Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The patter of raindrops continued.
The rain filmed the whole world with a layer of mist, leaving everything blurred and grey.
In the small alley, raindrops kept hitting the black stones of the street, splashing high.
Yi Yue, holding the umbrella, had a look of disbelief on her foxy face.
Ni Yu's eyes were wide, too. Her mouth was in the shape of an "O" as she gazed at the handsome man wearing a straw cape and hat in front of them.
This guy… How dare he say something like that?
The Young Master was nothing if not petty. This wouldn't end well.
Lu Fan narrowed his eyes. He looked at Han Lianxiao through the filter of rain pouring from the edge of the oil-paper umbrella. Han Lianxiao's smile became hazy.
Lu Fan laughed. He clapped his hands softly.
"That makes sense. I'm just a paralyzed scholar who appears to know nothing more than poem-writing and girl-chasing. It is bold indeed for me to ask for a favor like that of you," Lu Fan responded.
Han Lianxiao raised his eyebrows a little.
Everyone said that because of his paralyzed legs, Lu Changkong's son was easily irritated and bad-tempered. Yet, based on what Lu Fan had just said, it seemed that the rumors were unreliable.
He actually seemed like a very good-tempered guy.
"Since you have made such an accurate evaluation of yourself, Young Master Lu, you might as well get out of the way." Han Lianxiao motioned gently with the wooden flute.
His voice was soft, but his tone was cold and heartless.
Nie Changqing staggered to his feet.
Blood was still leaking from the corner of his mouth, and his face was pale from the cold rain.
"Young Master Lu, I appreciate that you came to help, but this is my problem. It won't do you any good to get involved."
Nie Changqing's voice trembled a bit.
"Yet I do have only one favor to ask you, Young Master Lu. I humbly beg that you take my son. He's just a child. He's innocent."
Sitting in his wheelchair, Lu Fan held his chin with one hand and flipped some raindrops off his thin woolen blanket with the other.
The little alley was cramped and extremely narrow, just like the dark, cloudy sky above it.
"Junior Brother Nie, now you are drawing Young Master Lu into something he doesn't need to be involved in. His Excellency's order was to take you and Shuang'er back. Particularly Shuang'er. His Excellency has been missing him a lot."
Han Lianxiao flipped the raindrops off his wooden flute as he spoke.
Although his voice was still cordial, the authoritative tone was hard to miss.
Nie Changqing's face reddened with anger. He stared at Han Lianxiao, his eyes growing wide and intense.
No wonder Han Lianxiao had shown up here. He had come for Nie Shuang!
Lu Fan struck one of the armrests of his wheelchair, producing a loud cracking noise.
The explosive sound was like a clap of thunder in the rainy little alley.
Ni Yu jumped.
Yi Yue was startled too. Ning Zhao, who stood at the very front of the group, raised her Cicada Wing Sword a little. Her Qi and blood, along with her Spirit Qi, stirred. Her long silk dress and obsidian hair seemed to dance in the air.
Lu Fan raised one hand to slightly dab the corners of his eyes.
"A father's love is like no other. This kind of love always kills me. It reminds me of my kind father, who is now waiting for me to come home, safe and sound, and have a meal with him.
"It also reminds me of the saying, 'When the tree wants to remain still, the wind keeps blowing; when the child wants to take care of the parents, they're long gone.'"
Lu Fan looked down with his eyes full of sorrow. Then he looked back up and eyed Han Lianxiao. A dangerous smile crossed his lips.
"I almost forgot to ask where you came from, sir. In Beiluo City, what gave you the courage to refuse to do me a favor?"
Lu Fan's voice echoed in the narrow, rainy little alley.
Han Lianxiao frowned and stared at Lu Fan. The atmosphere in the alley was growing tenser with every passing second.
Lu Fan's stare made Han Lianxiao shiver.
Clenching his wooden flute tightly, he forced that budding chill to evaporate with his inner power, which was burning like a furnace.
"You hear 'Song of the Waves,' you see Daoist Number Nine, Han Lianxiao. I'm with the Daoists, one of the Hundred Schools of Philosophy," Han Lianxiao said.
As soon as Han Lianxiao finished his sentence, Lu Fan slapped at the armrest again.
"D*mn it! Why didn't you tell me this earlier?"
"Judging from the pretentious way you carried yourself, I thought you were one of the Gold and Silver Guards sent by the Imperial Adviser from the Capital City to take Mr. Nie out. You had me worried!"
"A Daoist? Who the heck do you think you guys are? How dare you refuse to do me a favor in Beiluo City, my home?"
Leaning against the wheelchair, Lu Fan sneered at the man in contempt.
The alley was suddenly silent.
Nie Changqing stared at Lu Fan in shock.
He wasn't sure if Lu Fan was pretending he didn't know where Han Lianxiao came from, or if he truly had no idea.
Regardless, could Lu Fan have been any more of a snob and a bully?
A grin flashed across Yi Yue's foxy face. Ni Yu rolled her eyes. The Young Master was always like this, no matter what the situation.
Ning Zhao raised her sword. A string of raindrops fell off the tip of it. She pointed it right at Han Lianxiao.
Han Lianxiao's smile faded away. He stared at Lu Fan, seemingly confused about why Lu Fan was acting so presumptuously.
What did he have up his sleeve? This entry-level Grandmaster maid?
"Young Master Lu, what are you doing?" Han Lianxiao's tone became cold and annoyed.
"You talk too much." Lu Fan gestured with his hand. "Sister Ning, take care of him."
As soon as Lu Fan finished his sentence, the sword in Ning Zhao's hand started vibrating. Two streams of Spirit Qi in her Qi Core flared up like a flame in a furnace.
It was as if the sword was cutting the curtain of rain in two.
The blinding sword leapt for Han Lianxiao like a lightning bolt.
Raindrops continued to fall from Han Lianxiao's rain hat as the man ignored Ning Zhao's charge. Instead, he kept his eyes on Lu Fan.
"A Grandmaster maid. Lu Changkong has made some interesting arrangements for you, that's for sure. This maid's got some power. I heard that outside of Beiluo City's gate, her sword held back four Grandmasters..."
Han Lianxiao's face lit up again with a broad, amused smile.
He gently raised his wooden flute.
"Young Master Lu, you are not a Grandmaster yourself, so you may have some misunderstandings about the power of Grandmasters. As for the mysterious and powerful Hundred Schools of Philosophy, you know even less. Next to nothing, in fact."
"As for this maid of yours... Even though her Qi and blood seem pretty special, that doesn't give you the right to act with such outrageous arrogance."
Han Lianxiao's wooden flute flashed out to meet the point of Ning Zhao's sword.
When they came into contact, Ning Zhao felt a chill run down her spine. Her eyes darkened.
The wooden flute suddenly split right where it met the sword.
Numerous tiny wooden strips laced themselves around the sword and ended up locking all of Ning Zhao's joints.
She couldn't move at all.
Ning Zhao's umbrella fell to her feet. The rain began to soak her whole body.
"When it comes to fighting experience, this maid of yours is a mere First Resonance Grandmaster. She's no match for me," Han Lianxiao said blithely.
He clasped his hands behind his back, completely ignoring the bound Ning Zhao.
As a First Resonance Grandmaster, it would take some time for her to escape the trap. Han Lianxiao had asked an expert who specialized in mechanisms to craft the mechanical lock in his wooden flute.
He started walking again, water splashing out from each step in miniature waves.
He locked his eyes on Lu Fan, stepping toward him. Arrogant superiority and cold pride radiated from the man. He looked like some deity who was prepared to act as judge, jury, and executioner for Lu Fan.
Nie Changqing raised his butcher knife.
Han Lianxiao casually slapped the knife away, barely stirring his Qi and blood to do so. It flew up into the air before clattering back to the ground.
Han Lianxiao didn't even look at Nie Changqing. In his eyes, Nie Changqing was worthless.
The tendons in his hand were destroyed, and his Qi and blood were pretty much dead.
The once-powerful Grandmaster swordsman was now no better than a First-Tier martial arts practitioner.
Han Lianxiao didn't have time for that. Instead, he kept walking toward Lu Fan with that same smile on his face.
"The heavy rain, a narrow alley, and a perfect night for killing. I've got the right time, place, and people around me. With everything in my favor, nobody will even know it if I kill you."
"If I don't, it'll be like wasting a perfect chance granted by heaven!"
Han Lianxiao's voice grew more chilling and creepy with every word. He made no effort to conceal his intent to murder them all.
"Now, let me introduce myself one more time. I'm Han Lianxiao, Daoist Number Nine, a Fifth Resonance Grandmaster."
He suddenly stomped.
Water sprayed away from his stomp in seven-foot-high fountains, as if creating a storm.
Yi Yue's face changed dramatically. She grabbed her whip and hopped in front of Lu Fan.
But Han Lianxiao merely struck the rain with the flat of his hand, sending countless tiny raindrops into Yi Yue. She flew back, spitting out blood.
Now that Han Lianxiao had decided to kill Lu Fan, he wouldn't hesitate at all.
He was from the martial arts world, and Lu Fan was the son of the city master of Beiluo City, part of the emperor's forces.
Once he took action, there was no way out.
He couldn't afford to leave any evidence behind.
Though the Great Zhou Dynasty was in the middle of a crisis, the Imperial Adviser was still holding the Hundred Schools of Philosophy in check.
Han Lianxiao stared straight at Lu Fan in the wheelchair. Such sweet rosy lips and glowing white teeth!
In his eyes, Lu Fan was pathetic. In the face of death, the cripple couldn't even run in fear
because of his paralyzed legs.
"Die!" Han Lianxiao roared.
With a straightforward slap, he sent the raindrops before him hurtling forward. As the raindrops flew, he prepared to cut Lu Fan's throat with the edge of his fingers as a blade.
In the wheelchair, Lu Fan knitted his eyebrows tightly. The rain came at his face in the wind like tiny cold knives. His clothes were soaked. Behind him, Ni Yu's legs shook as she clutched the oil-paper umbrella in her arms.
But she didn't run.
She was simply staring at the frightening monster that Han Lianxiao had become.
Lu Fan breathed out and slowly closed his eyes.
Ning Zhao had failed, which was unexpected. But that wasn't all he had.
He could have given Ning Zhao more Spirit Qi. However...
This time, Lu Fan decided otherwise.
He focused his consciousness.
On the stats page, he withdrew five points from his 6.5 points of Soul Strength.
He could exchange one point of Soul Strength for 10 wisps of Spirit Qi.
Instantly, Lu Fan's Spirit Qi was boosted from zero to 50 wisps.
Then Lu Fan opened his eyes.
He looked straight into Han Lianxiao's eyes as Han Linxiao dashed toward him. Lu Fan's expression was impassive, unshakeable.
His Qi Core was like a furnace.
His consciousness was waving inside him. Lu Fan used the cultivation method of Daoist Spirit Transmission he had revised for Nie Changqing with the All-Method Furnace.
In the next second, Lu Fan could feel a reaction from the 50 wisps of Spirit Qi in his Qi Core.
Lu Fan still appeared to be sitting quietly in his wheelchair, yet 50 wisps of light blue Spirit Qi started flowing around him, intertwining.
A tremendous pressure came out of nowhere.
When that pressure landed on Han Lianxiao, it drove him instantly to his belly on the wet ground in the little alley.
The ridiculous pressure made it almost impossible to look up.
One side of his face was pressed tightly against the ground, where water splashed up nonstop as if trying to get away from him.
His whole body was pinned to the ground. He couldn't move.
He was shaken.
"What… what is happening?!"
Han Lianxiao's eyes were full of disbelief, as if he had just seen a ghost.
In the center of the whirling Spirit Qi, Lu Fan gently wiped off the droplets of water that had landed on his thin woolen blanket. He glanced at Han Lianxiao, who was pinned to the ground with his legs splayed out awkwardly behind him.
Lu Fan casually leaned back into his wheelchair and gave the man a half-smile.
"I'm a cultivator. This is Spirit Pressure."
"An insignificant trick."
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