Bordertown Wanderer 03 Print
Tuesday, 22 July 2008 05:47

Chapter 3 - Sabres Are Severed, Intestines Are Shattered


After the man in white had ran out for about ten meters, he pointed the tip of his foot at the ground and leapt high into the air.

The open desert was deathly quiet. Yellow sand swept out in all directions inundating the dark night. Where could one even hope to find the trace of a shadow?

Only the trailing echoes of that haunting voice remained as it drifted about in the night wind.

The winds were howling.

The man in white said in a deep voice, "Friend, since you have come looking for a quarrel, why not show yourself?"

Although his voice was low, it was full of vigor and energy. Each and every word rang out into the distance.


After those words were spoken, the man in white ran for about another ten meters into the middle of a field of withered weeds. The winds combed through the weeds like waves in the ocean.

There was no one sight, and no response to be heard.

"Fine! Let's see how long you can hide for!" the man in white said.

He looked towards the sky and leapt up again. After seven or eight steps he was back at the carriage.

Ye Kai was still in the carriage leaning lazily to one side. His hand was gently knocking on the window as he chanted softly.

"... Once one enters the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses', sabres are severed, intestines are shattered, forget about ever going home ..."

His eyes were half shut and a slight grin hung on his face. It seemed like he was rather fond of that song.

The man in white opened the door and pulled himself into the carriage. He smiled and said, "It's just some lunatic spouting nonsense. Sir, please don't take any of it tooseriously."

"Whether that person is singing the truth or not, it has nothing to do with me. So it really doesn't matter whether I listen or not." Ye Ka said.

"Oh?" the man in white exclaimed.

"You see, I don't have a blade with me. And I'm pretty sure that my intestines have already been destroyed by alcohol. Furthermore, I've always been a wanderer lingering at the ends of the earth, the four corners of the world are my home. So if the Third Boss wanted me to stay at the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses' forever, I'd be more than happy to oblige." Ye Kai said.

The man in white let out a hearty laugh and said, "You certainly are an easygoing person, normal people just can't compare."

Ye Kai blinked a few times and said with a smile, "'Flying Crane of the Mist', Yun ZaiTian's lightness skills are one of his three fields of expertise. I'm sure not many can compare with you as well."

A look of delight came over the face of the man in white, but it slowly receded as he said, "I've long retired from the martial arts world for more than ten years. I'm amazed that you're able to recognize who I am with a single glance. You must have really sharp eyes!"

"My eyes aren't really that sharp. But 'Opening the Window to Look at the Moon Soaring Clouds', 'Single Crane Soars Into the Sky to Observe the Clouds', and 'Following the Cicada Chasing the Clouds in Eight Steps' are such rare lightness martial arts stances that anyone would be able to recognize them upon a single glance." Ye Kai said.

"I'm sorry for embarassing myself." Yun ZaiTian said.

"If those moves were embarassing, then I really should just leap out of this window and kill myself." Ye Kai said.

A glimmer flashed through Yun ZaiTian's eyes. "At such a young age, you already have such an impressive knowledge of the martial arts world. It's as if you know the moves of all the martial arts schools and clans like the back of your hands. Yet up until now I'm still unable to discern anything about your origins, that's what I'm embarassed about."

"I've always been a wanderer who called the four corners of the world my home. I'd find it odd if you really were able to tell me about my origins." Ye Kai said.

Yun ZaiTian fell silent in thought. Suddenly sounds came from the outside, *DU* *DU* *DU*, someone was actually knocking on the carriage door.

"Who is it?" Yun ZaiTian asked.

No one replied. But then again the sounds of knocking were heard, *DU* *DU* *DU*.

Yun ZaiTian folded his brows. Then he suddenly struck out his hand and pushed open the door.

The carriage door swung back and forth, but nothing but the long road behind them could be seen. You probably couldn't even hang a paper cutout of a person from the back of the carriage, much less a live person.

But only a live person could knock.

Yun ZaiTian's expression sunk as he said, "Alarming oneself at the sight of strange things, defeating oneself with fright. Only foolish people will fall for a trick such as this."

He was about to close the door when suddenly a hand hung down from the top of the carriage. It was a bony, yellow hand that was grasping onto a broken bowl.

A strange, eerie voice was heard coming from the roof of the carriage, "Do you have any wine ... ? Please pour me some ... I'm dying of thirst ..."

Yun ZaiTian suddenly smiled and said, "Luckily we have brought wine with us aboard our carriage, Mr. Luo why don't you come down and join us?"

Two dirty, black mud-covered feet wearing straw slippers that were missing half of their soles dropped into sight from the top of the carriage as they wagged back and forth to the rumbling of the carriage.

Ye Kai was slightly worried as well, he feared that the person would come tumbling down.

But in a single flash, a figure appeared in the carrige. He sat squarely across from Ye Kai, staring at him with half-sober eyes.

Ye Kai, of course, was looking at him as well.

He was wearing a scholarly looking green robe. Not only was it exceptionally clean, but there wasn't a single trace of patching on it either.

Just by looking at his hands and feet, no one would expect him to have on such fine looking clothes. Ye Kai found him extremely amusing at first sight.

This Mr. Luo suddenly opened his eyes wide and said, "Why are you staring at me like that? You think that this robe was stolen don't you?"

Ye Kai smiled and replied, "If it really was stolen, please tell me from where, so that I can steal myself one as well."

"You haven't changed clothes in a long time, have you?" Mr. Luo asked.

"Not too long, it hasn't been three months yet." Ye Kai said.

Mr. Luo wrinkled his brow and said, "No wonder it smells like rotten fish around here, such an unbearable odor!"

"How often do you change your clothes?" Ye Kai asked.

"How often? I change my clothes at least twice a day." Mr. Luo said.

"And how often do you bathe?" Ye Kai asked.

"Bathing damages one's vitality, that is something that I never do." Mr. Luo said.

Ye Kai smiled and replied, "So you're an aged wine with a brand new bottle, while I'm a brand new wine with an old bottle. We're simply different methods that produce the same results, what's the need to get so worked up about it for?"

Mr. Luo stared at him, his eyes turned and turned. Suddenly he looked up and exclaimed loudly, "Brilliant, brilliant! That analogy is simply brilliant! You must be a scholar, and an exceptional scholar at that - come, hurry and bring out the wine. Whenever I run into a scholar, if I don't drink at least two cups of wine, I always end up falling sick."

Yun ZaiTian smiled and said, "You two must not have been introduced yet. This is one of Wudang's eminent masters, and one of the most educated people in all the martial arts world, Luo LuoShan, the great Mr. Luo."

"I am Ye Kai." Ye Kai said.

"I don't care whether you're an open leaf or a closed leaf, as long as you're a scholar, then I'm going to drink three cups with you." Luo LuoShan said.

"Forget about just three, I'd be willing to drink three hundred cups." Ye Kai said.

"Right! Meetings should last at least three hundred cups, only then may the empty jar face the moon. Come, let's drink!" Luo LuoShan said.

Yun ZaiTian reached into one of the cabinets in the carriage and pulled out a flask of wine. He smiled at Luo LuoShan and said, "Mr. Luo, if we are greeted by the Third Boss later, please don't let him see you drunk before you get off this carriage."

"I don't care whether he's the Third Boss or the Fourth Boss, the one I'm drinking to right now is this scholar - come, let's first down one cup, bottoms up!" Luo LuoShan said.

After they finished three rounds, there was a *DANG* sound as the broken bowl rolled towards one of the corners of the carriage.

Luo LuoShan was curled up in his seat, he was already drunk.

Ye Kai couldn't help but laugh as he exclaimed, "So Mr. Luo gets drunk really fast."

"Did you know that Mr. Luo has another nickname? He is called Mr. Three Lackings." Yun ZaiTian said.

"Mr. Three Lackings?" Ye Kai said.

"He loves women but he lacks courage, he loves wine but he lacks tolerance, and he loves to gamble but he lacks luck. Those are the three things that he will always lack, and that's why he is nicknamed Mr. Three Lackings." Yun ZaiTian explained.

"A true scholar lives for the moment, who cares about what is lacking?" Ye Kai remarked.

"So it turns out that you really do understand this Mr. Luo." Yun ZaiTian said.

Ye Kai opened the window and took in a breath of fresh air, then he asked, "How much longer until we arrive at the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses'?"

"We've arrived a long time ago." Yun ZaiTian said.

"Then have we passed it by now?" Ye Kai said.

"No, we haven't. This land is all part of the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses'." Yun ZaiTian said.

"The 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses' is really this big?" Ye Kai said.

"It's not too big. But from east to west, if you left on a swift horse in the early morning, it'd take up until dusk to reach the other end." Yun ZaiTian said.

"If you put it like that, then is the Third Boss inviting us for breakfast?" Ye Kai said.

Yun ZaiTian smiled and said, "The Third Boss's Guest Hall is just up ahead."

The sound of horses neighing in the wind could be heard coming from all directions.

Looking out the window, only a bright light up ahead was in sight.

The Guest Hall of the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses', of course, was where that light was coming from.

Their carriage pulled to a stop in front of a wooden fence.

The fence was made of tree trunks tied together and rose some ten meters high. There were numerous structures behind the fence but one could only guess how many.

An arched gate stood majestically in the dark night. The flag pole that was perched on top reached even higher into the black sky.

But the flag on the pole had already been lowered.

Two rows of burly men in white stood guard outside the arched entrance. Four people rushed over to pull open the massive gate.

Ye Kai stepped out of the carriage and breathed in deeply. He looked around in all four directions and was exhilarated by the vastness of the land. It was a sort of freedom that city dwellers would never be able to experience.

Yun ZaiTian followed him from behind and asked, "So what are your impressions of this place?"

"I just feel that it is very fortunate for anyone to have this much, the Third Boss's life must be without regrets." Ye Kai said.

"He definitely is no ordinary person. But to be able to enjoy today's success, he really is without regrets." Yun ZaiTian said.

"What about Mr. Luo?" Ye Kai said.

"He's already on the floor, I doubt that he can even get up." Yun ZaiTian said.

Ye Kai's eyes flashed as he suddenly said, "Luckily we weren't the only two people to arrive on this carriage."

"Oh?" Yun ZaiTian said.

Ye Kai walked over to the front of the carriage where the driver was wiping off his brow. He tapped him on the shoulder and said, "You must be exhausted!"

The driver was slightly startled as he replied, "It's all part of the job."

"You know, you should've been sitting inside comfortably with us. Why make yourself suffer?" Ye Kai said.

The driver paused for half an instant, then pulled off the bamboo hat that he was wearing and revealed the big smile that was on his face, "Excellent! What excellent eye sight! Very admirable!"

"In the short time that we were stopped before, you were able to sneak out from underneath the carriage, seal the driver's pressure points, drag him to the side of the road, and switch clothes with him. Incredibly fast movements yet still so precise, you are definitely deserving of the eight words: 'Meticulous as Fine Silk, Swift as Lightning Strikes'." Ye Kai said.

The driver looked somewhat surprised and exclaimed, "How did you know who I am?"

"In the martial arts world, who else could match the skills of the Flying Spider?" Ye Kai said.

Flying Spider smiled as he took off the white robe he had on to reveal a light black suit. He walked over and saluted Yun ZaiTian and said, "I was just having a little fun before, Master Yun, please forgive me."

"That you grace us with your presence is already an honor, please, after you." Yun ZaiTian.

At that time several people were carrying Luo LuoShan off of the carriage.

Yun ZaiTian led the way in front as they passed through a large courtyard.

The white doors up ahead that were originally closed suddenly creaked open.

Bright lights came from inside as a single person stood at the door.

That door was pretty wide but when that person stood in front, he was almost blocking the entire entrance.

Ye Kai wasn't very short, but even he had to lift his head up to see that person's face.

This person had a full beard. On his body was a large white robe and on his waist was a thick belt made of ox hide. On his belt was a sabre with a silver sheathe, a black hilt and a blade that curved in a very unusual way. A cup of wine was in his hand.

The cup in his hand didn't look very big, but a normal person probably couldn't even lift it up with both of their hands.

Yun ZaiTian walked ahead and asked him, "Where is the Third Boss?"

"He is waiting inside, have all the guests arrived?" the bearded giant replied.

Anyone who heard him speak for the first time wouldn't be able to help but jump up in fright. The first word that came out of his mouth shook like thunder from the skies, causing one's ears to tremble and ring.

"Only three of them are here." Yun ZaiTian said.

The bearded giant raised his eyebrows and said, "What about the other three?"

"I can only hope that they're fast on their way." Yun ZaiTian said.

The bearded giant nodded his head and said, "My name is GongSun Duan. I'm a ruffian. Our three esteemed guests, please enter."

The way that he spoke was really disconnected. His previous sentence and his next sentence had almost nothing to do with each other.

Right behind the door was a large screen made of white lumber that stood almost seven meters high. There were no drawings, pictures or words on that screen, but it looked very clean. Not even a single speck of dust could be found.

Just as they were making their way in, the sound of hoofbeats suddenly erupted into the night sky as nine horses dashed in hurriedly.

As they reached the gate, the riders lifted their legs to one side and dismounted as the horses came to a stop. Not only were the movements of the riders and their horses in unison, the riders' clothes were exactly the same as well.

All of them had on gold headgear, purple vests, and a longsword at their waists. Their scabbards were all decorated with fancy jewels. One of them had on a purplish gold belt, and on his sword was an exquisite pearl that was the size of a dragon's eye.

All nine of them were handsome young men. The one that stood out looked even more refined and was glowing with confidence. He walked out from the crowd and said, "I am truly sorry for arriving late."

Although his mouth was apologizing, his face was full of arrogance. Anyone could easily tell that there wasn't half a bit of sincerity in his words.

The nine of them walked through the courtyard and up to the large white doors.

"Which one of you is MuRong MingZhu?" GongSun Duan asked loudly.

The youngster with the purplish gold belt stepped forward and replied, "That would be me."

"The Third Boss invited you only, tell the rest of your company to leave." GongSun Duan said.

MuRong MingZhu's face changed colors as he replied, "They're not allowed to follow me in?"

"No!" GongSun Duan blasted.

One of the youngsters in purple who accompanied MuRong MingZhu suddenly put his hand on his hilt as if he was about to draw his sword.

Suddenly there was a flash of silver light. Before he could even pull his sword out, GongSun Duan's curved sabre had cut his blade in half, scabbard and all.

GongSun Duan sheathed his sabre and said, "Whoever dares to draw their sword in the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses' will have it cut in half just like his."

MuRong MingZhu's face started to turn pale. He turned and slapped that youngster across the face and scolded him angrily, "Who told you to draw your sword? Get your *** out of here and wait outside!"

The youngster in purple didn't dare to talk back as he lowered his head and left.

Ye Kai found this all very funny.

He recognized that youngster as the same one who had wanted to treat him to a cup of wine the night before.

That youngster seemed to have a thing for drawing his sword wherever he went. Yet before he could ever get it out, someone always snapped it in half.

Just past the large screen was a great hall.

Anyone who laid eyes on this great hall couldn't help but be surprised.

Although the hall was only about thirty or so meters wide, its lengthed stretched out beyond one's imagination.

If someone wanted to walk from one end to another, it'd probably take them about one or two thousand steps.

On the left wall of the great hall was a painting of a throng of horses in gallop. Some of the horses were neighing while others had their manes scattering in the wind. Each one of their manes were painted differently, and each one of the horses looked realistic enough to be alive. What peerless fine steeds they were.

On the other wall were giant words that were larger than a person. Inked in fine calligraphy that soared like a dragon and danced like a phoenix were the words 'GuanDong Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses'.

In the middle of the room was a long table made out of white wood. It was so long that it resembled a street, people could probably ride their horses on top of it.

On either sides of the long table were at least three hundred chairs.

If you never visited the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses', you would've never imagined that there existed a table this long and a hall this large!

The great hall was not elaborately furnished or decorated, but it still exuded a sense of resolute majesty, elegance and nobility. Anyone who stepped foot inside couldn't help but feel their mood getting heavier.

At the head of the table, on a large maginificent chair, sat a person clothed in white.

No one could really make out what he looked like, all they could tell was that he was sitting up very straightly.

When there was not a single person here, he still sat the same way. Even though that chair had a comfotable back, he never leaned on it. He always preferred to sit erect.

The table was so long that his chair appeared rather lonesome at the far end with everyone else standing so far away.

Although Ye Kai couldn't make out his face and expression, he could clearly sense his loneliness and solitude. He looked like someone that was cut off from the rest of the world, from happiness, from pleasure.

And from friends.

Could it be that this was the price of being a hero?

He looked lost in thought. Was he reminiscing about past victories during better days? Or was he contemplating about the bleak loneliness of existence?

He didn't seem to see or hear the large group of people that had just entered the hall.

Was this really the master of the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses'?

Although he had won hundreds of battles in his life, there was no way that he could defeat the conflict and contradictions that were in his heart.

And although he had countless riches and wealth, he still couldn't secure serenity and peace of mind.

Yun ZaiTian walked over towards the front of the table. Although his strides were large, his steps were extremely light. When he reached the head of the table, he bent down and spoke a few words into the master's ear.

The Hall Master looked like he had just woken up from a dream. He cupped his fists in salute and said, "Welcome everyone, please have a seat."

MuRong MingZhu, who had his hand on his sword, was the first one to walk over.

GongSun Duan jumped into his path and blocked his way.

MuRong MingZhu's face turned colors, as he said in a low voice, "And what can I help you with this time?"

GongSun Duan didn't say a single word. He just stood there menacingly, staring at his sword.

"Don't tell me you want my sword?" MuRong MingZhu said.

GongSun Duan nodded his head slowly and said, "No one is allowed to bring their sword inside the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses'!"

MuRong MingZhu's face turned pale as beads of sweat started to appear. Veins started to stick out on his hand that was holding the sword.

GongSun Duan still stood there like a mountain, staring at him coldly.

MuRong MingZhu's hand had started to shake, as if he couldn't control himself and was about to pull out his sword.

It was in that moment that a hand reached out and lightly held on to his hand.

MuRong MingZhu quickly turned his head and saw Ye Kai's kind, smiling face.

"Are you only brave enough to enter the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses' when your hand is on your sword?" Ye Kai said.

With a *DANG*, the sword was placed onto the table.

________________________________________

A white sky lantern was slowly hoisted up the flagpole into the air about thirty meters high.

Five red characters on the snow white lantern read: 'GuanDong Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses'.

The eight youngsters in purple who were leaning and resting on the wooden fence outside lifted their heads and watched as that lantern was being raised.

One of them couldn't help but shout out, "'GuanDong Hall or Ten-Thousand Horses', hmph! They're certainly full of themselves!"

Another voice suddenly replied casually, "We're not trying to show off, that's just our way of signaling to others."

A person in white suddenly appeared underneath that flagpole.

He spoke very slowly but his voice was stern and calm.

Although there was no sword by his side, he could probably be considered the best out of all the swordsmen in the martial arts world. He was 'Single Sword, Soaring Flowers', Hua MenTian.

The youngsters in purple didn't seem to know who he was. Another one of them asked, "Signal? What kind of signal?"

"It is a signal to our friends in the martial arts world that the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses' is occupied with business tonight. And that other than the invited guests of the Master, everyone else should wait until tomorrow morning to visit." Hua MenTian explained.

One of them laughed coldly and said, "What if someone must enter tonight?"

Hua MenTian looked at him quietly, he suddenly reached out and snatched the sword from his waist.

They were standing relatively far away from Hua MenTian. But once Hua MenTian's hand shot out, his sword was in his hand. Then with a single shake, that sword was shattered into seven or eight pieces.

That youngster's eyes were struck with fear, he couldn't utter another word.

Hua MenTian inserted the stub that was left of his sword back into the youngster's sheathe. "It's dusty and windy outside. We've prepared wine and food in one of our guests halls just over there. Why don't you all stop by for a cup or two?"

He didn't even wait for a reply before turning around and walking away.

The youngsters in purple all looked at each other uneasily, each of their hands gripping the handles of their swords. But not one of them dared to pull their sword out.

At that moment they all suddenly heard a voice behind them say, "Swords are not meant to be worn for show. If you aren't versed in the sword, it's for the better that you don't carry one at all."

Those words were very sharp and scalding but he spoke them very sincerely.

Because he really wasn't trying to mock, he was merely trying to give those youngsters advice.

The faces of the youngsters in purple all turned colors as they turned around. They saw him walking towards them slowly from out of the darkness. His left leg took a single step forward, and then his right leg dragged along from behind.

They all suddenly turned to look at the youngster who first had his sword snapped in half. One of them asked him, "So he's the cripple that you ran into last night?"

That youngster bit down on his teeth, looked at Fu HongXue, and said, "So is that sabre of yours worn for decoration as well?"

"No." Fu HongXue replied.

"If that's the case, then you are versed in the sabre?" the youngster asked.

Fu HongXue lowered his head and looked at his hand.

"If you're versed in the sabre, then why don't you come out and show us what you know?" the youngster said.

"Sabres aren't meant for show." Fu HongXue replied.

"If it's not meant for show, don't tell me that it can kill? A cripple like you can really kill?" the youngster said.

He suddenly burst out in laughter and said, "If you have the balls, then come over and kill me! Let's see what you're made of!"

The youngsters in purple all erupted in laughter. One of them shouted out, "But if you're too scared, then you can forget about entering from the main doors. You can just crawl underneath that fence."

They all locked hands and blocked off the main gate.

Fu HongXue's head was still lowered, his eyes still staring at his hand. After a long while, he really bent down and started to crawl underneath the fence.

The youngsters in purple started laughing wildly. It seemed like they had completely erased the embarassment that they had just suffered from their minds.

But Fu HongXue didn't seem to hear their laughter at all.

There was no emotion on his face as he slowly slid his body underneath the fence. His heavy footsteps sank into the ground as he slowly walked forward. His clothes were completely soaked.

Then, their laughter suddenly came to a stop - when they caught sight of his footprints, none of them could laugh anymore.

Because they all realized that each step he took left an incredibly deep imprint in the ground, one that looked like it had been carved out with a blade.

It seemed like he had to use every ounce of strength in his entire body to control his anger and resentment.

He was someone who couldn't stand to be ridiculed, but for what reason was he enduring all this for?

Hua MenTian stared at him from afar inside one of the buildings. A strange expression came over his face, he looked somewhat startled, and somewhat afraid.

It was the same expression that someone had when they saw a hungry wold entering into their home.

But yhe person that he saw was Fu HongXue!

________________________________________

The sword lay on the table.

They had all taken their seats at the far end of the long table on either side of the Master of the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses'.

The Hall Master was still sitting very straight, his two hands resting on top of the table.

But his hands really couldn't be considered a pair of hands anymore. Only a thumb remained on his left hand. Not even a trace of any of his other fingers remained - it was as if a blade had cut right through the middle of his palm.

But he still laid that hand out on the table, he didn't try to hide it. Because this was nothing to be ashamed of. Rather, it was something that he was proud of.

These were the scars left by his glorious victories on the battlefield!

Every single wrinkle on his face seemed to etch out all of the dangers and hardships that he had braved during his life. As if those wrinkles were announcing to everyone that nothing in the world could keep this person down!

He was someone who always refused to bend down!

But his two eyes looked very calm, not a trace of hostility could be found in his gaze.

Was it the countless hardships and long years that had sapped him of his ferocity?

Or had he learned a long time ago that ferocity was something that should be concealed in front of others.

Right now, he was staring straight at Ye Kai.

He had already glanced at everyone else, Ye Kai was the last one.

He used his eyes much more often than he used his tongue.

Because he had also learned that by observing others, one could increase one's knowledge. Using one's tongue too much could only increase one's troubles.

The Hall Master suddenly smiled and said, "You really never carry a blade with you?"

"Because I have no need for one." Ye Kai replied.

The Hall Master slowly nodded his head, "That's right! True courage isn't forged from the blade of a sword!"

MuRong MingZhu suddenly laughed and exclaimed, "Just because someone doesn't carry a blade doesn't prove that he has courage either!"

The Hall Master laughed and replied, "Courage is a very strange thing. You can't see it, feel it, or prove that it exists at all, that's why ..."

His eyes turned to Ye Kai as he continued, "Sometimes a person who is truly courageous will appear as a coward in the eyes of others."

Ye Kai clapped his hands and said, "That makes a lot of sense ... I actually know someone just like that."

The Hall Master immediately asked him, "Who is it?"

Ye Kai didn't respond. He simply smiled and looked at the person who was slowly walking in from behind the large screen.

His smile was very strange and peculiar.

The Hall Master followed Ye Kai's eyes and saw Fu HongXue.

Under the bright lights, Fu HongXue's face appeared even paler.

But the pupils of his eyes were still jet black. They looked exactly like the boundless, borderless night, concealing countless dangers and secrets.

The scabbard of his sabre was ebony black. There were no etchings, words or decorations on it whatsoever.

His hand held on tightly to the handle as he slowly walked past the screen. Before the sweat from his nose could even dry, he saw the mountain-like figure of GongSun Duan standing right in front of him.

GongSun Duan was glaring at the the sabre in his hands.

Fu HongXue was also staring at the sabre in his hand. With the exception of this hand. it seemed as if he never gave anyone or anything else a second glance.

"No one is allowed to bring a sword into the 'Hall of Ten-Thousand Horses'. And no one is allowed to bring a sabre in either!" GongSun Duan proclaimed.

Fu HongXue fell silent for a long while before he slowly said, "No one has ever been allowed before?"

"No one!" GongSun Duan said.

Fu HongXue slowly nodded his head as his eyes went from his sabre to the curved sabre on GongSun Duan's waist. Then he slowly said, "And what about you? Are you not a person?"

GongSun Duan's face changed colors.

MuRong MingZhi suddenly let out a laugh and said, "Good! Good question!"

The wine in GongSun Duan's gold cup slowly started to overflow onto his giant hand. The gold cup had been crushed flat by his powerful hands. Suddenly, the gold cup flew into the air and there was a silver flash of light.

*DING* DING* *DING, the deformed gold cup that fell to the floor had been cut into three pieces. His curved blade shined like bright silver.

MuRong MingZhu's laughter had been totally cut short by that single strike.
Only silence remained in the giant hall.

GongSun Duan gently patted the blade of his sabre. He stared menacingly at Fu HongXue and said, "If you have a sabre like this, then you may bring it in."

"I don't have such a sabre." Fu HongXue said.

"What kind of sabre do you have then?" GongSun Duan said with a smile.

"I don't know - what I do know is that this sabre isn't for cutting wine glasses." Fu HongXue said.

He had to lift his head in order to see GongSun Duan's rough, firm, crag-like face.

He only glanced at him once before he turned around and started to walk away. His eyes filled with disdain as his left leg stepped out in front and his right leg dragged along from behind.

"You want to leave?" GongSun Duan shouted.

Without turning his head, Fu HongXue replied, "I didn't come to watch people cut wine cups."

"Since you've come, then you must put down your sabre; if you want to leave, then you must leave your sabre here as well!" GongSun Duan said.

Fu HongXue stopped in his steps. His muscles suddenly started to bulge out from underneath his wet clothes.

After a long while, he asked, "Whose words are those?"

"They are from my sabre!" GongSun Duan exclaimed.

"My sabre says something different." Fu HongXue replied.

GongSun Duan started to tense his muscles as well as he asked sharply, "And what is your sabre saying?"

"The sabre can only exist with the person, and the person can only exist with the sabre." Fu HongXue said.

"And what if I really wanted to keep that sabre of yours here?" GongSun Duan said.

"If the sabre remains here, then the person remains here!" Fu HongXue said.

"Good! very good!" GongSun Duan said.

In the middle of his shout, his sabre shot out again like a silver rainbow, aimed directly at Fu HongXue's hand.

Fu HongXue didn't turn around, his sabre didn't come out, and his hand didn't move.

Just as the sabre looked like it was about to cut off his hand, a voice suddenly shouted out, "Stop!"

The silver flash of light immediately froze still. The blade was already within five inches of Fu HongXue's wrist. But his hand stayed perfectly still, it hadn't even moved a inch.

GongSun Duan stared at that hand as beads of sweat gathered on his forehead.

When his sabre came out, only one person in the entire world could order it to retract.