Heart Crushing Palm, part 3

Lin Zhennan let out a deep sigh as tears poured down his face and fell on the body of Escort Chu. “Brother Chu,” he murmured as he carried the body into the hall, “if I can’t avenge you, I’d rather die. Why…why did you leave so hurriedly without even telling us the name of your killer?”

Escort Chu was just a regular escort in the Escort House, and not particularly close to Lin Zhennan. Lin Zhennan’s tears were shed more out of frustration than from the sadness of losing a friend. 

Madam Wang stood in front of the hall holding her golden saber in her left hand. Pointing at the courtyard with her right hand, she shouted challengingly.

   “You cursed murderers! Why are you hiding yourselves and sneaking around? If you are real men, I dare you to come to the Fortune Prestige Escort House and fight a real fight. Aren’t you afraid of being looked down with all of this sneaking around?”

   “Did you see anything?” Lin Zhennan asked his wife in a whisper as he placed Escort Chu’s body down on the ground.

   “No, I didn’t see anything,” Madam Wang growled. “These rotten lowlifes must be frightened of our Lin Family’s seventy-two moves of the Evil-Resisting Sword Art.” She waved the saber in the air and continued, “They are frightened of the golden saber in my hand, too!”

Suddenly, a snickering sound rose from a corner of the roof, and then with a hiss of wind, an object zipped through the air and struck the spine of the golden saber. Madam Wang felt a shock run through her arm and she had to let go of the weapon. The saber flew into the air and landed in the middle of the courtyard.

Madam Wang's saber was broken after hit by something
Madam Wang's saber was broken after hit by something

Wasting no time, Lin Zhennan unsheathed his sword and jumped up onto the roof, and with a move called “Cast Upon Demons,” the tip of his sword danced like the scatter of falling petals and flew toward the origin of the attack. Having not been able to face his enemies, he found his anger growing over the past couple of days and it now reached the point of explosion. Sparing no strength, he attacked with full force. But the attack hit nothing. The corner of the roof was completely empty; there wasn’t even a shadow. He jumped onto the roof of the east room, but found no one there either. 

Madam Wang and Lin Pingzhi also jumped up onto the roof with their weapons drawn. Filled with fury, Madam Wang snarled.

   “Damn you! You son of a dog! Be a man; come out and fight. Are you scared? What kind of shameless cowards are you?”

   “Where did that son of a dog go? Who was he?” she asked Lin Zhennan.

   Lin Zhennan shook his head. “Keep your voice down,” he whispered.

The three searched the entire roof and then jumped back down to the courtyard.

   “What hit your saber?” Lin Zhennan asked in a low voice.

   “Damn that son of a dog! I don’t know,” Madam Wang snapped.

They searched the courtyard but could find neither darts nor other missiles. The only thing they were able to find were small grains of bricks spread over the floor under the osmanthus tree. Obviously the attacker had hit Madam Wang’s saber with just a small piece of brick, and it was quite frightening to imagine that such a small piece of brick could have carried such great power. Seeing the fragments of brick, Madam Wang stopped cursing. Her anger was quenched, and completely replaced with fear. She froze for a moment, and then walked silently into the room. 

    After her husband and son entered, Madam Wang shut the door behind them. “The enemy is too skillful. We’re not in the same class. What…what shall we…?” she whispered nervously.

    “We can ask for help from friends. It’s perfectly normal for people to help each other in a time of need,” Lin Zhennan replied.

    “We have many true friends that we can trust, but how many of them can fight better than we can? The ones that are no better than us won’t be of any help anyway,” Madam Wang questioned. 

    “Yes, you are right,” Lin Zhennan admitted, “but the more people, the more brain power. It might not be a bad idea to ask them for ideas.”

   “Fine! Who do you think we should ask?” Madam Wang asked.

   “Let’s get friends who live close by first,” Lin Zhennan suggested. “I will transfer all the elite fighters from our Escort Houses in Hangzhou, Nanchang and Guangzhou here, and also invite famous Kung-Fu masters in our province and the neighboring three provinces.”

   “Don’t you think that would hurt the reputation of the Fortune Prestige Escort House?” Madam Wang frowned.

   “Wife, you are thirty-nine years old this year, right?” Lin Zhennan suddenly asked out of the blue.

   “Why are you suddenly asking about my age? I was born in the year of the Tiger; don’t you remember how old I am?” Madam Wang spat at him.

   “I’ll be sending out invitations for your fortieth birthday party…,” Lin Zhennan said when Madam Wang quickly cut him short grouchily.

   “Why the hell are you so interested in seeing me get a year older? You think I’m not old enough already?”

   “You’re not old at all! You don’t even have a single gray hair.” Lin Zhennan shook his head. “I am using your fortieth birthday as an excuse, so when we invite relatives and friends over, we won’t arouse any suspicion. When everybody arrives, we shall only tell our close friends the true story, then there will be no damage to our reputation,” he explained.  (To be continued)

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