Chu Li shook his head and said, "A guardsman of the House of Duke, is this all there's to it!?"
"Allow this old man to show off his skills!" Another elder clad in ceremonial robes stepped forth, clenched his fists as he said, "My name is Lu Zhi Ji."
"Another who's named after Lu." Chu Li nodded slightly, "Please do!"
Lu Zhi Ji unsheathed his sword, slowly pointed it towards Chu Li.
The blade of his sword flowed like river in a summer day, hummed in its form, his blade darted, as a snake would, and shot out in one fierce motion, the tip of it soared towards Chu Li's chest in an instant.
Chu Li drew his blade in response.
A flash of lightning brushed past Lu Zhi Ji's neck.
The long blade struck nothing, Lu Zhi Ji froze in his place, not even a twitch from his body.
Once the moment had passed, he rubbed his neck, his expression jumped across tints of green, he was fortunate that it was just the blunt side of the blade, otherwise his head would've fell there and then, this Du Feng's mastery of the blade was one in a million, truly astonishing!
Chu Li turned to Lu Yu Shu with his sword in hand, casually took a step forward.
"What do you think you're doing?" Lu Yu Shu was stunned by the flash of blade, jolted in response, and huffed, "You who bear Du in your name, you truly are impressive!"
Chu Li replied, "With the young master's resources to a wealth of knowledge, surely you would fare better?"
"You who bear Du in your name, do you plan to go against the House of Duke?" Lu Yu Shu huffed.
Chu Li shook his head and replied, "Young master, the House of Duke made their move first, I myself am left with no choice, and could only fight back as provoked, I can see the House of Duke truly do blow such matters out of proportions!"
"Hold it right there!" A feminine huff suddenly came from afar.
Chu Li cocked his head to where it came from, a grin found its way onto him.
Gasps gradually spread across the surrounding crowd, they hastily cleared a path into the scene.
Three people slowly came forth.
An eloquently elegant beauty led the other two, her face covered in a sheath of white, yet through it laid eyes as clear as spring water, and within them, her gaze alone conveyed albums of emotions.
Two elders trailed behind her, one of the was Xi Wu, a stern cold expression on his face, Chu Li somewhat recognized the other as well, though only even seen once or twice, was one of the top masters in the House of Duke.
The two strode side by side, respectfully followed behind her pace.
One could no doubt recognize her identity, as the young mistress of the House of Duke, Lu Yu Rong.
With a sheet of white over her features, it gave everyone a feeling of exquisiteness to her beautiful self, no eyes could tear away from her being.
"Sir Du, my apologies." Lu Yu Rong clenched her fist as she chuckled in her words, "How fortunate of me, to finally witness the invincible Shen Dao!"
"I dare not say that I'm invincible!" Chu Li clenched his fists, and feigned unawareness, "Could you perhaps be...?"
"I am Lu Yu Rong." Lu Yu Rong curtsied, "Sir Du, to have someone impersonating you entering the House of Duke, I do admit that the idea came from myself, apologies for any offenses I caused towards you."
"To think it's Lady Lu!" Chu Li replied calmly, "A fine scheme it was!"
Lu Yu Rong's eyes darted, "In the name of my nobility, I humbly ask of you to serve the House, to vanquish evil in assistance to the House of Duke, to clear the streets from the practice of martial artist!"
"For one who's clad in wealth and riches, Lu Yu Rong, your generosity is beyond measure, one such as myself do not dare to refuse it, ...for such an unorthodox method of invitation however, I can't possibly agree to this so easily!" His gaze pierced into Lu Yu Rong's eyes like an electric shock would.
Lu Yu Rong's eyes did not falter the least, unmoved from it all, "Indeed, although this fault is mine to bear, I implore your forgiveness, good sir, to look past this!"
"I dare not!" Chu Li waved his hand.
"With all due respect, good sir, though I had not won your consent in the manner, shall I instead offer what we could do to please you as an honorable guest in our House?" Lu Yu Rong continued.
Chu Li shook his head, "There is no need, I have matters elsewhere, and shall now take my leave!"
"Hold on!" Lu Yu Rong waved her jaded hand, "If feasting in the House of Duke sets you with such unease, then how's this perhaps, I shall prepare a banquet within the Domain of Ren, I ask of you with the utmost respect, good sir, I have grand matters in need of your guidance!"
"... Since this be the case, very well!" Chu Li threw his fist into the air.
"Please do, good sir!" Lu Yu Rong nodded slightly.
The surrounding crowd looked on as their figures disappeared from view, discussion spread amongst them.
"Lady Lu truly had an exquisite air beyond that of a commoner."
"As a versatile negotiator and tactician, and a mistress of the House of Duke, why would there be a need for her to humbly seek after higher guidance from others?"
"Perhaps she was impressed by this White Shroud Shen Dao, that led to as such."
"If White Shroud Shen Dao had not been around as he did, I'm afraid his reputation would've..."
"White Shroud Shen Dao truly does live up to his name, his skills with the blade towers in absolute, even with the House of Duke's performances, not single strike was blocked by them!"
"I couldn't quite make out how that slash was unleashed!"
"It had escaped my vision as well!"
Everyone discussed amongst themselves, yet agreed in unison that they all envied Chu Li.
To be cordially invited by Lady Lu herself, in such manner as well, truly there was no better time to had been born into, no better time to be a man!
Chu Li sat facing Lu Yu Rong.
The two sat within a private room on the fourth floor of the Domain of Ren, able to look at the streets below through the windows, street after street, buildings littered the lands.
Upon shutting the windows, silence fell within the room, as if it belonged to a world of its own.
Lu Yu Shu had already returned with defeat scrawled over his face.
Xi Wu received a platter which a servant brought over, personally carried it to the tableside, and laid its plated contents one by one, followed by filling the cups of the two to the brim, calm finesse in his movements.
Lu Yu Rong was dressed in lunar white, and already let down her veil, revealing an exquisitely beautiful face, amorous features, yet displaying a poised, solemn air.
As she sat in silence, she delivered a presence deserving of one elegantly bathed in luxury.
She gently raised her hand, Xi Wu bowed as he retreated into the background, and remained still.
The decoration of the room was extravagant, as one would picture in a life of luxury, lavishing in each intricate design.
A mildly sweet scent from Lu Yu Rong perfumed the air around them, enough to allure the minds of many.
Chu Li sat in silence before her, serene in his expression.
Lu Yu Rong raised her cup, revealed a gentle smile, "With this cup, I would like to offer my sincerest apology to you, in regards to my unorthodox methods, as I had harmed your reputation."
Her sleeve over face, as she downed the drink in one go.
Xi Wu approached to refill the cup to the brim, bowed and retreated to where he stood.
Lu Yu Rong then continued, "With this cup, I honor you for vanquishing evil, and your compassion to help others!"
Sleeve over her face again, tilted her head as she downed it in one go.
Xi Wu refilled her cup to the brim, bowed as he retreated.
Lu Yu Rong raised her cup again, "With this cup, I raise in place of the thousands of perished innocents, in honor of you!"
She downed a whole cup once more.
After emptying three cups of wine into herself, a red tinge rose into her beautiful features, delicate to behold.
Chu Li remained silent throughout.
Upon watching her down three cups, he only raised one cup in response.
Xi Wu stepped forward to fill up the two cups, bowed as he retreated behind Lu Yu Rong, unmoved and detached, just as a statue would.
Lu Yu Rong quietly stared at him, "I am well aware, that you do not wish to join the House of Duke."
Her eyes steadied in her gaze, a solemn atmosphere fell upon the room, extravagant yet elegant, paired with her ordinarily pristine features, an irresistible allure fumed from her.
"Yes." Chu Li drank a cup of wine, gently laid down his cup, and calmly looked at her, "People from the mountainous wilderness, prefer tranquility in their everyday lives, and are unused to being posted in the House of Duke, I could only thank you for your generous offer."
"Hah..., pity." Lu Yu Rong shook her head as she heaved a light sigh, waved her hand, signaled Xi Wu to leave them, and personally took the kettle to fully refill his cup, "There simply isn't enough people operating within the House of Duke, pity that many martial artists fear of being labelled a traitor in name, are unwilling to lend their strengths to the House of Duke, resulting in rampant rise of bandits, we desire to eliminate them, yet powerless to do so."
Chu Li remained silent.
This was the truth, as all twelve Houses of Duke bear the same struggles, they trained their own grandmasters. Yet how could one grandmaster from the Houses could stand against a whole street of martial arts grandmasters?
Lu Yu Rong spoke calmly, "As you yourself are a heroic figure, uncommon among the martial artists of today, you have my utmost respect."
"You're over-exaggerating, Lady Lu," Chu Li shook his head.
Lu Yu Rong continued, "To have suffered countless hardships since young, condoned countless crimes, only to finally reached their peak of mastery of the martial arts, thus utterly set themselves free from their binds. They did as they pleased, pillaged from hundreds of innocents, threatened the weak, these bunch of martial artists knew no decency, truly despicable!"
Chu Li said, "These had always been the ways of martial artists!"
"Which is why it is rare for one such as you to exist." Lu Yu Rong continued, "From where this had been going, terror would reign across the lands, you yourself knew of the many disasters to come for you in the near future, seeing as it is so, truly you are a rare find!"
Chu Li smiled calmly.
Lu Yu Rong continued, "I myself could only do so much alone, as such I wish to exhaust all that I could offer in the larger scale of things, if you were to support the House by joining us, there would be no need of you doing anything, under the protection of the House of Duke, you will have no need to fret any further, ... if anything tragic would befall upon you, hope will be drained from the eyes of many!"