(translated by xia0xiao1mei)
(edited by anniaxx)
Between Six And Twelve
On the twelfth level of this fantasy-like fairyland landscape, there sits a man in luxury clothing, his facial features cold, in this very moment he is leaning on the desk, leisurely using bamboo sticks and canvas fabric to build a model.
Those mundane materials, having been placed in his hands, seem to have been endowed with magical power, after some crimping and sticking them together, it becomes an exquisite miniature windmill.
All that can be seen is the gentleman picking up a folding fan and fans at the windmill a few times, the windmill sounds “yi-ya” as it spins, setting in motion the black connecting link beside the foot of the seat, when the link slides forward approximately one inch, a round little ball rolls down along the link, accurately landing into the pit of a sand tray, and with only a sound of “ka-cha”, another opening in the sand tray is broken through, a flow of clear water gurgling out, starting to impact the miniature waterwheel stood at the side: the miniature waterwheel slowly starts spinning due to the rush of water currents, setting in motion another mechanism elsewhere, following the rise of a rumbling noise, the weaving machine in the room actually automatically starts running on its own, spinning out a piece of finely made fabric.
To achieve something big with something small, a sheer creation out of nothing, this is the profoundness behind mechanics.
Despite this fact, the gentleman still isn’t satisfied with his creation, that pair of amber eyes quietly stares at the leisurely spinning waterwheel, deeply pondering about what exactly is wrong.
That’s right, it’s the weight, the weight of the waterwheel has exceeded expectations. Should the waterwheel be able to spin three turns more than it can, the woven fabric produced by the weaving machine would also be a little more wider, in the end, it comes down to falling short on time.
Having thought it through, he reaches out to take the waterwheel, preparing to make it lighter.
“Young Palace Master, guests have arrived.” A guard in grey appears at the doorway.
The gentleman in luxury clothing does not halt his actions, only raising his brows as he says: “What level have they reached this time?” His expression unchanging.
Within several decades, those that were able to make it to the foot of this cliff were only very few. But even if those people succeeded in making it there, they cannot possibly climb their way up to the top of the palace, at most, they’d make it to the third level before getting beaten into shattered pieces, it truly is pointless to the extreme.
The guard seriously says: “They are moving at a swift pace, already reaching level six.”
The gentleman in luxury clothing freezes, and only then does he turns to look directly at the guard.
“What kind of people are they?” He grows slightly curious.
“A pair of man and woman, both are very young, the man is approximately eighteen years old, the woman is even younger, looking only fifteen or sixteen.” The guard respectfully reports.
“Is that so? Truly are heroes at a young age.” The gentleman reveals a smile that has never been seen before, the beauty of the entire building instantly loses its colour.
“Reporting to Young Palace Master, the youth who had been breaking through the checkpoints had already been stopped by Hall Master Mei, falling into the Prison of Chaos.” The guard solemnly adds this, not daring to even let out a deep breath, “Only leaving behind the lady to continue to fight stubbornly with one’s back to the wall.”
“Oh? Why keep her? Has Hall Master Mei not met a training partner for too long, wanting to play a little more?”
The gentleman carelessly dismantles the waterwheel model, expression as dull as usual.
“Because Hall Master Mei has found the Gold-Jade Silk Pouch on her.” The guard grits his teeth as he speaks the truth, heart pounding “peng-peng” like thunder.
The gentleman’s hand movement pauses.
“That young lady, how is she now?”
After a long moment, does his voice indifferently sound.
“Due to being in the youth’s care along the way, no harm has been inflicted at all, right now she is facing Hall Master Mei, clamouring for us to release the youth.” The guard answers truthfully.
The gentleman’s forehead slightly creases.
“Since she has Gold-Jade Silk Pouch, do we first bring her up to have a look? Lest Guardian Jin……” The guard sees the gentleman’s face looking strange, and has pretty much gotten the idea —— the young lady breaking past the checkpoints is indeed acquainted with gentleman, it is best to go along with the mind of the master.
Gentleman hums in reply, not saying a word.
The guard believed he had figured out his master’s intentions, quickly rising to withdraw.
Before he managed to step out two steps, the gentleman suddenly speaks up from behind.
“Don’t get involved, just leave her to fight Hall Master Mei, I shall see, just what is she capable of?”
Gentleman’s voice seems to have floated over from afar, perhaps before he spoke up, he was plagued with unclear emotions, yet all of it has vanished as it floats over from such far distance, leaving only the endless coldness and indifference.
Once the guard receives this unexpected answer, he inwardly sighs for the fate of this young lady, bowing as he leaves.
Mei Ya Xiang gazes at this pretty little girl in red before the hall, somewhat surprised.
Originally thought the one who had broke through to the sixth palace hall would be an unworldly master, didn’t think it would only be two youngsters. What’s even more unexpected is, one of them had been going along without a fight.
Her one glance is able to see through this young girl, with not an ounce of internal energy, an empty body of fancy movements with no real skills. The youth in black fell into the Prison of Chaos in order to save her just now, right now the young girl stands alone before the hall with the Gold-Jade Silk Pouch hanging at her side, expressing no signs of panic, looking calm and composed as ever.
Mei Ya Xiang suddenly feels slightly uneasy at heart.
——to have that highly skilled youth in black protecting her with his life, and also owns Guardian Jin’s unique silk pouch, could it be this person is an extraordinary honoured figure?
In the end, she cannot say for sure, thus quietly ordering a guard to ascend to the twelfth level to report back.
As for Pang Wan, having personally seen Nan Yi’s misstep causing him to get captured because of her, it is not that she is not nervous or afraid.
Instead it’s the exact opposite, she even has a hunch that a great disaster is coming, but her personality has always been ‘to adopt measures appropriate to the actual situation’ —— since the situation has already gotten so bad, being afraid will be of no help, so she does not stumble.
“May Hall Master return him.” Standing back-straight in front of the hall, she does not reveal any signs of fear.
Following the sounding of her voice, all that can heard is a sound of “pa”, the golden whip in hand smacks onto the floor, raising the entire floor of leaves and sand dust —— this is an act of courage, also a display of strength.
“The two of you have rashly broken into our Solitary Palace, exactly what do you want?” Mei Ya Xiang cannot help but frown, that golden whip is a rare good.
“We senior brother and junior sister do not have any ill intentions, only wishing to see Palace Master, and request an explanation from him.” Pang Wan’s face remains unfazed.
Mei Ya Xiang scoffs at this: “Explanation? Our Palace Master has always only ever acted in accordance with his own heart, what need is there to give someone an explanation, should you have any dissatisfaction, simply come forth to seek advice!” Tone sounding extremely prideful.
Pang Wan touches her head, don’t know why, Mei Ya Xiang’s attitude actually gives her a sense of familiarity.
“We have travelled a very long way here, only wishing to see Palace Master, why must you deliberately make things difficult?” She sighs, tightening her grip on the golden whip.
Mei Ya Xiang was just about to answer, but sees the guard in grey’s figure flash by in the distance, shaking his head at her.
The huge burden lifted from the heart, turns out this young girl is simply an insignificant minor character.
And so Mei Ya Xiang brightly smiles as she pulls out the frosty sword from her waist side, one move of “Rainbow Circling the Sun” aiming straight at the young girl’s vital spot.
Seeing her directly start the battle without a word, Pang Wan was struck by surprised, swinging out with one overturn of the hand, the golden whip thus knocks down the blade.
It’s helpless that her posture is still there yet her internal energy is non-existent, although she barely avoided the blade, the force of the blade had torn a big opening in the clothing over her chest, revealing the snow white undershirt inside.
“Should you be willing to kneel down for mercy, loudly calling out long live Palace Master three times, I shall no long trouble you.” Mei Ya Xiang seeing her practically defenceless, cannot help but lose her interest —— ai, being a skilled master is lonely, had she known this earlier, she should have left the youth in black behind to play with a little longer.
The corners of Pang Wan’s lips gently rises: “You’re that confident in winning me for certain?”
Mei Ya Xiang heartily laughs out loud: “I can take your life with under five moves!”
Pang Wan feels very scornful towards her answer, contemptuously saying: “If within five moves you cannot kill me, what shall we do?”
“I shall then let you go back!” Mei Ya Xiang angrily blurts out.
A line of sparkle flashes past Pang Wan’s eyes, she retrains her thoughts, still looking indifferent: “Such big words, looking at you right now, you may not necessarily be able to come close to my body within ten moves.”
Mei Ya Xiang is angered to the extreme, she instead laughs, how can she possibly not understand this young girl is using a prodding tactic? But she is ten out of ten confident in her own abilities, therefore, she does not fear her little tricks in the slightest.
“If I still haven’t killed you in ten moves, I shall personally escort you and your senior brother out, how’s that?” She smiles grimly.
Having gotten the promise she wanted, Pang Wan raises her hand, and the golden whip draws a brilliant curve in the air.
“Please enlighten me.” She takes a step back, slightly bending her waist.
Using the words ‘gifted body’ on Pang Wan, also has another explanation, being that she has great endurance.
Even though Mei Ya Xiang’s every move was going for a definite kill, she did not think, this young girl with no internal energy would actually be this good at withstanding the fight, on one hand she is amazingly quick, a good few times did she narrowly escape the fatal attacks, on the other hand, even if the force of the blade cuts into her skin, she would still show no panic at all, only setting all attention on observing her movements, preparing to take on the next move at any given time.
Within a flash, four moves have past. The fresh blood on the young girl’s clothing blooming out in forms of dark purple camellia flowers, her entire body is shaking, requiring every little bit of effort to barely stand still.
Truly a strength of character, Mei Ya Xiang cannot help but to give rise to a point of admiration deep down in her heart.
“My apologies.” Admiration aside, she still does not hesitate at all to raise the sword in striking straight towards her —— once this fifth move of “Crane Soaring Zi Gai Mountain Peak” strikes, the young girl will face certain death, she cannot possibly let her back down the mountain.
The highly raised wrist suddenly freezes in mid-air.
“You!” Mei Ya Xiang looks at the young girl in disbelief, then looks down at her own arm —— don’t know when her waiguan acupoint had a red needle on it, currently infiltrating her body with rapid speed.
“I also apologise.” The young girl bares her teeth, that face shed from its lively colour revealing two shallow dimples.
Her smile right now seeming just like a flower bud sprouting amongst despair, unyielding and lively.
Arm already starting turn numb, Mei Ya Xiang widens her eyes, seeming to find it hard to believe there would come a day someone would successfully plot against her. Flying into rage, she raises the sword and strikes forward, unfortunately she is still a step too late, only hearing a sound of “dang”, and the treasured sword slides from her hand and onto the floor.
Pang Wan’s body sways, and only then does she gently sighs.
This Mei Ya Xiang is indeed formidable, she had practically gambled with her life on the line in exchange for an opportunity to get close to her, and prick the Blazing Needle into her right arm’s numbing acupoint without anybody knowing —— fortunately, fortunately as soon as the Blazing Needle comes in touch with blood, then one cannot even think of pulling it back out.
“I have underestimated you.”
Mei Ya Xiang looks at the young girl’s pale little face, and smiles.
“May Hall Master enlighten me with your sixth move.”
Pang Wan respectfully wraps her fist towards her, whilst reminding her at the same time —— the fifth move is already nullified.
“Forget it, you are quite the smart one, killing you would be unfortunate.” Mei Ya Xiang sighs, seeming to mutter to herself.
“Just that, you too have underestimated me.” Not waiting for Pang Wan to respond, she suddenly steps forward and picks up the sword with her left hand.
“Ten years ago Palace Master had once said, ‘Mei Ya Xiang, your swordsmanship may be good, but your moves are far too swift and fierce, cannot be used often.’”
She tosses the sword in her left hand a few times, the corners of her lips curling into a strange curve.
“Palace Master ordered me, should I have sincere intentions to practice swordsmanship then I must switch hands, subtracting half the fierceness —— therefore with so many years passing by, I had practically forgotten I am left-handed.” She brightly smiles, raising the sword above her head.
“How pitiful, I originally did not wish to use this hand against you.” A dull, coldblooded female voice sounds, as though it came from hell.
Chilly wind rises as though dancing, the air becomes so piercingly chilly that the water vapours turn into ice crystals, Mei Ya Xiang’s move is executed like floating clouds and running water, already in an extremely high realm of man and sword becoming one, deep down, Pang Wan knows that she is already rendered completely powerless, mustering all her strength in retreating back.
However, although she is fast on her feet, no matter what, she could not win against the speed of the whistling sword force behind her, a blast of whirlwind comes screeching past in an earth shattering manner, bringing to her a piercingly unbearable pain. Pang Wan cannot help but to close her eyes.
 To adopt measures appropriate to the actual situation is actually bīng lái jiāng dǎng, shuǐ lái tǔ yǎn / 兵来将挡, 水来土掩 in Chinese which literally translates to counter soldiers with arms, counter water with an earth weir.
Guess who’s back?! Also bringing to us the long awaited revelation of his actual identity, which has pretty much been revealed in this chapter, but more will come on that 🙂 And of course he has to be his usual tsundere self, but Wan Wan is not in any condition to be taking this treatment right now you dimwit!