Caught by The Enemy, part 1

Lin Zhennan signaled his wife and son to stop by the corner of the street. “Let them go north, we shall go south instead,” he whispered.

   “Isn’t Luoyang north from here? Why are we going south?” Madam Wang could not understand. 

   “The enemy probably has guessed where we are heading to, and have set up an ambush outside the north gate. But, if we go south instead, and then make a turn later to go back north, the ambush will not work,” Lin Zhennan explained.

   “Father!” Lin Pingzhi suddenly called out.

   “What is it, son?” Lin Zhennan asked, but Lin Pingzhi did not say anything more. After a little while he called again, “Father!” 

   “What do you want to say, just speak out,” Madam Wang encouraged him.

   “I still want to go out from the north gate,” Lin Pingzhi declared. “These damn monsters have killed so many of our people, if we don’t fight them to the death, how can we vent our anger?” 

  “Of course we will get our revenge. But with your skill level, can you defeat his ‘Heart Crushing Palm’?” asked Madam Wang rhetorically. 

  “So what! At most I’ll just get killed like Escort Huo with my heart crushed in pieces!” Lin Pingzhi rebuffed her. 

Lin Zhennan’s face turned livid with anger. “If all the three generations of our Lin family had acted as recklessly as you, the Fortune Prestige Escort House would have collapsed by itself, saving our enemies the trouble,” he bellowed. 

Lin Pingzhi did not dare say another word, and just followed his parents quietly. They kept heading south, until they were well out of town, and then turned southwest. After crossing the Min River, they arrived at a small town, Nanyu. They continued the trip for half a day without stopping anywhere. When they finally needed a respite, it was already past noon. 

Seeing a small restaurant by the road, they decided to stop and have something to eat. Lin Zhennan told the waiter to bring whatever was available and that the food should be prepared as fast as possible. The waiter took the order and left, but after a long while, there was still no food forthcoming. “Waiter, hurry up!” Lin Zhennan yelled, wanting to resume their trip as fast as possible. He yelled one more time, but there was still no response. 

Madam Wang started calling out as well, “Waiter, waiter….” Still no response. 

Jumping up from her seat, Madam Wang drew the golden saber out from her pack. Gripping it tightly in her hand, she ran to the back room, only to find the waiter lying prone on the ground. There was also a woman lying draped over the threshold. Madam Wang put her finger near the waiter’s nostrils and found that he was not breathing. She felt the lips of the body. They were still warm. 

By then, Lin Zhennan and Lin Pingzhi had already drawn their swords and started checking the surroundings of the small restaurant. The restaurant stood next to a hill all by itself, adjacent to a small forest, with no other shop or neighbor nearby. The trio stood in front of the restaurant and gazed into the distance in all directions, but there was nothing unusual at all. 

Lin Zhennan held his sword in front of him and started shouting in a loud voice. “Friends of the Qingcheng Sword School, Lin Zhennan is right here awaiting his destiny. Please show yourselves.”

He called out several times, but was only answered by his own echoes, “Show yourselves…show yourselves…!” The trio knew that their enemies were watching close by. This was obviously the spot where they had decided to make their attack. All three of them gasped nervously, but knowing that everything would soon be over, one way or the other, they also felt a sense of relief and were able to regain some sense of calm. 

Lin Pingzhi got a sidekick before knocked down
Lin Pingzhi got a sidekick before knocked down

   “Lin Pingzhi stands before you! Come and get me! You filthy scoundrels! I know you’re too scared to show yourselves. All you can do is to sneak around, like thieving pickpockets!” Lin Pingzhi yelled.

Suddenly, laughter shot toward them from the woods. Lin Pingzhi only had enough time to take in a glimpse of a blurry shadow, before finding a man standing right in front of him. He did not even bother to take a good look at the man before thrusting his sword toward the man’s chest, using the move called “Attack Straight to the Heart.” The man turned to one side and dodged the attack. Lin Pingzhi changed the thrust to a slash to the side. The man sneered and stepped around to Lin Pingzhi’s left. Lin Pingzhi struck with his left hand and then thrust the sword back. 

Lin Zhennan and Madam Wang both had their weapons in hand and were about to jump in to help, but after seeing the well-arranged series of moves Lin Pingzhi had put together, they both stepped back. Lin Pingzhi appeared to be very calm and well organized while fighting such a tough enemy. The man wore a purple robe and had a sword hanging at his waist. He seemed to be about twenty-three or twenty-four years of age, and disdain was written all over his long face. 

Lin Pingzhi could no longer keep his anger under control. He chopped and stabbed and slashed and diced using the “Evil-Resisting Sword Art” recklessly, not worrying about his own safety. The man just moved around, dodging attacks without bothering to draw his own sword or fight back. After Lin Pingzhi had used about twenty different moves or so, the man finally sneered.

   “Is this the vaunted ‘Evil-Resisting Sword Art’? How mediocre!” 

He flicked the sword with his finger, and there was a reverberating ring. Lin Pingzhi felt a sharp pain between his thumb and index finger, and could no longer hold on to his sword. The sword fell to the ground and before he knew it, the man had thrown a sidekick at him,which knocked him down and sent him rolling across the ground. Immediately, Lin Zhennan and Madam Wang rushed over and stood side by side to shield their son behind them. (To be continued)

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