The group of bandits surrounded them. All the bandits were holding long knives that eerily reflected the light, along with the light reflected by their bald heads.
Zhao Ying had garnered enough confidence beforehand, but she still was not counting against being outnumbered.
"Let's get out of here, Chu Li!"
Zhao Ying muttered.
Chu Li shook his head. "We'll cut them down first!"
If these bastards were left alone, there would be no telling how many others will suffer!
"Alright," Zhao Ying nodded.
She also believed that these bandits deserved to die. If she happened to have subpar martial arts, and was taken by them, she'd definitely kill herself. The thought of it numbed her mind and gave her goosebumps, she did not even want to think about it.
The knives flashed, and four knives descended upon them.
Chu Li lightly parried his blade. It shined and pierced the wrist of two bandits. He immediately redirected the swing and struck another, allowing Zhao Ying to focus on one bandit.
"Argh!" Three bandits screamed as their wrists were split, their knives fell on the floor.
Zhao Ying and the final bandit were in a heated duel, clashing steel against one another.
This man had great skill with the knife. He had perfect control, being able to compete with Zhao Ying's Swallow Reversal. Chu Li did not rush to assist. He planned on letting Zhao Ying gain experience.
He pulled out his sword and struck the three bandits once more. Three of them were sliced right through the neck and blood spurted out. They convulsed as they glared at Chu Li, who did not even show a bit cowardice.
Chu Li shook his blade to boost morale,"Zhao Ying, it's going to get more and more dangerous the longer you take to kill him! Hurry up!"
"Very well," Zhao Ying replied softly. Her swordplay became lighter and faster. The speed and intensity were almost impossible to defend against.
"I'd like one of you to turn into my backrest!" The large man screamed as his posture became larger, and his face became flushed. He ignored Zhao Ying' strike and went for a reckless attack, attempting to create a lose-lose situation.
Zhao Ying dodged and escaped.
Chu Li realized what the man was trying to do. He struck the guy right in the middle of the chest.
The large man widened his eyes, staring down at the gaping wound on his chest. He pointed at Chu Li before tilting his head and falling over.
Chu Li took a deep breath.
Zhao Ying turned her head and looked at him, puzzled.
Chu Li investigated the body of the large man. He found a signal arrow on the man. If he had struck any later, the arrow would have been already shot into the sky.
"Zhao Ying, the next time this happens, don't take a step back."
Zhao Ying nodded, feeling embarrassed.
She almost made a fatal mistake earlier. If the man had actually shot the arrow, both her and Chu Li would most probably be doomed.
The innate master would make their way to them, and they would be killed for sure.
"Your move was one of instinct. It should be clear now that experience is very important," Chu Li nodded.
"Hmm," Zhao Ying agreed but realized something was off.
"But isn't this your first time outside the Public House too?"
"I learned all of it from the books," Chu Li pointed at his head and smiled, "This is why we should read a lot more, it saves lives, sometimes!"
"Mmm!" Zhao Ying nodded.
She held the belief that martial arts could solve everything. That she could deal with any situation with strong martial arts. She believed that studying was pointless and was a waste of time that could be spent on martial arts. If one's martial arts were not adequate, there would be no point in studying.
But she had realized that her thoughts were shallow. She should read some books along with her self-cultivation.
Chu Li bent down and grabbed a knife. He beheaded all the corpses clean, as if he was slicing pork meat.
Zhao Ying became pale. She could kill, but having watched Chu Li behead corpses of their fallen enemies, she felt like Chu Li was being too cruel. They were already dead, all the hatred should have disappeared already.
He tossed the knife away, clapping his clean hands. He realized Zhao Ying was watching him. He shook his head and smiled,"You think I'm cruel?"
"They are already dead, what for?"
"Some of them might have trained some unusual gateway techniques related to the heart. If they did, they could easily be able to fake their death."
"Is that so?"
"Zhao Ying, you've followed Zhuo Fei Yang for far too long, you've become dumb. Only knowing how to train, believing that martial arts are all you need to be the most powerful person in the world, solving all your problems."
"Is it not true?"
"This man right here has his heart on the right!" Chu Li pointed at one of the corpses, pricking his sword right after, and sliced off the man's skin, revealing his heart.
Zhao Ying shook her hand in an attempt to not look. However, she accidentally had a short glance at the heart, it was truly on the right side.
"Zhuo Fei Yang thinks of himself as a genius, and the one who will be the best in the world, is it?" Chu Li asked.
"Brother Zhuo Fei Yang is truly a genius," Zhao Ying nodded.
"Naive! How is it possible to be the best by just training in the Public House?" Chu Li broke into laughter.
"Why? Is it because of his heart technique?" Zhao Ying asked in surprised.
"Having a great heart technique won't be enough if you want to be the best!"
"Innate talent is important as well, and Zhuo Fei Yang has tremendous talent."
"There's something other than innate talent. If you truly want to be the strongest, the best of the best, you'll need to join the sects. This is top secret information, Zhao Ying. Don't tell anyone else!"
"I don't see a reason as to why?"
Zhao Ying's interest was piqued. Both of them hopped onto their horses, left the bloodied scene, and continued on their journey.
Chu Li said as he rode his horse.
"It's about your state of consciousness. To improve your innate skills, what you need is not to bury yourself in training, but to work on the consciousness of your heart and mind. All the factions in the world that have passed on for hundreds of years, all of them have their own variations to approach the inner consciousness. There are secret guidebooks in the Public House about martial arts, but none about the consciousness. Like that, it is impossible to train yourself to become the best of the best."
"State of consciousness..." Zhao Ying irresolutely muttered to herself.
"These are secrets only those ranked six would know. You'll find out one day, I'm just telling you in advance so that you wouldn't spend your time using an ineffective method. Spend some time gaining some knowledge. If you only train your martial arts, there will be a ceiling to your achievements."
"So according to you, Brother Chu Li, we can only train up to an innate level in the Public House?"
"That doesn't seem right. There are definitely masters of masters in the Public House, aren't there?"
"Then how do they get there?"
"That's also another secret!"
"Brother Chu Li !"
"Fine, it isn't anything much even if I told you, but you'll have to promise me that you won't tell anyone else!"
"I promise! I won't tell anyone else!"
Chu Li nodded.
"There's actually a system where if you passed the level of an innate, you'll be sent to a sect for training."
"This is also another secret" Chu Li's tone deepened.
"Even though the Public House is built to regulate the sects, it doesn't necessarily mean that it's stronger. They've been working with a part of the Sects. The innate masters would join these Sects to train."
Zhao Ying' already bright eyes widened.
This is incredibly secret information. To her knowledge, the Public House helped the imperial court suppress the circles of martial arts, eliminated those who broke the rules of martial arts. Even the imperial court could face consequences if innate masters went rogue, and that was what the Public House was meant to do.
The Public House and the Sects of martial arts were enemies that could not exist together in the public's eye, but who would have thought that there was a connection between the two?
"If this kind of information was leaked, you'd probably know the consequences..right?"
"I won't speak a word of it! Till my grave!"
If the Sects had found out about this, they would have definitely found a way to kill everyone. All the talent from the Public House would have perished and its power decreased. If the martial arts circle were not being repressed, there would definitely be chaos!
"Therefore, it's very important to pick the right path in martial arts, and it relates to which Sect you'd be joining in the future. There is no future in the path of Delusion Split, that Sect had already vanished. But with your Swallow Reversal, you could probably join the Winged Graces. You're pretty lucky in my book."
"Delusion Split" Zhao Ying widened her eyes.
"You're not planning to tell Zhuo Fei Yang are you?" Chu Li replied.
"But," Zhao Ying hesitated.
"How are you supposed to tell him?"
"Don't tell me that you are going to watch as Zhuo Fei Yang falls into the wrong path?!"
"Ha, no need to worry. I've already taken him down with the Delusion Split, he'll probably no longer train it."
"But Zhuo Fei Yang may get consumed in it, and train the Delusion Split until the end!"
Chu Li shook his head and heaved a sigh.
"Chu Li, I'm not siding with Zhuo Fei Yang, it's just.."
"Anything you'd like!" Chu Li shook his head, "Since he's an idiot anyway, there'll be a limit to his success."
Zhao Ying rolled her eyes.
Chu Li smiled as he said, "You think I am mocking him on purpose?"
"Both of you are truly,"
"He has a strong body and talent. He cultivates fast, but that isn't the problem. The problem is that he learns of nothing else. Once he reaches the innate levels, he'll be stuck."
Zhao Ying furrowed her brows. Forcing Zhuo Fei Yang to read was just as bad as attempting to kill him.