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Translator: Henyee Translations Editor: Henyee Translations
Gu Shenwei politely refused the invitation to participate in the Sun Shooting Contest and stole a moment of leisure from his busy life. As he sat upright in the chair, his mind ran wild through the recent events until it finally rested on the general principles of the Daoless Scroll. Although he did not have to rely on his kung fu to defeat Golden Roc Castle, he still felt bitter that the Unique King had defeated him in person.
The Daoless Scroll and the Death Sutra were related in one continuous line. Many contents and general principles of the former were just as effective for the latter. Gu Shenwei vaguely felt that he had found a new path, but it was as if he became confused every time he tried to step foot on it.
The cheers outside the tent rose and fell in waves throughout the event. Gu Shenwei gradually blocked it all out, and in an artificial silence, he heard a spasmodic rustle.
Gu Shenwei had two bodyguards attending to him, and Tie Linglong was on guard duty during the daytime. But neither of his guards could completely hide themselves like Lotus could, especially Tie Linglong. Her temper was not suitable for quietly hiding in a place for a long time.
From Gu Shenwei’s point of view, she was still that little green-eyed girl begging for protection. “How’s your practice of the Balanced Power going?” he asked.
After a while, Tie Linglong came out of the dark corner behind the Dragon King. She hadn’t realized that the sound she had made had disturbed the Dragon King, and thought that the Dragon King was bringing up the question of his own accord. “Hmm, there hasn’t been any progress so far. Do I have to disperse all my internal energy later?”
Tie Linglong also practiced the Daoless Divine Power, a powerful kung fu that wouldn’t allow the practitioner to cultivate any other kind of internal energy. Although Gu Shenwei had created the Three-in-One Power, it was still at an immature stage and he didn’t want to teach it to anyone else after seeing the results from testing it on Shangguan Fei.
“Does that mean that I will lose my power for a while?”
Tie Linglong sighed and sat on the soft couch nearby. She had followed the Dragon King from one place to another ever since she was little and sometimes even had to sleep in the same bed as him. She always felt at ease in front of him.
“In the future, I won’t be able to catch up to him in terms of kung fu, and probably not even to Nie Zeng.” She had not forgiven Chu Nanping yet, and still refused to mention his name.
“You are still young. There’s plenty of time. You’ll catch up with them sooner or later.”
“I don’t want to have to undergo closed-door-cultivation for more than a decade like Dog Butcher. I’d only find that my enemy has become weaker and that the hard training I went through was just a waste of time.”
“You are very smart, so you don’t need a decade. And I don’t think that Dog Butcher wasted his time either.”
Tie Linglong smiled. “It turns out that even the Dragon King has to talk insincerely to comfort a little girl. Since I’m so smart, then why isn’t my kung fu as good as… Forget about him. Why my kung fu is only a little better than Nie Zeng’s? You know, he started practicing martial arts later than I did.”
“Smart people always have many things in mind. You are not as focused as Nie Zeng.”
“Humph, I thought it was a good thing to be smart. It turns out that the Dragon King was just despising me in a roundabout way.”
“You have a choice. TheBalanced Power, or the Daoless Divine Power?”
Tie Linglong stood up and paced back and forth behind the Dragon King for a long while before finally saying, “The Balanced Power. I’ll choose it because the Dragon King says that it’s good. I can accept it even if I lose all of my powers.”
When she finished talking, she walked in front of the Dragon King and held out her arm to him.
As yin originates from yang, and yang originates from yin, the yin and yang energy must be improved in alternating steps when practicing the Balanced Power. And one must have an expert to guide and protect oneself when practicing the first level of yang energy. Although Gu Shenwei had dispersed all of his original balanced power, he still had both the Daoless Divine Power, the Sumeru Mustard Divine Power, and the internal energy manual of the Balanced Power, which was more than enough to protect Tie Linglong.
The palm of the Dragon King was as cold as ever. Tie Linglong couldn’t help but recoil with a shudder, not understanding how it could be this cold. After all, the Dragon King was a human, and she hadn’t felt this chilliness emanate from his hand before.
Some cooler internal Qi flowed into her Dantian slowly through her meridians. Tie Linglong was already familiar with the process and knew that she should not resist it. So she relaxed her body, directed all her internal Qi into her Dantian, and left it to the Dragon King.
Then, Tie Linglong followed the method of the first level of the Balanced Power and performed a series of movements that were synchronized with her breath, gradually immersing herself in the feeling. Bedies the cool internal Qi flowing into her from her palm, she could feel almost nothing else.
Gu Shenwei also stood up and followed her moves to make sure that their palms were connected.
This was the most important stage of the practice of the Balanced Power. Although it was quite boring and tedious, it was laying the foundation for one’s future practice.
Gu Shenwei suddenly withdrew his palm and asked somewhat discontentedly, “What’s going on?”
Tie Linglong had completely immersed herself in the practice, but somehow, her internal energy had surged and started resisting the internal energy of the Dragon King’s internal energy.
Her face turned red. “I’m sorry, I…”
“As I said, you have too much on your mind. You have to bear more hardships if you want to surpass Little Chu and Nie Zeng.”
“I can bear hardships,” Tie Linglong refuted defiantly. When the Dragon King was being hunted and was on the run, she had been his only follower and had suffered a lot. Even Little Chu had joined later than her.
“Then concentrate on practicing and stop thinking about the two of them.” For Gu Shenwei, this was an easy task because he had long learned how to seal his feelings. Although he could not fully sever his feelings, they were not able to affect his practice and judgment.
Tie Linglong wasn’t able to do that yet. She felt wronged because the Dragon King’s guess was wrong. “I wasn’t thinking about them, I…”
She couldn’t finish her words.
“It doesn’t matter who you’re thinking about. The question is whether you can…”
“I’m in love with you.” Tie Linglong was stunned that she had blurted it out. She puzzledly looked around as if it were someone else who said it, but she soon realized she was indeed the one who had spoken those words. She had been thinking about this question ever since Jade City, and had found the answer at such an unexpected moment.
Gu Shenwei couldn’t be more surprised even if Duodun and his friends suddenly stormed in to kill him at that moment. He also couldn’t help looking back, as if double-checking that the little girl wasn’t talking to someone else.
After a moment of silence, Gu Shenwei said, “This is not a good excuse to avoid practicing.”
“It’s not an excuse.” Tie Linglong calmed down instead of getting more nervous. She felt all her anxiety completely melt away as she reiterated. “I just fell in love with you.”
Gu Shenwei stroked the scabbard with his left hand, his usual habit when thinking. He had taken Tie Linglong’s confession as a problem to solve. “No, you are mistaken. I’m like a father to you…”
“No, you are mistaken.” Tie Linglong looked very serious, like a persistent child trying to explain a simple matter. “Actually, you are only five or six years older than me. It’s not surprising at all that I would fall in love with you.”
Gu Shenwei hummed to show his disapproval. He was not good at dealing with such matters. After thinking about it for a while, he felt that something the Khan had once said was appropriate in this situation. “You have mistaken attachment for love. I saved your life, taught you kung fu, and took you under my wing to wander in jianghu. Your attachment grew as time went by. That’s all.”
Biting her lips, Tie Linglong was thinking hard. “What’s the difference between the two, emotional attachment and love?”
Feeling cornered, Gu Shenwei thought for a moment before saying, “Attachment is a general and broad feeling that may occur between any two people, even a jailor and prisoner, while love is a feeling that is… rare and narrow.”
Tie Linglong still did not understand. “Then, between you and Sister Ru, is it attachment or love?”
Gu Shenwei was stunned. He had never seriously considered this question. But he and Shangguan Ru did conform to his definition of ‘attachment.’ Shangguan Ru had once been Servant Huan’s master and protector while he was the Tenth Gongzi’s playmate and confidant.
Tie Linglong saw hope in the Dragon King’s hesitation. “See, emotional attachment also involves love. Therefore, I’m in love with you. It can’t be wrong.”
“The person you love should be Little Chu.”
“No. I met him later than the Dragon King, so my ‘attachment’ to you is greater than my ‘attachment’ to him. So I’m still in love with you. It’s just that I didn’t realize it before.”
Gu Shenwei found that he was not even as eloquent as a little girl. With his brows slightly furrowed, he asked, “What do you want?”
“Nothing. I feel much better just after saying it out loud. You always said that I had something on my mind, and that’s what’s on my mind. I know what it is like to be the Dragon King. You can’t even accept someone as nice as Sister Ru, let alone me. I just wanted to let you know. That’s all. Let’s keep practicing. I won’t get distracted by wild flights of fancy this time.”
Gu Shenwei carefully looked at Tie Linglong for the first time and found that, in addition to the pair of green eyes, she had also grown into an amazingly pretty girl with little resemblance to the pathetic little girl from a few years ago. But where had her character come from? Who had influenced her? How could she say those words without blushing?
After thinking for a long time, Gu Shenwei found that he actually had nothing to say. “You will understand sooner or later.”
This was more of a perfunctory surrender. Tie Linglong revealed an innocent smile that she hadn’t shown for a long time. “I have thought it out. The Dragon King can take his time.”
“Let’s continue practicing.”
Tie Linglong calmly stretched her arm out with a slight smile on her lips, which made Gu Shenwei remember the expression she had worn after finally getting something she wanted when she was little.
It would be a mistake to continue practicing. Touching her palm had been a very natural thing for Gu Shenwei before, but it seemed to contain different meanings now.
Gu Shenwei was not a sentimental person. After a careful examination of his mind, he knew that he had no special feelings for Tie Linglong and he was very sure that the so-called ‘love’ the little girl had talked about was just a common form of emotional attachment. But he couldn’t explain it clearly and he especially did not want to foster it any further.
Tie Linglong’s hand was still in front of his eyes, slender, fair and clear. It wasn’t like a hand that frequently gripped a saber at all. Unlike most kung fu practitioners, she had practiced profound internal energy manuals from the very beginning, which was essentially a shortcut to success.
Two hands, one big and one small, one cold and one hot, touched again. This time, Tie Linglong quickly engaged herself in the practice. Without any distractions, her movements were all pinpoint accurate, and her first strand of yang energy was produced on this day.
The Dragon King’s palm was still cold, but Tie Linglong felt heat all throughout her body. A deep scarlet dyed her cheeks. She covered her abdomen with both hands and excitedly said, “I feel it, I feel it.”
“Do not use your internal energy for the next few days, and do not rush to practice it. The Balanced Power focuses more on being steady than being fast. It’ll take at least a full year for you to enter the next level.”
“Hmm, whatever you say.” Tie Linglong stared at the Dragon King as if she were seeing him for the first time. She was learning to look at this man in a different way.
“Ahem.” An awkward voice came from the door. Neither of them had noticed that someone else had come in.
Fang Wenshi didn’t know kung fu so he didn’t understand what the two were doing. He also didn’t want to disturb them, but he had an extremely urgent report to deliver to the Dragon King.
Tie Linglong was very familiar with the counselor by now. After greeting him, she retreated to the corner and soon disappeared. Fang Wenshi kept shaking his head as this was also something he didn’t understand.
“What is it?”
The Dragon King’s voice and expression felt normal, which made Fang Wenshi a bit relieved. “Well, General Zhesu of the Naihang Tribe will arrive in three or five days. I think that this is an opportunity to strike back at Duodun.”
Thinking that the Dragon King would soon learn the truth, Fang Wenshi added, “Shulitu is a child that dares to cause great mischief. This is his idea.”
Gu Shenwei felt he was particularly slow to react. He did not pick up on the relationship between the arrival of Zhesu and the strike at Duodun.
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