying him with herbs for his frequent medicine baths.
At this moment, Shi Mu came into the city again, finding his way to a worn-down street within Luan Shui's territory. The street was no longer than a hundred meters, both sides bare without much business occuring. Even so, Shi Mu paid a visit there, entering a blacksmith's shop. He cast an expectant look on a burly fellow with bronze skin, his upper body unclothed while he looked over an illustrated paper, eyes wide open. Before long his face twisted.
"What? Even Master Ma is unable to make this pair of weapons?" Seeing his knit eyebrows, Shi Mu asked anxiously.
"Its design is so delicate, it needs a lot of energy to make, but given a longer time I believe I can make it step by step. The key to the whole problem is the requested material, cold iron, which is extremely rare. I only have a small piece of it. Can I use other materials instead?" Hearing Shi Mu's question, the burly fellow had to remove his eyes from the paper and gave Shi Mu an answer after some thought.
"Certainly not, this pair of Sun and Moon knives will be of much use to me. I'm not expecting this weapon to cut through everything, just to not be destroyed by ordinary weapons. All right, I shall give you another five hundred silver notes, with which you should be able to get more cold iron from other blacksmiths? I want the pair made correctly and without flaws. As for the time limit, it will be as long as one full month. "Shi Mu answered decidedly.