Chapter 639: Hall Leader
Translator: Henyee Translations Editor: Henyee Translations
Tie Linglong had a dream. She hoped that she could become a saberman like the Dragon King.
The Dragon King had a sword and used his saber more like a sword as his style had a lot of stabbing moves. But she only liked the saber as she preferred the few extra pounds of weight.
She would never forget the scene of their first meeting: the Dragon King fighting over a dozen bandits alone as he led them around in a circle. And each time he turned around he would kill one person. Simple and direct, unhurried and ruthless.
Her saber techniques were already very good but still far away from the Dragon King’s. She could also be ruthless and calm, but she just couldn’t do both at the same time.
When Lotus had shown up and replaced her with Chu Nanping as the Dragon King’s bodyguard, Tie Linglong suddenly understood that what she lacked was a killer’s training. The Dragon King had never forced her to practice kung fu. He didn’t even urge her. It was all voluntary.
After being banished by the Dragon King, Tie Linglong accepted Lotus’s invitation. Following the address she had received, she crossed the desert and entered the city before receiving another address. After a few times of winding her way through various places, she finally managed to reach the headquarter of the Waning Moon Hall in another desert with the Master Commander’s order.
Without even a warm welcome, the first thing a thin middle-aged woman had said after confirming her identity was, “Throw away your saber.”
“Why?” Tie Linglong gripped her saber hilt. This was also the word she said the most in her first half year at Waning Moon Hall.
“No asking why.” The skinny woman — the disciples all called her the Master Trainer — never gave an explanation.
Tie Linglong refused to hand over her saber. So, she had a fight on the first day she entered the Waning Moon Hall, which, however, was very short because she fainted as soon as she unsheathed her saber.
When she woke up, she heard the mantra of the Master Trainer for the first time. “If this had been in the past…”
It was from the daily complaints of the Master Trainer that Tie Linglong learned of the changes of the Waning Moon Hall.
In the old days, the Waning Moon Hall rarely took in any disciples over the age of eight. Most of them were brought here as babies so that even the goat’s milk they drank was mixed with blood. As they grew older, they would join in on the killing, the targets of which slowly changed from animals to people. It was not to practice their killing skills but rather to develop an attitude of extreme contempt for life.
Children who refused to kill or couldn’t face blood and stench emotionlessly were failures and would become the other’s training targets.
Now, the Waning Moon Hall no longer robbed babies. Many disciples were already grown-up when they joined the Waning Moon Hall and some of them were even older than the Master Trainer. But they all had one thing in common; they were full of resentment and hatred.
These women, either abandoned by their parents, mistreated in their husband’s family, or reviled by the world after being humiliated by men, had been taken in by the Waning Moon Hall when they were at their most desperate. But the Waning Moon Hall never helped avenge them.
After a month or two, the hatred in most women’s hearts would be relieved. They would lose their desire for revenge and would rather return to their old life environment. They were treated as failures and would become the training targets of a junior disciple as soon as they left the ‘shelter’ of the Waning Moon Hall.
In the old days, the disciples of the Waning Moon Hall learned the secret arts and knockout drugs before they learned the martial arts skills but now they learned kung fu first, then the secret arts, and finally the knockout drugs.
Of all the martial arts skills of the Waning Moon Hall, there was no sabersmanship. They had to learn the dagger, then the steel thorn, and finally the finger techniques, the goal of which was to kill the enemy bare-handed in one shot.
Tie Linglong accepted the change in technique and practiced faster than anyone else. Even the Master Trainer who wasn’t satisfied with the current situation would occasionally shake her head and say, “If it were the old days, you would have been sent to the Great Desolate Sect.”
The Great Desolate Sect used to be the outer sect of the Waning Moon Hall and was better at martial arts than secret arts.
Three months later, the Master Trainer began to conduct the killing training in much the same way as the ‘old days’ of the Waning Moon Hall, but not so frequently.
The Waning Moon Hall had many ‘human targets,’ the majority of whom were men. They were either abducted or lured here and became ‘cattle and sheep’ waiting to be slaughtered. Their disappearances were usually attributed to demons and monsters, and it was here that.
Tie Linglong couldn’t make it. She asked a lot of ‘whys’ but never received a single answer.
She refused to kill, and the Master Trainer did not compel her to.
Three days later, a disciple similar to her age whispered to her, “If you don’t kill, they will kill you. That’s the rule.”
Like strangers, the disciples of the Waning Moon Hall seldom communicated with each other. Even if they all lived with one another, they regarded each other as air. A word of warning was already the most friendly gesture of showing kindness.
Tie Linglong was taken aback but she still couldn’t kill innocents.
Two days later, the Master Trainer called her out alone and gave her an explanation for the first time. “I’m telling you this because you were recommended by the Master Commander and your kung fu is not bad. But kung fu skills are not the only important factor when you carry out a kill; your habits are also very important. If you always waver between killing or not killing, your actions will be indecisive and this will get you killed. Women are born with less strength than men, so it’s very difficult to surpass the men in martial arts. If you want to be a first-rate killer, you have to be one step ahead in every detail. Make your choice now. Either go kill the target in that room or die now. I don’t want to waste my time.”
Tie Linglong was already on guard against the secret arts and knockout drugs but she didn’t resist this time. She remembered what the Dragon King had said to her during their first meeting. “Killing is simple. As long as you have a saber, just hack at the one you want to kill.”
This was the reason why the Dragon King and Lotus always appeared calm. The two of them had already broken through the barrier and never thought about the difference between killing and not killing.
Tie Linglong joined the killing training but couldn’t remove the disgust in her heart. She learned to cover up her true feelings and began to look indifferent, full of vigilance against everyone else.
The next stage of training was in the style of Golden Roc Castle: The disciples were sent to a valley with complex terrains to try to kill each other and only the ones who brought back two heads could walk out.
Many people achieved the goal but still weren’t able to walk out of the valley.
Tie Linglong survived and became more and more like a killer. Occasionally when it was quiet and she had confirmed that there was no one monitoring around, she would relax a bit and feel that her patience was reaching its end. Meanwhile, she was full of sympathy for the Dragon King and Lotus.
Over a year later, Tie Linglong finally met a real test.
“The body is a woman’s weapon and a female killer’s unique skill. You must learn to skillfully use it and intoxicate a man with it while you yourself are awake and sober. Remember, you are killing people, not making them.”
The Master Trainer was not telling a joke, and the male targets came in again.
Tie Linglong killed the man who was alone with her in the room and didn’t let him lay a finger on her. She was only fifteen or sixteen years old and couldn’t accept such dirty training. She wouldn’t even think about it.
The Master Trainer no longer explained and only coldly told this disciple, “One month, you only have one month.”
Within ten days, Tie Linglong decided to run away. She was the only disciple who refused to join the training and worried that she might be influenced. Over forty female disciples were competing to see who could go from shyness to euphoria to apathy at the end of the day.
The protection of the Waning Moon Hall wasn’t tight. Tie Linglong successfully escaped but became lost in the boundless desert.
She couldn’t find her way but she did find a woman.
It was three days after she had left the headquarters of the Waning Moon Hall. With the experience she had gained from more than a year’s worth of training, she followed a hidden stream of water to a low bushy spot.
Lying in the shade, she decided to take a nap but unknowingly slept till midnight before she suddenly opened her eyes and saw a cold round moon and a tall, beautiful woman standing in the moonlight.
The woman’s long hair fell down to her knees like a waterfall, and she was carefully combing it through with her fingers.
Tie Linglong was attracted and walked over half-awake, asking, “Who are you? A fairy?”
“My name is Wuxian. How can I be a fairy?”
“Wuxian (No fairy),” Tie Linglong repeated in a low voice. Unknowingly, she wasn’t alert towards this woman at all as if all her training had been in vain. “You are… the Hall Leader?”
“I used to be.”
“You still are?”
“I’m a prisoner now.”
Tie Linglong was perplexed. She looked around and found that there were no guards and no walls, only a stout growth of low, prickly plants that couldn’t stop anyone.
Han Wuxian lifted up the corner of her dress and exposed her ankle. A thin chain ran through it and disappeared into the sand, the other end of which was probably fixed to some weight.
Tie Linglong’s acceptance of cruelty had indeed improved so she wasn’t particularly alarmed, but was confused. “Does Lotus… the Master Commander know of this?”
“She’s the one who put me in captivity.” Han Wuxian’s voice was full of motherly gentleness. Tie Linglong took a step forward again.
“Why?” This was the word she said most in the Waning Moon Hall.
“No asking why.” Han Wuxian gave the standard answer and then added a few words. “I wanted her to be a real disciple of the Waning Moon Hall, but she didn’t want that. So one day, about a year and ten months ago, she stabbed me when I was unprepared. Her sword technique is very good and I wasn’t able to block it, so I became a prisoner.”
“But… She still calls you the Hall Leader.”
“Lotus is very smart. She was afraid that the disciples would become disobedient so she claimed that I entered closed-door cultivation and then she took control of the Waning Moon Hall as the Master Commander. She must have changed a lot of the rules? I heard that the Waning Moon Hall accepts all kinds of disciples now and even allowed some who failed to pass the test survive. Lotus wants to build her own powerbase so she wouldn’t have to lead under my banner anymore.”
“That’s why. So, is this your cell? I don’t think I saw anyone during the day.”
“No, today is the fifteenth day of the month. I have to come out to practice my kung fu or I’ll die. Lotus doesn’t want me to die.”
“Why?” Tie Linglong took another step forward.
“She took my Blood Coagulation Pill and has to make an antidote with the blood in my body. The antidote can only last three to five years. So if she wants to live, she has to keep me alive.”
“You have the antidote that can cure her thoroughly, don’t you?”
“Of course. I’m the only one who knows about it. For this reason, many of my old disciples will come to my rescue.”
Tie Linglong nodded and suddenly remembered one thing, “Lotus… Was it because she also didn’t want to do that kind of… training?”
Han Wuxian smilingly shook her head, her long hair flashing like a flowing black satin strip. “She doesn’t need ‘that kind of training.’ She’s an expert in indifference and indulgence. I think most of this is natural for her. She just doesn’t want to be controlled by others. This is the strange part. As a servant killer of Golden Roc Castle, she actually doesn’t want to be controlled by others. I made a mistake exactly at this point.”
“The Dragon King.”
“What?” Han Wuxian was obviously hearing the name for the first time.
Tie Linglong knew who had influenced Lotus’s character of being unwilling to be controlled by others. She took another step forward, trying to tell the story of the Dragon King.
Han Wuxian casually held her shoulder, and her voice was still as gentle as the doting mother. “Little girl, you are a failure of the Waning Moon Hall, so why not let me use you to practice my kung fu?”
“Okay,” said Tie Linglong softly. Then she suddenly raised her foot and the chain buried in the underground followed, flying into the air.
Han Wuxian cried out and loosened Tie Linglong, falling to the ground, her long hair covering the whole face.
Tie Linglong jumped aside, “No wonder no one is looking at you. You are so bad.”
Han Wuxian smoothed away her long hair and revealed a beautiful smiling face. “So you are a clever little girl. Do you want to learn some formidable secret arts? I can teach you.”