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Thread: ROCH Chapter 26 onwards...

  1. #621
    Banned chuy605's Avatar
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    wow lots of writing, amazing

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    Default RoCH Chapter 32

    This is the compilation of the whole Chapter 32. Please help me check if anything is missing. It seems like Crayon is working on Chap 25, so I think all other translators can move on to Chap 34 (IMO).


    Chapter 32 - What Is Love


    (Translated by Xiao_Long_Nu)

    When Huang Rong, Reverend Yi Deng and rest of the others were trapped in the room, both Yang Guo and Xiao Long nu were sitting leaning against each other before the flowers, chatting. Not long, Cheng Ying and Lu Wu Shuang came. Xiao Long nu saw that Cheng Ying was warm, elegant and the sense of motion pulled her towards her. Xiao Long nu held her hand, talking non-stop. On the other hand, Lu Wu Shuang told Yang Guo about the fight between Guo Fu and her, how she made her confused and lost of words and how Cheng Ying made her lose her sword and lost the moment. After meeting both Cheng Ying and Lu Wu Shuang again, Yang Guo once again felt a little both guilty and sorry that he couldn’t repay their love to them. When he saw that Lu Wu Shuang apparently knew that Xiao Long nu was now Yang Guo’s wife, but she was still in a calm state even before Xiao Long nu, Cheng Ying was talking with Xiao Long nu kindly, he was greatly relieved.

    The four of them sat on a rock, Xiao Long nu was talking to Cheng Ying and Yang Guo was chatting with Lu Wu Shuang. Both Xiao Long nu and Cheng Ying’s character are quieter, who have less things to talk. Yang Guo and Lu Wu Shuang was talking non-stop and cracking many jokes, calling each other names like “dumb egg” and “my wife”. All of the sudden, Cheng Ying spoke out cutting their speech, “Brother Yang, you have Yang madam already, you have to change your words when calling my cousin..” She was laughing when she was talking.

    Yang Guo let out a soft cry, “ah”, and stretched out his hand to cover his mouth. In the mean time, Lu Wu Shuang suddenly felt ashamed. Her face reddened terribly. Cheng Ying thought silently, ‘they were only joking which contained no meaning. I shouldn’t have said it out, now it had turn things in a wrong way..” She immediately spoke, “Brother Yang, you got the passionless poison in your body, how are you feeling now?” Yang Guo replied, “I’m alright, Aunt Guo is very clever and always full of plans. I believe she could get me the miracle pill, I was instead worried for my wife’s injury..” He was pointing towards Xiao Long nu with one finger.

    Both Cheng Ying and Lu Wu Shuang were shocked and asked, “What? Yang madam is also injured? We didn’t noticed it..” Xiao Long nu smiled mildly and said, “Its actually nothing. I used my internal energy to stop the poison from flowing. I have been fine these few days.” Lu Wu Shuang replied, “What poison is it? Is it the passionless poison again?” Xiao Long nu said, “No it isn’t, it is my sister senior’s soul freezing needle.” Lu Wu Shuang replied, “Of course its that big bad Li Mo Chou again. Dumb…..Brother Yang, didn’t you saw her <Five Poison Secrets> book? Though the soul freezing needle maybe strong but it isn’t difficult to neutralize.”


    (Translated by Foxs)

    Yang Guo just sighed softly. Sorrowfully he said, “The poison has infected her blood stream, her internal organs, it is impossible to neutralized it with any ordinary antidote.” Then he proceeded by telling them how Guo Fu has – unintentionally – launched the soul-freezing needle while his wife was trying to cure herself by reversing her blood flow.

    Wushuang angrily stroke the stone she was sitting at, “Ah! That scoundrel really does not know God! Cousin, we can’t just sit here doing nothing. I don’t care if her parents are chivalrous heroes of the world, I am not scared of them.”

    “We can’t really blame her,” Xiao Long Nuu commented. “The situation was entirely different with when she chopped Guo Er’s arm.”

    “Big Sister,” Cheng Ying quipped, “My Shifu said that while with a strong internal energy we can momentarily hold the spread of the poison, the longer the poison resides in our bodies, the worse the end condition will be. Therefore, we will have to rid of it as soon as possible.”

    “That’s true. As soon as the Divine Indian Monk wakes up, he surely will neutralize the poison. In curing poison induced sickness, he is second to none.”

    "Indian Monk?" Wushuang asked, "Who's that? Why must we wait for him to wake up? Is he asleep?"

    Yang Guo smiled, "Yes, he will be asleep for three whole days and nights." He did not tell the whole story since they are at a place he suspected the enemy has lots of eyes and ears.

    "That guy is so lucky," Wushuang laughed, "to be able to sleep that long ... "
    In that moment they heard a faint sound of footsteps coming near.

    "Shhh! Somebody's coming," Yang Guo whispered.

    Whoever that was, he must have a very sensitive ears. Yang Guo was only whispering, but he must have heard it, since he stopped and turned the other way, toward the kiln, where Zhu Ziliu was looking after the Indian Monk.

    "Aiyo!" Xiao Long Nuu exclaimed, "That man is going to Uncle Zhu's"

    "Be quiet!” Yang Guo said, "Let me take a look."

    Suddenly they heard rustling bushes behind them. "Looks like there are foxes and rats everywhere," Wushuang picked up a pebble and threw it toward the noise. But they never heard the rock reached the ground, somebody must've intercepted it.

    "Cousin, who do you think is there? Let's come take a look," Wushuang beckoned.

    Seeing Yang Guo and Xiao Long Nuu had already gone, Cheng Ying pulled Wushuang along, "We'd better follow Brother Yang. The pathways here are confusing, we can't lost track of them."

    Running along her cousin, Wushuang whispered, "I think it was Li Mochou behind those bushes."

    "How would you know?" Cheng Ying asked.

    "Well, I have been with her since I was a kid and I recognized her breathing." Cheng Ying was shocked and pulling Wushuang's arm they step up the paces a little bit. She knew, even though the demoness was injured, both of them were not her match.

    After a while they saw Yang Guo and Xiao Long Nuu chasing a man who seemed like he was very familiar with the valley's pathways. He vanished after making a few turns.

    Yang Guo and Xiao Long Nuu stopped and waited for their two friends. "Gongsun Zhi has returned to the Passionless Valley and I'm sure he is up to no good," Yang Guo told them. They have never known Gongsun Zhi while Xiao Long Nuu, who had no “wickedness” in her vocabulary – glanced a questioning look toward him. Yang Guo hesitated a moment before continuing, "Madame Guo, Revend Yi Deng and the others are dealing with that unstable monk, and we do not know what the outcome is. Don't you think we'd better check them out?" Since he has battled Gongsun Zhi, Yang Guo knew how vicious he was. Now that he's back on stage, he would surely create another storm. Yang Guo was really concerned about his friends' safety.

    Hastily they went back to the Valley Master's Hall. While they are still about 50-60 meters away, they saw a dark shadow flashing upward, then a very loud crashing.

    That was Gongsun Zhi demolishing the hall's rooftop and jumped down.

    "Aiyo!" Yang Guo cried. He did not dare to follow Gongsun Zhi's step entering the hall via the rooftop since he was wary of the enemy's nets; he destroyed the stone door with his heavy [black steel] sword instead. With only two strokes, that door was smashed. Upon entering, they saw Gongsun Zhi was being surrounded by a lot of people.

    That crashing sound and the door being smashed was startling Gongsun Zhi, he was always a little bit wary of Yang Guo. Without wasting a single second he just leaped back to the rooftop. His goal that particular moment was to give the antidote [Passionless Pill] to Li Mochou; killing Qiu Qianchi and taking back the Passionless Valley could wait some other day.

    Just as Gongsun Zhi leaped up, Huang Rong body also moved in a flash and the dog beating stick hit Gongsun Zhi's leg. Almost concurrently Qiu Qianchi also launched two date stones toward her husband's waist. Knowing his wife well, Gongsun Zhi has already anticipated her attack. Quick as a flash he swung his saber and struck one stone down. The other one, however, still flying toward him. He did not have enough time for another move. He was shocked. He could not let the stone hit him since it would mean his death. He twisted his body frantically and bent his knees trying to dodge it.

    To everybody's surprise, Qiu Qianchi had launched the stones in a very extraordinary way. Everybody could see that those two stones were directed to Gongsun Zhi. Who would have thought that about half a feet away from Gongsun Zhi, it suddenly turned its course, made a small circle in the air, and ... flew toward Huang Rong!

    Unbelievable!

    Huang Rong was very intelligent and always careful, but even in her wildest dream she could not have predicted what had happened. Fortunately she was able to think fast and immediately concentrate her energy to her feet and fell back down. Unfortunately, she was not fast enough and the stone still pierced her right shoulder.

    Huang Rong's body shook, her arm and hand hurt and the dog beating stick fell down from her grip. Ever since she became the Clan Leader of the Beggar Clan, this lady had faced numerous valiant people of the wulin's world. Even though she did not win every single battle, but she had never let the stick left her grip. It had happened because of first, she did not anticipate the attack, second, she gave her protective vest (ruan-wei-jia) to Guo Fu. If she were wearing the vest, ten date stones would not hurt her, let alone one.

    Wu Santong, Guo Fu and the other were not overly concerned, since they thought Huang Rong was only pretending to be hurt just like before. Only Yang Guo realized his auntie Guo was really injured. With one leap he took the dog beating stick and gave it back to Huang Rong. He then swung his heavy sword to the left and a strong gust of wind attacked Gongsun Zhi, who was about to hack Huang Rong with his saber. He was forced to go down by the date stone attack. As soon as he realized Huang Rong was injured, he made his move. Fortunately, Yang Guo intervened. Yang Guo’s attack was so fierce that Gongsun Zhi was pushed back a few steps. He was really stunned that Yang Guo – who had only one arm – had made a tremendous improvement in just one short month. With the corner of his eye he saw Qiu Chianchi’s face was paled. Apparently she was also shocked to see this young man’s strength.

    At that time Lu'E was standing in between her father and mother. She used to be afraid of her father, but ever since she overheard her father and Li Mochou’s conversation at Broken Heart Cliff [another translation would be “Severed Intestine Cliff”]; that her father would rather sacrifice his own daughter’s life for some woman he barely knew, she experienced a change of heart. She made one step forward and challenged her father. “Father, you have crippled Mother’s limbs and threw her down into an underground cave. That viciousness was indeed very rare. That night, at the Broken Heart Cliff, you have discussed something with Li Mochou. May your daughter know what is it about?”

    Gongsun Zhi was shocked! He was not aware that in that secluded place somebody would have heard their conversation. Even though he was cruel, still, considering his own evil plan to harm his own daughter he was deeply embarrassed, and it showed. “Wh .. what? I didn’t say anything …” he stammered.

    Lu’E smiled warily and spoke with similarly wary voice, “You meant to kill your own daughter for the sake of a woman who is a stranger to our family. I am your daughter. If you wanted me dead, I certainly would not rebel against you. But Mother has promised to give the Passionless Pill in your hand to somebody else. Please, give that pill back to me.”

    Gongsun Zhi hastily put the vial inside his pocket. “You, mother and daughter, one of you betrayed her own husband, while the other rebelled against her father. Both are wicked. I don’t want to deal with you just now, wait for my revenge.” Brandishing his sword and saber, he walked out the hall.

    Listening to Lu’E, Yang Guo understood that he had a very evil plan in mind. He immediately blocked his way. Lifting his heavy sword, he said, “Miss Gongsun, I would like to ask you a question.”

    “Brother Yang, please do,” she answered forlornly.

    “You said your father wanted to harm you for a stranger, who is that woman? And would you enlighten me on what happened?”

    “That woman was Li Mochou. What happened was …” She hesitated a little bit, and then said, “Even though my father meant me harm, he is still my father. I do not want to tell ... “

    “Lu’E, speak up! Tell us!” scorned her mother. “He had the courage to do evil, why would you afraid to unmasked him?”

    The young lady just shook her head and said with a sad voice, “Brother Yang, half of the pill is inside the bottle in Father’s hand. I ... I am an unfilial daughter.” She was choked and ran toward her mother, “Mother!” She cried uncontrollably.

    Gongsun Zhi was very pleased with this commotion. He wanted to shift the blame, and fanned the enmity between Qiu Qianchi. “While they are trying to harm each other, I have to find an opportunity to get out of here,” he thought. He then laughing heartily and shouted, “Good! My sweet child! You and your mother just stay on your guard over there. Let us destroy these scoundrels who dare to enter our Passionless Valley.” He then attacked Huang Rong.

    Ye Lu Qi quickly gave his sword to Guo Fu who in turn leaped to protect her mother, while he himself trying to attack Gongsun Zhi with his bare hands. With a smirk Gongsun Zhi hacked Ye Lu Qi with his saber while pierced Guo Fu’s throat with his black sword. Guo Fu parried with her sword. “Watch out!” cried Huang Rong. Almost simultaneously a “clang” sound was heard and the girl’s sword was cut in two. Gongsun Zhi’s sword kept going!

    Huang Rong froze! Her daughter was in dire situation. Even though a genius, she was incapable of doing anything.

    “Fend off with your right arm!” cried Wu Shuang.

    In that crucial moment, when the black sword almost pierced her throat, without thinking Guo Fu raised her right arm …

    Everybody eyes were wide opened. Suddenly Cheng Ying’s voice was heard, “Cousin! How could you …” Miss Cheng knew that her cousin did that because she held a grudge toward Guo Fu who chopped down Yang Guo’s right arm. As a tender hearted lady, she could not bear to see anybody hurt. However, even she was incapable of doing anything, since that black sword has already pierced Miss Guo’s right arm.

    “Rrrrrip!” Guo Fu’s clothes slashed open and she staggered backward, but strangely her arm was unharmed. Everybody was surprised.

    Stabilizing herself Guo Fu exclaimed, “Thank you Big Sister! How do you know … “ Miss Guo was not the smartest kid on the block and she thanked Wu Shuang for “saving” her life. In that crowd, only Huang Rong and Yang Guo knew that Guo Fu was saved by her protective vest. Guo Fu was about to say, “How do you know I was wearing the protective vest,” but she suddenly remembered not to divulge her secret in public.

    Knowing Gongsun Zhi and Qiu Qianchi’s surprise, Yang Guo laughed mockingly. “Mr. Gongsun, do you know who that young lady was?”

    After conversing with Li Mochou at the Heart Breaking Cliff, Gongsun Zhi has already learned everything there is to know about the intruders. Of course he knew who Guo Fu was, but he pretended ignorance. “How would I know any little kid?”

    “That Miss is the daughter of Chivalrous Hero (Da Xia) Guo Jing and the granddaughter of The Master of Peach Blossom Island, the Venerable Huang Yushi,” Yang Guo smiled. “She inherited a very special skill which makes her body impenetrable by any weapon. How could your rusty sword hurt her?

    “Hm! I was being lenient to her. Do you think I could not take her life?” Gongsun Zhi mockingly swinging his sword back and forth.

    Guo Fu was furious by his condescending remark. “He would not be able to hurt me because of this protective vest. If I attack fiercely, I will gain an upper hand,” she thought, and then said, “Brother Xiuwen, let me borrow your sword. This geeky old man did not believe in Peach Blossom Island superior martial arts. Let me introduce it to him.”

    Xiuwen gave his sword to the young lady, who then brandishing it and shouted arrogantly, “Geeky old man Gongsun! Bring it on!”

    Just by seeing her move Gongsun Zhi could see her meager ability. “Okay, please give me a lesson or two!” He snarled and hacked his saber down. Guo Fu eluded that attack and thrust her sword at the same time, but was shocked to see the black sword in front of her face. Guo Fu knew, if she let his sword to hit hers, she would have another sword cut in two in her hand. Therefore, she held her thrust and jumped backward. Gongsun Zhi then moved his two weapons to his right hand, while his bare left hand attacked her. Guo Fu was thrilled for she thought that as soon as he touches her vest, he would injure himself. But she also realized that if she took the full brunt of his hand, her internal organ would be wounded as well. She then slanted her body slightly to neutralize 70% of his force and waited for his hand to hit her. Surprisingly, Gongsun Zhi leaped backward just before touching her clothes and cried, “Aiyo! Somebody attacked me with a secret projectile!” He staggered and almost fell down.

    Guo Fu was bewildered. She did not know Gongsun Zhi was just pretending. His goal was achieved, he got the pill and now he just wanted to dart out and give the pill to Li Mochou. He realized these intruders: Yang Guo, Reverend Yi Deng, and the others are not easy to beat. He wanted to use the opportunity while everybody thought Guo Fu was winning to sneak out through the back door.

    Lu’E, however, has always kept her eyes on her father. So she immediately made her move. “Father, hold on!” At that moment two date stones flew toward Gongsun Zhi’s head. He quickly moved his head and the stones hit the wall.

    “Get out of the way!” he barked, and lunged toward his daughter.

    The young woman held her ground and said, “Give me back the pill …” But before she could finish, her hand was grabbed and she was lifted high. He snapped, “Wicked girl! If you want me to die, then let’s die together.” By that time Qiu Qianchi has already launched two more stones. She was shocked, but fortunately managed to move her head a little that the stones flew and Miss Lu’E’s body.

    [Translator note: Apparently, Qiu Qianchi has made some secret projectiles in the shape of date stones, but made of steel. Therefore, the correct translation would be “steel date stone” – or to be exact, “steel date seed”. But since the other translator used the term date stone, let’s just use the same term]

    What she did not anticipate was that the stones hit two of the valley disciples. One was hit on the head, the other on the chest. They died instantly. Gongsun Zhi was delighted with this turn of event. In his effort to take the valley back, he would need not only Li Mochou’s help, but his disciples’ as well.

    Without wasting a single moment he shouted, “You wicked woman! You dare to kill my disciples! I will hold you responsible!” But because of this incident, he was held back and Yang Guo has already stood in front of him. “Mr. Gongsun, not so fast.”

    Gongsun Zhi, still holding Lu’E high above his head, smirked, “You dare to block me?” He then used Lu’E’s body as a shield and walked backward. If either Yang Guo or Qiu Qianchi attacked, Lu’E would be the first to suffer.

    As a chivalrous man, Yang Guo obviously did not want to hurt anybody even for his own sake. Lu’E however, being held like a shield, could see that Yang Guo moved away from her father. She was deeply touched. “He did not want the pill for my sake.” Gongsun Zhi has sealed her accupoint that she could not move her limbs, but her head could still move. A moment later she closed her eyes and sighed, “Yang Lang, Yang Lang! [Translator note: “Lang” could also mean “Dear Husband” – Lu’E has regarded Yang Guo as her husband.] Today, I sacrifice my life for you!” She then stretched her beautiful neck toward her father’s black sword!

    Yang Guo cried and rushed forward, trying to help. But he was too late! He stood still like he was in a trance. Two streams of tears flowed down his cheeks. A lovely young woman with a heart as big as the sky had lost her life in her own father’s hand.

    He came to his senses by loud and angry yelling and screaming across the hall. Suddenly three more date stones flew like a flash. Gongsun Zhi threw his daughter’s body to intercept them. Three date stones pierced her lifeless body. Everybody scream and shouted angrily, and darted to attack him.

    “My disciples!” cried Gongsun Zhi, “by forming an alliance with these intruders this wicked woman planned to annihilate everybody in this valley! Come! Let us capture them with the net formation!”

    Ever since they were young, these disciples have always regarded Gongsun Zhi as their benevolent leader. When this cruel man was wounded and driven out of the valley, they had to follow Qiu Qianchi, albeit unwillingly. Now they heard his commanding tone, and witnessed earlier the death of two of their own by the old woman’s stones; without thinking they lifted the nets full of sharp blades and started to surround the enemy from every direction.

    “Stop! Don’t listen to that old scoundrel! Stop!” Qiu Qianchi shouted to no avail. The valley disciples just kept going following Gongsun Zhi’s command. “Qun-net [Translator note: name of the net formation – not sure what they mean] to the front, Chua-net to the left, Zen-net to the right.” Quickly those nets moved to position.

    Because of the wound on her right shoulder, Huang Rong used her left hand to launch twenty-some steel needles toward eight valley disciples to the west. She was sure those needles would pass through the net holes. Unbeknownst to her, those nets were made from some steel and gold alloy with some magnetic property. With “ding, ding” sound all the needles, as well as Qiu Qianchi’s stones [see translator’s note on this stone earlier] – were stuck to the nets. “Aiyo!” cried Huang Rong, “Fu Er, lift your sword, protect your head! Hack those nets down!”

    Heeding her mother’s instruction, Guo Fu jumped to the northeast. Four valley disciples moved to block her. She managed to parry several blades; either with her sword or her protective vest, but those four disciples spread out and tried to capture Guo Fu just like fishermen catch fish.

    Yang Guo saw the Guo’s girl in danger; he leaped toward her, exerted his internal energy to his heavy sword and hacked down the net. It broke with a loud noise, and its bearer – the four disciples, fell down to the ground. Wu Santong and Yelu Qi immediately pounced and beat them to near death. Yang Guo hacked twice and two more nets formation went down. With three hacks he destroyed three nets. If we consider the net material, we should know that they are very tough and ductile. The fact that Yang Guo was able to tear them down demonstrated his magnificent internal energy and his amazing black steel heavy sword.

    The valley disciples were shocked! They scrambled away with fear.

    “Five nets! Attack!” again Gongsun Zhi shouted his command, “This kid has lost his strength.”

    Yang Guo was nervous. He wasn’t sure he could hack five nets down at once. He quickly made his move before the enemy did. With one more hack, another net went down. Just as Yang Guo was about to make another move, a loud voice was heard outside, “Where’d you go?”

    He was startled. A moment later a dark shadow darted inside. Everybody was surprised to see it was none other than Scarlet Immortal Li Mochou, who upon entering the hall stood arrogantly wielding her sword.

    Before anybody could react, another shadow darted inside whose body was covered with blood and whose hair was in disarray. It was Zhu Ziliu! He pounced on Li Mochou with his bare hands; and even though she was armed, she ran around trying to elude his attack. It was because he attacked as a mad man, without any regard to his own safety. They were both martial arts experts, that in a flash they have already run around the hall a few times.

    Yang Guo was confused, “Li Mochou is not inferior to Zhu Ziliu, how could she be scared away like that?” Those two actually possessed almost the same level of martial skills, but in term of lightness kungfu, Li Mochou was a step superior. Therefore, Zhu Ziliu was not able to catch up, plus he was bleeding profusely.

    Wu Santong, Dunru and Xiuwen leaped together to block the demoness. “Martial Brother!” cried Zhu Ziliu. “That wicked woman has killed Martial Uncle! Your younger brother ... I … “ he couldn’t finish, his body swayed and fell to the ground.

    That was indeed a heavy blow to everyone present. Reverend Yi Deng had a very high level of spiritual strength not mentioning his profound internal energy, he was a very composed monk, but this news made him stood up and cried, “Ah!” To Yang Guo, the news was more like thunderbolt amidst a bright and clear sky. He was almost blacked-out. He then cast a glance toward his wife, who at that very same moment was looking at him. Two pairs of eyes met. They felt like they were falling down a very dark and cold hole in the ground. Xiao Long Nuu uttered a soft cry and rushed toward her husband, leaning her body against his, breathing heavily.

    After a while Yang Guo composed himself, threw his heavy sword away, and walked gingerly outside, holding his wife’s hand.

    What had happened? How did the Indian Monk fall victim to the demoness?

    In his effort to cure poison induced illness, the Divine Indian Monk had tested many-many types of poison on his own body. Quite naturally, his body developed an immune system toward poison. When pricking himself with the passionless flower thorns, he predicted that he would be unconscious for three whole days and nights. It turned out that he had already gained his consciousness back on the second night. As he opened his eyes he said, “Ziliu, this passionless flower is not as lethal as I thought it would be. I am confident that I can neutralize it.”

    Ziliu was ecstatic and immediately told his martial uncle that Reverend Yi Deng, Yang Guo, and the others have arrived in the valley. He also mentioned that it was Yang Guo himself who smashed the furnace door where they were being kept prisoners.

    “The sooner we can neutralize the poison, the better. Let’s not waste another second,” having said that the Indian Monk immediately walked outside and headed directly to the flower bushes. He looked down and started searching the herbs he thought would be the antidote to the poison. It is a natural phenomenon that the poison and the antidote would usually co-exist in the same place.

    Unbeknownst to them, Li Mochou was still hiding behind the rocks scattered throughout that area. Seeing the Monk, she launched her soul-freezing needle to him. The Indian Monk did not possess any martial art skill, the needle hit him in the chest and he died instantly.

    Hearing the unusual noise, Zhu Ziliu knew something was amiss. He saw Li Mochou and immediately rushed toward his martial uncle without regard to his own safety. Li Mochou launched another needle his way. Since Ziliu was not armed, he used his long sleeve to parry the attack but left his back defenseless at the same time. The demoness slashed her sword down and made an inch-deep wound on his right shoulder.

    He quickly exerted his internal energy to his fingertip and attacked the demoness’ waist. He knew if he backed off, the demoness would still not let him off easily. Ziliu was starting to get anxious because he did not hear anything from his martial uncle’s direction, while the demoness attacked him relentlessly. “Uncle! Uncle!” he cried, but the Monk did not respond.

    The demoness sneered, “If you want his answer, you should come to him … in hell!” Li Mochou expected him to lose his concentration. In battle between experts, the outcome is more often that not decided by who lost one’s concentration first. Who knew that Ziliu not only did not lose his, but became fiercer, like he was possessed …

    Under the starry sky Li Mochou could see his unusually bright eyes while he attacked her like there is no tomorrow. The place where they were was so quiet, nobody was around, no sound was heard; but perhaps remembering her own sins, she became nervous and started to feel scared. Because of that, she increased her attack, which forced Ziliu to back off a bit, and using the opportunity, she leaped back and ran away. Ziliu immediately checked his Uncle’s wrist and did not find any pulse. The Indian Monk was beyond help. With excessive grief and anger he leaped toward the demoness and started chasing her.

    Gongsun Zhi was ecstatic when he saw Li Mochou. “Sister Li! Over here!” he started toward her.

    Even though she was injured, Huang Rong did not lose her wit. She saw Gongsun Zhi acting weird and immediately knew what he was up to. “Guo Er!” she cried, “Don’t let those two get close to each other!”

    Yang Guo ignored her, he just smiled bitterly. The death of the Indian Monk had broken his heart, and he no longer cared who would get the half-pill.

    Yelu Qi saw all this, and he made a swift decision. He picked one end of a net. The one destroyed by the heavy sword. “Wu Brothers!” he shouted, “Help me hold the other end!” Wu Dunru, Wanyan Ping and Yelu Yan quickly complied, and together they moved and blocked Gongsun Zhi who was trying to approach Li Mochou.

    The overall situation was very chaotic. Qiu Qianchi used that opportunity to repeatedly launch her stones, and five, six Passionless Valley disciples fell down, dead. The net formation was completely destroyed, Gongsun Zhi’s minions scrambled out.

    Angrily Gongsun Zhi hacked Yelu Yan with his golden saber. Cheng Ying jumped and attacked the enemy’s hand with her flute. Gongsun Zhi quickly retracted his saber and thrust his black sword toward Cheng Ying. Seeing her cousin in danger, Lu Wushuang quickly came to her rescue and hacked repeatedly with her willow-leaf saber.

    Because of this hindrance, Gongsun Zhi’s intention to join himself to Li Mochou was foiled. He could not give her the pill. Moreover, Qiu Qianchi kept launching her stones toward him. After a few stances he started to get nervous and decided to get out as quickly as he could, and joined Li Mochou later. “Sister Li!” he shouted, “Let’s get out of here! I’ll meet you at you-know-where.” As soon as opportunity aroused, they ran past Yang Guo and Xiao Long Nuu who at the time was still holding hands, walking slowly out of the hall. They seemed oblivious to what happened around them.

    “Sister Long, block Gongsun Zhi!” Huang Rong called, “Passionless Pill is in his hand.”

    Xiao Long Nu was startled, “After the Divine Monk’s death, Guo Er’s life depends on the pill,” she thought. She let go Yang Guo’s hand and chased him.

    “Long Er, let him go!” Yang Guo called out.

    “Why?” she asked, but did not stop. Yang Guo was forced to follow. Gongsun Zhi and Li Mochou took their own separate ways; one ran to northeast, the other to northwest. Xiao Long Nuu, Yang Guo, Cheng Ying and Wu Shuang ran after Gongsun Zhi; while Wu San Tong, his two sons, Zhu Ziliu and Wanyan Ping followed Li Mochou. Yelu Qi, his sister and Guo Fu kept Reverend Yi Deng and Huang Rong company, while guarding against Qiu Qianchi’s action.

    In the Wu San Tong’s party, Zhu Ziliu had the highest martial art skill; only he had already suffered heavy injuries, that he gave up after running a little while. Wu San Tong and his sons stopped to check on his condition, which caused them to lost track of the demoness.

    “If that wicked woman could elude us, we really do not have any face to see Martial Uncle,” sighed Zhu Ziliu crossly. They tried beating the bushes and other places, but Li Mochou had vanished from sight. “Gongsun Zhi has already arranged a meeting place for them,” mused Zhu Ziliu again, “We don’t know where it would be, but if we just follow Gongsun Zhi, we’ll eventually find her. He needs to give that pill to her anyway.”

    “You are right,” Wu San Tong said, “Let’s find Gongsun Zhi.” So, utilizing their lightness kungfu they changed course to northwest.

    Sure enough, not too long they heard Yang Guo’s voice, like he was battling someone. They quickened their pace, but the noise they heard was kind of peculiar; sometimes seemed like it was just around the corner, other times it came from afar. They kept going in circles until the dawn broke, but were never found the source of the noise. At daybreak they got to a four-way intersection. Now, which way should they go?

    “The pathways here were designed according to ‘amazing gate theory’ [some kind of eight-diagram?]” explained Zhu Ziliu, “however, the variations were incredible, and differ somewhat from the theory we presently know. We won’t be able to learn this is a short period of time.”

    Wanyan Ping was very observant, she pointed to a small tree next to the second pathway, “Elder Zhu, look!” she said, “there’s a saber mark on that tree.”

    “Right,” Zhu Ziliu was delighted, “let’s go this way.” After only tens of meters, the pathway curved different direction. “I don’t think we are going the right way,” Xiuwen commented, “we are heading east now.”

    “Not necessarily wrong, let’s keep going a bit,” decided Zhu Ziliu.

    He was right, not too long, the pathway curved to the south, and then one or two more turns later, they were heading west. What boosted their confidence was that there were saber’s marks on the tree or on the ground at every turn.

    They kept going with renewed vigor. Eventually the road was getting darker and looked more dangerous, but the saber’s marks could be seen along the way. Who could’ve left the marks?

    Turned out it was Wushuang. While going after Gongsun Zhi, Cheng Ying – who also understood this kind of pathway design – was worried that they were being led to a trap and could not find the way out. Therefore, she asked Wushuang to leave marks along the way; on the trees or wherever she deemed was necessary. Little did they know that the marks had led their allies in their effort to find Gongsun Zhi.

    After a while the path started to slope upward, getting more and more difficult and of course, more dangerous. Suddenly they heard a loud and hair-rising laughter. They stopped and lifted their gaze upward. There, across the ravine, perched on a hill, stood a man laughing maniacally. It was Gongsun Zhi. There was a deep ravine beneath him, and a very high mountain peak above.

    Seeing Gongsun Zhi’s madness – real or pretended, Zhu Ziliu was worried, “If he slipped, his body will be smashed to smithereens in the abyss below. His death is well-deserved, but he would take the Passionless Pill down with him.” He quickly ran ahead and after making a turn he found Yang Guo, Xiao Long Nuu, Cheng Ying and Wushuang standing on the verge of the ravine looking up on Gongsun Zhi.

    Xiao Long Nuu approached Zhu Ziliu and softly asked, “Uncle Zhu, could you think of something to force him down?” Zhu Ziliu looked around and found out that between the mountain peak and the place where they stood there was a natural bridge of long rock looked like a tree log, only less than one foot wide. The rock, as well as the stones around the bridge was covered with moss, which make them slippery. There was no way they could force him down. He had to be tricked into going down on his own. But Gongsun Zhi was so shrewd. What kind of trick could they use?

    Wu Santong remembered his indebtedness to Yang Guo’s great kindness. His two sons were alive and live in harmony with each other was because of Yang Guo’s sacrifice. He decided right then and there to repay this debt and rolling his sleeve immediately offered, “Let me drag him down here.” But before he could move a shadow flashed ahead of him. It was Cheng Ying. “Let me do it!” And she already stepped onto the rock. She was quick, Yang Guo was even quicker. She felt somebody tug her sleeve and she was pulled back. “Little Sister, how much do I worth that you make a sacrifice like that?” she heard Yang Guo whispered into her ear; she blushed and was speechless.

    Suddenly Xiao Long Nuu’s voice was heard, “Let me borrow your swords.” With a fluid motion she pulled Dun Ru’s and Wanyan Ping’s swords. Such a beautiful move! Before they even realized what had happened, the young madame was already perched on the rock.

    Gongsun Zhi was shocked to see her bravery; he quickly jumped back to the other end of the bridge. Wielding his sword in front of him he snickered, “Do you really want to die?”

    Holding her two swords, Xiao Long Nuu quietly prayed, “Please God, bless me. Let me die after I get the pill back.” She looked at Gongsun Zhi and softly spoke, “Mr. Gongsun, you have saved my life, yet because of me, you have suffered a lot of misery. I … my heart ached for you. I do not want to fight you.”

    “So? What do you want?” he asked.

    “I want to beg you to give me the Pill to save my husband’s life,” she answered, “I know you have no use of the pill, but I will forever be indebted to you if you just give that to me.”

    While they were still speaking, Yang Guo shouted, “Long Er! Get back here! What’s that half-pill for? It won’t save both our lives.”

    Looking at her standing atop the rock, her dress fluttered in the wind, and her stunningly beautiful countenance, Gongsun Zhi was mesmerized. Suddenly an evil thought came to his mind. “That kid is your husband?” he asked.

    “Yes, we are married.”

    “Well, if you grant me a request, I will immediately give this pill to you,” Gongsun Zhi continued.

    By the look of his eyes, Xiao Long Nuu knew what he was about to say. She shook her head and said, “I am married, I can’t marry you. Mr. Gongsun, I know you loved me very much. However, I have already given my heart to someone else. With a deep regret I cannot accept your love anymore.”

    Gongsun Zhi’s countenance changed. “Go away!” he barked, “If not, I won’t hold myself anymore.”

    “If we fight, wouldn’t that be very sad?” said Xiao Long Nuu sadly. She was not pretending, she really was remembering Gongsun Zhi’s kindness.

    Gongsun Zhi made an “hmph” sound and wore a really evil smile on his lips. “I want to see that Yang Guo kid screaming and rolling around on the ground dying miserably,” he said, “I want to see a faithful wife wearing mourning clothes.”

    The young madame smiled sadly. “Listen!” she said, “He’s calling me. He called because he loves me. He’d rather die of the poison than see me hurt by you.”

    “Long Er! Come back!” Yang Guo kept shouting, “Come back! Don’t waste your breath talking to that lowly creature.” He would have come and dragged his wife away if he could find a place to put his feet down.

    Gongsun Zhi’s mind was reeling. He wanted very much to make Xiao Long Nuu his hostage. However, they would both fall into the ravine below if the young madame put up any struggle at all. On the other hand, if he did not capture her, how could he save his own life? He looked at his enemies, and among them, Yang Guo was the only one he was afraid of. But he was relieved to see the young man did not wield his heavy sword. In his mind, unarmed Yang Guo would not be able to block him. His best bet right now would be attacking Xiao Long Nuu, try to capture her, or at least push her back far enough for him to escape. Having thought this over, he barked, “Will you or won’t you back off?” and thrust his sword simultaneously.

    What he did not anticipate was that after learning the art of “dividing one’s mind” [it was mentioned in LOCH, when Guo Jing met Zhou Botong for the first time at Peach Blossom Island; and also ROCH Chapter 25, where Zhou Botong taught this skill to Xiao Long Nuu inside the spider’s cave. Unfortunately, they are not translated yet, so I do not have any reference], Xiao Long Nuu’s swordsmanship was more than doubled. Even though she was poisoned, and her level of energy was weakened somewhat, still, Gongsun Zhi was no match for her Jade Maiden Swords Technique. She moved her pair of swords so fast, that her body was surrounded by the flashing of the swords. Gongsun Zhi felt like he was caught in a rainstorm. Swords everywhere … He sighed and regretted his decision, “I wouldn’t have attacked her in the first place if only I knew her true skill.” Lucky for him, the Jade Maiden Swords was not created with murderous intention, plus Xiao Long Nuu did not have any intention to kill him, therefore, he was able to hold his ground for the time being.

    In the meantime, Reverend Yi Deng, Huang Rong, Guo Fu, Yelu Qi and Yelu Yan have also arrived. Together they witnessed this spectacular battle with their hearts pounding.

    “Eh, you go help her,” Guo Fu told Yelu Qi, “Elder Sister Long wouldn’t win by herself.”

    Yelu Qi only shook his head, “There is no place I could set my foot on.”

    In all her weaknesses and spoiled condition, Guo Fu’s natural character was not evil. She became stressed out when she saw Xiao Long Nuu’s dire situation and remembered her own experience battling the old man’s high martial art skill. Yelu Qi was not wrong. But Guo Fu insisted, this time to her mother, “Mother! Please help Sister Long.” She did not realize that even without her prompting everybody was willing to help. Everybody was just as anxious as she was, and of course they would’ve helped if it were at all possible.

    After observing for some time, Huang Rong noticed that Xiao Long Nuu was utilizing the “dividing one’s mind” art; which as far as she knew, mastered only by Zhou Botong and her own husband, Guo Jing. She then concluded that Madame Yang had received Old Urchin’s tutelage. Yet some more time passed. She witnessed Gongsun Zhi’s high level of martial art, and Xiao Long Nuu’s disadvantage because of the poison in her body. Her swordsmanship was a level higher than Gongsun Zhi’s, however; she was not able to gain an upper hand even after hundreds of stances.

    Huang Rong’s intelligent mind started to cook something. “Guo Er,” she said, “let’s help Sister Long. We create a disruption to that geek. You scare him off, while I encourage him up. He’ll lose his concentration.”

    Yang Guo was delighted and praised his smart Auntie Guo.

    “Mr. Gongsun, I have killed Qiu Qianchi!” shouted Huang Rong.

    Gongsun Zhi was startled, is that true?

    “Gongsun Zhi!” cried Yang Guo, “Li Mochou said that she would beat you to death if you don’t give her the pill!”

    “No, no!” Huang Rong countered, “Li Mochou did say that she would marry you as soon as you cure her.”

    (Note : Some parts above was also translated by Jin_Yong_Fan.)

    “Well, yes! But we won’t allow that to happen,” Yang Guo continued, “We will capture you and throw you to the Passionless Flower field, so that you will enjoy the thorns’ exotic sensation.”

    “No, don’t be so cruel,” said Huang Rong. “Mr. Gongsun, don’t you worry. Let’s forget this enmity. I want to be your friend.”

    “How could you befriend this scoundrel!” howled Yang Guo. “Gongsun Zhi! I hear you killed your maidservant, your lover. I think she has become a ghost and wanted revenge. Ah! Look! Behind you! Watch out! The ghost is going to attack!”

    This ramble between Yang Guo and Huang Rong had shown some results. Of course Xiao Long Nuu also heard them, but first of all, it has nothing to do with her, and second, by nature – and her upbringing in the Ancient Tomb – she was always very composed, plus she had learned to divide her own mind. She started to gain an upper hand. Gongsun Zhi got nervous and shouted panicky, “Shut up!”

    “Hey, Gongsun Zhi!” shouted Yang Guo, “Who’s that behind you? Eeek! It’s a young woman, her hair disheveled, her tongue stick-out, her face full of blood! Ah! She come near you … She … is going to choke you!” Suddenly, he yelled with a loud voice, “Yes! Strangle Gongsun Zhi!”

    Gongsun Zhi knew they were just trying to break his concentration. Nevertheless, he remembered his many crimes, and without even realizing it, he looked back. At that very same moment Xiao Long Nuu’s sword flashed toward his left hand. His saber fell from his grip. Under beautiful rays of dawn that golden saber glittered down the ravine. It was some time later that a very distant splash was heard, like there was water at the bottom. Wu Santong and the others were shocked! That ravine was really-really deep!

    Losing his saber, Gongsun Zhi could not hold his stand much longer. Xiao Long Nuu easily attacked him incessantly, and not long afterward, she managed to disarm his black sword as well. With one sword pointing toward his chest, the other toward his stomach she plainly said, “Mr. Gongsun, just give me the pill. I won’t kill you.”

    The old man was pale. “What about the others?” he asked.

    “They won’t hurt you,” she give her promise.

    He has no choice; he did not want to die. So he took the bottle from his pocket and hand it out to her. Still pointing her sword to his chest, Xiao Long Nuu took the bottle with mixed emotion. “I won’t live much longer, but Guo Er’s life is spared,” she said in her heart. And she leaped back from the bridge.

    Wu Santong, Zhu Ziliu and the others was not unaware of this young madame’s level of martial arts; however, even in their wildest dream they could not believe Xiao Long Nuu was able to use two different sword stances at the same time. Of course they heard such skill existed. It was told that in the Jianghu world, only Zhou Botong and Guo Jing have mastered the skill. But ... nobody had ever seen it; therefore, they were rather skeptical about it. Now they have seen it with their own eyes and believe what they heard was true. Yelu Qi, Cheng Ying, and the other younger generation were really impressed. Even Wushuang! She was initially unhappy that Yang Guo had married Xiao Lung Nuu, but now she realized that she would not hold a candle compared to her.

    As she landed on the ground, her clothes fluttered in the wind, she walked gracefully toward Yang Guo. She looked like a deity, an angel descending from above. Without prompting everybody cheered!

    Yang Guo rushed forward, while the others also crowded around them. Xiao Long Nuu opened the bottle and took the pill out. “Guo Er,” she said, laughing softly, “I think this is the real thing.”

    “Real?” Yang Guo was indifferent. “Long Er, how are you feeling? Why is your face pale? Try circulating your breathing.”

    His wife laughed emotionlessly. She had started to feel uneasiness and heaviness because of blocked energy in her chest as soon as she finished her battle with Gongsun Zhi. She had tried circulating her ‘chi’, but failed. She was dizzy and was about to throw up. She understood very well that that was the symptoms of the poison getting worse. She just did not care anymore because she had the Passionless Pill in her hand. To her, Yang Guo’s life was a lot more precious than her own; so she just smiled and did not respond.

    Yang Guo held his wife’s hand and was shocked to find her hand colder than ice. “Long Er!” he said, his heart thumping heavily. “How ... what do you feel?”

    “I’m OK. C’mon, swallow this pill,” she answered calmly.

    Yang Guo looked at his wife’s face with eyes opened wide. “No, I don’t want it,” he said. His voice trembled. “Half a Passionless Pill will not save our lives both. Long Er … ah, Long Er! Do you think if you died I would want to live alone?” Suddenly he took away the half-pill from his wife’s hand and … threw it down the bottomless ravine. That half-pill – the only thing in the whole wide world that can save his life – flew down the abyss below.

    Everybody was shocked! Xiao Long Nuu could feel his deep and profound love toward her, she was sad yet grateful. She no longer able to hold her consciousness and fainted in her husband’s arm.

    Wu Brothers, Guo Fu, Wanyan Ping and the others were baffled since they did not know the whole story. Suddenly Wu Santong shouted, “Li Mochou! Don’t ever think you will live a day longer!” And then he ran toward the left. Everybody turned their head and saw Gongsun Zhi was running to the west toward Li Mochou, who was standing on top a small hill. They were getting closer, while Wu Santong and the others were still quite a long way away.

    Just before Gongsun Zhi reached her, a hearty laughter could be heard behind the hill, and a healthy looking old man appeared. He carried a big wooden box on his back. That old man had white hair and beard, and it was none other than Zhou Botong.

    “Old Urchin!” called Huang Rong, “chase that yellow-robed Taoist nun over here!”

    “Very well! Watch me!” he answered, opening his wooden box and waved his arm. A swarm of bees came out of the box and flew toward Li Mochou. Turned out that when the Mongolian soldiers burned down Mount Zhong Nan, the Quan Zhen disciples retreated while saving their books and other temple’s articles. He on the other hand, was busy collecting the jade bees and put them into this wooden box. Even though he was childish and love to fool around, he was very smart. After a while he figured out how to control the bees.

    Seeing the grey bees, Gongsun Zhi was scared. He turned around and ran toward the valley. Li Mochou was also shocked. Bees behind her, enemies in front of her. She decided to run to the east. Wu Brothers, Cheng Ying, Wushuang, and the others quickly surround her with weapons unsheathed. “Shifu!” Yelu Qi called, “pull your bees back!”

    Zhou Botong repeatedly shouted his commands to pull his bees back; but in the commotion the jade bees did not respond and kept going after the demoness. Wu Santong was afraid his archenemy would escape again, he ran toward her ignoring the bees’ attack.

    While everybody was chasing Li Mochou, Yang Guo stayed where he was, still holding his wife tightly. He whispered into her ears, “Long Er … Long Er …” Slowly Xiao Long Nuu opened her eyes. She heard the jade bees humming seemingly so distant. She thought she was dreaming and was inside the Ancient Tomb. Her countenance brightened a little and she whispered back, “Are we home …?”

    A short while later she gained her consciousness back and was fully aware of what was happening around her. She whistled and softly shouted her commands. Hearing their master the jade bees gathered up above Li Mochou’s head. “Elder Martial Sister,” she said, “you should repent now of all your past crimes.”

    Li Mochou’s face was sheet-white. “Where’s the pill?” she inquired. Her martial sister sadly smiled, “Inside that bottomless abyss.” She continued, “Why did you kill that Divine Monk? If he were alive, not only he would safe Guo Er’s life and mine, but yours as well.”

    She was blown away! Her martial sister had never lied. She would never imagined that just one of her own soul-freezing needle would eventually kill her.

    In the meantime, Wu Santong and his two sons, Cheng Ying, Wushuang, and the others have formed a tight formation around her; while Zhou Botong was still busy shouting his commands. “Elder Zhou,” Xiao Long Nuu called, “you have to whistle this way.” She then gave him some examples, which was imitated by the Old Urchin. Thousands of bees immediately gathered around him and then entered the box. The old man was so delighted. “Miss Long, thank you … thank you …”

    Observing this old man, Reverend Yi Deng smiled and called, “Brother Botong, long time no see. You look as you did not age at all.”

    Zhou Botong was surprised. He quickly closed the bee box and said, “You are well, I am too. Everybody’s well.” He swung the box to his shoulder and ran away without saying anything else.

    Li Mochou, being surrounded on every side, started to realize that she would not come out of this alive. She became desperate. She looked around and said, “Huh-huh! You consider yourself as heroes. Huh-huh! Today you will win by sheer number. Martial Sister! I am a disciple of Ancient Tomb. I can’t let myself be killed by outsider. Come! You do it.” She then reversed her own sword so that its blade pointed to her own chest.

    Xiao Long Nuu shook her head, “Why would I want to kill you?” she asked.

    “Li Mochou!” snapped Wu Santong. “Let me ask you this: what did you do to Lu Zhanyuan and He Yuanjun’s bodies?”

    The demoness trembled. “I burned them,” she said menacingly. “I spread the ashes: one on the peak of Mount Hua, the other on Eastern Sea; so that they won’t see each other for eternity.” Her cruelness made everybody’s heart pounding.

    “Sister Long has a benevolent heart, she won’t kill you,” said Wushuang, “but my whole family died in your hand and I want revenge this very day. Cousin, come!”

    “My mother died in your hands,” Xiuwen continued, “Other people can show mercy to you, but my brother and I will never forgive you.”

    “Come!” Wushuang lifted her saber. Together with Xiuwen and his sword they started to move. Li Mochou exerted her energy to her sword and “Crack!” that sword was broken into two pieces. She smirked, hold her hands on her back, totally ignoring their attack.

    Suddenly heavy smoke and fire appeared to their east. “Fire!” cried Huang Rong. “We have to save Martial Uncle’s body,” said Zhu Ziliu. He leaped toward Li Mochou, and sealed three of her accupoints with his famous Yang Solitary Finger to prevent the demoness from escaping.

    “Miss Gongsun’s body too!” cried Cheng Ying.

    “Right!” answered the others.

    They ran toward the Valley Master Hall. Wu Brothers dragged Li Mochou along, while Yang Guo, Xiao Long Nuu, Huang Rong and Reverend Yi Deng not far behind. They walked slowly because of the injuries. About a quarter of kilometer away from the valley complex, they began to feel the heat. People were shouting and screaming. Buildings were collapsing.

    “That Gongsun Zhi was really cruel,” Wu Santong said, “Miss Long should’ve killed him!”

    “I don’t think it was him who burned this place down,” commented Zhu Ziliu. “If I am not mistaken, this is that old granny’s doing.”

    “Why Qiu Qianchi?” asked Santong, “Isn’t the Passionless Valley hers?”

    “Well, the valley disciples have rebelled against her. Even if we killed Gongsun Zhi, she would not be able to live here any longer,” Zhu Ziliu explained. “I think that granny is just narrow-minded …” He did not continue and exerted his energy, quickly ran to the kiln. Fortunately this kiln was a little bit away from the complex. Hastily Zhu Ziliu lifted his Martial Uncle’s body away. The Monk’s countenance was still smiling, like he found something delightful just before he died.

    Wu Santong shed some tears. “Martial Uncle died without suffering.”

    “Martial Uncle was killed when he was searching for the Passionless Flower antidote,” explained Zhu Ziliu.

    In the mean time, Huang Rong and her company arrived. Hearing Zhu Ziliu’s explanation, she immediately examined the Indian Monk’s body, but she could not find anything. She searched all the pockets in his clothes. Nothing. “Did your Martial Uncle say anything to you?” she asked.

    “No,” answered Zhu Ziliu. “When Martial Uncle and I came out of this kiln, we have never thought a danger was lurking.”

    Huang Rong fixed her gaze on the Indian Monk’s smiling face, and a thought flashed in her mind. She stooped and looked at the Divine Monk’s hands. Her heart pounding, for she saw his right hand tightly clutched some dark-purplish grass-like herbs. Slowly she pried open his fingers and took the grass away. “What kind of grass is this?” she mused.

    Zhu Ziliu only shook his head.

    Huang Rong smelled it. That grass had an awful smell, she almost threw-up.

    “Madame Guo, careful!” said Yi Deng, “That is ‘intestine-severing’ grass. Very poisonous.”

    Huang Rong stared blankly. She lost hope.

    Upon hearing that the grass was very dangerous, Xiuwen said to Huang Rong, “Shiniang [martial female master - Shifu's wife], let’s give that grass to this demoness.”

    “Young man, don’t be so cruel,” Yi Deng rebuked him.

    “Grand Martial Master,” said Xiuwen, “Are we supposed to show mercy to an evil person like this woman?”

    The fire had reached the tree and bushes around the kiln.

    “People! Retreat to the northeast, to that hilly area,” Huang Rong gave her command. Everybody complied and as they arrived there, the buildings around the kiln had started to burn.

    Li Mochou’s accupoints were sealed, but she was still able to walk, only without her internal energy. She tried to circulate her ‘chi’ to unseal herself. She thought she would try to escape when the enemy was not looking. Unexpectedly, her chest and waist hurt like hell as soon as she did that, which made her screamed in agony. What happened was that she depressed the poison using her internal energy. However, when her accupoints were sealed, her energy was also neutralized. Now that she tried to circulate her energy, the poison was flowing alongside and attacked her inner organs.

    Her eyes seen stars floating around, she was writhing in agony and almost lost her consciousness. Yang Guo and Xiao Long Nuu walked toward her, but what she saw was a pair of young couple, a handsome man and a lovely young woman – right in front of her they suddenly turned into Lu Zhanyuan and He Yuanjun. She leaped and screamed, “Zhanyuan! You are so cruel! You still have a face to see me?” Because she was thinking about love, the poison in her body became more active than ever. She was in so much pain that her body staggered, her face white as a sheet of paper and looked so frightening. Everybody step back a few steps seeing her behaving like a mad woman.

    Li Mochou had always been a proud woman, never in her life she ask any favor from anybody. But with her dying breath she cried incessantly, “Oohh ... ! Ouch! Help! Ohh ... somebody help me, please …” Her voice was truly heartrending.

    “The only one who can help you was my Martial Uncle,” Zhu Ziliu answered and pointed to the Indian Monk’s body. “Why did you kill him?”

    “Yes! I killed him!” the demoness gnashed her teeth and screamed, “I killed all kind of people, good people, bad people, I killed them all! I am dead! I want to die! Why are you still alive? I want you to die with me!” Her body swayed, her breathing shortened, and suddenly she lunged toward Wu Dunru’s sword.

    For many-many years Wu Dunru had dreamed to stab the demoness with his very own sword. However, at that moment he was taken aback, and pulled his sword away unwittingly. The demoness missed the sword; she fell down to the ground and her body rolled away toward the blazing flame in the valley below.

    Everybody cried! In a flash her clothes were like a giant torch, blazing with fire. She struggled but eventually managed to stand up in the middle of the blazing fire.

    Xiao Long Nuu, remembering their sisterhood, was the only one compassionate toward her. She immediately cried, “Sister, get out of there!” But Li Mochou did not budge, seemed like she was not even feeling the heat. It was a terrifying scene … everybody’s eyes were wide open. Suddenly, from her mouth came a heartrending voice, she was singing … !

    O mortals, what is love? That binds beyond life on earth?
    To all corners, in pair we fly... braving summer and winter, by and by...
    Union is bliss, parting is woe, agony is boundless, for a lovelorn soul, sweetheart...
    Give me word, trail of clouds drifting forward...
    And mountains capped with snow, whither shall my lonesome shadow go?
    [Noodle’s translation]

    Her voice getting weaker and weaker, until it finally faded away amidst the raging fire …

    [Her song, Liu Bo – flowing waves – was the one she used to sing with Lu Zhanyuan, when they were still together. She also sang along with tears flowing down her cheeks when Yang Guo and Cheng Ying was playing/singing this song – see Chapter 15]

    Xiao Long Nuu could not hold her tears any longer. She sobbed uncontrollably in Yang Guo’s single arm. Nobody was exempt from feeling sadness creeping into his or her heart. The demoness finally paid her sins with a well-deserved death; however, they could not help but have pity on her. She was actually a weak and blind woman; weaken and blinded by love.

    Wu Santong and his two sons, Wushuang and Cheng Ying had a very deep animosity toward her; and were always wanting their revenge. But now that she was dead, they did not feel a single ray of joy in their heart. Huang Rong remembered how the demoness – despite of her evil and cruel character – had taken care of her little Guo Xiang with love and kindness for many-many days. She then lift the baby up, put her little hands together, and waved them toward the blazing fire; as a gesture of final respect toward the ill-fated woman.

    Yang Guo looked at the fire, then turned his gaze toward the Valley Master Hall. He sighed ceaselessly. He had wanted to go back to the building complex to save Luu’E’s body from the fire. Yet now he saw the whole complex was burned down almost to the ground. He felt a deep sense of lost. He remembered both women, Luu’E and Mochou. One was an angel, the other a demon. Both died and became ashes because of love. Without even realizing it, tears started flowing down his cheeks.

    While Yang Guo was still staring blankly to the fire, suddenly a long, loud and terrifying laugh was heard, coming from the top of the hill to their northeast. That voice was supported by a high level of internal energy. “Qiu Qianchi!” Yang Guo was startled. “How did she climb that hill?”

    Xiao Long Nuu’ heart stirred. “Let’s ask her if she still have another Passionless Pill in her hand,” she said.

    “Long Er, ah Long Er! Are you still dreaming?” her husband said with bitter smile.

    Actually, Huang Rong and the others came to the Passionless Valley with a sole objective of finding the cure to Yang Guo’s illness. Having heard Xiao Long Nuu, a ray of hope rose in their heart. Wu Santong and his sons immediately ran toward the hill. Yelu Qi and Wanyan Ping followed suit. Yang Guo sighed and shook his head. He had determined not to take any antidote, unless somebody could find something to save his wife’s life.

    Cheng Ying – who all this time stood quietly beside him – suddenly said, “Brother Yang, you should not belittle everybody’s loving concern toward you. We love you. Let us go together.” As we all know, Cheng Ying had always loved Yang Guo, and treated him with nothing but kindness. Yang Guo was not unaware of that fact. Even though he had already given his heart to another, he had always regarded Cheng Ying with nothing but respect and brotherly love. The young miss had never asked him anything. Until now. How could he refuse? Therefore, he nodded his head and said, “Very well.”

    The naughty Wushuang could not contain herself much longer. She laughed heartily and said, “Good boy! You should always listen to what we say, Dummy! [Sha Dan]”

    Quickly they climbed the hill toward Qiu Qianchi. Very soon Yang Guo could see that the hill was where the old granny, together with Luu’E and himself had escaped from the underground cave. The trees and everything around was still the same, but the golden-hearted lady was no longer there. He sighed and was deeply saddened.

    After about a half-kilometer or so, they could see from afar that Qiu Qianchi was sitting on a chair on the hilltop. She was laughing with a creepy voice, and kept looking up toward a distance. She looked and behaved like a mad woman.

    “I think she’s gone crazy,” said Wushuang.

    “Don’t get too close,” said Huang Rong, “That woman is so cruel, we have to be on our guard against her evil scheme. In my opinion, she is not crazy.”

    Everybody stopped. They were wary of the old granny’s date stones. Carefully Huang Rong approached her, but before she said anything, somebody appeared from behind a big rock. He was wearing blue robe, and none other than Gongsun Zhi himself. Laughing menacingly he took his robe off, and with his profound internal energy, made the robe hard and stiff like a stick. Huang Rong and the others were impressed with this internal energy demonstration. “Wicked woman!” he cursed, “you have destroyed everything I had, everything my ancestors had owned, with a torch. I will not show any mercy to you!” And he ran toward her.

    Qiu Qianchi launched a stone. Gongsun Zhi parried with his robe. The stone penetrated several layers of clothes, but did not hurt him at all. Gongsun Zhi was able to neutralize her “hard” energy with his “soft”. He was initially not sure if he could withstand her stone, but in his anger because the granny burned down everything he had, he was determined to kill her. Besides, he knew that as soon as the intruders intervened, he wouldn’t be able to even get near her. Therefore, he was delighted to find that his energy was sufficient to counter the Qiu Qianchi’s.

    Shouting a terrifying cry he leaped and pounced her.

    “Help!” cried Qiu Qianchi, her eyes wide open.

    “Mother! That granny’s going to die!” said Guo Fu, her heart pounding.

    “I don’t understand,” Huang said, her eyes never leave those two people, “She is not crazy, but why did she act like it? To lure Gongsun Zhi here?”

    In the mean time the granny had already launched two more date stones. Gongsun Zhi again used his robe while leaping forward. Suddenly, he vanished from sight in a blink of the eyes. The granny laughed heartily, a very satisfied laugh.

    But … while she was still basking in her victory, a long robe appeared from underneath. Like a snake it wrapped itself to the leg of the chair Qiu Qianchi was sitting on. A fraction of a second later that chair fell down the well, taking Qiu Qianchi with it. Once again a terrifying cry was heard, this time it came from both husband and wife. Then everything fell silent …

    Everybody witnessed and heard everything, but nobody knew what was really happening; except Yang Guo. He sighed and softly said, “Hai! Those two husband and wife had become archenemies, but in the end … they died together.”

    Quickly Huang Rong and the others climbed to the hilltop. There they saw four female bodies lying around near a big hole on the ground. Looking down below all they could see was darkness.

    In her desire to seek revenge, Qiu Qianchi had become more cruel and evil than ever. After burning the building complex, she commanded four slave girls to carry her to that hilltop, to the underground cave mouth, where she and her daughter were rescued by Yang Guo. She commanded the girls to cover the hole with tree branches and leaves; but afterward cruelly murdered them with her stones. Then she pretended to be crazy to lured Gongsun Zhi. Her cry for help when Gongsun Zhi first attacked was part of her ploy to lure him closer. Gongsun Zhi was not aware about the cave; hence he fell into her trap. In his last struggle to save his own life, he threw his robe up, with the hope that he could use the chair as stepping stone to jump out of the hole. Unfortunately, the chair – with Qiu Qianchi on it, fell down the cave because his pull was too strong. So it was, husband and wife, become archenemies, and died together on the same day, same hour, even smashed together inside that underground cave.

    Yang Guo then told the rest what he knew about their life story. Everybody sighed and could not help but feel sorry for them.

    Cheng Ying, Yelu Qi, Yelu Yan, with the help of the other young people digged a big hole and buried the body of the four slave girls.

    The fire was still raging down valley; the whole building complex was destroyed. There was no other house around for them to rest. Besides, after witnessing so many deaths that day, nobody wanted to stay around much longer.

    “Brother Yang has not found cure for his injury, we have to find another doctor promptly,” Zhu Ziliu said. Several others voiced their agreement.

    “No,” said Huang Rong. “We cannot leave Passionless Valley today.”

    “What is your suggestion then, Madame Guo?” asked Zhu Ziliu.

    “My shoulder suffers a heavy injury, and it hurts so bad right now,” she answered, “could we stay overnight here, please? We will leave tomorrow first thing in the morning. Would all of you stay, please?”

    Of course nobody objected. They spread out and searched for some caves or anywhere suitable to stay overnight.

    Yang Guo and Xiao Long Nuu walked hand in hand going down the hill, but before they got too far, they heard Huang Rong called, “Sister Long, could you come over here, please? I have something to discuss with you.” Having said this she put Guo Xiang under Guo Fu’s care and walked toward Xiao Long Nuu.

    Holding Xiao Long Nuu’s hand she turned her head toward Yang Guo and smiled, “Guo Er, don’t you worry. She has become your wife, and I certainly will not persuade her to leave you.”

    “Go ahead, try,” said Yang Guo smiling, but couldn’t help wondering in his heart. What was his Auntie going to discuss with her wife? He saw Huang Rong hold Xiao Long Nuu’s hand, walking toward a big tree and then they both sat down underneath it. Yang Guo felt a little bit uneasiness, but he felt it was not proper for him to sneak in and eavesdrop on them. “Long Er has never lied to me, I will ask her later,” he thought.

    “Sister Long,” Huang Rong began. “My spoiled brat daughter has caused you and Guo Er many miseries. I feel really bad.”

    Xiao Long Nuu just smiled and said, “Oh, it’s allright.”

    Huang Rong felt even worse. She was not aware that the soul-freezing needle of Guo Fu was the death sentence to this lovely young wife. She remembered how Wu Santong and Yang Guo himself had suffered injury from the needles, yet they fully recovered. She did not know that Xiao Long Nuu was poisoned when she was reversing her blood flow. Hence, it was entirely a different matter.

    “There is one thing I do not understand about Yang Guo, and I want to ask your explanation,” she inquired further. “By risking your own life you had succeeded in getting the pill back from Gongsun Zhi. Why did Yang Guo not willing to take it, but threw it down the ravine instead? Why? I really don’t understand.”

    Xiao Long Nuu sighed. She knew she would die because of the poison, yet she also knew Guo Fu did not intentionally attack her. As a tenderhearted woman, she felt it was inappropriate for her to say anything bad at all, therefore, she only said, “Yang Guo has a strong character.”

    “Guo Er’s heart is full of love,” said Huang Rong, “Could it be that because Miss Gongsun had sacrifice her life for the pill, that Yang Guo did not have a heart to take it. Thus he is willing to sacrifice his own life to repay her love. Sister, that action had shown his benevolent character, deserving our highest respect. However, we cannot make the dead to live again. On the other hand, his stubbornness to refuse any antidote would negate Miss Gongsun’s sacrificial endeavor.”

    Xiao Long Nuu nodded her head, but her heart was filled with sorrow.

    Huang Rong paused for a moment, and then continued, “You have risked your live battling Gongsun Zhi on the stone bridge above the Heart Breaking Cliff [Severed Intestine Gorge], that was also an act of ultimate sacrifice. Yang Guo will listen to nobody but you alone. Therefore, my Sister, please talk and persuade him for his own good.”

    Xiao Long Nuu could not hold her tears any longer; they flowed down her lovely cheeks. “If only he were willing to listen to me … but even then, where can we find another Passionless Pill?” she said, sobbing.

    “There is no more Passionless Pill in this whole wide world,” Huang Rong said, “but I believe there is another antidote to neutralize the poison in him. What I feel most difficult is to get him to take it.”

    Xiao Long Nuu was surprised and delighted at the same time. “Is that so?” she asked, “Ah! Everybody says Madame Guo is very intelligent and wise. It was not an empty praise at all. Is … is there another antidote?”

    Mrs. Guo groped her pocket and took the purplish grass out. “This is the [Severed Intestine Grass - the words 'Severed Intestine' here are the same as in the 'severed intestine gorge' that other translator translated as 'Heart Broken Cliff'] that was in the Divine Indian Monk’s hand when he died. According to Brother Zhu, he was searching for the antidote when that needle took his life. As you also witnessed, Sister, even though he was dead, his countenance showed a satisfied smile. My only conclusion is that he was satisfied for finding this grass, which is the antidote to the Passionless Flower. According to my Master - the Venerable Hong Qi Gong - inside a snake’s lair always exist some kind of plant which is the antidote of that particular snake’s venom. This fact also holds true for other kind of poison as well. Natural Law, it is just how nature governs itself. This grass indeed grew underneath the Passionless Flower. We only knew that this grass is poisonous; however, after pondering for a while, I realize that this grass is the antidote to the flower. Poison against poison. One poison neutralizes the other.”

    Xiao Long Nuu listened to her explanation and nodded her head in agreement. She knew that Huang Rong was very intelligent, and listening to her full of confidence, she could not help but feeling her confidence grew as well. After witnessing Li Mochou’s suffering and realizing that all alternatives were exhausted, she felt that dying of the grass’ poison would be preferable than of the flower’s poison. Therefore, after a moment or two careful considerations, she made up her mind and said confidently, “Very well. Let me persuade him to take the grass.”

    Huang Rong immediately groped her pocket and took out several handfuls of grass, then gave the grass to Xiao Long Nuu. “I picked these grasses along the way, and I believe these handfuls would be sufficient,” she said. “You will have to tell him to try a few strands of grass first, while protecting his internal organs with his energy. If it worked, than he can take more later.”

    Xiao Long Nuu then put the grass into her pocket and stood up, then kneeled down in front of Huang Rong. “Guo Er … he … he’s an orphan and has nobody to look after him. He has suffered a lot,” she was choked … “He is rash and oftentimes do whatever his heart desires … I beg Madame would look after him.”

    Huang Rong quickly lifted her up. “Guo Er is under your loving care, and I trust you are a hundred times better than me in this matter,” she was emotional as well, “After Xiang Yang is saved from the Mongols, we shall go together to the Peach Blossom Island and have some good time together.”

    As intelligent as she was, Madame Guo did not have any clue on why Xiao Long Nuu had asked her the favor. Xiao Long Nuu expected she would die any moment and had asked Huang Rong to take care of Yang Guo.

    While his wife was having conversation with Huang Rong, Yang Guo waited patiently a bit far. Now that he saw his wife stood up and walked away, he immediately came to her. “Guo Er,” said Xiao Long Nuu, smiling sweetly, “our days are numbered. Let us not be burdened with other’s business and just be together, you and I. Would you accompany me looking around this place?”

    Holding hands they left the crowd – which at that time was busy preparing a place to stay or simply resting quietly underneath some trees – and walked slowly down the quiet paths. They haven’t walked too far when they saw a young couple was having a quiet talk under a tree. They were Wu Dunru and Yelu Yan. Yang Guo smiled and turned the other way. Again, they haven’t walked too far when suddenly somebody ran out of the bushes ahead, laughing merrily, with somebody behind, chasing her. It was Wanyan Ping, being chased by Wu Xiuwen. “I want to know where you could go!” cried the young man. Seeing Yang Guo and Xiao Long Nuu, Wanyan Ping blushed. “Brother Yang, Sister Long,” she greeted them sheepishly. Then she ran toward the forest. Xiuwen was not too far behind.

    “O mortals, what is love? That binds beyond life on earth?” Yang Guo softly murmured. He was silent for a minute before continuing, “Those two brothers were fighting to death to win Miss Guo’s attention. Only a short time later they have already loved someone else. There are people in this world who could love only one person – for life. Yet there are others who could easily change their mind. Hai …! ‘O mortals, what is love? That binds beyond life on earth?’ this is a very deep question, worthy to be pondered.”

    His wife was silent. She put her head down, quietly walked along, like she was thinking really hard. They arrived at a foothill a little while later. Looking up they could see that the day was almost spent. The sun cast its beautiful rays on the mountain peaks. They were convinced that they would not be together much longer; therefore, the beautiful scenery only added sorrow to their heart. “Guo Er,” Xiao Long Nuu suddenly broke the silence, “didn’t you say that after we are dead, our spirit will go to the underworld? Is it true there is an [underworld king – Hokkien: Giam Lo Ong, not sure the Pin Yin]?”

    “I do hope so,” answered Yang Guo. “Even if the underworld was full of sea of blades, boiling oil, or other kind torture, I would rather the underworld exist, than having our souls got separated for eternity.”

    “That’s true,” said his wife, “I do too, hope that there is an underworld out there. People said that on the way there an old granny would meet the departing spirit and give that spirit a bowl of water, so that the spirit would forget everything mortal. As for me, I would refuse to drink that water. Guo Er, you have to promise me that you won’t forget my love forever.”

    As you know, Xiao Long Nuu was raised and trained under the Ancient Tomb Sect, where she learned how to depress all emotions. Therefore, while her heart was broken, she was able to speak with a steady voice. Yang Guo, on the other hand, could not hold his tears any longer. He quickly walked over, turned his head away from his wife and wiped his eyes with his sleeve.

    Xiao Long Nuu sighed. “Ah! How can we mortals know anything about the underworld matters?” she said, “But if I were given any choice, I would rather live forever with you …. Guo Er, look! That flower is really pretty.”

    Yang Guo turned his head to where his wife was pointing, and he saw a beautiful red flower. It was so big, bigger than a rice bowl. That flower was swaying from the soft early evening breeze. “Truly beautiful,” Yang Guo praised. “I have never seen anything like it. If I were to give this flower a name, I would name it Long Nuu Hwa (Dragon Lady Flower).” He stooped down, picked up a stem of flower, and slipped it into his wife’s hair. “Thank you,” Xiao Long Nuu smiled.

    After walking a little bit longer they sat down on a grassy hill, resting. “Guo Er, do you still remember everything you promised when I took you as my disciple?” asked the young madame.

    “Why don’t I?” he answered.

    “Well, do you remember taking an oath to always obey what I command as long as you live?” she continued, “Whatever I say, you cannot disobey. But I have become your wife now. Tell me, do I have to obey you, or will you forever obey me because I was your master/teacher? What do you think?”

    “I will always obey you,” promised Yang Guo. “Teacher’s word has to be obeyed. Wife’s word is even more, I cannot disobey.”

    “Hm!” said his wife, “It’s good to know you remembered.”

    They sat shoulder-to-shoulder, leaning against each other, enjoying the beautiful dusk scenery around them. From a distance they heard Wu Santong’s calling them for dinner. They looked at each other and smiled. Who would want to eat while enjoying this breathtakingly wonderful time?

    Eventually, the sun set, and the moon slowly rose. The night was falling. They were tired, and fell asleep unwittingly.

    Yang Guo stirred and opened his eyes around midnight. The weather had turned cold. Half-asleep he asked his wife, “Long Er, are you cold?” He stretched his arm, wanted to embrace her. Suddenly he felt like his blood was drained completely from his body, because his hand only grabbed a handful of dirt! He leaped up instantly. His wife was nowhere to be seen! He looked everywhere, but all he could see were mountain tops and trees, gleaming under the silver rays of the moon. He stretched his neck, trying to listen; but all he could hear was a gentle breeze of wind, carrying soft chirping and buzzing of the little critters. Where could Xiao Long Nuu be? His heart was pounding real hard! He exerted his internal energy, ran to the hilltop and shouted at the top of his lungs, “Long Er! Long Er!”

    Frantically he dashed to another hilltop. “Long Er! Long Er!” His voice echoed throughout the valley. “Long Er! Long Er …!!”

    His cry had woken up Yi Deng, Huang Rong, Zhu Ziliu and the others. Knowing what happened, immediately they spread out, trying to find the young madame; while their hearts were puzzled. Xiao Long Nuu was nowhere to be seen, even after searching high and low.

    “Long Er slept next to me, it is impossible for an enemy to capture her, or even a beast to harm her without my knowing,” thought Yang Guo. “The only possibility was that she left by her own will. And I believe Mrs. Guo has something to do with it. She once ran away from me and went to the Passionless Valley because of her.” Because of this thought his blood boiled and he exploded, “Auntie Guo! What exactly did you say to her this afternoon?”

    Huang Rong herself was confounded, she did not have any idea why Xiao Long Nuu suddenly disappeared. She saw Yang Guo’s veins showing on his face and neck, and realized how critical this moment was. “I was only advised her to persuade you to take the [severed-intestine grass] to neutralize the poison inside your body,” she explained patiently.

    “After her life cannot be saved anymore, do you really think I would want to live alone?” Yang Guo screamed.

    “Don’t you worry,” said his auntie soothingly, “Miss Long possesses a very high level of martial arts. It is unthinkable that something bad has happened to her that she could not overcome it. Why did you say ‘her life cannot be saved anymore’?”

    In his unbearable grief Yang Guo lost his tempers and snapped,”Huh! This is all your precious daughter’s doing. She struck her with a soul-freezing needle while she was reversing her blood flow, that the lethal poison attacked her internal organs. My wife is not a deity, how could she endure that?”

    Yang Guo’s answer was like a thunderbolt from a blue sky. She had no idea her daughter had done something really dreadful. Her countenance was sheet-white pale. Only now she understood why Yang Guo was adamant of not taking the pill, and would rather die than live alone. She looked up toward the hill where Gongsun Zhi and Qiu Qianchi met their tragic ends. She shuddered involuntarily.

    Yang Guo had always kept his gaze toward Huang Rong and understood why she shuddered. He was shocked and angry beyond any reasoning. “You knew it! You knew she is beyond help and persuaded her to kill herself to save my life,” he screamed. “You think you are doing me a big favor, but … but … I HATE YOU!!!” His chest tightened, he collapsed to the ground, fainted. Reverend Yi Deng immediately gave him a massage and after a moment he regained his consciousness.

    “I only persuade her to save your life,” said Huang Rong, “I have never told anybody to commit suicide. I can’t help it if you don’t believe me.”

    Everybody was looking at each other, they did not know what to say or do. “I think we’d better make a rope for me to go down the cave to investigate,” Cheng Ying broke the silence. “Perhaps … perhaps … Sister-in-law slipped …”

    Huang Rong nodded. “Very well, let’s find out.”

    They immediately unsheathed their weapons and gathered tree barks, which were then braided, into a long rope. They worked hard and before long, more than 200 meters long rope was ready. Several youngsters immediately offered to go down first. “Let me go first,” said Yang Guo.

    Everybody looked at Huang Rong for approval. Mrs. Guo thought hard. She was sure that if she said ‘no’, Yang Guo would insist on going anyway; but if she said ‘yes’ and – God forbids – Xiao Long Nuu were found inside, Yang Guo would certainly not willing to go back up. While she hesitated, Cheng Ying once again offered a solution, “Brother Yang, let me go. Don’t you trust me?”

    Cheng Ying was the only person Yang Guo loved and respected; besides his wife, of course. He felt weak due to excessive grief anyway, so he just nodded his agreement.

    Wu Santong and Yelu Qi slowly lowered Miss Cheng into the well. The cave entrance was located on or near the hilltop, so we can safely conclude that the depth of the well is approximately the same as the height of the hill itself. Therefore, it was when they almost run out of rope that Cheng Ying had finally reached the bottom.

    Everybody was quiet. It was a suspenseful moment. They waited with baited breath. Huang Rong cast a glance to Zhu Ziliu. He winked and immediately the two of them walked toward the hole. They stood guard on either sides of the hole. They knew that if Xiao Long Nuu were to be found dead inside, Yang Guo would most certainly jump in.

    Everybody’s eyes never left that hole on the ground. Nobody blinked. It felt like they have been waiting forever, and could not help but felt agitated.

    Suddenly the rope in Wusantong’s hands moved. “Quick! Pull!” Guo Fu and the Wu Brothers shouted almost simultaneously. Quickly several people helped pulling the rope.

    Even before she reached the top, Cheng Ying had shouted on top or her lungs, “Not here! Sister-in-law is not here!”

    Everybody was so relieved that they sighed almost in unison.

    A little later Cheng Ying reached the top and immediately said, “I have looked every where, every corner of the cave. Nothing was there except Gongsun Zhi and Qiu Qianchi’s bodies.”

    Zhu Ziliu knitted his brows. “Let’s spread out and search around the valley. I think it is possible that Miss Long has left this place.”

    “There is a place we haven’t looked yet,” Wushuang suddenly remembered. “Could it be that Sister-in-law is trying to recover the Passionless Pill?”

    Before Wushuang could finish, Yang Guo had already dashed toward the Broken Heart Cliff and cried out, “Long Er! Long Er!” But even there not a single soul was in sight. Yang Guo was more anxious. “Long Er is very honest, she would certainly tell me her heart’s contents,” he thought. Then he remembered their conversation that evening, “She knew I have never disobeyed her, why did she feel it was important to remind me? But she didn’t say anything else then …”

    He looked at the cliff, staring blankly. Suddenly he saw a red flower perched high on the cliff. “Uh, where did that flower come from?” he asked himself, “I didn’t see it when Long Er was battling Gongsun Zhi. Could it be blown here by the wind? Not likely …”

    Exerted his internal energy he leaped toward the cliff and climb the stone bridge. His chest tightened! That flower was the one he slipped into his wife’s hair just a few hours ago. He was sure of it, since one side of the flower was a bit flattened. He could not hold his tears any longer. He remembered he named that flower ‘Long Nuu Flower’.

    With his hand shaking hand he picked the flower up. Underneath it he found a paper package, which he hastily opened. Inside he found a few strands of purple grass, the [severed intestine grass]. His heart was beating fast. He looked at the paper, but he found nothing, not a single stroke [of character – obviously Yang Guo expected some sort of letter/message].

    Suddenly he heard Wushuang shouted, “Brother Yang, what are you doing?”

    He turned his head and his gaze stopped at two lines of characters carved by a sword on the cliff’s wall. It read, (IcyFox translation)“16 years later, meet at this place, the love between (us) husband and wife is profoundly deep, never fail this promise.”(end IcyFox Translation) Underneath was carved in smaller characters, (IcyFox Translation)“Xiao Long Nu addresses my lord Yang-lang, please treasure this, beg that you fufill this reunion.”(end IcyFox Translation)

    Yang Guo stared at those characters like he was losing his mind. His head was dizzy. He really could not decipher what it meant. Unanswerable questions kept floating around his mind. “Why did she say sixteen years? Where did she go? She is heavily poisoned, how could she wait sixteen years? She knew I threw the Passionless Pill away, why did she ask me to wait sixteen years?”

    In his grief and confusion, his body staggered a few times. This made the others fret. Once he lost his balance, he would certainly fell into the ravine below. Nobody knew what to do. They could not go to him, since that stone bridge was so narrow. They would certainly die together if Yang Guo were acting up. Huang Rong knitted her brows and turning to Cheng Ying she said, “Martial Sister, go talk to him. I think he will listen to you.”

    “Very well,” she responded, leaped onto the rock, and walked slowly toward Yang Guo.

    Hearing a footstep came near Yang Guo snapped, “Go away!” He turned his head with fire in his eyes.

    “Brother Yang, it’s me,” said the young miss softly. “I just want to help you find Sister-in-law, nothing else.”

    Yang Guo stared hard at her sad face. Slowly his countenance softened.

    “Is this flower left by Sister-in-law?” asked Cheng Ying, approaching him.

    “Yes,” he said, “She wanted me to wait sixteen years. Why sixteen years?”

    Cheng Ying read the letter. She was perplexed. “Madame Guo is very intelligent,” she said, “Why don’t we ask her what she thinks. I am sure she can solve this puzzle.”

    “OK,” said Yang Guo, “Be careful! That stone is slippery.”

    They immediately walked back down and told everything they knew to Huang Rong.

    She was silent for a moment, her brows knitted even deeper. Suddenly her eyes lit. Clapping her hands she exclaimed, “Guo Er! Omigod! Congratulations! Guo Er! Let me congratulate you!”

    Yang Guo was flabbergasted. He was shocked but a bit thrilled at the same time, “What? … Why? … For what?” He stuttered.

    “Congratulations! How can I not congratulate you!” his auntie was laughing ecstatically. “Sister Long has met the ‘Goddess of the South Sea’ [literally: divine women of the south sea – nan hay zhen nuu – I think; any help?]. This is a very extraordinary destiny.”

    Yang Guo was puzzled, “’Goddess of the South Sea’? Who’s that?”

    “’Goddess of the South Sea’ is a divine Buddhist nun with a very high level of martial arts,” she explained, “Just how high her skill is, nobody can tell. Her rank is way up higher than even Reverend Yi Deng. Because she seldom comes to the mainland, almost nobody in Jiang-Hu world knew her. My father had met her and was taught a very high-level fist technique. That was sixteen, thirty-two, forty-eight … yes, it was forty-eight years ago.”

    “Forty-eight years ago?” Yang Guo repeated absent-mindedly.

    “Yes,” she continued, “I think the ’Goddess of the South Sea’ is almost a hundred years old now. According to my father, she always visits the mainland once every sixteen years. Woe to the evil men who crosses her path. She has a benevolent heart and always ready to help anybody in need. I am sure Miss Long has met her, was taken as her disciple, and was brought back to the South Sea.”

    “Sixteen years ... sixteen … Reverend, is there such person?” Yang Guo asked. His voice hoarse.

    Yi Deng was about to answer with an “hm” when Huang Rong quickly cut him out. “That ’Goddess of the South Sea’ excelled in martial arts, but her character’s a bit weird. Reverend, have you ever met her?”

    “No,” he answered, shaking his head.

    Huang Rong sighed. “Ah, that Senior is really ignorant,” she said, “to separate a young couple like that, for sixteen years! Right now Sister Long has already possessed a high martial art. After sixteen years, wouldn’t her husband looked like chicken to her?” Then she burst in laugher.

    “No, Auntie Guo, I don’t think that was what she had in mind,” countered Yang Guo.

    “What then?” asked the auntie.

    Without further ado Yang Guo told her how while her wife was reversing her blood flow to cure her injury, Guo Fu unintentionally struck her with a soul-freezing needle, that the poison attacked her internal organs. “If what you said is true, I think the Goddess is trying to cure her within that sixteen years period.” He sighed, “You know, before this new development, I’ve always thought Long Er’s condition was terminal.”

    “That spoiled brat of mine truly has done you two too many troubles,” said Mrs. Guo. “I think you are right. That poison has resided inside Sister Long’s body for too long. Even if she was given a miracle cure, she would certainly need a long time to recover fully. Guo Er, let us hope that Sister Long will recover sooner, that the ’Goddess of the South Sea’ will release her sooner too.”

    Yang Guo was lost in thought with a heart full of questions. It was hard to believe his auntie, yet the Xiao Long Nuu’s letter seemed to corroborate her argument. If she killed herself, why would she say sixteen years? Suddenly he turned his gaze toward Huang Rong and ask, “Auntie Guo, how do you know the ’Goddess of the South Sea’ took Long Er away? Why didn’t Long Er say so in the letter, that I won’t be worry?”

    “I came to that conclusion because of the words ‘sixteen years later’,” she explained. “I know this for a fact, that the ’Goddess of the South Sea’ visits the mainland only once every sixteen years. Nobody else has had that peculiar habit. Reverend, have you known anybody else with that custom?”

    “No,” he answered.

    “As far as I know, Father said that the Goddess does not like to be mentioned,” Mrs. Guo continued, “so it’s understandable if Sister Long did not mention her name in the letter. My only concern is that I am not sure the [severed intestine grass] could save your life. If … sigh! … if sixteen years pass and Sister Long come back and she cannot see you, it is very possible that … that she would not want to live any longer.”

    Yang Guo shed some more tears. He could see clearly in his mind a shadow of things to come. He saw a white shadow; it was his wife, comeback to meet him sixteen years from now. He then saw his wife was grieving because he is no more.

    A gentle breeze blew and Yang Guo shivered. “Auntie Guo,” he said, “I think I’d better go to the South Sea to find her. Do you know where the Goddess lives?”

    “Guo Er, don’t be silly,” rebuked his auntie softly, “The island where the Goddess live has never been visited by strangers. Woe to the man who visit the island uninvited. My Father had received her tutelage, but even Father has never set foot on this island. Now that she took Sister Long under her wings, I am confident that someday you two will meet again. What is sixteen years anyway? It will pass in a blink of an eye. Why do you have to rush?”

    Yang Guo looked intently at Huang Rong’s face and asked, “Auntie Guo, are you telling me the truth?”

    “You go and examine that letter,” she countered, “If that letter was not written by Sister Long, you can say whatever you want.”

    “That letter is indeed written by Long Er herself.” Yang Guo said, “Every time she writes the character ‘Yang’, she always add a short stroke on the right. Nobody writes like that.”

    “Very good, then,” said his auntie, clapping her hands. “Honestly, I wasn’t sure myself. I thought it was too much of a coincidence. I thought it was Brother Zhu’s doing who tried to comfort you.”

    Yang Guo was lost in thought again, his eyes stared hard at the Broken Heart Cliff. “Very well,” he finally said, “I will take [severed intestine grass]. If it fails, I hope sixteen years from now Auntie would tell my poor wife everything.” He turned to Zhu Ziliu and asked, “Uncle Zhu, how do I take the grass?”

    Zhu Ziliu only knew [severed intestine grass] was a poisonous plant. He had no idea on how that poison would neutralize other poison. Therefore, he turned to Yi Deng and asked, “Shifu, I think we need your insight in this matter.”

    Using his Solitary Yang Finger, Yi Deng quickly sealed four of Yang Guo’s accupoints: the Xiao Hay, Zhong Li, Sin Men, and Xiao Dong [not sure the meaning nor the pinyin, any help?]. In a flash a warm feeling flowed from these accupoints toward his chest, and loosened the tightness in his breast. “The passionless poison mostly attacks the heart and the liver,” Yi Deng explained, “The [severed intestine grass] poison would most likely attack your heart as well. Therefore, I sealed your four accupoints to protect your heart. Go ahead, take some strands.”

    Yang Guo bowed to express his gratitude.

    Yi Deng sighed, “If my Martial Brother were here, he would know how to take it properly, so that we would not have to make a wild guess.” Hearing their Master, Wu Santong and Zhu Ziliu could not help but feel sad.

    Yang Guo – who a while ago desired to die, now determined to live. He put the grass into his mouth and started to chew, then swallowed it. The [severed intestine grass] was very bitter, but he endured it. He quickly sat down and exerted his internal energy to protect his heart, liver, and other sensitive organs.

    Not too long, he started to feel his stomach growling, followed by excruciating pain like he had swallowed thousands of needles. He endured the pain, gnashing his teeth. After another moment or two, the pain surged to his entire body, to his hands and feet, but his heart felt really comfortable. This demonstrated the excellence of Solitary Yang Finger of Reverend Yi Deng. An hour or so later, the pain was concentrated back to his stomach, and he threw up some blood. The blood glittered and looked redder than regular blood.

    Cheng Ying, Wushuang, and the others were shocked! Some even uttered a soft cry. Only Reverend Yi Deng looked delighted. “Shitee [Younger Martial Brother]! Shitee!” he said softly, “even after your death you were still able to save your fellow man.”

    Yang Guo leaped up and declared with a voice full of emotion, “Today my life has been saved by the Divine Indian Monk, Reverend Yi Deng, and Auntie Guo.”

    “Is the poison completely eradicated from your body?” asked Wushuang gleefully.

    “How can it be that quick?” he answered. “But now that we know the grass works, I will take a couple of strands every day until the poison is completely gone.”

    “But how would you know when your body is clean?” inquired Miss Lu further, “I mean, if the poison is completely neutralized and you continue taking the grass, wouldn’t the grass poison you?”

    “I can tell,” he answered, “if the Passion Flower poison is still here and I … I … I think about love, my chest would hurt.”

    Guo Fu has been listening the whole time, and now she could not restrain herself. She suddenly quipped, “Brother Yang is thinking about Sister-in-law, not you!”

    “Fu Er! Shut up!” her mother rebuked harshly.

    Hearing her, Wushuang’s face was flushed with anger, but Guo Fu wasn’t finished yet, she continued, “Sixteen years from now, Sister-in-law will come back. Don’t you have any weird ideas.”

    “Zheng!” Wushuang unsheathed her willow-leaf-saber. “Wicked woman!” she snapped, pointing her saber to Guo Fu, “If it was not for you, Brother Yang didn’t have to be separated from Sister-in-law for sixteen years. Do you have the slightest idea how bad you have hurt Brother Yang?”

    Guo Fu was about to countered when Huang Rong rebuked her with anger in her voice, “Fu Er! If you don’t behave, go to the Peach Blossom Island. I forbid you to comeback to Xiang Yang.”

    The young miss did not dare to open her mouth, but she still looked at Wushuang menacingly.

    Yang Guo heaved a sigh and sorrowfully said, “It was an accident. Miss Guo did not intentionally want to hurt Long Er. Sister Lu, I forbid you to pry up this incident anymore.”

    Hearing Yang Guo used the term “Sister Lu” to call her, while he called Guo Fu “Miss Guo”, Wushuang was very pleased and sheathed her saber.

    “Mr. Yang had taken the (severed intestine grass) and did not experience anything bad. That proved the grass is indeed the antidote for the Passionless Flower’s poison,” Yi Deng said. “In my opinion, however, I think it will be better for Mr. Yang not to take the grass continually. Wait another seven days or so, and then you can have the second dose.”

    “Thank you for your priceless advice, Reverend.” Yang Guo said, bowing.

    It was almost dawn. Huang Rong said, “We have left Xiang Yang for a while, and have not heard any news on the war situation. My mind keeps wandering back over there, so I think we’d better go back even today. Guo Er, I think you’d better come along, your Uncle Guo was really worried about you.”

    “Let me stay here and … and wait for Long Er,” he answered.

    “You want to wait here sixteen years?” Guo Fu asked in disbelief.

    “I don’t know. I just feel like there is nowhere better,” he answered.

    “Very well then,” decided Huang Rong, “It’s OK if you want to wait here ten days to half a month. But if Sister Long does not come back yet, you’d better come to Xiang Yang.”

    Everybody bade Yang Guo farewell. Only Wushuang seemed reluctant to leave. Of course Guo Fu saw that, and she could not help to make a comment, “Hey, Lu Wushuang, do you want to stay here to accompany Brother Yang?”

    Miss Lu blushed. “None of your business!” she snapped.

    Suddenly Cheng Ying said, “Brother Yang has not fully recovered yet. Let Cousin and I stay here to accompany him for a few days.”

    Huang Rong knew, as sweet and gentle as she looked, in reality her youngest martial sister had a very strong character. If her own daughter mess things up, she would not keep her peace. Therefore, she immediately looked sternly at Guo Fu’s, signaling her not to say another word. “Guo Er, I think it is a great idea to have Martial Sister taking care of you,” she said, “However, as soon as you are cured, I do hope you will come to Xiang Yang, where my husband and I will wait for the three of you.”

    Yang Guo and the girls sent them off with mixed emotion in their hearts. Huang Rong and the others slowly fading away from their sight; disappeared among the trees. In the mean time, the fire that had been raging all night long had slowly died away.

    “Sisters,” said Yang Guo suddenly, “I would like to suggest something. I do hope you won’t get offended.”

    “Who has ever been offended by you?” Wushuang asked.

    Yang Guo smiled sadly, his voice trembling, “We have known each other for some time now; we love each other, we have even faced danger together. Yang Guo has always lived alone, with neither brothers nor sisters. My heart’s desire is that we become sworn brother and sisters. What do you think?”

    Cheng Ying was touched. She was sensitive and knew exactly what Yang Guo was thinking. She knew Yang Guo loved Xiao Long Nuu with all his heart. He had made that suggestion because he had to wait sixteen years, and because they would have to live together for several days. He wanted to avoid anything that could cause embarrassment or would make them uncomfortable. Wushuang put her head down, tears flowing from her eyes. “I would have never dreamed of being your sworn sister,” she said softly. “We will be proud and honored to have a big brother like you.”

    Having said that she walked toward a Passionless Flower nearby and took three strands of (severed intestine grass). “Others become sworn brothers/sisters with josh sticks, here we use grass instead.” She tried to make a joke and sound cheerful, but toward the end, her voice was hoarse. Before Yang Guo could respond, she immediately kneeled down on the ground. Yang Guo and Cheng Ying quickly kneeled down in either sides of Miss Lu, and just like the regular custom of being sworn brothers/sisters, they kowtowed eight times, and then bowing to each other in respect.

    “Second Sister, Third Sister, what I hate most in this world is the Passionless Flower,” Yang Guo said, “If that flower ever spread outside this valley, it will be a real disaster to mankind. Therefore, let us make an oath to completely wipe out Passionless Flower from the face of the earth. What do you think?”

    “Your desire Big Brother, is a very noble one,” said Cheng Ying. “I am sure the Goddess of Mercy will bless you that you will meet Sister-in-law much earlier.”

    Hearing his sister's words, Yang Guo’s spirit rose. Immediately they went to the building complex ruins, trying to find some tools like machete or axe to cut down the poisonous flowers. They had to work very slowly. Not only there were lots of trees to cut, but if not careful, they would get pricked by the thorns. They finished cutting the tree after toiling for six whole days. Then they walked around the whole valley, making sure not a single tree was spared. It was because of their hard work that the world was free from the Passionless Flowers.

    The next day, Wushuang took some more (severed intestine grass), went to her brother and said, “Big Brother, it’s time for you to take another dose of the grass.”

    After his first experience, Yang Guo was not hesitant. He immediately sat down on the ground, exerted his internal energy to protect his heart and liver, and quickly ate the grass. This time the pain was not so severe. After about an hour or so he threw up some blood and the pain lessened almost immediately.

    He stood up, stretched out his arms and legs, and saw his sisters’ joyful countenance. “I am so lucky to have two very loving sworn sisters as they are,” he said to himself. “One was more than enough, now I have two. How can I repay their kindness?” He looked down, thinking hard. Then he thought, “Second Sister has had an excellent Master, and I am sure someday she will be an excellent martial artist. Not so with Third Sister.”

    Having had that thought, he said to Wushuang, “Third Sister, your master and mine were martial sisters. That makes us people of the same sect. The highest level of Ancient Tomb Sect’s martial arts was written in the Jade Maiden Manual. Unfortunately, that manual was taken by Li Mochou and was destroyed in the fire. Fortunately, I still remember every detail of it. While we have the opportunity, I’d like to teach you one or two arts from our sect. What do you say?”

    Wushuang was delighted, “Thank you Big Brother,” she said. “Next time Guo Fu and I meet, she will not dare to pick a fight with me.”

    Yang Guo smiled and immediately taught the theory of Jade Maiden Manual to his sister, beginning from the elementary to the advance. “You have to memorize the theory first, and later on ask Second Sister’s help when it comes to train,” explained the big brother. “This quiet Passionless Valley is very suitable to learn martial arts.”

    For a few days Wushuang used all her waking moments to memorize the theory. Since her background was also from the Ancient Tomb Sect, she did not find any difficulty understanding the elementary lessons. Very soon however, she arrived to the more difficult part of the lesson and started to get some trouble understanding the theory. Yang Guo advised her to just memorize the theory blindly; she would eventually understand the whole lesson. So Wushuang spent almost the whole month to memorize the entire Jade Maiden Manual.

    One morning, as usual Cheng Ying and Wushuang prepared their breakfast, and then waited for Yang Guo to come. After waiting for quite a while, however, Yang Guo did not come. They went to their big brother’s cave, only to find some characters written on the ground at the cave’s entrance. It said, “To part for a while, to be together forever. Brotherly love shines like the sun and the moon.”

    Both girls were shocked.

    “He … finally he left us,” Wushuang said, running toward a hill and looked around. Cheng Ying followed her not too far behind. All they could see were clouds on the mountain peaks. Miss Lu’s heart was broken. With uneven voice she asked, “Second Sister … where … where did he go? Can we … can we see him again?”

    “Third Sister,” her older sister replied, “Do you see those clouds? They gathered together, then were blown away by the wind, to be gathered again somewhere else. We are just like those clouds. Now we gather, then we part. Why is your heart troubled?” Even though her mouth said those words, her heart was also full of sorrows.

    Where did Yang Guo go?

    After teaching the Jade Maiden Manual to Wushuang and did not hear anything new about his wife, he felt it was useless to stay at the Passionless Valley much longer. After leaving the letter on the ground, he immediately left. Initially he thought he would go back to Mount Zhong Nan, but then decided against it, since he was afraid the memory of his wife would add to his grief. Therefore, he wandered around without any specific place to go.

    After idly wandering for a few months, he arrived near the city of Xiang Yang. Along the way he saw cities and towns – which were destroyed by the war – slowly rebuild themselves. New houses and huts appeared here and there. True, he did not see as many people as he remembered, but it showed that the Mongolians troop have left the area for quite some time. The people were slowly returning to their hometowns. He really wanted to see Guo Jing and Huang Rong in Xiang Yang, but changed his mind at the last minute since he did not want to see Guo Fu.

    While contemplating where he should go, he suddenly remembered the Divine Condor. “Why don’t I visit Brother Condor?” he thought, and turned toward the valley where the Condor lived.

    Nearing the place where the Sword Demon Dugu Seeking-A-Loss, he whistled loudly several times. Not too long came the answer from above, a couple of chirps and then he heard a tiger roared. He looked up and saw the Condor underneath a big tree, with a leopard held tight in his claws. Seeing Yang Guo, the Condor immediately released the leopard – which then ran away and disappeared among the high grass.

    Yang Guo hugged the Condor’s neck, and with gladness both a man and a bird walked together to Dugu Seeking-A-Loss’ cave. Yang Guo remembered that he left the Condor only a few months earlier. In these few months however, he had experienced a lot of things. Many times he almost lost his life. Too bad the Condor did not speak like humans do that Yang Guo could not pour out his heart to the magnificent bird.

    They spend the next few days frolicking together. One particular morning he went alone to the cliff where Dugu Seeking-A-Loss buried his swords.

    As we know, Yang Guo threw away his heavy sword in the Passionless Valley and did not pick it back. He re-read the letters he found underneath the swords. He picked the rotten wooden sword and read this letter: (Lanny Lin translation) “After the age of forty, I no longer relied on weaponry. Even bushes, trees, bamboo sticks or rocks call all be my swords. From then on, I achieved great progress and slowly reached the realm of overcoming the sword without a sword.” (end Lanny Lin translation)

    Having read this he thought, “With the heavy sword I was already invincible. But this Dugu Senior said that wooden sword prevailed over the heavy sword, and in the end, overcoming the sword without a sword. Long Er has promised sixteen years. I will spend all these years training my swordsmanship. I want to reach the level where wooden sword prevailed over the heavy sword, and in the end, overcoming the sword without a sword.”

    He took a piece of wood and made a wooden sword. “The heavy sword was almost 70 catties (one hundred and ten to one hundred and thirty pounds – Lanny Lin), while the wooden sword is not only light, but brittle as well,” he thought. “Therefore, if the wooden sword is to prevail over the heavy sword, there are two things I have to possess: first - speed, second - strong internal energy.”

    Since that day he trained his sword technique and internal energy everyday. Every time it rained, he went to the river to practice. Summer came, and summer went. Next autumn came, and autumn went. After autumn came winter. Xiao Long Nuu had been gone for almost a year. He felt that in that one year not only his internal energy got stronger, but his swordsmanship also improved tremendously.
    One winter day he was sitting around, feeling self-pity. Suddenly he saw the snow was falling slowly in the air, soft like goose down. The Condor was excited; it created a loud noise and ran toward a clearing in front of the cave. It then flapped its wings, forcing the snow to scattered.

    Yang Guo’s heart was stirred. “It hasn’t been raining for a while, I think I’d practice sword technique in the snow,” he thought. Meanwhile the Condor’s wings flapped harder, that even though the snow was falling heavily, not a single flake touched its body.

    The snow was falling for three whole days. Everyday Yang Guo and the Condor played and practiced sword technique under the snow. Toward noon on the third day, the snow was falling even heavier than ever. While he was swinging his sword with all his strength, the Condor unexpectedly swept his feet with its wing that he almost fell down. He quickly leaped back to elude further attack. He felt two snowflakes fell on his cheek. “Brother Condor had trained me on sword technique on that cliff. Because of that my swordsmanship had improved tremendously,” he thought. “It looks like Brother Condor wants to have another training session with me.” Having that thought he suddenly thrust his sword; but with a loud ‘crack’ his sword was broken as soon as it touched the Condor’s wing. The Condor stood still; making soft chirping like it was rebuking Yang Guo.

    “The only way for me to beat your strength with a wooden sword, is by moving fast eluding your attack, then counter-attack whenever I have a chance,” Yang Guo said in his heart. Then he made another wooden sword and attacked the Condor. This time his sword broke after more than ten stances.

    They kept training without ceasing. Yang Guo realized that the Condor was very serious and never attacked half-heartedly. He was very grateful and ashamed at the same time. “If I cannot master this wooden sword technique, Brother Condor’s effort will be in vain,” he thought, “besides, this is a very extraordinary destiny I cannot just let it pass.”

    So it was, he practiced hard day and night, even in his dream. He always pondered his sword technique: how to fend off an attack, how to thrust the sword, and how to increase his energy. In his busyness he wasn’t burdened by his grief anymore. In the mean time, the Passionless Flower poison has been completely eradicated, which made his strength increased and his countenance shone like it used to.

    The first anniversary of his separation with Xiao Long Nuu was just a few days away. “Brother Condor,” he said sadly, “I will have to go to the Passionless Valley and would like to bid you farewell.” He picked his wooden sword up and started to walk. The Condor followed. When they arrived at the crossroad, Yang Guo bowed respectfully and took the road heading north. Unexpectedly the Condor gripped his sleeve with its beak and pulled him to the south.

    “Brother Condor,” he said, “I need to go north to tend some business. Let us part here.” But the Condor ignored him; it kept pulling him to the south.

    Yang Guo was puzzled, but he complied. The Condor let his sleeve off its beak, but as soon as Yang Guo turned to the north, its beak gripped his sleeve again.

    Yang Guo was bewildered. He couldn’t think of any reason why the Condor acted extraordinarily. “Brother Condor is an extraordinary creature. There must be some important reason behind his action,” he thought, “let me try following his bidding then.” He canceled his plan to go north and together with the Condor they head southeast.

    After a while a thought came to Yang Guo’s mind, “A-ha! Is it possible that Brother Condor is taking me to the South Sea to find Long Er?” His spirit rose and he walked more briskly. But then some time later the Condor turned east and before the month is over, they have arrived on the shore of the Eastern Sea.

    With his Condor Yang Guo stood on the seaside, looking at the seemingly boundless sea. In spite of his grief, he felt some kind of freedom.

    After a while he heard some rumbling noise coming from afar. It sounded like thunder, coming his way one after another. Based on his experience when he lived at the Peach Blossom Island, he knew that it was the tide, which comes everyday at certain times - around noon and midnight. He looked up and sure enough, the sun was almost directly above his head.

    The thunderous noise slowly coming toward the shore. It sounded like tens of thousands of horses came galloping, or more precisely, stampeding toward him. Not long afterward he saw a white line in the distance, coming fast, and in the next moment that line became massive waves rushing toward the shore. Nobody can say that Yang Guo was a coward, but at that time his face was pale.

    As soon as the waves came near, he kicked sand, propelling his body backward. Out of the blue, while his body was still flying backward, he felt a very strong force pushing him back to the shore. He couldn’t help but fell right back into the coming waves. He was almost drown and drank a couple mouthful of salt water.

    He knew his life was in danger. Fortunately he had practiced hard underneath the waterfall, that he did not lose his wits. Immediately he exerted his energy to his legs, made himself heavy, planted his feet on the ocean floor and stayed down under water. He quickly learned that while the water was moving fiercely on the surface, but it was not moving as fast under the surface. After a while he was able to compose himself and then he understood the Condor’s intention, “Turned out Brother Condor took me here to train me against the ocean waves.”

    After standing still for a moment he jumped out of the water. Alas, at exactly the same moment another wave – as big as a hill – came down crashing on his head. Quickly he exerted his energy one more time and fend off the force with his right shoulder. Again, he fell down underwater.

    This happened several times. By the time the tide receded he was so exhausted that his face was sheet-white. But he was resilient. That very same night he went back wielding his wooden sword, training under the midnight tide.

    Just as at the noon time, massive waves came crashing down on him from every direction. Every time he felt he couldn’t take it anymore, he dived to the bottom of the ocean.

    He trained twice a day and before another month passed, he already felt his energy was a lot stronger. Whenever he practiced his sword techniques on land, his wooden sword roared like the waves. And whenever he practiced with the Condor, it would not dare to parry his sword with its wings. One day they were practicing and in his enthusiasm Yang Guo hacked the Condor with all his might. The Condor dodged his attack; as a result his wooden struck a tree nearby. Both the tree trunk and his sword were broken. Yang Guo told himself, “This wooden sword was a lot weaker than the tree trunk. If I could break the trunk without breaking my wooden sword, only then I would approach Master Dugu’s skill.”

    Spring came and went, summer and autumn too. Time flew fast. Everyday, noon and midnight, rain or shine, Yang Guo trained under the tidal waves. The longer he trained, the louder his wooden sword roared, until he reached a level where the roar was so loud it hurt his own ears. Several months later, the roar was getting softer and softer, until it was so quiet that he could not hear anything. Yet the next several months came and went, the roar was getting louder again. From loud, it became quiet; from quiet, it became loud. After this cycle was repeated seven times, his energy had reached a level where he could make his sword loud or quiet at will. To reach this level, Yang Guo had spent six full years. Now every time the waves came crashing, he was able to force them back. In their training, the Condor was never able to hold Yang Guo for more than three stances.

    One day, after working hard, he stood on the sea shore looking blankly toward the sea. He considered Sword Demon, Dugu Seeking-A-Loss’ life story. “By possessing this tremendous strength, who can be my equal?” he thought, “No wonder Senior Dugu became so lonely that eventually he retreated and buried his swords in that remote mountain area. Ah! I have no doubt without Brother Condor’s assistance I wouldn’t be able to reach this level. I call him ‘Brother Condor’ but in reality he was my trainer/teacher. I don’t know how old is he, and come to think about it, I should have called him ‘grand master’.”

    All the time he was training, Yang Guo never missed any opportunity to ask any sailors who were just landed from their voyages, whether they knew a Buddhist Nun who lived on an island in the South Sea. After many years and uncountable sailors, he did not know any better. Nobody was able to give him even the slightest information that he needed. He gave up and decided to just wait sixteen years like his wife has promised.

    On this no particular day a thought came flashing in his mind. He wielded his wooden sword on his waist, and together with the Condor they walked to the west, toward inland. Since that time they roamed the central plains, including the southern region (jiang-nan).


    END OF CHAPTER
    Last edited by IcyFox; 12-21-05 at 09:29 AM.

  3. #623
    Senior Member eliza bennet's Avatar
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    Thank you so much!! Really, words are inadequate at this point to express my gratitude.

    This was such a sad but unforgettable chapter. I love how well intentioned JY heroes are... YG and his sisters wanted to get rid of the poison so no one else will be hurt. These are good people.

    What happened to Guo Jing (the best of the good people)? He was left alone, without his family and fighting for his country. Has he returned to the Peach Blossom island?

  4. #624
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    Quote Originally Posted by fox-s
    Thanks for your info. Unfortunately, I do not have high speed internet at home, so I did not check the thread until it was too late.

    Anyway, this brought something up:

    Up till last night I was still thinking of maybe finishing up Chapter 25 (that is, if nobody else is doing it). However, reading the excerpts, and comments on the Jade Maiden manual, I realized that even though the basic story line is still the same, there are several differences in details. I don't know how important these details are, but I don't think it is a good idea for me to work with First Edition as my reference.

    Thank you for all your support during the completion of chapter 32. I really appreciate all of you.
    Are planning to quit?

    1st edition is better than not have ROCH. I ensure you we who haven't read neithe 1 nor 2nd edition won't mind. If that's the only reason you should continue, and I think everyone here has the same opinion.

    Anyway, thank for the work so far, it was really apprecciated.....

  5. #625
    Member fox-s's Avatar
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    Default Chapter 25 anyone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Felipe
    Are planning to quit?

    1st edition is better than not have ROCH. I ensure you we who haven't read neithe 1 nor 2nd edition won't mind. If that's the only reason you should continue, and I think everyone here has the same opinion.

    Anyway, thank for the work so far, it was really apprecciated.....
    That's true. I didn't think it that way. Thanks for reminding me.

    No, I don't want to quit, but if anybody else is working on it, I'd rather have the newer edition.

    So, that being said, Is anybody out there working on the remainder of Chapter 25? Wuxiapedia lists the last update as September 27, by Rayon.

    If nobody is working on it, I am willing to give it a try. Please let me know, OK?

    Never mind. I just checked the thread ROCH chapter 24, and looks like Rayon is continuing ... yay!
    Last edited by fox-s; 12-20-05 at 02:00 PM.
    foxs

  6. #626
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    Quote Originally Posted by fox-s
    That's true. I didn't think it that way. Thanks for reminding me.

    No, I don't want to quit, but if anybody else is working on it, I'd rather have the newer edition.

    So, that being said, Is anybody out there working on the remainder of Chapter 25? Wuxiapedia lists the last update as September 27, by Rayon.

    If nobody is working on it, I am willing to give it a try. Please let me know, OK?

    Never mind. I just checked the thread ROCH chapter 24, and looks like Rayon is continuing ... yay!

    Oh, do not fear, Fox-s, she'll be doing till §55, after that she will halt and you can gladly take it. If not you can join IceFox to speed up, you translate very well.

    Since you said you're willing, there are still many possibilities for you to provide us a lot of reading pleasure and , of course, to get our deep gratitude

  7. #627
    Senior Member Da Bao's Avatar
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    Santuary!! I'm finally able to get onto a computer!! I'm on vacation and I haven't been able to get on a computer for the past 2 days... and starting tomorrow... I won't be able to get to a computer at all... for the next 2 weeks... *sigh*

    Thanks for the update!!!
    有缘千里来相会
    无缘对面手难牵

  8. #628
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    Quote Originally Posted by Felipe
    Oh, do not fear, Fox-s, she'll be doing till §55, after that she will halt and you can gladly take it. If not you can join IceFox to speed up, you translate very well.

    Since you said you're willing, there are still many possibilities for you to provide us a lot of reading pleasure and , of course, to get our deep gratitude
    Thank you Felipe! You are too kind!

    Let's just see what will happen in the near future. IcyFox is still fired-up to do the rest of the book. Let's just hope he won't run out of steam too soon.

    In the mean time, I'll just make myself available.
    foxs

  9. #629
    Registered User JamesG's Avatar
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    Don't try to figure out just what rayon is going to do next because it's her nature to change her mind. She's got so many 'irons in the fire' that I frequently wonder (amazed wonder) how she manages it all. (Her response likely would be 'I don't'.)
    Wizard
    Last edited by JamesG; 12-21-05 at 03:19 PM.

  10. #630
    Senior Member rayon's Avatar
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    Oh my god! I haven't checked any of the threads lately and to see all these wonderful translations cropping up like fungus, I am quietly going out of my mind! This is great! Now, I'm gonna go and read the other thread.
    "It's good to know what you don't know." - The Twit

    Xiao Shiyi Lang Book 2 - plodding thru Chap 27

  11. #631
    Member sheila_212's Avatar
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    Talking Yuu and Blasa mp3s

    hi! it's been a while... got very busy... now that i'm working
    if you want to download Yuu.mp3 and Blasa.mp3, you may download it at Gendou.com (anime mp3s!) you must register then you can download mp3s from different animes, enjoy!!!!!!!
    Little Dragon Girl

  12. #632
    Senior Member IcyFox's Avatar
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    Notice:

    Translators wanted.


    Foxs and I will continue Chap 25 and finish it and I'm now inviting anyone interested to take part. Applicants please send Foxs or me a PM. Work starts after Chinese New Year (Sorry readers... )

    Thanks.


    Edit : Chap 25 completed. Updated contents page coming soon.

    Finally, a note to all readers, please check your PM regularly. Thanks.
    Last edited by IcyFox; 02-21-06 at 09:06 AM.

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