Chapter 378: Xiao Longnu’s Choice

However, Xiao Feng was truly worthy of possessing the physique of the God of War. His instinctual fighting skills allowed him to execute numerous brilliant counterattacks, placing Song Qingshu in imminent danger.

After a heated exchange of blows, Song Qingshu seized a moment to create distance from Xiao Feng. He raised his hand to halt their battle and suggested, “Brother Xiao, if we continue this way, it seems we’ll be locked in combat for thousands of rounds without a clear victor. Why don’t we call it quits?”

Xiao Feng responded with hearty laughter, “This Xiao also had that thought. It’s actually the first time in my life I’ve encountered someone with such impressive martial skills.”

“I truly admire your martial prowess, Brother Xiao,” Song Qingshu contemplated inwardly. ‘While Xiao Feng might be my equal in a fair ring competition, in a life-or-death duel, the outcome would be uncertain.’

Xiao Feng hesitated momentarily before saying, “Brother Ximen, I have something on my mind, and I’m unsure whether to ask.”

“Brother Xiao, please feel free to ask.” Song Qing replied.

“The Eighteen Dragon Subduing Palms has always been a closely guarded secret within the Beggar Gang. Is it possible that Brother Ximen is a member of the Beggar Gang?” Xiao Feng inquired.

Song Qingshu inwardly chuckled. Xiao Feng was concerned about his reputation, so he was hesitant to ask if he had acquired the Beggar Gang’s martial arts using unscrupulous means. So he replied, “I’m not a member of the Beggar Gang. My mastery of the Eighteen Dragon Subduing Palms was purely coincidental.”

Xiao Feng, acknowledging that Song Qingshu’s skills with the Eighteen Dragon Subduing Palms were on par with his own, believed that any clandestine learning would lack the proper transmission of power techniques. Thus he naturally assumed Song Qingshu acquitted the martial arts through legitimate means.

As they exchanged compliments, Ouyang Feng could no longer restrain himself. He stepped forward with his gaze locked onto Taoist Baishang, and his fighting spirit was palpable. 

“In the fourth match, I want to experience the proper Xuanming Divine Palm!”

Taoist Baishang replied solemnly, “They say that after Chongyang, the Supreme Lord of the Martial World, your prowess stands as the foremost among the Five Greats. I also want to experience the Toad Style of the Western Poison.”

Seeing a confrontation brewing between the two, Zhao Min intervened, and firmly stated, “There’s no need for another match; let’s depart.” 

Having secured two victories and one draw with Song Qingshu’s performances, even if their side were to win all future contests, it would only result in a tie. Furthermore, it was unlikely that Lu Zhangke could best Qiu Qianren in the next fight, so she didn’t want to go through unnecessary trouble.

“Princess!” Taoist Baishang protested anxiously.

“I’ve made up my mind, no need for further discussion.”

Zhao Min rose from her seat. Before leaving, she directed a sly smile at Song Qingshu, saying, “Young Master Song, since when did you change your surname to Ximen? It’s as if you’ve stepped out of a traditional drama, always surrounded by beauties. This Princess is worried for Master Zhou.”

At this point, Song Qingshu had no reason to hide his identity. He removed his mask and smiled at Zhao Min, “Is the Princess perhaps jealous?”

Zhao Min blushed and retorted, “Hmph, ivory never comes from the mouth of a dog.”

Xiao Feng looked surprised, “So you’re Brother Song, the number one expert of the Manchu Qing Dynasty. I’ve heard of your reputation in the Liao Empire, and I have wanted to meet you for a long time. However, there’s something that puzzles me. It was clear that you had the righteous goal of assassinating Kangxi. So why did you aid the Jin, who has strong ties with the Manchus?”

Song Qingshu sighed and replied, “Brother Xiao, please forgive me for not revealing my identity earlier. As for my reasons for aiding the Jin Empire, it’s a long story. I regret that I can’t explain it to you at this time.”

Xiao Feng furrowed his brow but eventually chuckled, “If you meant to deceive me, you could have fabricated any reason. Since you’ve said this, there must be legitimate difficulties. This Xiao doesn’t wish to linger here any longer, so I bid you farewell. Let’s share a drink when we meet again.” 

With Mongolia’s withdrawal and the Jin Empire’s abundance of allies, Xiao Feng had to consider his subordinates’ welfare and engage in discussions with Mongolia on various matters.

“Very well, Brother Xiao, until next time,” Song Qingshu bid farewell with a courteous gesture.

As they watched the Mongolian and Khitan groups exit, Ouyang Feng approached Song Qingshu, and patted him on the shoulder, “It’s been a while since our last meeting. Your martial skills have truly advanced.”

Song Qingshu forced a smile, “Why employ the strength of Toad Style for that pat?”

Ouyang Feng laughed heartily, then suddenly turned to Xiao Longnu and beckoned, “Daughter-in-law, come here, let me have a good look.”

Xiao Longnu was taken aback initially but quickly blushed, “You old man, I’m not your daughter-in-law.”

Ouyang Feng grinned nonchalantly, “Yang Guo calls me foster father, so does that not make you my daughter-in-law?”

Xiao Longnu was momentarily stunned and then embarrassed, “Are you really Guo’er’s adoptive father?” Whenever she heard mention of Yang Guo, her heart warmed.

“Of course, why would I lie to you?” Ouyang Feng replied with a hint of irritation.

Xiao Longnu nodded slightly, saying, “I’ve met my adoptive father.” She had come to regard herself as Yang Guo’s wife, so her speech was less restrained than that of most women.

Ouyang Feng was also taken aback but ultimately laughed, “I like your attitude!”

On the side, Wanyan Liang cast a covetous gaze at Xiao Longnu’s waist and inquired, “Master Ouyang, is Yang Guo the posthumous son of Brother Kang?”

Wanyan Liang’s father, Wanyan Zongqian, and Wanyan Honglie were brothers, and he and Wanyan Kang were cousins. Yang Guo even referred to him as uncle.

Ouyang Feng’s expression turned cold. He had consciously avoided this question until now. Ouyang Ke had died at the hands of Yang Kang, a fact that remained his life’s greatest regret. When he lost his sanity, he forgot about this, subconsciously regarding Yang Guo as his son, despite his striking resemblance to Yang Kang. However, when Ouyang Feng regained his senses, he realized that Yang Guo bore a striking resemblance to Yang Kang, which awakened a sharp pain within him. Nevertheless, his genuine affection for Yang Guo over the years was undeniable, leading Ouyang Feng to consciously overlook that dilemma.

“Yes, but Yang Kang is not the son of King Zhao. You need not address him as Brother Wang anymore,” Ouyang Feng stated, his face wearing a grim expression.

Wanyan Liang achieved his goal and smiled with satisfaction. He ceased his pressing questions and turned to Song Qingshu, complimenting, “I’ve heard tales of your impressive exploits in the Jin Empire before, and I thought them exaggerated. Now, having witnessed your skills firsthand, I must admit you’re truly a great martial arts master.”

In theory, the Jin Empire and the Qing Empire shared common origins and were close allies. Upon discovering Song Qingshu’s identity as Kangxi’s assassin, one might expect them to apprehend him and hand him over to Kangxi. However, to everyone’s surprise, Wanyan Liang behaved as if the incident had never occurred, engaging in friendly conversation instead.

Although Song Qingshu had no fear of confrontation, he preferred to avoid unnecessary trouble. With no personal animosity between them, he put on a polite smile and walked away, taking Bing Xue’er by the hand.

“Little junior sister, do you plan to stay or come with us?” Song Qingshu suddenly halted as he passed by Xiao Longnu and inquired.

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