Romance of Dragons and Snakes Chapter 182
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Chapter 182: Younger Jianghu and Older Jianghu (Second)
In this old French-styled manor Tang Zichen was residing in, only women could be seen working under her.
They all wore the same camo suit and had their hairs tied up. Even as they walked freely, a small pistol and dagger could be seen equipped at their side. The faces of each one of these women were quite pretty, and their physique were amongst the higher levels of health. But nonetheless, even with their graceful manners, their movements were filled with rapt attention.
It was as if everyone here were specially groomed female special services agents that were at the top of their respective groups in talent.
The Tang Zichen of today had already aged five years since her meeting with Wang Chao in the park. But even despite the passage of time, there had been no major differences. She was like a fairy within a dream; powerful yet mysterious.
Her facial appearance hadn't aged either. The hardships that followed with the flow of time had not been apparent in any single aspect of her face, and not a scar could be seen either.
"The people working in the Israeli Weapons Industries are quite talented. Too talented perhaps. Our newly established R&D branch has a labratory of its own, and yet we are still quite a ways away from them."
She stood up to pick up the Desert Eagle from the table. Fiddling around with it for a few moments, Tang Zichen then placed it back down on the table.
The Desert Eagle, or the Deagle as it is known colloquially, is one of the most outstanding firearms that had ever come out from the Israeli Weapons Industries. Nicknamed as the pocket-sized cannon, the firepower, precision, and penetrative force of it was not inferior to a mini-assault rifle. The Deagle had also its fair shares of defects. The recoil of the Deagle was quite strong and was prone to jamming. It was a frequent matter to fail to hit the target and end up with the Deagle jamming in the chamber. If the person using the Deagle was not an experienced with firearms or trained exclusively for it, this was not the firearm to use.
But the Deagle that was in Tang Zichen's hands had the majority of those defects straightened out more-or-less. It had been with a sigh that she admitted the R&D of the Israeli army was equipped with far more technological geniuses than she herself had.
"Go speak with the others. Tell them all operations will be temporarily put off. I will give you all a month to wind down. Stand by until then for your next orders in China."
After thinking for a while, Tang Zichen had spoken with the other women and given them her commands.
"Sister Chen, will we really be going to China for our next assignment? We have never accepted an assignment for them in the past before." A woman with almond-brown eyes and peach-colored cheeks spoke.
"No, not an assignment, but work. Go and prepare yourselves." Tang Zichen sauntered out of the room to make her way through the flower garden and into the lounge.
Standing in the lounge of the manor was a middle-aged man with a sword. Judging from his appearances, he was around forty-five to fifty years old. As his back was facing against the doors to the lounge, he had only turned around when he heard the sounds of incoming footsteps.
This middle-aged man had a pitch-black beard that adorned his neither long neither short chin. His eyebrows, like his sword, was sharp and pointed upwards without a stray divide to it. They had matched the bridge of his nose and the hawk-like eyes of his. Those eyes were extremely bright and sharp. Combined with those facial features, his skin itself was quite bright and clean. From a cursory glance, anyone would feel a sort of awe when they look at him. In comparison, he gave off the feeling of being a scholar general that would command the army of antiquity.
What was a scholar general? They were akin to a walking dictionary with great literary prowess. On the battlefield, they were able to plan and lead the army into victory even from thousands of miles away. Scholar generals were those that could pacify the world and resolve the matters of the sovereign kings. Well versed in both the art of literature and warfare, they were men that could rule a country with both peace and stability.
For example, Zhang Liang of the Han Dynasty, Zhuge Liang of the Three Kingdoms, and Wang Yangming of the Ming Dynasty. They were all men that could be said to be scholar generals.
The middle-aged man with a sword in his hand could be classified as thus with just his presence alone. This presence was something that could only be gained from living through countless of hardships and enduring all sorts of difficulties.
"It has been a long time since we last met, Zichen." The man turned around to look at Tang Zichen. His sword-like eyebrows lifted upwards, adding onto that layer of charm to him.
"Lin Tingfeng, for what reason did you come see me for?" Tang Zichen waved her hands to show that she was holding nothing before walking to a nearby seat to sit down.
"Just last month, I received a letter from Shan Mingxiong from North America. He said you had a brother." There seemed to have been some sort of friendly relationship between the two, as Lin Tingfeng hadn't bothered to try and make conversation. Instead, he went straight to the point.
"He said that your brother has already reached a considerable degree with his studies in martial arts. Even his accolades with Baguazhang has been quite stellar. I've also heard some while ago in Hong Kong, he used the crocodile fist to kill the Yoga and Muay Thai expert, Nguyễn Hồng Tú and earned himself the title 'Crocodile Immortal'. Even the master Zhu Hongzhi from the American Hongmen Society appreciated the fight. He even calls Wang Chao a friend despite the age difference."
"I've known about that for some time now." Tang Zichen stated. "I presume you didn't come here today to tell me that, did you."
"Of course." Lin Tingfeng spoke. "I've an inheritor to my martial arts within the country. His name is Jiang Hai. Last autumn, he and your brother fought, resulting in the Tortoise and Snake sword that was passed down to him from Li Jinglin taken from him. You know the rules of our Nine Palace Swords: you live with the sword, you die with the sword. And the heirloom from our ancestor would be held strictly to that rule more so than any other case, don't you think?"
"Then, you've come today to regain what you've lost? It's true that my brother took the sword from your disciple. But the truth is, it was because of the lack of skill from your disciple that he lost the sword." Tang Zichen had a smile on her face, but it did not quite reach her eyes.
"Ai! Zichen, we are old friends. It has indeed been a while since we withdrew from the Hongmen to engage in other businesses, we are still people of the Hongmen." Lin Tingfeng paused. "If it were any other sword, I would have ignored this matter. But the Tortoise and Snake sword is the symbol of our Nine Palace Swords. To have that taken away is to have our very name tarnished."
The fact that Wang Chao had taken the sword from Jiang Hai had been a very secretive matter. No one had known about it, and Jiang Hai naturally knew better than to tell anyone about it. But when Huo Ling'er had her apprenticeship ceremony in Hong Kong, Zhu Hongzhi had seen Wang Chao present the sword to her. After that, the matter had been disclosed to everyone.
The Tortoise and Snake sword was not some sort of sword that could peel iron like it were sand like in the novels or some sort of treasured blade that could kill an enemy with the utmost sharpness. Similarly, it was not some sort of godly weapon. But it held extreme importance as a symbol. For this sword was the sword crafted for the "God of the Sword", Li Jinglin for his Wudang Sword art by an artisan from the Wudang. This sword was a giant in its legacy and glorious in its history. For the Wudang Nine Palace Swords, this was its very symbol. To put into perspective, this sword would be like the national flag of a country, or perhaps the jade seal of a king of antiquity.
So the fact that everyone knew this sword was stolen had served to be a serious and grave blow to the school.
"Zichen. I came here to meet you in person today. I heard your brother learned martial arts from you. Although you are said to be brother and sister, you are actually master and disciple. Your martial arts is something that is seen often or taught, and even amongst us senior figures of the Hongmen, only a few have seen it. I wished to fight you today and experience your skill again. If I win, I would like to impress a favor unto you and hope that your brother will return the sword gratefully."
And so, Lin Tingfeng spoke the intention of his visit.
He was a senior figure of the Hongmen, a doyen. He was also the founder of many martial arts schools that taught the art of the sword and raised countless of outstanding disciples. Even in Japan where Kendo was prominent, or France where Fencing was dominant, he had managed to hold his own in both markets.
Lin Tingfeng of the Nine Palace Swords was a person that was known in the Chinese world of martial arts and the European world of martial arts. To have their treasured sword taken away was something the Nine Palace Swords could afford to let slide. Thus, they would need someone to challenge and reclaim their glory.
They had not made a public statement. Instead, they had convened all of the other doyens to discuss about what steps needed to be take with Tang Zichen and who would fight her.
The most important thing was that this would be a private match. The margin of leeway for a fight would be easier to negotiate.
It wasn't as if Lin Tingfeng had wanted to find Wang Chao himself. The person in question was in China, but he had connections with the army. It would be difficult to say if Lin Tingfeng would be shot if he tried to seek out Wang Chao or not.
"Oh, so you came here today for that? You just wanted to test yourself against me?" Tang Zichen did not stand up, but there had been a faint smile on her face. "But, a sword is ruthless by itself. In your hands, your might becomes ten times as ruthless. Yet, you still want to try my hand, why not just use our hands for that then?"
"My skill in martial arts focuses only in the sword itself. But we are from the Jianghu of old, since when we were restricted by rules like those? I am from a school of the sword, and so it is natural that I use the sword. You may use a weapon as well?"
"Then if I use a gun?" Tang Zichen inquired.
"You may do so. To die by even a bullet from your hands wouldn't be bad. I would die with honor still." Lin Tingfeng laughed.
"You came to me for a personal matter, and I know of the difficulties you face because of that. When I measure against another expert, I have never used a weapon. Today will be no different. Your Nine Palace Sword school has thirty-six forms of the tortoise style and seventy-two forms of the snake style for a total of a hundred and eight. How about this; you use all a hundred and eight forms to try and injure me. If you harm me, then I will consider this your win. How about it?" Tang Zichen slowly rose up from her seat.
There hadn't been a fluctuation in Lin Tingfeng's face as he listened to her. As if he was someone that had never gotten angry before, he spoke calmly, "You are saying you will be going against me bare handedly then."
"Of course." Tang Zichen spoke. In the next second, the light in her eyes escape her as her battle spirit fell down onto the lounge. The entire lounge had felt as if it had dropped several degrees in temperature as a result.
Lin Tingfeng had unsheathed his sword on the other side.
He was a follower of the Jianghu of old. As such, he was not a person that would give up his good traits for some sort of short-term satisfaction. In this regard, he was different than the Taekwondoin, Lee Cheol-han.
And because of that, he was killed by Huo Ling'er's "Magpie Stepping on Branch" and was called a fool.
Lin Tingfeng was a person that held the sword using the Yang style, meaning his left hand would form a sword-shaped figure with his fingers. The sword was tilted at a forty-five degree angle in front of him so that the hilt was at his waist and the tip was at his head. And at a glance, it was like his entire body could be used to attack along with the sword at any given time.
"Zichen. I'll make the first move."
The eyebrows on Lin Tingfeng's face shifted upwards as he focused the tip of the sword at her. With that initial warning, his entire body lurched forward. Like an old ape on the mountains leaping forward, his sword was poised to strike at Tang Zichen's throat.
This was an old form of the sword arts. Every school that studied the art of the sword had a single form that was considered the classical. For the Wudang Nine Palace Swords, this was the "Lord Ape strikes the Yue Maiden". To strike was what this sword form emphasized, like the striking of a wooden fish rather than to stab.
In the art of the sword, there were two major ways to the art. The first was to strike, and the second was to stab. From the outside, the two might resemble one another, but the effects of the both of them were completely different. Only a genuine expert would be able to differentiate between the art of the two.
The first form of Lin Tingfeng had been this very one. And it had been a very well-meaning strike as well. For, with this one form, he was likening Tang Zichen to the Lady of Yue from the Warring States period.
The strikes that symbolized the lord ape was vivid and filled with great detail! If there were any observers around, they would have sworn that this sword user had only just been striking at her front before the tip had been practically touching the ground.
It was almost as if his sword had been alive. His entire body had been like a hair that stuck to the blade and followed its movements.
In fact, it felt as if the one moving was the sword rather than the person.
When it came to the art of the sword, there was a mnemonic, "The Immortal can weave the sword like a dragon." The meaning behind this saying was that when an Immortal uses the sword, it was like urging on a dragon as if riding it. When one rides the dragon, they fly into the sky. And when they are in the sky, the dragon is the sky, not the human.
Lin Tingfeng had clearly reached this level of inspiration with his sword and was fully deserving of being called the immortal from that mnemonic.
But, Tang Zichen was not one that feared the sword. Her foot came forward, and with that, it seemed as if her body had disappeared behind it. And when the sword of her opponent drew back, her body had reappeared.
This was one of the more exemplary forms of footwork known as the " Hidden Behind the Step". With the step forward, one would immediately crouch as if hidden entirely behind the foot.
Tang Zichen's martial arts could be described as being at the highest level of martial arts, "Reaching the utmost Way and being capable of foresight." Her movements were fast and could trick the senses of any other person.
Since his strike had failed to land, Lin Tingfeng shifted his wrist so that the sword would arc with the twist. A movement like this was called the "Overturn Cut with the Step" and would take advantage of the momentum to slice.
He was a swordwielder, and his opponent was bare handed. Thus, there was nothing for him to fear. No matter what the case, the flesh of a human body could not handle the cold sharp edge of a blade.
If it were a practitioner, they would be able to contend with a swordwielder that didn't know how to use it. But against an expert swordwielder, the level between the two would be vastly different. An expert who learned the art of the sword would wield it like it was an extension of their own arm. In doing so, they could achieve a level of flexibility with the sword. A grandmaster of the sword like Lin Tingfeng had already reached such a level where his sword was like a dragon in its movements. No gods nor Buddha would be safe from his sword.
Wang Chao was way stronger than Jiang Hai in terms of martial arts, but when Jiang Hai had his sword out, even Wang Chao wouldn't fight him.
But, Tang Zichen was an exception to this logic. Even when Lin Tingfeng had unsheathed his sword, her arm had extended outwards with her fingers like hooks in an attempt to seize the blade.
Quirking his eyebrows, Lin Tingfeng had thought that Tang Zichen had gone crazy for a moment. Just as her fingers were about to hook onto the blade, his hand twisted the bhilt, causing the tip of the blade to rotate the blade like it were a drill.
This was one of the forms to the snake style of the sword, the "Venomous Drill of the Dragon". When Lin Tingfeng held his sword parallel to the ground pierced outwards with rotational force, it could penetrate at least three centimeter into steel.
With this move, it could bring sparks and metal shavings flying like if it were an actual drill bit. How could the soft flesh of a human withstand it?
But. When Tang Zichen reached out to grab the sword, her hand had transitioned into that of a palm when it touched the blade. Graceful, like a butterfly touching onto a flower, her hand had rolled along with the blade as if it were the butterfly's tongue. The blade itself seemed as if it were touching mist, as no matter how much it was in contact with her palm, it did not cut her.
Taking back his sword, Lin Tingfeng struck again!
And yet, just as he brought his sword back, a cracking sound could be heard!
"Crack!" The sword itself had split in two and fell to the ground.
As it turned out, before he could fully bring his blade back, Tang Zichen had struck the blade with her palm and broke it in two!
With his sword broken, Lin Tingfeng had been stunned. For half a while, he did not respond, but when he did, it had been with an ashen face. "The 'Ox-tongue palm' of Baguazhang. At its highest level, one could break metal. Your skill, I have seen it firsthand today. It is as if Dong Haichuan was reincarnated. But as things stand with the Tortoise and Snake sword, I will have my disciples ask for it back in an honorable way from now on."
Throwing the hilt of the sword onto the ground, Lin Tingfeng turned around and left without looking back.
Tang Zichen had been emotionless as she watched him leave.
There had been a duel between the palm and the blade just now, but it was clear to see who the victor was. A battle between experts was truly such a world where nothing was definite.
Tang Zichen's skill with Baguazhang had already reached a level where improvement was no longer possible.
Baguazhang had one unique point to it that Taichi and Xingyiquan did not have. For Baguazhang in particular, they studied what they called the "Mist Palm" and the "Ox-Tongue Palm". Any other discipline would not have as much emphasis on these two palms than those of Baguazhang.
Why the Ox-Tongue Palm? That was because one time when a predecessor of Baguazhang had been observing an ox eat cogongrass, he had managed to grasp a principle of martial arts of the highest degree.
Each piece of cogongrass was like a sawblade on the sides of it, making it extremely sharp. If one wasn't careful, then their hands would bleed if it brushed against the side of one. But not only was the ox unafraid, they actually enjoyed eating this type of grass. Whenever an ox came across cogongrass, they would bring their tongues around it and then bring a roll of it into its mouth. Never had its tongue ever been cut whilst eating it.
Author Note: Whether it was online or in a book, all sources had only said the palm would act like the tongue of an ox. Never did they ever go into a concrete definition on why. Thus, I shall let the secret slip today. If there is a reader that has grown oxen before or had their hands cut by cogongrass, take a chance to reflect and ponder upon it.
To further paint this comparison, the cogongrass was the blade and the palm was the ox-tongue. When one reached a level of transformation with their martial arts, they could expel Hidden Jin from their arms and coil around the blade and break the cogongrass like an ox-tongue would without harm.
This was an art that had only one person use it in the past. Dong Haichuan. Even Cheng Tinghua had been unable to reach this level of skill.
Wang Chao was strong, but even he wasn't yet at a level like this either.
Romance of Dragons and Snakes Chapter 182
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Romance of Dragons and Snakes Chapter 182 summary
You're reading Romance of Dragons and Snakes Chapter 182. This novel has been translated by Updating. Author: Ecstatic Dream Machine,Meng Ru Shen Ji,梦入神机 already has 184 views.
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