Chu Li cupped his fist and smiled, "Thank you very much, Valley Leader Mei!"
Mei Ao Shuang took a deep breath then stared him coldly, "Chu Li, I heard that you tied both Duan Lidao and Yue Jintao in a battle!"
Chu Li said, "Valley Leader Mei, would you like to practice with me?"
"Let's practice then, I'm not afraid of you. Come on!" Mei Ao Shuang scoffed softly, then waved her palm towards him.
It was already very favorable for her as she recruited forty over disciples but when she saw Chu Li's proud and arrogant look, she became extremely outraged. She could not hold back and her hands were itching as she really wanted to teach him a lesson.
Chu Li pounded his fist lightly.
"Bam!" With a silent sound, Mei Ao Shuang flew away immediately.
She flew out from the small boat and took a few feeble steps in the air which shed away most of her energy. Then, she fell towards the surface of the lake.
"Bam!" As she pressed on the surface of the lake with one palm, the lake water jet out like a bullet shot into it.
Using the rebound from the strength of the palm, she drifted and flew back onto the small boat.
The small boat swung from side to side as it waved.
At the same time, Siao Shi staggered slowly. Her body was unstable and she swayed a little then fell towards the lake.
Chu Li immediately appeared at the small boat and held her wrist. Both of them disappeared and reappeared at the bank.
When Mei Ao Shuang saw that Siao Shi was about to fall into the lake, she was going to grab her. But Chu Li had already pulled her away and appeared at the bank.
After she took a long breath of relief, she became sterner and even more furious than before, "As expected, your Light-Body Technique is quite powerful. Come again!"
She leapt into the sky at once then swoop down like a golden eagle. She reached out with her small and white hand and pushed towards Chu Li, her palm energy gushed out instantly.
However, Chu Li did not avoid or dodge her attack. He pounded his fist lightly again.
High Duke Lu's fist technique was really powerful; the strength of his fist was as solid as a rock.
"Bam!" Mei Ao Shuang did a somersault in the air. When she landed again, her sword flashed and became one with her sword and arrived before Chu Li to attack him.
"Ding" Chu Li took out his sword too.
Both their swords were intersecting with each other. Once Mei Ao Shuang swayed her sword away, Chu Li attacked immediately. His speed was as fast as an electric current which gave Mei Ao Shuang no chance to escape anymore.
When the tip of Chu Li's sword directed right before her throat, he retreated and put his sword back into his scabbard. Then, he cupped his fist.
Mei Ao Shuang took a deep breath and slowly returned her sword into the scabbard as well. Her emotion seemed to be inconsistent.
Siao Shi was slightly worried that she was unable to back down so she glared at Chu Li ferociously.
On the other hand, Chu Li remained calm. He smiled and said, "Please excuse me, Valley Leader Mei!"
"Indeed, your name is not in vain!" Mei Ao Shuang scoffed coldly, "You're out of my league!"
Chu Li said, "Valley Leader Mei, I know that you're an expert in the Tai Hua Palm."
Tai Hua Palm was the ancient study of Tai Hua Valley. Its power was shocking but Mei Ao Shuang did not perform it at all as she held back her true abilities.
Mei Ao Shuang cast a sidelong glance at him and scoffed, "The Tai Hua Palm has an inauspicious power. It will definitely hurt someone if I perform it. Once they're here, I'll personally supervise them. Rest assured that I won't waste away their qualities!"
"Thank you so much, Valley Leader Mei!" Chu Li cupped his fist seriously, then passed the baggage to Mei Ao Shuang, "This is for Chen Ying. I'll have to trouble you to pass it to her instead, Valley Leader."
"I'll pass it to her," Mei Ao Shuang received the baggage.
Siao Shi remained silent. She tried her best to cover up her astonishment.
She could not comprehend at all to why did Mei Ao Shuang's attitude change so suddenly. Not only did she not become enraged for losing the fight, she became much gentler although she still looked arrogant and had a haughty temper and talked snappily.
Chu Li felt Mei Ao Shuang's temper.
Towards men who were weaker than herself, she would be extremely disdained and would not even bother talking to them whereas for men who were stronger than herself, only then they deserved to speak to her.
Mei Ao Shuang took a glance at Chu Li and secretly sighed.
She had always thought that he was never as strong as her but arrogance was in her bones so she just disliked him.
After the practice, she suddenly understood. Chu Li was not the same person he used to be. He had surpassed her and deserved to be proud and arrogant.
As she became calm despite her unchanging emotions, she knew in her bones that everything became different.
Early in the morning, they left for the downstream of the river.
A boat in black awning floated about.
An old gentleman with a hunched back was rowing the boar. He had a face full of wrinkles and a turbid look but the joints of his arms looked thick and big where veins were vaguely seen. He was still steady and strong.
Inside the boat, Chu Li sat quietly as he practiced and remained still whereas Siao Shi laid across the bed as she read a book.
Chu Li's white robe was spotless and he looked solemn.
Siao Shi was dressed in a bluish-white gown. She removed her white veil and revealed her face which was as beautiful as a white jade. She cast soft looks at Chu Li from time to time with her eyes that looked watery like the autumn water.
Once Siao Shi saw Chu Li opening his eyes slowly, she put down her book and stretched, revealing the graceful curves of her body, then asked leisurely, "You must be so bored to be fretting over things. Why do you care about the matters of the river trading?"
"I would like to return to the Public House," Chu Li said.
Siao Shi yawned, "My elder brother doesn't even care about it. He'll only blame you for meddling in other people's businesses and causing trouble."
Once the House of High Dukes involved themselves in the river trading matters, the officials would definitely impeach. It would be inevitable that the Imperial House would summon him for some questioning.
Chu Li said, "Then let's do it secretly."
"Is the river trading really so important?" Siao Shi continued, "No matter how powerful the River Alliance is, as long as two Grandmasters handle it, they will be able to suppress them. Why do you pay so much attention to it?"
Chu Li sighed.
That was the people's thoughts at that moment.
It would be easy to exterminate the River Alliance but it was not easy to do what the River Alliance was doing. It would be a difficult task which was not all about powerful martial arts.
Siao Shi said, "All right, all right, you just handle it at your own will. I don't want to return to the Public House anyway. It will be great to spend my days outside until the day of marriage!"
"The Old Master will go crazy for sure," Chu Li laughed.
Siao Shi scoffed, "My elder brother is already crazy now!"
"It's all because he cares. Once he thinks about Lady entering the Imperial Residence of Prince An, he can't help but to feel anxious," Chu Li said.
Siao Shi waved her hand and said, "Forget it, let's not talk about him. Let's go out and take a look."
Both of them exited the cabin and arrived at the bow of the boat and were greeted with fresh air.
The river was very broad as the air in the early morning was mixed with the brume above the river. It became extra refreshing once it entered their bodies, instantly making them feel energetic.
"There are not many people here," Siao Shi said.
Chu Li pointed towards the direction behind them.
When Siao Shi turned around to look, she saw a gorgeous big boat that was not far from them, sailing at a quick speed.
From the boat, the twanging sound of a harp was heard along with a faint sound from a flute. The sound of the harp and flute rang together in resonance, sounding like two phoenixes were fluttering in the wind elegantly. It gave a relaxing and happy mood.
"How dare the people from Jiang Chuan Alliance come?" the old boatman mumbled softly.
By that time, Chu Li already saw what was on the big boat.
At the bow of the boat, a bluish-white rug was covering a window. A handsome young man was sitting on the rug, holding a white jade fan. He had an elegant temperament and looked like a young and inexperienced man without practical experience.
On his left and right were two beautiful maids who were leaning against him.
The maids had afflatus underlaid between their brows and their eyes. They looked delightful and were certainly anything but the ordinary.
Another two delicate and pretty maids were on the other side of the window as they played the harp and flute.
The handsome young man stared at both of them with much concentration. He listened to the music from the harp and the flute and would squint his eyes from time to time, showing a reveling and leisure face.
The two beautiful maids who were leaning against him were also listening quietly.
On the big boat other than the five of them, there were eight boatmen and ten protectors.
Among the ten protectors, two were Innate Masters. They had a sharp threatening spiritual energy.
Chu Li turned and smiled then said, "Who is this Mister?"
"Young Master, you can't recognize him?" The boatman looked at the gorgeous big boat for a while then shook his head and said, "You don't recognize Mister Fei?"
Chu Li laughed, "It's my first time on a boat and I'm completely clueless about the customs along the river."
"The young alliance leader of Jiang Chuan Alliance, Han Fei. Everyone calls him Mister Fei," the boatman shook his head and sighed again, "The most casual and elegant bearing one!"
Chu Li was more interested in the four eminent maids who were all Innate Masters.
Although Innate Masters were common in the House of High Dukes, they were rare to find. In the martial arts scene outside, they could go rampant.
For a boat to have six Innate Masters, the strength of the Jiang Chuan Alliance must not be underestimated.
Nonetheless, he knew that due to the Jiang Chuan Alliance and the River Alliance, the river within the boundary of the Path of Chong Ming was split into two. Initially, their strengths were almost in a bar.
However, in recent years, the River Alliance advanced so rapidly that they surpassed the Jiang Chuan Alliance and became better than them.
"Jiang Chuan AllianceI remember that there's a River Alliance too?" Chu Li said.
The boatman nodded, "Jiang Chuan Alliance and River Alliance they're deadly foes. How dare Mister Fei come into the territory of the River Alliance? He really has the courage!"