Zhuo Feiyang lives in a small Public House located near a pine forest. Inside the forest, there are at least ten houses in similar designs that house residents for rank seven Protectors.
He used to stay in a large courtyard which housed ten smaller residence within the area. Each protector would reside in each one individually. The atmosphere of the area was joyous. Ever since he became a rank seven Protector, Zhuo Feiyang moved into the smaller sized Public House.
If he gets promoted to rank six, he would be able to stay in a Public House by the lake which has access to a full view of the beautiful lakeside scenery from the window. He would get to enjoy the gentle caress of the cooling breeze every single day. It would be a marvelous life.
Zhuo Feiyang's mind traveled elsewhere to the time he fought a friendly battle with Zhao Ying. Soon after, he returned to his house only to find Lee Yue standing in front door waiting for him. The visitor wore a devilish smile.
He walked up to him and said, "What on earth do you think you're doing here?!"
Lee Yue laughed, "Zhuo Feiyang my friend, I am here to send you a call for a brawl."
"From that guy Chu Li?" Zhuo Feiyang creased his eyebrows.
Lee Yue handed him the letter and laughed, "Brother Zhuo Feiyang, is it possible for you to respond right here and now?"
Zhuo Feiyang opened the letter to have a look. His face immediately went sullen. Soon he found himself smirking, "Chu Li, you truly are unpredictable!"
When he challenged Chu Li to face to face, the latter refused. But just as he returned home, a challenge had arrived at him. He has changed his mind so quickly, isn't this a joke!
"Brother Zhuo Feiyang, do you accept the challenge?"
"Splendid. Tomorrow afternoon, we will be waiting for you at The East Garden!" Lee Yue smiled and said, "I still need to head over to Zhao Ying's to send this letter, goodbye!"
"Ah!" Zhuo Feiyang didn't look delighted at all. He stormed past the house entrance, not heeding Lee Yue after that.
Lee Yue shook his head. His smile vanished and thought to himself, "What a short-tempered man. Does he need to overreact like that?"
Zhao Ying was residing in a large courtyard. Playful giggles from womenfolk could be heard reverberating around the place. Lee Yue stood outside and called for Zhao Ying from afar. She looked surprised when she was handed the letter.
"Senior Lee Yue, what is this?" said Zhao Ying with widened eyes.
Lee Yue laughed cheekily, "Brother Chu has issued a challenge letter to Brother Zhuo Feiyang, and he has agreed to it. Tomorrow we shall await the arrival of these two men."
'Another challenge?" Zhao Ying exclaimed in shock.
Lee Yue responded with a solemn smile, "Sigh Truth be told, I myself don't know what is up with brother Chu Li. Anyway, just show up for the occasion alright Ms. Zhao Ying?"
"Could it be that senior Chu Li hasn't got the word that senior Zhuo Feiyang is already at rank seven?" Zhao Ying furrowed her eyebrows as she tried to figure out the reason. Then she snapped, "Isn't senior Chu Li just looking for trouble?!"
"Alright, I will be there," said Zhao Ying with a worried look. She seemed deep in thought.
"Many thanks, Ms. Zhao Ying!" Lee Yue held his fists together to show respect. He then turned around and left the place.
Zhuo Feiyang and Zhao Ying rode a boat to The East Garden. Lee Yue was already there awaiting their arrival. He stood under a willow tree by the bank. He waved from afar.
"Where is Chu Li?" Zhuo Feiyang eyed around cautiously.
Zhao Ying was donned in a dress of alluring green, a color that matched the crystalline waters of the lake. She looked pretty, but there was worry written all over her face.
The East Garden belonged to the Third Lady, Xiao Qi. Entry was only granted to those who had an invitation. Without permission from Chu Li and Lee Yue, any intrusion would be subjected to harsh penalties.
Senior Chu Li utilized this fact to his advantage. Even if he had killed brother Zhuo Feiyang on this property, he wouldn't be punished. All that was left to worry about is how aggressive Chu Li would inflict his attacks.
Zhuo Feiyang shouted aloud, "Mr. Chu Li, the great Zhuo Feiyang has arrived. Why don't you hurry to give him a grand welcome!"
Just as he spoke, the small boat had docked at the bank.
Lee Yue laughed as he held his fists together, "Brother Zhuo Feiyang, please do be patient. Brother Chu Li is just preparing his tea. I welcome you both with great pleasure. Please, follow me."
Zhuo Feiyang sneered, as he turned around and said, "Bai Zhijie, you just wait out here."
Bai Zhijie nodded respectfully and said, "I understand, Master!"
Zhuo Feiyang and Zhao Ying arrived on land and followed Lee Yue into The East Garden. Soon they reached a small courtyard that Zhuo Feiyang's eyes beamed with excitement. He kept looking around, but with a certain cautiousness in his eyes.
Zhao Ying on the other hand curiously observed her surroundings. The East Garden really lived up to its name. It was decorated with exotic flowers and the scenery was simply breathtaking!
Inside, they found Chu Li sitting at a stone table. On top of the table were four pots of hot tea. The fragrance of the tea diffused through the air which gave out a very refreshing scent.
Chu Li had just finished his practice on the "Infinite Sea of Azure" skill move. It was a move that required skills of inner strength as you need perseverance. This move he had chosen had him train with all his heart.
The move was strong and demanding in nature, just like a giant wave surging towards the skies. With every circulation, the power would be reinforced a stage higher. The highest threshold or maximum potential would be at the ninth stage, which then the individual could unleash a power nine times stronger than themselves.
However, such an immensely powerful skill move comes with a single devastating weakness. Before you are able to unleash it on an enemy, the sheer ferocity of the power exerted would have already consumed and damaged your internal body. Even the toughest jades or precious stones could not withstand such ferocity. Upon usage of this power, it would instantaneously rupture all the veins of its user.
Chu Li was brave enough to choose this skill due to two factors. Firstly, he was well trained with the "Venular Cleanse" technique, which was an ancient technique that increased one's efficiency and durability of their veins by multiple folds. Secondly, he has acquired mastery over the "Verdant Recuperation" ability.
With both the "Venular Cleanse" technique and the enlightenment of the Ku-Rung scriptures, the durability of his veins was above the threshold of an average person. Therefore, learning the "Infinite Sea of Azure" move would not damage but instead maximize the potential of his current abilities.
On top of that, he had chosen to hone his skills on the "Life or Eternity" and the "Aerial Blade". With these skills, he has the capability of transferring all his inner strength onto a sword and inflicting immediate death upon his enemies. It was a fine line between the death of his enemy or his own.
Combining the "Infinite Sea of Azure" and the "Life or Eternity" skill moves, he could unleash multiple folds of power harnessed from within himself.
Upon hearing footsteps, his inner strength dissipated. His bright eyes became dull. Chu Li reverted back as someone who was soaring with inner power back to a normal average person. Now he looks no different than any scholar who had never trained in the inner strength arts.
The three visitors then stepped into the small courtyard. Chu Li rose to his feet and gave them a greeting. He smiled and said, "Sun Junior Zhao Ying, what an honor to be your host. Come, have a seat and try the tea that Brother Lee Yue had cultivated."
Zhuo Feiyang looked uninterested. He then replied, "Chu Li, have you put something in the tea?"
Chu Li's smile immediately vanished. He shook his head, "Your shallow thinking had done nothing but taint my honor. Do you really think I am as sly as you?"
"Chu Li, stop talking trash. Come on, let's fight!" Zhuo Feiyang wasn't interested in debating with him. He would lose in that game and it would be a lost cause.
Chu Li picked up the teapot and passed it to Zhao Ying, "Zhuo Feiyang, how about another bet, eh?"
"Quit these dirty tactics. If you want to fight, you fight. If you are too cowardly to do so, admit defeat!' Zhuo Feiyang parted his lips sideways and spat. He then commented, "All that you know are these sly schemes of yours!"
Chu Li cocked his head and started mocking him, "Well, well, look who's becoming clever? You learn from your fall, as they say."
Zhuo Feiyang gave him a cold smirk, "Chu Li, it seems that you do not really have a solid plan, do you? You're scared, and you're going to chicken out from this any time now, am I right?"
"If you dare to even make a move, why would you need to delay it for so long?"
"Wow, that actually makes sense. I'm surprised since it's coming from you"
Zhuo Feiyang snarled, "Why not just admit your defeat? Save me my time in beating your ass up like a little baby, who will then cry out loud for your mommy and daddy!"
"However Chu Li, if you agree with me on one thing, I will not start any trouble!"
"And what is it?"
"Forget our previous bet!"
"Mr. Chu Li, don't wait until it's too late to save yourself. Once I start beating you up, I will make sure I break every bone in your limbs. It will then be your fault for challenging me!" Zhuo Feiyang gritted his teeth and fixed a fierce stare towards his foe.
Chu Li drew out the sword from under the table and got up to his feet. He stood in the middle of the courtyard and then challenged, "Let's start fighting then!"
"Wow, what a commotion!", said a voice from nearby.
Zhuo Feiyang immediately turned his head around, and color drained from his face. He quickly held his fists together to show respect. He bowed down towards the source of the voice, "Greetings, Chief Shu!"
Chu Li, Zhao Ying, and Lee Yue followed suit.
Su Ru stood at the entrance, looking amused. Her chestnut yellow dress swayed gently with the rhythm of the breeze, like a blossoming flower. She brightened up the courtyard.
"What was all that fuss about?" Su Ru wore a warm smile as she asked. She looked at the direction of Zhuo Feiyang.
Zhuo Feiyang briefly stared at Chu Li, then replied humbly, "Chief, Chu Li issued me a call for combat, hence I am here to accept his challenge!"
"A call for combat? Chu Li issued that to you?" Su Ru's eyes widened.
"Yes." Zhuo Feiyang nodded respectfully and added, "I would not dare lie to you, Chief Shu!"
"Chu Li, are you out of your mind?"
"Chief, I just wanted to see his gifted talent for myself!"
'You are a Protector!"
"I like practicing the martial arts."
"You did not learn the inner strengths, so why even challenge? You are just seeking your own doom!"
"It wouldn't hurt to try, even if I fail."
Zhuo Feiyang looked at Chu Li, and stole a quick glance at Su Ru.
Su Ru was radiant. He did not dare to look her straight in the eye. However, from her tone, he could tell that she was more worried about Chu Li then him. He felt both envious and furious at the same time. Zhuo Feiyang hid rage deep inside his heart, "I will break him, I must destroy him!"
Zhuo Feiyang then realized why Chu Li dared to challenge him in the first place. He had someone to cover for him all along!
He was so angry that he felt very sure in enforcing that victory. He smiled coldly as he stared at Chu Li. Zhuo Feiyang then turned to face Su Ru and said, "Chief, weapons watch for no men. Once a fighter starts to battle, it is inevitable to lose grip of moderation."
Chu Li exclaimed, "If you really can kill me then I take it that you are highly skilled and Chief would not punish you for it!"
"Nonsense!" Su Ru's pretty face darkened a little.
Zhuo Feiyang responded quickly, "Then forget it, a battle like this would be of significance. It is not the same as taking action or fighting with your own brawl!"
Su Ru was obviously on Chu Li's side. If they did fight, there would only be dire consequences.
Chu Li mocked, "Are you scared now, Zhuo Feiyang?"
Zhuo Feiyang snapped, "Say what?"
"Chief, can you please help out?" Chu Li begged as he smiled at Su Ru.
Su Ru gave him the eye, and sheepishly said, "I am not interested in your business!"
"Zhuo Feiyang, come forth. Quit making excuses!"
"Watch this!" Zhuo Feiyang let out a yell and channeled all of his envy and wrath into a fierce punch. He dived down like a comet as he charged towards his foe in lightning pace.
Chu Li took a step aside and angled the tip of his sword towards him.
Zhuo Feiyang twisted his body in just the nick of time and avoided the sword. He directed a punch at him with his left fist which led him his consecutive punches to be faster than the last.
Chu Li swiped his sword across. His move was always a step ahead of Zhuo Feiyang's punches and seemed to be able to predict his enemy's every move. Zhuo Feiyang had no choice but to maneuver his punches and adapt his moves accordingly. He had lost the upper hand he gained initially. With Chu Li's sword consistently before him, he was forced to follow the rhythm of his enemy.
After a dozen attempted punches, Zhuo Feiyang turned so frustrated that he wanted to scream. He even had an insane thought of using his bare fists to take on the sword. He wanted to land a punch on Chu Li so bad.
Su Ru watched attentively.
She had heard that Chu Li had decent sword skills, but she didn't expect that he was this good. Zhuo Feiyang's punches were swift as lightning and it was beyond a normal person's speed. Chu Li didn't learn of the inner strength, but he took the match under control with his sword skills alone. He was indeed a remarkable swordsman!
If Chu Li learns the art of inner strength, his speed would increase by a tremendous scale. She predicted he could even take on a Rank six Protector single-handedly.
He was born talented but could not use it to practice the arts of inner strength. What a waste! A complete waste!
She couldn't help but shake her head.
Zhuo Feiyang held off his raging fury as he unleashed his full power. His punches increased in speed exponentially.
"Ah!" he screamed in pain. His body jolted to a stop. The tip of the sword landed right in front of his throat. He felt the coldness of the steel.
Zhuo Feiyang froze. His facial expressions turned distorted and he stared blankly at Chu Li.
Chu Li laughed and withdrew his weapon, "Zhuo Feiyang, you lose!"
"You" Zhuo Feiyang could not shift his death stare away from his foe.
"You're not satisfied? Want a rematch?"
"Come at me!"
Chu Li smiled, "How shameless!"
"I was careless, do you dare to rematch?" Zhuo Feiyang yelled angrily.
Su Ru frowned.
Zhao Ying called out, "Senior Zhuo Feiyang!"
"But" Zhuo Feiyang could not accept his defeat.
He had worked very hard for this. He isolated himself from the outside world to train and finally passed the test to become a Rank seven Protector. He could finally hold his head up high and proudly declare that he defeated Chu Li!
But who would have known, that Chu Li was hard to defeat. Even a Rank seven Protector as himself could lose to him
At that point, he wondered if Chu Li was enhanced by a magic essence that could stimulate his potentials. How then could it be possible that he is able to exhibit that kind of speed? He had never practiced the arts of inner strength, so how could his reflexes be that fast?
As soon as he recovered from the effects of the essence, he would revert back to his original threshold. He would then slump to a terrible defeat under his hands!
Chu Li prompted him, "If you really are not satisfied, then let's battle again!"
Zhuo Feiyang sneered back at him, "Take a breather before you speak. You don't have the inner strength and I don't want you to say that I'm being a mean bully after you lose to me. What if you don't admit your loss by then?"
"I am not shameless!"
Zhuo Feiyang boldly said to Su Ru, "Chief Shu, you hear that? This is hilarious!"
Su Ru replied, "Zhuo Feiyang, what happened today must be kept a secret. No one else can know about this!"
"Yes." Zhuo Feiyang was puzzled but he did not ask any further questions.
Su Ru gave Zhuo Feiyang a judgmental look and said, "You are still young, but you have already achieved the status of a Rank seven, amazing!"
"I'm ashamed." Zhuo Feiyang looked embarrassed as he laughed bitterly.
Su Ru said, "A win or a loss, it does not matter. You have the talent, so you will grow stronger day by day. There's no need to be so dejected because of one defeat!"
"Yes." Zhuo Feiyang nodded obediently.
Su Ru stopped their conversation and turned around to chat with Zhao Ying instead.
The Federal Public House has quite a number of female Protector serving there. Most of them were tasked to protect the womenfolk from within the property. Even if they were called to perform a mission from outside the Public House, they often only encountered minimal danger.
Zhao Ying was highly skilled but did not have a cruel heart, hence she did not suit the role of a primary attacker. That is why she always stays within the Public House as she seldom sent out for missions.