"Bam!" the explosive sound was followed by loud echoes. Ye Gu Han staggered to withdraw. He took several steps back. Wisps of blood were visible at the corners of his mouth, but he still took advantage of his backward motion and rose in the sky to stop two of the masked assailants who were going after Princess Ling Meng. His longsword seemed like a boulder that was blocking off a mountain pass.
The leader of the black-clad assassins sneered, "Ye Gu Han, our original target was only Princess Ling Meng. But now we younger brothers have no choice but to kill you since you so wish to court it so dearly!" He waved his hand. All the five men disappeared into five different directions with that gesture. Then, attacked Ye Gu Han in unison like 'howling wind and torrential rain'.
Ye Gu Han's sword was as quick as a snake; it took the shape of a light in the rain. He opened his mouth to shout, "Who are you? Do not hide! Tell me your names!"
"Our names? We have covered our faces with masks in order to hide our identities. Ye Gu Han, it is a surprise that you make such childish demands despite the fact that you are a Sky Xuan expert. I'll tell you what — why don't you take your white face to the underworld? Then you could ask the King of Hell himself who sent you there!"
The leader of the masked men smiled devilishly. Then, his body suddenly rushed forward and his expansive clothes floated in the air… as if to cover all the bright things in the mortal world, "Third! You must hurry and capture that little girl! Any delays will create complications; we can't live with such problems. Leave Ye Gu Han to the rest of us!"
There was a loud 'hiss' and his body suddenly came down like a terrifying illness. He opened his arms wide, and a sharp light of blue energy emerged from each of his ten fingers. It seemed as if he held ten blue-longswords in each of his hands. It was a very fearsome sight as he fell down with a loud "bang"; with a lot of momentum as well!
One of the five assailants — one with a comparatively slender figure — twisted around without uttering a single word. This person was about to disappear in order to fiercely pursue Princess Ling Meng.
Ye Gu Han saw this, and let out a loud and mournful cry; his cry shook the heavens. His sword seemed like a rampaging dragon, and it seemed that a storm shower had occurred as over three hundred swords bore down on his enemies at once. This forced the other four to retreat, and even injured their leader's shoulder. There was a bubbling sound. Then unexpectedly, two spurts of blood started to gush out of his back.
Despite his injuries, Ye Gu Han roared again! One person was sent turning in the air 25 meters away. He dropped down to the ground, and started to drip blood. Another person was spinning in the air and was yet to fall. Ye Gu Han's attack was like a downpour of swords. It covered the somewhat slim-figured assassin.
The other four rushed to catch up, but it seemed that Ye Gu Han wasn't frightened of death. In fact, he seemed to have prepared his sword, and was ready to die along with his enemy. He was prepared to fight tooth and nail to meet his fate. It seemed that his only desire was to go down the infernal Hell. He stubbornly kept-up with his extremely sharp attacks. He was like 'death personified' with his sword his in his hand. He had placed himself in such a way that he blocked-off the entire street.
The five similar ranking Sky Xuan experts were simply unable to cross this obstacle.
How could a Sky Xuan expert's last-ditch effort ever be weak?
It was clear from Ye Gu Han's body language that he was ready to risk his own life…
"If you want Ling Meng — you'll have to step over my dead body!" Ye Gu Han put his entire life and spirit into acting on these words as he demonstrated the implementation.
Every move of his sword covered the whole area; it was proud and desolate.
Every blow from his sword could be entrenched in the mind… as lonely and crazy.
Each blow was revealing something…
The loneliness and desolation that had come to be…
That distant place where he had buried his emotions…
His lonely life — his lonely blows…
His lonely sword-play…
Ye Gu Han's lonely swordplay was oppressive, and it showed his extreme saturation. However, the man had only one thought in his mind — he would never allow them to harm Ling Meng.
Apart from this act of selflessness… Ye Gu Han had already entered the crazy state of a berserker.
[My sword is everlasting!]
[Heaven and earth are boundless; my sword's winds will rise high and fly!]
[This sword will carve out a solitary path to the King of Hell!]
[This sword will wreak havoc in the world, and there is none who can stop it!]
Princess Ling Meng was being forced to escape farther and farther by Dugu Xiao Yi and Sun Xiao Mei. The leader of the assailants shouted loudly. However, there was no way he could give instructions at this point of time. He couldn't help but bite his lip and say, "Hurry up and deal with this manservant first; at all cost!"
Ye Gu Han laughed loudly; his laughter was completely desolate… same as before. His longsword rushed forward and pierced. It entered the side of the masked man and then suddenly retreated at lightning like speed when it reached half-way. This forced the opposite party to retreat in confusion for it seemed as if it had been casted in the heaven.
Ye Gu Han had fought almost-all his life. And he had almost-always been surrounded by numerous enemies in the battles. Therefore, he had a very rich fighting experience. He was obviously going to display his absolute peak strength when it was a life and death situation for his precious Ling Meng.
How was Ye Gu Han able to hold up five similarly leveled Sky Xuan experts in place without yet falling to a disadvantageous position even though he was staggering?! If he was somehow able to put all his heart and mind into it, and was able to emerge victorious… it would be sufficient to bestow him the crown of the most arrogant warrior of his generation…
His shoulder was bleeding profusely, but he unconsciously acted like everything was normal. Surprisingly, it hadn't affected his fighting prowess either.
"Bam!" His longsword hit the left side of a black-clothed man who was now staggering to retreat.
Ye Gu Han snorted; his body was shining a little. He took advantage of the situation and swung his longsword in a wide semi-circle. A cold-blue color emanated from it, and spread around the area. He didn't move an inch as he constantly fought the three enemies at once. The last of his sword's power was about to exhaust… yet he still continued to press his opponents. His body rose and then came down hard with a "thump". He attacked another masked man as his two pillar-like legs touched the ground. He caught hold of him firmly, and then shook him violently.
He snorted as he lifted that man. Ye Gu Han was like a kite without a string; he was beyond recall. Wisps of blood sprayed out of his nostrils; the black-clad person still had a lot of energy stored for use. However, Ye Gu Han had faced four people, but still had energy left to violently shake that man. His superiority was evident.
However, Ye Gu Han still didn't retreat. He straightened his back and floated in the air. But, he suddenly stopped as he avoided another masked man's attack with great difficulty.
This person was Li Wu Bei's second disciple, Zhou Jian Ming. He was also quite violent of nature. He could see that Ye Gu Han wasn't about to die so easily, and had been clinging to life for such a long time. Zhou Jian Meng couldn't bear it anymore. He let out a loud shout and raised his great sword to hack down on him head-on. That sword had the assailant's entire Xuan Qi concentrated in it. Therefore, it was necessary for Ye Gu Han to evade it. It was possible that Ye Gu Han would've been killed if he hadn't evaded that attack.
His eyes were blood red and cold as he retreated. Zhou Jian Ming saw this and cried in exultation as he rushed forward to take advantage of such a retreat. However, Ye Gu Han immediately returned to his original position after the retreat. Then, he continuously hacked at Zhou Jian Ming's great sword three times from above.
Ye Gu Han was already fighting on fumes. He was very exhausted after he had hacked-down on Zhou Jian Ming three times since the man had stored-up his energy. However, Zhou Jian Ming felt that he had just been attacked three times by a thousand sledgehammers; very ruthlessly at that! He couldn't help his face turning white as he staggered to retreat, and then spat out blood.
Zhou Jian Ming wasn't weak when compared to Ye Gu Han. However, he had mostly trained in secret under his master, and had gained fighting experience by fighting only his fellow apprentice. However, he was battling with Ye Gu Han now; a man who was fighting tooth and nail like a maniac. He obviously wasn't able to keep up. The gap between the two parties was very huge when it came to a 'real' life-and-death match; despite the fact that they were pretty evenly matched skill wise. Therefore, it was natural that Zhou Jian Ming would individually lose.
Ye Gu Han had been seriously injured. Therefore, he wasn't acting very recklessly. He was also consuming a lot of Xuan Qi in order to put-up the fight. Otherwise, his attacks would've been sufficient to take Zhou Jian Ming's life in such a life-and-death confrontation between the two experts.
Ye Gu Han thought that it was a pity. He would've torn his opponent to shreds if his attack had gone well. Then, he could've outflanked the rest of them… or even might have had the opportunity to retreat and recuperate.
However, Ye Gu Han couldn't take it easy even though his previous strike had given him an advantage. His opponent's Xuan Qi had struck-back, and it had made it hard for him to exercise control. However, he only had enough energy to pull-off that one attack; he was now panting heavily. He was rendered incapable to perform the quick and nimble move he had just pulled off.
The fierce battle had forced him to go all-out. This had sapped-off most of Ye Gu Han strength. The fact that Ye Gu Han had alone been pressed from all sides by five similarly levelled Sky Xuan experts… and had managed to hold them off up till that point was a miracle unto itself.
His sword resembled a rainbow bent-on taking the life of the harbinger. The five assailants weren't as strong as Ye Gu Han; unfortunately it would not matter now. He had come to a state where he had 'burned through the oil of his lamp' — he had almost no energy left.
There was a loud "bang". The other four assailants couldn't help but be frightened to see Zhou Jian Ming nearly lose his life. Their bloodshot eyes invariably turned towards the powerful sword. Their eyes had a mixture of anger and shame in them. They shivered as they let out their murderous aura. Their party had five Sky Xuan experts, but was being held back by a single one. This was simply the greatest humiliation — ever.
Now was the time to decide the victory and the defeat!
Ye Gu Han smiled bitterly; [it seems my short life will end today! I do not know if little Ling Meng has escaped far enough…]
The dark blue light once again burned fiercely around his body; it was like a giant star that had responded in the night's sky. Ye Gu Han had concentrated the remains of his depleted Xuan Qi into his final strike.
Zhou Jain Ming was ashamed and angry. He howled terribly as he leapt madly into the air, and was followed by his four companions — all of them were intending to attack Ye Gu Han in the sky.
Ye Gu Han accurately calculated the enemy's weapons, and waited for a good opportunity. He didn't know when the blood-red color disappeared from his eyes. But he was now calm like a tranquil deep lake that had been left undisturbed.
The only thing he couldn't comprehend was that — he had been fighting for a considerable period of time… yet why had no one come to lend support? Where were Princess Ling Meng's Imperial Body Guards? Why hadn't an expert from the Imperial Palace shown himself yet?
However, now wasn't the time to think about it.
Ye Gu Han turned towards the inner part of the city. He gave it a final and profound look.
This look was full of emotion… a great ocean of emotion which was endless and lonely. It reeked of a strong sense of reluctance.
[Xiu Xiu… I fear that I will not be able to protect your Ling Meng from now on!]
[I knew that I could never get you… I had become tired of life long ago… I'm aware that you will never be mine even in this moment of life or death… yet, I'm unable to let you go… I hate to part with you…]
[For you had always claimed the softest part of my aching heart…]
[Will you be lonely if I cease to live in this mortal world? Will you shed tears for me?]
Ye Gu Han didn't have anymore time to think since the sword attacks of his five enemies had descended upon him like a storm, and had drowned his proud body amongst them.
Ye Gu Han laughed loudly and unimpeded…
He gripped his longsword tightly; his face was unhesitant, calm, and welcoming…
All the sweet memories of the past had quickly and had vividly flashed in his mind. The freshness and purity… the long silky hair that floating in the wind… that flower-like smile, and that ardent face so full of hope and expectation... And finally, those tearful eyes looking at him with reluctance… all of it first became fuzzy, and then faded away…
The past twenty unfeeling years of Ye Gu Han's life had just flashed through his mind… all stemmed from this gentle feeling of inseparable love in his heart…
Ye Gu Han's name means 'The lonely night'.