Chapter 1.2: Bai Fengxi

While the crowd was still stunned into stillness and silence, from the stuffy and musty forest rose a spell of laughter that was as light and pleasant as the tinkling of silver bells. For a moment, it was as if a refreshing breeze had swept over the clearing, diluting the raw smell of blood, bringing with it a trace of mild fragrance. It rushed by like an icy brook, pushing away the oppressive heat, and those in the clearing felt as if they were soaking up its cold waters. A slight chill rose from the bottoms of their hearts.

“How fascinating! To see so many stupid geese flocking about just as I woke from my nap!”

A clear voice rang through the forest, but from where, the men could not tell. They could only see a white-robed maiden of about twenty or so perched atop a tall tree three chi from where they stood, her black hair hanging long and straight, a moon-shaped pendant of pure white held to the middle of her forehead by a string of black pearls. Her face was unusually handsome, her mouth held the traces of a mocking smile, her eyes were half-closed, and the whole of her person looked down at the crowd, still half-lazing in the realm of sleep.

“What sort of personage are you?” Lin-daxia raised his voice to ask.

“Lin Yinan from Nanguo? You’re so brave and willing to step forward now, but why did you back away from Yan Yingzhou’s sword just then?” The white-robed maiden returned his question with a question, and, with a wave of her hand, summoned something towards her.

It was just then that the crowd could clearly see that the ‘thing’ that she had summoned was indeed Yan Yingzhou, who was in a death-like faint, a skein of white silk wrapped around his waist. Then it must have been the white-robed maiden who used the flash of white silk to rescue him!

“You?” Lin Yinan asked, his face red with shame.

“Tsk, tsk. Though Yan Yingzhou is a hero to be reckoned with, it’s such a shame that you lot of cowards drove him to this state!” That white-robed maiden held Yan Yingzhou up with a single hand, lightly measuring him up, shaking her head while sighing elegantly. In her hands, a large man weighing well over a hundred catties* seemed to be as easy to carry as an infant.

“You stinking bitch, do you not want to live anymore?” a crude voice shouted out. One man, big and solid, with a red face and a thick neck, detached himself from the crowd. Considering that they were each men of resounding reputations within their countries, how could he not be angry when called a coward?

“Stink –”

Before the words were out of his mouth, a flash of green shot by. With a pa! sound, his mouth was sealed firmly by a single green leaf.

“The way you speak is too unpleasant; I don’t want to hear it.” With a flick of her hand, the white-robed maiden placed Yan Yingzhou gently down, and then waving her hand, said, “Your tone was so nasty, it’s better to keep your mouth shut.”


There were some who could not hold back their laughter, but immediately restrained themselves when they saw the ferociousness on the face of the man.

By this time the man’s face was so bloated as to resemble a pig’s liver. He reached a hand up to rip the leaf off of his mouth, and when he did, he felt a numbing sort of pain. His heart was full of both fury and surprise, but he didn’t dare open his mouth. The white-robed maiden could seal his his mouth so tightly at a whim, which was enough to show him that her skill was such that, in her hands, even a flower, a leaf, might become a lethal weapon. Yet he did could not even even see how it was that she was attacked. If it weren’t for the fact that she  was merciful, perhaps he would have shared the fate of Gong Wudu. As he could not defeat her, and to make more noise would be looking for trouble, he decided not to act until he assessed the situation further.

“This young lady, those who are gathered here today are not without solid reputations. Though your martial skills are very good, two fists cannot easily defeat four hands. So what reason have you for meddling in the affairs of others? It’s better for you to walk your own path, and at the same time leave a friendly impression on all of us, so that it’s easier for us to meet again in some other, pleasanter, place,” the man who looked like a merchant advised politely.

“He Xun, you certainly know how to do business. Your words can certainly be counted as being reasonable and fair; it’s hard for people not to be moved by them. No wonder why your Heavenly Merit Protection Agency is doing so well,” the white-robed maiden nodded her head at He Xun.

Hearing this, He Xun released the breath he was holding. He had been in jianghu his entire life, and he could just about assess the extent of others’ skills. Against so large a crowd, the white-robed maiden was still at ease, and just from the way she attacked, she was certainly not ordinary. Thus one less incident was better than one more, and the task at hand was still the Xuanzong Seal.

“Only…” Just when the crowd had released their collective breaths, the white-robed maiden spoke again.

“Only what?” He Xun asked. Though his manner was still pleasant, his heart began to beat harder.

“So long as you’re willing to pay me reparations, I will naturally leave.” The white-robed maiden smiled lazily.

“That’s a simple matter; how much do you want, young lady?” He Xun smiled to himself. So she was one of those who liked money.

“I don’t ask for much.” The white-robed maiden extended a single finger.

“One hundred taels?” He Xun asked.

The white-haired maiden shook her head.

“One thousand taels?” He Xun asked again.

The white-haired maiden shook her head again.

“Young lady, could it be you’re asking for ten thousand taels?” He Xun sucked in his breath. Wasn’t this like ‘the lion opening its mouth?’

“Not so, not so.”  The white-haired maiden sighed and shook her head.

“Then young lady…” He Xun could not guess how much she wanted. It couldn’t possibly a million taels, could it?”

“Master He, you really are a businessman. Can you think of nothing aside from money?” The white silk in her hands twined around this and snaked around that.

“I’m afraid I must ask you to enlighten me.”

“My original intention was to take a noon nap, but just when my dream started to turn sweet, I was wakened by your rowdiness. But really, when a dream is interrupted it isn’t so big a deal, isn’t that right, Master He?”

He Xun nodded his head, but he could not tell what she was talking about.

“But the problem lies in the fact that this dream was a once-in-a-lifetime sort of dream.” The smile vanished suddenly from her face, and said with a serious face, “You must know, I dreamt that I was that I was invited to go up Mount Kunlun of the Immortals by the Queen Mother of the West herself, in order to taste the jeweled nectar of the gods, to be given a dance and a song by the immortals, and it really was very satisfying. She also bestowed upon me one of the peaches of immortality from Yaochi, but just when I was about to receive it, I was woken from my beautiful dream by you people. What do you say, Master He? Don’t you think it’s a serious matter?”

“What? You wretched woman, are you toying with us?” Lin Yinan yelled angrily.

“Tsk, tsk,” the white-robed maiden said, shaking her head while looking at Lin Yinan, a hint of a smile still on her face. “How could I toy with you? I’m being very serious, you know, and the heavenly peaches on the shores of Yaochi are not the same as common peaches. They can grant you immortality and admit you into the ranks of heaven, which is something so many people can only hope to dream of; yet you interrupted my eating of them. Think of what you have deprived me of! So of course you must compensate me!”

“Could it be that you want us to replace your lost peach with a new one?” He Xun’s face changed from a look of amicability to one of gloom.

“Of course!” The white-robed maiden waved her hand, the white silk forming itself into a peach shape in midair.  “So long as you replace my peach of immortality, I’ll leave at once, and wash my hands of this whole Yan Yingzhou, Xuanzun-whatever matter.”

“It looks like you’ve decided to meddle, young lady!” He Xun’s face grew cold, and secretly he grasped a pair of hidden weapons. “If I may be so bold as to offer you one last bit of advice, all of us here today are heroes of the six kingdoms, and by meddling, you are offending all six of these kingdoms. No matter how big the heavens may be, come time for it, there may be no place for you to hide!”

“I am truly honoured to have met the heroes of the six kingdoms gathered here today!” the white-robed maiden laughed. “But I’m a person who wouldn’t know Mount Tai if I stood before it, so I really can’t see very many heroes here about.”  

He Xun had originally thought that once he’d said what he needed to say, the chit would have at least a few misgivings, no matter how lofty her martial prowess may be. But who would have thought that she’d face him with a countenance full of interest, not minding the reputations of these heroes, and speak to them with a voice full of ridicule?

“Might I ask if you’re the hero called Feng?” The white-robed general standing behind the maiden suddenly asked.

“Yi? You know of me?” The white-robed maiden shifted her eyes to look at him, a recognition, however vague, that she was the ‘hero called Feng’ he spoke of.

The white-robed general suddenly laid down his silver spear and gave her proper salutations. “Everyone knows of the silken-robed snow-mooned White Fengxi, to say nothing of so lowly a person as myself.”

Once these words were spoken, the crowd was shocked. He Xun, especially, was pleased that he had not attacked her with his hidden weapons, or else…he would have likely had a taste of his own medicine!

To speak of the knight-errants with the most formidable martial abilities of present was to speak of Fengxi* and Fengxi*, but because their names were homophones, it was easy to confuse them, so those in wulin knew them in accordance with their manner of dress as ‘Black Fengxi’ and ‘White Fengxi,’ known together as ‘White Feng and Black Xi.’ They’ve been well-known for ten years already, and are considered to be some of the best martial artists, so it was assumed that they were already approaching old age. Who would have thought that White Fengxi was actually a young girl?

“You needn’t be so courteous. If I find your compensation lacking, I can’t say that my white silk won’t find its way around your necks,” Fengxi giggled. She sat upon the tree branches, swinging her legs to and fro, long black locks swinging lightly to the rhythm of her body. “From the looks of the silver spear in your hands, you must be the ‘Cloud Piercing’ General of the Feng Kingdom, Ren Chuanyun.”

“I am Chuanyun.” The white-robed general Ren Chuanyun replied, still careful and respectful. He then asked, “Are you interested in the Xuanzun Seal as well, Feng-nvxia?*”

“I have no interest at all in the Xuanzun Seal, but this Yan Yingzhou is exactly my type, and letting him die here is really such a pity, so I want to take him away,” Fengxi said lightly.

“Rubbish! You say say you’re interested in Yan Yingzhou, but you’re just interested in the Xuanzun Seal on his body! This sort of bullshit excuse is enough to fool of three-year-old, but you’d better save it in front of me!” a bearded man could not help but to respond.

Everyone here was in search of the Xuanzun Seal. Some were seeking it for themselves, others were hired for a large price, and others still were under the command of their respective kings. “The one who has the seal has the world,” what a tempting prospect! Even if they could not use it themselves, to sell or give it to any one of the six possible rulers of these ten thousand lis of rivers and mountains would bring them riches and status.

“What ugly words!”

They heard Fengxi say this indifferently, and then a flash of green swept past, right towards the bearded man. The bearded man saw the leaf flying at him and had the intuition to leap out of its way, but before he could move, the leaf plastered itself to his lips with a loud ‘bang!’ and he could only feel his the pain of his lips and teeth. The pain was to the point that he wanted to cry for his father, his mother, but there was no way for him to vocalise.

“The prince of my country wants the Xuanzun Seal; I wonder if Feng-nvxia would allow me to take it from Yan Yingzhou’s body?” Ren Chuanyun directed this at Fengxi as if he didn’t see anything.

“Xuanzun Seal? Does Prince Lanxi also want to be the ruler of the world?” Fengxi asked, head tilted, with a smile that was not quite a smile on her face. Without waiting for his reply, she spoke again: “Only, this Xuanzun Seal is something that Yan Yingzhou protected at the risk of losing his life. I think it’s better to let him keep it.”

“According to this, then, Feng-nvxia is unwilling to let Chuanyun take it from him?” Ren Chuanyun’s eyes narrowed a sliver, and unconsciously, he gripped the silver spear in his hands tighter.

“What? Would you try and take it by force?” Fengxi had just spoken when, without seeing her person move, the white silk in her hands started fluttering in the wind, as if in possession of a life of its own.

The white silk swung savagely in the air like a dragon, and those present suddenly felt an imposing presence pushing down at them with a force that would topple mountains and overturn seas, forcing them into a circle, unable to move. They tried to move their qi and resist, but with each oscillation of the silk, the presence increased, and those who were weaker than the others had already started to sweat with exertion. Others had their eyes open wide and their faces swollen red in colour, or ground their teeth tightly together, desperately trying to maintain their composure, but each knew in their hearts that if the presence were to continue pressing down upon them, they’d be left with half a life at best.

Ren Chuanyun had his spear gripped tightly before him, its tip pointing straight at the head of the white dragon, his eyes staring unblinkingly at the white silk, all the energy in his body directed into his two arms, resisting with all his might. But the pressure increased, and his chest grew tighter and tighter, and the tip of the spear was quivering. The fingers in his hands hurt to the point of numbness, and his eyes had started to tremble. He could not resist for much longer, and felt himself being driven into the ground…