SONG OF HEROES CHAPTER 10: THE HEART DOES NOT GROW OLD

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The thunder came swiftly like Ulr himself striking his hammer from Aesiron and light filled the hill.

And with it comes the roaring sound of lightning.

Lancel was deflecting the Mad Fairy attack with his famous red sword, producing spark of light all over the top of the hill.

Like a void in an illusion, the Mad Fairy moves in very difficult and cryptic way, pouncing madly towards Lancel with her sword strikes.

Lancel met Mad Fairy attack with the sturdiness of a mountain, unmoving and unmovable

‘Xintong, stop this madness of yours!’ Lancel shouted as the sound of their swords clashing produce thunder roaring sound,

Both are master of the sword. The famous Red Sword Lancel and the Mad Fairy Xintong is known to have some bad blood in Jianghu.

Its more than just bad blood at least for Xintong.

Not many knows the inside story of these two expert but from rumors in Jianghu, during his youth, Lancel managed to make Xintong fall in love with him only to be rejected.

There are also other rumors of course.

All of them involved some kind of romantic entanglement story between them.

They clashed on the top of the Hill, fierce like dragon and tiger. Red sparks and white sparks tangles and destroys each other.

The tribesmen seeing that the man with the medallion is being attacked quickly jump on their horses and rides towards the hill.

In this small tribe there is no one that master any martial arts that allows them to fly like the Mad Fairy.

This kind of lightness skill is not something the barbarian tribes of the Western Plains could comprehend.

They prefer the straight way, brute force or imposing strikes.

Lightness skill requires understanding many of the underlying principles of movements which many Western barbarian feel hard to understand.

And their literacy is low compared to the people of Aeropa and Midgard.

They could not leap over tents and reach the Hill just by jumping like her.

But the tribesman of the Western Barbarian is proficient and each of them is a master in horsemanship.

They arrived almost a few candle times after the fairy and the Red Sword began fighting.

The bulkiest of the tribesmen called Ogedei wanted to help but immediately was stopped by the tribe chief.

The chief looks at the battle between Red Sword and Mad Fairy and drew a large breath in shock and awe.

‘Look at that sword strike! Ogedei if you enter their range of attack you will be minced meat!’ Ogedei look again and he had to admit his tribe chief is right.

Everyone witnessed the two expert exchange blows, producing thunderous roaring just by the reverberation of their swords.

Sparks of light illuminate the top of the hills. The land beneath their feet was slashed apart in huge chunk.

The Mad Fairy fighting styles were extremely ingenious and sinister.

It was also very fast. In over a dozen exchanges, each and every one of her moves was attacking and required precise defending.

Her attack was as dangerous as fire and as fast and unpredictable like the wind.

They spun in circles, strangely not truly touching the ground, like immortal beings treading the clouds.

The two fought ferociously, whirling over and over in the space of four meters causing all the tribesmen to be dazzled.

The sound was thunderous while the killing auras of the Mad Fairy were unleashed by her sword strikes was heavy and powerful pressuring Lancel.

Lancel could not entirely focus hi thought because he was worried about his nephew.

Hiding behind a boulder.

Even though the Mad Fairy attack was ingenious and sinister, unpredictable and heavy, Lancel moves were as serene as an undisturbed lake, every one of his sword strike were gentle and soft, neutralizing almost all of the mad Fairy attack as effortlessly as flourishing a sleeve.

But while it seems that Lancel was at ease in deflecting and parrying the Mad Fairy sword strikes, it was not something easy to do, it requires his full attention and focus.

Blast of winds was generated as these two exchanges become longer and deadlier.

While the Mad Fairy attacks seems imposing and unstoppable, her face looked frustrated while Lancel expression was aloof and composed

Even after all that relentless attack, the Mad Fairy is still not able to make even a scratch to Lancel clothing.

The tense tribesman looking not far away from their battle has also relaxed.

The reason they could not help is because of the sword strike of these two experts that prevented them from helping Lancel.

And there is also a risk in distracting Lancel so the tribe remain unmoving from their spot and watch this great battle.

But this does not mean the tribesman will not do anything.

If it looks like Lancel is in trouble, as the holder of the medallion, the tribes will rather sacrifices their lives to save Lancel.

The crowds could all see that as the exchanges become longer, it seems Lancel has gained the initiative.

Lancel was smiling in satisfaction as he already found her patterns of attack.

She was employing the 36 Strikes of the Blood Gale of the Red Snow Palace martial arts.

In the middle of their exchanges she then change her moves to the brutal and vicious Devil Maiden Sword Arts.

Lancel has known the Mad Fairy for a long time.

Usually she would come with Purple Deity but Lancel did not see her this time which is odd. Those two have always been together.

‘Enough of this, Xintong! Begone from here!’ He said as he once again deflecting her attack with ease with his red sword like he was waving his hand to disperse the wind.

Then he found a hole in her defense.

‘This is it!’

Lancel was about to dispatch the Mad Fairy sword from her wrist when suddenly a needle was shot to him from behind.

He could hear the sound of the wind ripping because of the shot.

The reason he knows it was a needle is because he could determine a weapon travelling through the air according to its sound.

This kind of slow sounding but shrieking sound travelling through the air could only be a needle.

‘Cheh’ He complained and taps his foot towards the ground as he somersaulted up and retreated back as he lands on a rock like a crane.

‘Another one is joining’ he said and he could no longer be calm as he was when he was facing the red fairy.

‘Who is there hiding in the shadows! This is not the behavior of a gentleman.’

‘I’m not a gentleman, Lancel!’ shouted a voice.

The voice was hoarse and grating to hear.

And then jumping out from a nearby tree is a woman wearing a blue robe with a metal whip straightened by her internal energy, attacking him.

The woman has scars all over her face, making her look very hideous.

The wind was ripping apart as she trusted out her straight metal whip.

‘Nanhua!’ Lancel said as he recognized the woman attacking him.

Lancel dodges the piercing attack of the whip and the whip struck a large stone behind him and the stone exploded turning the stones into rubbles.

‘I could not let Charles get caught up with this.’ Lancel knows he could not fight these two people and at the same time worry about his nephew.

‘Ogedei!’ he yelled and he yelled

‘Bring Charles away.’ Ogedei hearing this understood what Lancel was trying to say.

Ogedei remember the bright kid that accompanies Lancel.

Now that Lancel has spoken Ogedei remember that there is a kid that always follows Lancel. As the holder of the medallion, the tribesman must offer any help they can give.

They all know he was the famed Red Sword Lancel but that is a different matter. True, Lancel kill the barbarians when they came down the mountains.

But the Barbarians does not hate Lancel. They fear him. They admire him.

But they do not hate Lancel.

The strong wins.

That is the creed of the Western Barbarians.

Which is why the Western Barbarians is perplexed at the animosity they felt when they came down the mountains.

Because as they killed and rampage through villages they don’t see it as something wrong. They are hungry. They don’t have resources.

So, they pillage the nearby places.

And if they died that’s just means they are weak.

The same could be said for the people they pillage.

The Western Barbarian has no fixed home. They lived where the wind brings them. The Wind Mother and the Skyfather guides them and make the Plains their home.

Where the grass grows, that is their land.

Ogedei jump on his horse as he search the area. He rides down the hill and when he reached the area nearby the rock he was shocked and amused.

He found the boy waiting for him, hand behind his back, looking calm and composed. The wind flutters the boy sleeve, making him look unnatural.

Because at the top of the hill a great battle is occurring but the boy with his hand behind his back, was as calm as an Immortal, as graceful and as noble.

The aura around the boy was something like of the aura of great personage. But that couldn’t be true. Ogedei mused.

He is just a kid.

The boy was calm and there is no trace of fear inside his eyes which impresses Ogedei. Approaching the boy on horseback, Ogedei then said

‘Kid, your unc-‘

‘My uncle sent you to bring me far away from the battle, right?’ Charles said calmly as Ogedei could only nod.

‘Let us go then. My uncle could handle himself.’

Ogedei feel this matter is too weird. The boy is certainly remarkable not to feel any fear while his uncle is fighting the Mad fairy.

‘Do you know how to climb a hor-‘ he was about to say that when Charles quickly jump to the horse.

Even though Charles doesn’t have any internal energy, his physical body is fit and is stronger than normal kid.

To jump into the back of a horse is an easy thing for him.

‘Let’s go’ Charles said and Ogedei smiles.

He then quickly rides down from the hill, with Charles on the back. Reaching the settlements, Ogedei brought him to one of his tribesmen tent.

Entering the tent, Ogedei tap his chest are, a kind of salute among the Western Barbarian.

‘Gioro, watch this child for me. The man with the medallion is fighting bitterly on top of the Hill. I must see if our tribe could help him.’

Gioro looked at Charles and sighed. But he nodded as a sign of assent.

Gioro is an old man with lame leg.

He uses a wooden crutch made by a wandering scholar to help him in walking. Even though the Western barbarian values strength they also value bravery.

Gioro in his younger days fought the Han dynasty troops and was an accomplished martial artist before the martial artist in the Central Plains of Aeropa hunts him down and inflict such injuries on him.

When Gioro was being wasted one of the Grandmasters aid Gioro and sent him back to the tribes.

Since then, the tribe has always protected Gioro as appreciation for his past heroics achievement for the Plains People.

‘Wait here’ Ogedei said to Charles.

Charles nodded and takes a seat on the rug inside the tent, looking like he belongs there in the first place. Charles ability to adapt is high.

Ogedei wanted to go to the top of the hill to help Lancel however he can.

As the strongman of the tribe he has responsibility to ensure the holder of the medallion does not suffer in their tribe.

Charles learns a new thing about the Western Barbarian.

Living at a river, one comes to know the nature of the fish therein; dwelling by a mountain, one learns to recognize the language of the birds thereupon.

They are not someone that could easily break a promise.

They even would bet their life because of a promise and Charles has a new opinions about the Western Barbarians.

Charles is not a stupid person.

He knows the reason why so many barbarians tribe did not make trouble for him and his uncle is because of the medallion that Senior Meng Zhang gifted them.

The medallion must symbolizes something important for the Western Barbarians tribes so much so they did not rob him even though it is obvious that Charles and his uncle possesses many valuables which is quiet different in how the people of Midgard views the barbarians.

They are always depicted as a race of thieves and liars, searching profit without ever being content, oath breakers, cannibals and having no propriety and manners of civilized humans.

Their ways is crude but in some aspect they are more straightforward and honest than the scholars in the court.

But the Western Barbarian values bravery.

They value strength. They value their oaths. Straightforward in their conduct.

But the Western Barbarians possess no subtlety in their behaviors which is why many people misunderstand them.

This is Charles opinions of course.

They value strength and as such they seem to be heartless to the weak. They are straightforward but they are a bit blunt.

Charles very much values this kind of values and realizes that the image of the Western Barbarians that he knows from the education of the country is quite different from reality.

Meanwhile on the hill, Lancel was still tangling with the Mad Fairy and the Southern Flower. Nanhua face changes every time she attacks, resembling an Asura with a thousand terrifying face.

Her appearance was extremely terrifying and invokes a feeling of bloodlust ad dread all at the same time.

‘Stop this’ Both of you. I did not come here to Aeropa to seek redress.’ Lancel shouted as he deflect another attack.

‘Humph. Words. That’s is always your way out. Words. No more.’ Xintong scoffed as another sword strike is aimed towards Lancel neck.

Lancel expertly dodged the strike like the movement of the wind, his sword intent coiled around Xintong sword directing the attack away.

‘Your distinguished self is seeking redress?’ Nanhua said in a mocking tone.

‘You think that is why I, the Mad Fairy attack you? It is I that seek redress from you, Red Sword Lancel. Did you forget? Can such act be forgotten?’

Lancel just sighed.

‘The past is the past.  Why spend your life pursuing vengeance? Was it evil what I did? Or was it evil what you did? We hurt each other enough to last a lifetime. I have forgotten. Why didn’t y-‘

Then as Lancel was about to say another word, a whip strike is heading towards his feet.

Lancel was not panicked.

He taps his foot slightly on the ground and he jumped a bit higher as the whip strike struck the ground where his feet were.

The ground exploded and Lancel step his foot on top of the whip, standing like a leaves swaying in the wind.

‘Cheh. Slippery like a loach’ Nanhua scoffed in annoyance as she releases her internal energy making the straight metal whip flexible and soft again.

Lancel only smiles as he tap his foot on the whip and somersaulted backwards.

‘Nanhua, could you not forget old resentment and let the past be the past? Our destiny is not meant to be.’

‘No! I sacrificed so much for you’ she answered as she looks on the handsome face of Lancel. Her old flame. Her first love.

And now the one man she hated the most.

She was once known as one of the beauties in Jianghu. He ruined her.

Lancel shook his head.

Both of these ladies have connection with him in the past. A past he did not want to revisit. After he married Kyra he rarely revisited his old memories.

In the end his past caught up with him. He closed his eyes and said.

‘If this were any other day, I would not mind that you killed me and resolve your resentment. Nanhua, do you think I felt no pain on what happens to us? Xintong, did I leave you in Xiangyang or did you leave me? Who is the debtor of this old debt? Who is the perpetrator? Am I the only one who is responsible on what happened?’

He asked without expecting an answer.

‘If my death satisfies you both, then I would not mind offering it to both of you. I have lived long enough and existence has become a burden these days without my beloved on my side.’

‘That bitch’ Xintong snarled at Lancel. Lancel just shakes his head.

‘But the times are different. You are not Nanhua of the past and you are not Xintong of the past. And I am not the Lancel of the past. You are now the Elders of the Red Snow Palace and I am Lord Lancel of Westhold. If I let you kill me, people of the world will say that my teacher martial artist is not much. That Red Snow Palace martial artist is better than my revered Teacher. I could not let my past actions taint my teacher illustrious reputation in Jianghu. So, I will dispatch you today.’

Saying this declaration his bloodlust swelled.

Then he bounded toward the two women employing the Twelve Immortals Playing in the Mortal World Sword Arts.

The movement and strikes of this sword art is very strange.

It was predictable yet it could not be defended.

The Mad Fairy clothing is slowly being ripped apart by the tempest of the sword strike.

It was like a hurricane of sword moves colliding with Xintong, with no place to escape and no way to defend.

Xintong almost feels suffocated.

Nanhua whip strike on the other hand was being deflected at a crazy rate.

The two women have no opportunity to retaliate and could only rely upon their internal energy to defend their internal organs

The crowds were observing this battle with great interest before many of them closed their eyes.

Curiously, Lancel irregular and fluctuating movements caused them to feel dizzy and hypnotized and inflict nausea on them like they were seeing something unnatural that goes against the Heaven and Earth

‘Leave your weapons and I will not pursue you both’ Lancel said as he was executing the fifth move of the Twelve Immortals Playing in the Mortal World Sword Arts.

Xintong yelled

‘NO! I will get my revenge!’

‘So, be it!’ Lancel said in anger and frustration.

He already gives her a path of safety, yet she wanted to seek the path of Hell.

Lancel body became as light as a feather, nimbly attacking the two women as the injury inflicted on the two women multiply.

All over their body is scratches, sword wounds and cuts. Then when Nanhua who was being cut on her wrist dropped her whip , Lancel thin palm pressed on her chest and she felt a hot energy coursing through her body burning her internal energy away rapidly.

‘What a strange skill!’ Nanhua mused in her mind before the pain sets in.

She release a blood-curdling scream, as her figure staggering left and right trying to find something to hold on to.

But she did not want to fall into Lancel hand so she regulated her breathing and force her reserve internal energy to burn, giving her the ability to stand up again, even when her internal energy is being ravaged furiously by that hot energy.

Looking at Lancel with resentment she spit blood to the ground and shouted out

‘Today is not your day. But someday I will claim your life.’

Saying this, leaving her weapon she jump down from the Hill and jump over the tent like a flying eagle, soaring through the night sky, running away from the battle.

At this very moment Xintong knowing that she  could not defeat Lancel alone should have run away.

But she was stubborn and crazy.

If not how could she gained the title Mad Fairy?

Possessing beautiful face like a fairy descending from the Heavens but as crazy like the Crazy Monk of the Black Tiger Monastery.

When Lancel was attacking Nanhua, he showed his back towards Xintong. Seeing her chance, Xintong attacked with the wind, using her palm strike.

It was the Red Snow Palace martial arts the Blood Demon Palm. Lancel heard the whooshing of the wind, and he smirked.

He voluntarily revealed his back to Xintong.

his figure strangely flipping and meeting Xintong attack with his left palm producing a thunderous roar and crushing the stone boulder nearby to pebbles.

Although Xintong skills are not something to be underestimated, her palm techniques and internal energy were quite lacking compared to Lancel.

Only using his palm he repelled Xintong attack.  Xintong immediately retreated back. Even if she continued fighting, it was clear that he was no match for Lancel.

She smiles bitterly and then she laughed.

‘When will I have my vengeance!’ She yelled to the sky and then she dropped her sword. Looking at Lancel, standing there not attacking her, she bitterly smiles.

Then she jumped down from the hill and in the blink of an eye she was already several meters away.

After a short while, she had already completely disappeared into the night.

Lancel relaxed but what anyone does not see is how his hand was trembling and sweat formed on his back. This is truly his limits.

Fighting two elders of the Red Snow Palace is like fighting two hundred men. Elder level martial artist could fight hundreds of men.

If not for Lancel high attainment in his internal energy, he could not have force those two to retreat that easily.

The crowds cheers praising Lancel prodigious martial arts skills.

‘Great Hero martial art is incredible’ the tribe chief said as he approached Lancel and pat his back . Lancel just smiles and he realizes Ogedei.

Ogedei quickly come forward

‘Ogedei, have you brought my nephew to safety?’

Yes, I leave him on Gioro tent and come here right back after to aid you. It is clear now that Hero Lancel does not require our aid.’

‘Do not say that. Those two are my enemies. This tribe has grace me with hospitality and for that I have been grateful enough. But I need to see my nephew first.’ Lancel said

Then they all climb down the mountain and Lancel immediately went to Gioro tent only to be shock at the state of the tent.

The tent was a mess and Gioro, the old man is lying on the tent floor unconscious with a huge bump on the back of his head.

Lancel search the tent and found no one and he was about to blow his top when he finally saw a purple flower beside the unconscious body of Gioro.

Purple Deity. Lin Ziyan

‘Ziyan…..’Lancel said in a reminiscing tone as he watched the skies, the moon seems to shares his sorrow.

‘When we admire the sky full of flowers, seeing you smile makes my heart rend.

My love could not stop your flowing tears

This hatred when will it end?

People grow old

But the heart does not?’

He seems to ask the moon.

‘I need rest first and then I have to fulfill my promise ten years ago’ Not saying anything, Lancel get out from the tent and sleep.

The tribes were perplexed but none of them wanted to disturb Lancel. At dawn, Lancel inform the tribe chief that he will go to search for his nephew.

Riding a horse, he headed to Xiangyang to fulfill a decade worth of promise.

*****************************************************************************

Not much for this chapter. A bit more about Lancel past. And Charles story is truly beginning.

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