Editor: Areth Kyntaul
Smoke from the Melee
Jin Wangsun’s six family slaves were not ordinary men. Strictly speaking, they could be considered his martial brothers.
The Gold and Silver Sect were different from other sects in the martial world, as they were established as merchants. Therefore, they had little regard for seniority, and made losses and profits their primary priority. As such, it was very rare to hear titles such as Shifu and disciple between them.
These six family slaves were skilled fighters of the sect. They were all very close brothers of the previous master of the sect. Basically, they were akin to Jin Wangsun’s martial uncles and were all well trained. In terms of skills, they didn’t pale in comparison to Jia Rank warriors on Liu Shan’s Elites Rankings.
The Gold and Silver Sect were specialists in producing metal weapons. The refinement workshops they owned could be considered among the top three refinement workshops in Jiangnan. Even many of the Imperial Guards’ weapons were made by the Gold and Silver Sect.
All six of them were armed with premium weapons made by the Gold and Silver Sect. When compared to the crowd that was being pushed back, they stood out as formidable. Especially when they raised their weapon, which made it seem as though six tornadoes were formed, thereby astonishing witnesses.
The Emperor was delighted every time he had an opponent. Emperor Yuan Sheng hadn’t let loose in a long time; plus, he had a few skilled men from the inner court guarding the Prime Minister, so he was fearless. He took on his opponent, who was wielding an executioner sabre, with his bare hands, and yet didn’t show signs of being at a disadvantage.
The Emperor’s martial arts skills were the skills passed down by the founding emperor. He had refined his skills to great heights with many years of practice. The Emperor used a consecutive string of grappling techniques, countering every move his opponent had to offer. His opponent may have already been defeated if not for him wielding the sharp, thick, and heavy executioner sabre.
However, when the Emperor began to get smug, more blades were swung his way. His attackers were more of the hooligans. They all shouted, “Beat him to death! Beat him to death!”
The Emperor, consequently, had to divert his attention to deal with the hooligans yelling out loud, as if they were monkeys in heat, and delaying him from attaining victory over and over.
Meanwhile, the five dark robe elders were doing much worse. The long battle had depleted their stamina, yet four of Jin Wangsun’s family slaves were fighting against them, using their sharp blades to put the six of them on their back feet in an instant.
Ancestral Master Xie and Princess Hongzhuang took on one each, while the four remaining elders only managed to survive by fighting two against one.
Princess Hongzhuang heard one of the slaves say something about their ‘Master’s order,’ ‘Beat them to death,’ and so forth. She came to realise the reason she encountered bandits, and why her grandpa and his company were beaten. She checked to see that her father was still safe and sound. That took care of one of her concerns, for the meantime.
Her opponent used a straight sword qi shot. The clash of their swords formed a sword net. With Princess Hongzhuang’s usual temperament, she wouldn’t have any reason to fear him. She could break the sword net by moulding sufficient internal energy and using a swift slash to cut twice with one slash. However, she was using a wooden sabre this time, while her opponent wielded a shimmering sharp metal sword.
The Princess didn’t lose her cool. She took a small step back and waited for her opponent’s sword net to envelop her. She watched her opponent carefully, to catch the sluggish moment in his movement. With a turn of her blade, she slashed at the weak point in her opponent’s sword web technique to dismantle it. She had trained with the sabre since she was young, so her proficiency with a sabre was exceptionally pure. That meant that she didn’t rely on brute strength to win.
She had dismantled her opponent’s move, but she didn’t rush to chase him. Instead, she swung in the opposite direction, where the hooligans tried to charge at her in an attempt to piggy-back off of her moment of distraction. With her slash, she managed to knock out ten hooligans who didn’t know better.
Despite having his sword move dismantled, the family slave didn’t get discouraged. With a sluggish movement, he utilised Golden Summit, a move which caught the attention of the Princess. The move derived from Emei Sect’s previous generation, so, naturally, the Princess recognised it. She couldn’t help but be startled when she saw him utilise it, but nonetheless, she didn’t dally and swiftly used her sabre to intercept the move.
Noticing that the move was effective, he utilised Emei Sect’s swordplay for his next five or so moves, until the Princess came up with a counter. For his next seven moves, he utilised Cang Sect’s swordplay, and then followed up with Hua Shan’s swordplay.
He employed swordplay from multiple sects back to back, and though they weren’t the most profound swordplay of each respective sect, his execution was incomparably proficient. His natural execution, void of hesitation, was clear evidence that he was accustomed to using them.
His variety of swordplay left the Princess considerably baffled. It wasn’t that he couldn’t use the swordplay of famous sects, but rather that he couldn’t use them well.
To put it into perspective, the swordplay from various sects that he had just executed in actual fact belonged to the same style, except his proficiency lacked. Therefore, his execution wasn’t good, that’s all. The same could be said of the other five. They used more than one school’s style, and so you couldn’t tell who their teacher was from their techniques alone.
Princess Hongzhuang was given surprise after surprise. The current “Heaven Shocker Heavenly Hands” Tang Ye, was conferred the title by her father. It was said that her father made an exception, and allowed him to be ranked among the Seventeen Hidden Dragons despite him ranking on Liu Shan’s Elites Rankings for mere months.
The reason for the exception was that he used numerous styles at the Flying Fish Pavilion, which emphasised hand techniques. It was said that the way he switched from style to style was seamless, with no signs of him switching. Thus, he came to fame faster than anybody in history.
But these six men possessed the same level of martial talent as Tang Ye! That’s impossible!!
The reason for Princess Hongzhuang’s puzzlement was that she didn’t understand the reason for the Gold and Silver Sect’s claim to fame with regards to martial arts.
A century ago, the first patriarch of Gold and Silver Sect was a merchant. He ofttimes managed to collect some secret martial arts manuals in his younger years, thanks to his business operations. Coincidentally, he was a martial arts fanatic.
He was an innately smart man, with good luck. On one occasion, when he had gone out to sea, he obtained a ten-thousand-year golden pearl that gave his internal energy a substantial boost after consuming it.
The combination of all these factors allowed him to blaze a trail and master a powerful set of skills, based on what he saw and heard.
After that, he helped the founding emperor ascend the throne and eliminate his enemies, thereby being crowned one of the Seven Champion White Princes. It was only then that he began to consider the future of the Gold and Silver Sect. His skills were acquired through miraculous luck. His skills were unique, but he couldn’t be considered a top-tier martial artist.
The sect was guaranteed to remain part of the Seven Champion White Princes, for as long as he was around. Perhaps they could maintain their status in the next reign; however, they were bound to fall down to the level of Kongtong Sect, Cang Sect and similar famous local schools or sects.
In fact, they would be worse off than those sects.
The patriarch of the Gold and Silver Sect thought long and hard. He ordered people to collect secret manuals scattered throughout the lands, with the aim of forming his own sect. In the end, he founded a glorious style that had stood the test of time until now.
It sounds as though it was a simple matter on paper, but it was in fact incredibly complex to achieve.
All of the top styles in the pugilistic world are protected by the various sects and schools. Every sect and school was cautious, so as to avoid their skills being acquired by others. He, consequently, opted for a long-term plan, going through much effort to collect secret manuals with his immense wealth.
It took him thirty years’ time to establish an ‘omniscient warehouse.’ Stored inside of the aforementioned warehouse are records of various sects’ classic manuals. Over the years, the storage has continued to be filled with more people bringing in more manuals.
The ‘omniscient warehouse’ is still located at the headquarters of the Gold and Silver sect today. Over the century, only those who had received the orders of the Master of the sect were permitted entry into the warehouse filled with books.
Many years ago, however, when renovations for the warehouse were yet to be complete, the first patriarch had already secluded himself inside to train. That was when he created a rare supreme style.
By then, the first patriarch was no longer young. It took him another thirty years to create a new style. In the end, though, he couldn’t complete the style. Back then, he had begun to feel that his flame was going out, with his talent and thinking starting to fail him. Hence, he couldn’t finish it one year before he passed away.
*Grappling techniques – Here they refer to qinna, not BJJ type of grappling. This is more grab and control your opponent.
**Cang Sect – Pronounced ‘Tsang’