“Since Your Highness is interested, this lower official will be his opponent. May I know if the gentleman wants to compete with internal strength or with swords?” Song Qingshu looked at Yu Zhenzi with a calm smile.
“There are many officials in the scene who don’t know martial arts. It would be too boring for us to compare our internal strength. Let’s compare sword skills.” Yu Zhenzi sneered. He had faced Song Qingshu before, and he knew that the opponent’s internal strength was higher than his own. He was afraid that he would lose if they competed in terms of internal force. On the contrary, he had the confidence to win if they competed in swordsmanship. Although his opponent was also a famous sword master, he had more probability of victory with his swordsmanship combined with his treacherous movement technique.
“Then it shall be the sword.” Song Qingshu showed a hint of disappointment, and pretended to reluctantly agree, which made Yu Zhenzi overjoyed.
“Alright. It’s just that the sword has no eyes, and it can easily result in bloodshed. Today is a joyous day, and it would not be good if any side is injured. Shall we both use wooden swords to compete?”
“Wooden sword?” Yu Zhenzi was stunned for a moment, thinking that he was used to using a metal sword, and it might be a disadvantage for him to temporarily switch to a wooden sword. Plus, the sword he was equipped with was extremely sharp, so he was naturally reluctant to easily give it up, “I heard that Master Song is adept at using a wooden sword, so would it be fair to make me give up my sword and use a wooden sword instead…hehe…”
“I think Master Song’s words are justified. The swordsmanship of real masters is extremely fierce. Master Song’s swordsmanship is also famous in the world. If two tigers fight each other, there is bound to be one injury. It really does not fit the atmosphere of today.” At that moment, another person from the banquet spoke up, “Besides, the sword in the hands of Taoist Yu Zhenzi is a sword that cuts iron like mud, which is a big advantage. Lord Song, my sword is not bad as well, I can lend it to you if you want.”
Prince Bao frowned when he heard the man speak, thinking that these two were among the best masters under him, but unfortunately, they didn’t seem to like each other at all.
Song Qingshu followed the voice and saw that the other party had thick eyebrows and big eyes, and he had a sturdy aura about him.
Zhang Kangnian, who was behind him, whispered, “Lord, this person is the ‘Fiery Hand Judge’ Zhang Zhaozhong. His martial arts realm is very high, and he is not under Yu Zhenzi. These two have always been at odds.”
Song Qingshu thought to himself, ‘This Zhang Zhaozhong, was one of the antagonists in the novel “The Book and the Sword”. Moreover, what he said also makes sense. If I use the Wooden Sword and let him use the sword he is used to, it would be a huge advantage for him, and it would be near impossible for me to win.’
Everyone could see that Yu Zhenzi had taken advantage of the situation. Yu Zhenzi also blushed a little, and cursed ruthlessly in his heart, ‘You can’t blame me. In this world, you can either be the king or the vile bandit…as long as I beat you later, who will remember what kind of weapons we used in the competition?’
“Please, go ahead!” Song Qingshu smiled confidently and grabbed the Wooden Sword attached to his back. He knew that it would be more difficult for the opponent to hit him as long as he made full use of the subtlety of his movement technique and avoided the sharp edge of the opponent’s sword.
Seeing that his opponent didn’t mean to attack first, Yu Zhenzi’s expression turned solemn, he pulled out his long sword, and immediately attacked by swinging the long sword.
Everyone in the scene saw him slide three steps to the right, and using the “Cloudless Bright Moon”, he turned around, slightly lowered his body, and slashed diagonally with his long sword. However, as he was about five feet away from Song Qingshu’s right shoulder, he suddenly turned around using the “Lofty Mountain Covering the Sky”. His movement was extremely fast and he withdrew the sword very quickly.
Song Qingshu was standing still, but his eyes kept following Yu Zhenzi’s figure. The tip of his sword also swayed slightly with subtle movement of his wrist. Yu Zhenzi, however, seemed to be facing a formidable enemy! He took his sword stance, and something turned to the left, then sometimes to the right, with more and more rapid speed.
The name of this sword skill was called “Eighteen Valleys of Mount Tai”. It was created by a famous scholar of the Mount Tai Sect in the past. He noticed that the bottom of the three gates of Mount Tai Sect were twisted like the intestines of a sheep, turning right every five steps and turning left every ten steps. The terrain was very dangerous. Therefore, he integrated that terrain into the swordsmanship, which was similar to the “Eight Trigrams Traveling Palm” of Eight Trigrams Sect.
Mount Ta Secti’s “Eighteen Valleys of Mount Tai” gains momentum as time passes, and the more momentum it has, the more dangerous, the more ruthless the sword moves become. Along with the erratic movements, the “Eighteen Valleys of Mount Tai” was brought into full play in this fight.
Zhang Zhaozhong, who was on the side, looked at the fight with a grave expression, ‘Although my martial art realm is on a par with him, his movement technique is too intricate, and if we really fight in a life and death situation, I am afraid I am not his opponent.’
It seemed that every sword strike by Yu Zhenzi was aimed at Song Qingshu, but unfortunately he gave up halfway each time, which made everyone in the scene really puzzled. Only Yu Zhenzi himself understood his hardships. No matter how treacherous the angle of his swordsmanship was, Song Qingshu’s sword tip seems to always find his flaws. It was as if he already knew his swordsmanship very clearly, and he could parry the fleeting sword every time.
“Since the Taoist hasn’t attacked for so long, then this one will have to take action.” Song Qingshu smiled slightly, and stabbed out with five sword strikes in a row. Each of the sword striked had an ancient aura about them.
Yu Zhenzi cried out in shock, “‘The Five Swordsmen!'”
There were extremely ancient pine trees in Mount Tai. According to legend, they were named the “Five Great Pine Trees” in the Qin Dynasty. The Patriarch of the Mount Tai Sect once realized a set of sword techniques from this, and called it “The Five Swordsmen”. This set of sword techniques were very simple and straightforward, and there were no complex movements in it.
Yu Zhenzi had learned it quite well more than 20 years ago, but when he saw Song Qingshu using the sword technique, it seemed quite different from what he had learned. It was obviously much better than the original sword technique.
Yu Zhenzi let out a sudden shout and hurriedly raised his sword to parry the incoming attack, but the sword strike still hit his right knee. He staggered, bent his right leg, knelt down, and hurriedly supported himself with his sword. Only then did he avoid the embarrassment of being thrown onto the ground like a dead dog.
“You lose.” Song Qingshu smiled slightly, retracted his sword and stepped back.
To everyone else in the scene, Yu Zhenzi’s swordsmanship seemed quite complex and treacherous, almost to the point of showing off. Yet, even after besieging his opponent for a long time, he didn’t dare to make a real move.
Song Qingshu’s sword technique, on the other hand, was simple, but once he made a move, the winner was decided in an instant.
Everyone was horrified! As his colleagues, they were naturally clear about the horror of Yu Zhenzi’s martial arts. It wouldn’t even be an exaggeration to say that he was Shengjing’s number one master. Facing him, everyone felt only respect and awe.
Yu Zhenzi felt very unconvinced at his loss. His opponent suddenly used the sword techniques of the Mount Tai Sect at a critical moment. It was a situation when one has to make quick decisions, but in his moment of surprise he didn’t even have time to think. So he lost the exchange. If his opponent had used a different style of swordsmanship, no matter how subtle his moves, Yu Zhenzi would never lose as miserably. However, Song Qingshu indeed used the sword technique of the Mount Tai Sect, and it was not fake either. Song Qingshu’s attainments were still higher than his own. He understood that if they were to compete again, he would only be able to hold on for a few more moves. He would still be defeated in the end. Realizing that fact, Yu Zhenzi felt both ashamed and angry. He also felt amazed in his heart.
Prince Baoi’s heart sank when he saw the matter unfold, ‘Kangxi has such a master under his command! This guy is really a headache.’ But he hurriedly got up and said with a smile “Lord Song really has high attainments in swordsmanship. After Feng Qingyang’s fall, the title of Sword Saint will probably fall on you. The sword technique used by Taoist Yu Zhenzi is also exquisite. Hear me! Bring rewards for the two experts!”
“Your Highness is joking, and this lower official is not so great.” Song Qingshu disapproved of being called a Sword Saint. He felt that it would be enough to be a Sword Master. He felt awe when he thought of the swordsmen like Ximen Chuixue and Xie Xiaofeng. They were the role models of his generation. However, it seemed that none of the greats had a good end. Although they shined extremely brightly in their lifetime, their ends were extremely dim.
“Lord Song is just being modest.” Prince Bao laughed, “We just watched an intense sword fight, so let’s experience a little bit of tenderness. Recently, this King received a concubine, who is good at singing and dancing. Today is a rare occasion, so this King will let her come out to perform.”
Song Qingshu’s heart skipped a beat, ‘She’s here!’
A melodious sound of music sounded, and Song Qingshu uneasily followed the sound.
A group of performers in palace dress slowly arrived. One of them was wearing an azure gauze lined with milky white silver silk. A light pink belt was lightly tied around her waist, creating an exquisite and seductive curve. Her lips were naturally red without any lipstick, her eyebrows were dark without being drawn, and there was a touch of vermilion on her forehead. She was charming and moving. She had an unusually luxurious golden hairpin slanted into her cloud-like black hair. The pearls and jade hanging from the golden earrings swayed with her every step, making the hearts of the men in the scene also sway with the swaying pearls.
Her facial features were perfect and impeccable; as if it was meticulously carved out of the beautiful jade. She had a natural and refined temperament, akin to the snow-white orchid at the bottom of the valley, exuding indifference and loneliness from her bones. Standing in front of her, he could feel the stinging pain in his heart—-who could it be if it’s not Xia Qingqing?
When passing by Song Qingshu, Xia Qingqing didn’t seem to recognize him, she didn’t even take a look at him, went straight to the stage, and bowed slightly to Prince Bao, “This Concubine has seen the Prince.”
A hint of tenderness appeared on Prince Bao’s face, and he stretched out his hand to help her up, “No such ceremony is needed. The soldiers have worked hard, Qingqing, you should dance for them and express your feelings for this King.”
“Yes, Your Highness.” Xia Qingqing gave a gentle smile, which caused all the civil and military officials in the palace to be stunned. They all quieted down, as if they were enamored by her smile.
Xia Qingging began to dance. Her jade-like hands lingering gently in the air, her skirts swaying in the wind, her pair of watery eyes hoping to express a thousand words. She was so close, yet out of his reach…
Song Qingshu had no time to admire her graceful dance. He only felt sadness in his heart, ‘Qingqing, I didn’t expect you to take this step, why didn’t you just ask me first, I can really help you get revenge…’ (G: This is a misunderstanding which will be cleared in the next chapter.)
Her jade feet lightly tapped the ground, and Xia Qingqing made two circles in the air, her skirt turned into a beautiful circular disc. Coupled with her appearance that could topple a country, it created a beautiful scene. After she landed on the ground, the song was over, the dance was over, she stood up, and slowly retreated into the back hall.
Song Qingshu’s heart moved, and he quietly stood up. Zhao Qixian asked with suspicion, “Where does Lord Song want to go?”
“I’m going to take a breather, you don’t have to follow me.” Song Qingshu hurriedly left after saying such a word. Everyone in the scene was still fascinated by the beautiful figure just now, and no one noticed that he was no longer in his seat.
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